8 Cannabis Marketing Strategies to Boost Sales

Monday, June 22, 2020 | By Tim Stoddart

With 11 states and counting legalizing marijuana, the cannabis industry is more profitable than ever before. At the same time, the industry is highly regulated and competitive, so marketing cannabis brands effectively is challenging if you don’t have the necessary tools and knowledge at your disposal.

Less than a decade ago, cannabis marketing was virtually non-existent. Nobody wanted to advertise illegal drug deals. However, both recreational and medicinal marijuana are becoming more and more mainstream every day, which is why it’s important to have a marketing team that keeps up with the latest trends, industry regulations, and SEO guidelines.

Let’s take a look at some of the most effective cannabis marketing strategies.

1. Capitalize on Visual Advertising Using Instagram

Instagram is an extremely powerful tool for marijuana companies to engage in visual merchandising. Whether people are shopping for CBD flower or a medical-grade Sativa blend, people like to buy bud that looks good. Visuals are powerful in the cannabis industry, and what better way to show your customers the goods you provide than posting regularly on a visually-centered social media platform?

Not only does Instagram let you post pictures and videos of your products, store, and accessories, but it also provides you with powerful word-of-mouth marketing. Although Instagram doesn’t let cannabis companies run paid advertisements, you can still use visuals, hashtags, and brand ambassadors to boost your organic reach.

Post content consistently, keep up with industry-related and trending hashtags, and set up a response strategy so you’re actively interacting with potential customers. If you fill out your profile completely and post interesting and visually appealing content, you can begin to grow a follower base and generate more sales. 

One of the best ways to market a marijuana company on Instagram is to use influencers or brand ambassadors as a form of public relations. With over one billion users on Instagram, influencers have the power to create user-generated content that reaches potential customers and advertises your company to an even greater following. As you begin to build trust and gain PR, your sales will increase.

2. Maximize Customer Reach With Facebook

Instagram is great for marketing cannabis to younger adults, but much of the marijuana industry is targeted towards people 45+ who use cannabis for medicinal purposes. If you want to maximize your social media marketing efforts to reach more demographics, Facebook is a highly useful tool.

By optimizing your Facebook business page, you can begin to create customized content, share industry-related posts, and provide your followers with useful health tips. Like Instagram, you can’t advertise or directly sell marijuana from Facebook, but you can gain a following and direct users to your website, where they can then make their purchase or decide to visit your store.

A lot of people have questions when it comes to purchasing recreational marijuana, hemp, or CBD. Sure, they can pick up the phone and call you, but sometimes messenger is more convenient. Facebook messenger chatbot allows businesses to provide the best possible customizer service by automatically answering some of the most commonly asked questions. If someone asks one of your FAQs, they’ll get the answer they are looking for instantly. If not, they are able to request more information and speak to you directly. 

Facebook is great for cannabis marketing because it brings together community, content, and customer service. In addition to posting useful information and engaging with potential customers, you can post exclusive deals on your products for your audience to see and engage with.

3. PR and Media Relations for Cannabis-Related Brands

Cannabis-related brands who have an effective PR and media relations strategy have the opportunity to reach a huge target audience and send their sales through the roof. As the marijuana industry continues to grow, business owners are constantly looking to public relations to stay ahead of their competitors. Engaging in one or more PR tactics can help you communicate your brand and your products to a wide audience while expanding your authority in a rapidly growing and evolving market.

PR techniques that are especially effective when marketing a cannabis company involve both online and offline tactics. For example, using influencers on social media or connecting with journalists who use you as a resource for their content are two online strategies that will get your brand media attention. The more people recognize your brand in the news and on social media, the more comfortable and trusting they will be when deciding whether or not to purchase your goods and be more likely to refer your products to their friends and family.

When it comes to cannabis marketing, there are also some more traditional PR strategies that can leverage your earnings, such as attending or hosting networking events or volunteering at local community organizations. By physically putting yourself and your brand out there in the community, you put a human face behind your company and your product. 

Most importantly, if you make a good impression and continue to show up for your community, local clientele will be more likely to visit your store and make a purchase. There can be some stigma surrounding the marijuana industry, but networking and volunteering are great ways to humanize and destigmatize cannabis.

4. Earn Organic Traffic with Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective long-term marketing strategies for cannabis-related brands. SEO requires no paid advertising and relies solely on optimizing your website in order to increase your organic traffic and page rankings. Since marijuana industries are held to strict guidelines when it comes to paid advertising, SEO is one of the most powerful marketing tools that holds huge growth potential. If you don’t have a cannabis SEO strategy, you’re missing out on a ton of free organic traffic and potential buyers.

In a highly competitive industry, it’s important that you work with an experienced marketing agency that knows what they are doing. If someone promises you results in one month – stay away. Winning the top search positions for industry-related keywords takes time, but the time that it takes will future-proof your company for years to come.

SEO involves optimizing your website, content, and business listings in accordance with Google’s SEO guidelines. By investing in a long-term organic SEO strategy, your web pages will move up in the SERPs, your website traffic will increase, and you’ll see more sales and growth in your business.

Understanding Your Market Opportunities

While outlining your online strategy, our SEO experts will conduct detailed keyword research to discover which keywords your website needs to rank for, who your target audience is, and what opportunities you have to rise in search results. In order to choose the right keywords and better understand your SEO opportunities, we will look at a variety of factors, including:

  • Search intent: will these keywords drive real conversions?
  • Search volume and trends over time: how are users searching for cannabis-related keywords?
  • Keyword difficulty: how hard will it be to rank for a keyword and who are your competitors?
  • Position changes, domain authority, and backlinks of the competitor’s websites: how much page authority do your competitors’ websites have and what are they ranking for?

Then, we will outline a detailed monthly strategy that includes optimizing your existing web pages that are already performing well, planning future content that can rank for conversion-driven keywords, and looking for outreach opportunities to help boost your domain authority.

Putting Your Online Marijuana Marketing Strategy into Action

Once you understand your market opportunities, one of the best places to start is with your existing website content. Our SEO experts will analyze your organic traffic and website data to determine which pages are already ranking well. 

For example, let’s say a website as a blog explaining the difference between THC and CBD that ranks as position 18 for the search term, “what is the difference between THC and CBD?” Position 18 isn’t bad, but it’s on the second page of the SERPs and is missing out on major traffic. We will look at factors like the quality and length of the content, the images and alt text, page speed, and other on-site SEO factors to determine what can be improved. In addition, we’ll look at the competitors for that search term and see what their pages have that yours doesn’t. By comparing well-performing competitor’s data with our on-page content, we can optimize that page to hopefully move up in the search rankings.

Some of the most important SEO tactics to keep in mind include mobile optimization and local search. 60% of Google searches come from mobile devices and more than one-third of all searches are looking for a local service, product, or business. Cannabis users, in particular, are on the go, and winning customers from search terms like “dispensary near me” or “medical marijuana near me”  is crucial to increasing your sales. As a result, if your website doesn’t effectively minimize server response time, isn’t mobile-friendly, and you haven’t taken advantage of local search marketing, you’re missing out on major sales opportunities.

If your website doesn’t load in less than three seconds, many mobile device users will exit out of your website and visit another. Page speed might seem minimal, but it actually helps improve your rankings, traffic, and organic click-through rates. However, if your website loads quickly and is mobile friendly but isn’t optimized for local search, you’re still missing a piece of the puzzle. So, how do you make sure locals can find your business?

You optimize your website and content with local identifiers and make sure your business listings are up to date.

5. Give Your Cannabis Company the Edge on Local Search

Whether you own a medical marijuana dispensary, a CBD oil company, or a recreational cannabis shop, listing your dispensary on Google My Business (GMB) can help you connect with customers who are searching for your products in the area. 

Once you claim and verify your business listing, it’s time to fill out all of your business information thoroughly and accurately. You want your NAP (name, address, and phone number) to be the same across your website, social media, and business listing, feature images of the interior and exterior of your business, showcase your products, and write an informative business description that reflects your brand and your mission. Equally important is managing and tending to your reviews. After all, nobody wants to go to a dispensary with a bunch of 1-star reviews.

The more time and attention you invest in optimizing your GMB, the higher you will rank in the map listings. Ultimately, your goal should be to rank in the local 3-pack for local search terms, allowing you to bring in substantially more customers in the long run.

In addition to your GMB listing, cannabis companies and marijuana industries should also take the time to add their listing to other local and niche directories to further enhance their local rankings.

Listings are important for boosting conversion-driven local traffic, but there are other local SEO factors to keep in mind, such as the ones on your website. If you have multiple locations, you may want to create individual pages for each in order to rank your various dispensaries. On the other hand, if you have one main location on your website, it’s crucial that you optimize the content and schema markups on your website to accurately convey your local identifiers.

6. Content Marketing to Boost Your Traffic

In addition to optimizing content with local identifiers, it’s essential to populate your website with weekly blog posts in order to keep your content fresh, relevant, and timely. Content is at the heart of SEO – so if you’re not investing in SEO optimized blog posts, you’re missing out on an opportunity to build your website’s domain authority and show up in the SERPs.

Content doesn’t only help with your on-page SEO push, but it can also be used to advertise your brand on other industry-related websites as part of your backlink building strategy. For example, many holistic wellness and/or cannabis-related websites accept guest posts from experts and guest contributors alike. You can write a high-quality article that provides useful information to that website’s target audience and link back to your website to a specific related piece of content. 

The more quality backlinks you obtain from high-authority websites, the higher your website’s domain authority will become. As a result, you’ll start to see your organic traffic and search rankings move up, slowly but surely. 

7. Using Exclusive Offers and Promotions for Cannabis Marketing

Have you ever visited a website to be greeted with a promotional banner at the top offering you a discount in exchange for your e-mail address or phone number? If so, you know that these promotional offers are seriously tempting, especially if it’s for a product that you’re really interested in. After all, who doesn’t love a good discount code?

Offering website visitors a discount or exclusive deal is a great way to not only boost your sales in the short term, but also to capture potential customers’ contact information to use in future marketing campaigns. Even if a user doesn’t use their discount code that day, you now have their e-mail address or phone number as a secure form of communication to keep your brand and your products at the forefront of that person’s mind.

Whether you post a static discount form at the top of your page for all users to see or implement an exit-intent popup strategy to try and stop users from leaving your page by making an offer, these strategies are highly effective in helping cannabis companies collect user information and advertise directly to interested customers.

8. Take Advantage of E-mail Autoresponder Campaigns and SMS/Text Messaging

Many people mistakenly believe that e-mail is a marketing tool of the past. However, when it comes to marijuana marketing, e-mail is one of the most effective ways for you to communicate with potential customers with limited restrictions. After all, due to the legal status of cannabis, most platforms don’t let you use paid advertising or in-app shops, but as long as users opt-in to receive your emails, you can promote your products directly to paying customers.

The best thing about e-mail marketing is that you know your efforts aren’t going to waste. The people who subscribe to your e-mails do so because they are interested in what you have to offer. If you can keep in touch with them by offering weekly newsletters and monthly promotional specials, you can convert your subscribers into paying customers with the click of a button. 

In addition to having a highly targeted e-mail subscriber list, you also need the right e-mail marketing tools that will ensure your messages have high deliverability rates and track the actions taken on your e-mail. Once we have your e-mail marketing campaign ready to go, we’ll create customized content that offers real solutions to the problems your audience is facing. 

Keeping all of this in mind, your newsletters should contain different types of content – from promotions, videos, articles, and other useful resources. In the end, if you send your messages at the right time, using the right content, and are on top of tracking your results, you’ll see a long-term ROI on your cannabis e-mail marketing efforts.

Even though e-mail marketing campaigns are still highly effective, there’s another form of direct marketing that is rapidly emerging: SMS marketing (also known as text message marketing). Similar to e-mail marketing, marijuana SMS marketing allows companies to reach hundreds or thousands of potential customers at once. However, these texts are far briefer than the e-mail newsletters, as they will usually contain an offer and a link, but they reach your potential customers in real-time. SMS marketing is a quick, simple, and highly effective method of delivery for cannabis-related promotions. In fact, text messages are so effective that consumers who receive SMS marketing have a 40% higher conversion rate compared to those who do not. Not only that, but text messages have a 98% open rate – one significantly larger than e-mail’s 20% open rate.

Let Stodzy Handle your Cannabis Marketing Needs

Cannabis marketing is a relatively new industry, and with the legal status of marijuana varying from one state to the next, you want to make sure you have a marketing company that understands the subtleties of marketing cannabis-related brands. That’s where our digital marketing expertise comes in. 

When you choose Stodzy to handle your online marketing needs, we’ll help you develop, execute, and nurture a marijuana marketing strategy that will increase your brand awareness, drive more traffic to your website, and boost sales online or at your retail locations. Managing everything from your on-page SEO and social media profiles to your PR strategy and outreach campaigns, Stodzy has you covered.

Contact us today for a free consultation to see how Stodzy Internet Marketing can help you market your cannabis brand.

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Tim Stoddart

Tim Stoddart is the CEO of Stodzy Internet Marketing. He lives in Nashville with his wife and hit adorable pitbull, Alice. Tim loves to write about digital marketing and personal growth. You can learn more at TimStodz.com

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