Cannabis Marketing Tactics: 11 Efficient & Legit Ways to Promote Your Business in 2021
April 15, 2021 19 min. read
2021 has set new rules for marketers and entrepreneurs around the globe. The competition is as high as ever, and so are the stakes. Companies are bending over backwards to enhance their visibility, but one particular industry has been especially struggling with marketing — cannabis startups.
Yes, states have already legalized recreational marijuana, including New York, and the future of the cannabis business is looking pretty promising. But there are still some strict rules surrounding cannabis marketing, and the high competition that makes standing out a challenge.
If you don’t think your marketing strategy through, government restrictions, penalties, and limitations on a national level will take their toll and eventually bring your business down, or you will pale in comparison to your competitors. Both options sound quite demotivating, don’t they?
It’s time to get creative and build a solid and legit cannabis outreach & marketing strategy. We’ve come up with a list of the 11 effective tactics to promote your marijuana business, grow your revenue, not spend a fortune on it, and not break any rules.
Here we go!
*Before implementing any of these tactics, be sure you check the laws regarding cannabis promotion in your state.
1. Give Cannabis Affiliate Marketing a Shot
As you can tell, marketing cannabis businesses is one heck of a challenge. Although marijuana is legal for medical and recreational purposes in most states, it’s still banned on a federal level. Most social media platforms like Google and Facebook block content related to weed. Even Google’s ad policy clearly says that “ads for substances that alter mental state” are off-limits. So, how do you advertise a marijuana business? Try cannabis affiliate marketing!
Find marijuana-friendly networks that present ads on a wide range of websites where prospects can notice your company and, most importantly, where it’s not against the law. Moreover, they are specifically made to promote CBD (cannabidiols or chemical substances in marijuana) products.
The number one site for cannabis affiliate marketing is probably MANTIS Ads. This network’s geo-targeted campaigns will deliver your message to the right audience and make your business visible locally. Other efficient marketplaces for marijuana ads are Traffic Roots and RevOffers. They are known for giving you access to relevant publishers and influencers that can enhance your website’s traffic.
See, Facebook and Google aren’t the only platforms to advertise your products on! Feeling the inspiration already? Let’s go on.
2. Launch a SEO-Optimized Website and Online Store
If things don’t work out with marijuana-friendly websites, create your own! When it comes to cannabis shopping, North America is all ears for it. Thanks to Canada’s legalization of marijuana, the number of online searches has increased tremendously over the last decade. Why not take advantage of it? Create a website and an online store. Yes, it might be challenging in the US delivery-wise, but with a license and legal permission, that problem is off the table.
To make the most of your website, we suggest optimizing your SEO strategy. Search top, legit keywords related to cannabis marketing. They’ll send your site to the first page of Google, make your company more visible, and eventually attract high-quality leads.
Remember that prospects should understand what you’re offering to them from the get-go. Proudly display the variety of cannabis products you have to your audience. Add detailed descriptions for each and simply make your website visually enjoyable. Help potential clients find you. Then, make their experience enjoyable.
3. Host Clubhouse Meetings
We believe you’ve already heard about Clubhouse. Aside from being an audio-oriented social network that allows people to gather and chat about topics they’re passionate about, it’s also a platform that doesn’t yet hinder cannabis marketing. You can freely discuss anything related to marijuana there: from your first time trying pot to its health benefits. There are literally no limits.
One way to promote your company on Clubhouse is to establish yourself as an expert persona. Create an account where you share know-how about weed and once in a while (inadvertently) mention your brand’s name. Remember to announce an upcoming Clubhouse meeting on your startup’s other social media pages.
Another thing you can do is simply register with your company’s name, presenting its corporate culture, products, and ideology. That is, introduce your company, not you. If you need some inspo for cannabis marketing strategies on Clubhouse, check out groups like BLACK CANNABIS MAGAZINE and THE STATE OF CANNABIS.
4. Start Blogging
Fun fact: most people still either consider marijuana “dope” or are indifferent to it whatsoever. That being said, can you see how crucial it is for your online cannabis marketing strategy to inform your leads about marijuana usage? One way to do it is through a blog.
You could write about the stages of growing CBD, its various strains, and the differences between them. Share some practical life hacks on buying cannabis. Incorporate statistics and study results to gain your readers’ trust.
To keep track of your content, it’s helpful to get a calendar where you can plan out your posting schedule. After a while, you’ll be able to look back at the work you’ve done and see just how efficient the blog has been for your business.
And don’t forget about guest posting! That’s a huge part of marketing that cannabis businesses shouldn’t neglect. Attracting new audiences, providing useful info, and giving a few links to your website to drive traffic — sounds appealing, right? However, don’t submit your guest posts blindly, and search for websites and magazines that allow (and encourage) content on cannabis-related topics. Before contacting them, though, it’s better to check the company’s guidelines. What do they write about? What are their dos and don’ts? You have to know what you’re dealing with.
In the guest articles, mention your brand’s name and be SEO-oriented. This means two ideas: your posts have to be easy-to-find and convenient-to-read.
5. Focus on the Visuals
While keeping a blog is a pretty efficient part of cannabis marketing, you may also want to focus on the visual aspect. Prospects often take in photos and videos better than longreads — our brains are simply wired to skip monotonous info and choose what’s more appealing to the eye. That’s precisely why Instagram and Pinterest are such giants in the social media world.
According to the policies of most social platforms, you can’t directly sell marijuana. But we’re talking about cannabis marketing, aren’t we? 🙂 Don’t sell, become an expert and communicate with your audience.
Since we’re living in the era of Youtube, why not use it as an advantage? Launch an educational Youtube channel!
Through videos, tell people about cannabis, the common stereotypes around it, or the unknown facts. Think outside the box, and use an animated video style! But keep in mind that you can’t smoke pot on camera or directly sell it, just like on other social media platforms. Unless you want to be blocked, of course 😀
Yup, marketing cannabis products is an uphill battle, but don’t let it scare you. We’ve still got a bunch of tactics to help your startup thrive. Keep reading!
Attention! Always add a disclaimer which clarifies that you are a legal-age company with no intention of selling anything harmful.
6. Collaborate with Thought Leaders
Leads always trust people more than digital ads. A thought leader with an impeccable reputation and a loyal audience will often bring you more prospects than a paid campaign — influencer marketing has long proved it. So why not give it a shot?
Yes, finding the right person to work with your online cannabis marketing campaign isn’t a walk in the park. But the results will be well worth it. Take time to research prominent influencers in the marijuana industry. Think about famous bloggers, journalists, and other trendsetters. And if you still don’t know where to start, visit SocialBakers — a search engine that helps find influencers in the industry.
Your ideal influencer has a large audience, including marijuana-friendly people that use it for medical or recreational reasons. Choose a person with loyal and responsive followers. The one who knows exactly how to present a product in an enticing manner.
For example, have them provide useful info on cannabis mentioning you, talk about your blog, or wear your merch (like a T-shirt with your logo, motto, brand identity). There are so many ways for marketing cannabis businesses through influencer marketing — just start and have fun with it!
7. Become a Sponsor
Your ultimate goal will always be to build your own community, but who said you can’t leverage prospects from existing audiences? Sponsoring other cannabis-related businesses’ endeavors and media might be one of the finest tactics in attracting new clients. It’s a win-win for your startup and the other party.
How to sponsor? First things first, find a decent company for your cannabis affiliate marketing. Through direct negotiation (as it often happens), you’ll be able to discuss the ins and outs of the process. Now, what media should you sponsor?
Here are a few options:
Podcasts are a top-rated medium in 2021. People listen to them on their way to work, while doing chores, and just for fun. Sponsoring cannabis-friendly podcasts can bring you high-quality leads and significantly boost your traffic.
As the cannabis industry is reaching new heights, various applications are breaking into the market. Efficiently marketing new cannabis apps through sponsorship is a gain situation for both parties: the application’s creators (you help them financially, which shows that you give them enough credit) and your company (they advertise your brand). Cannabis affiliate marketing, baby!
Youtube is an integral part of the whole marketing cannabis thing. There are countless marijuana-friendly Youtube channels to work with. As a sponsor, you may have your brand name, products, and merch mentioned in the video or have a short clip about your company play at the beginning. Partner with a respected cannabis-related channel and watch your charts go up.
Sponsoring a community event is a great chance to build a location-specific audience. Are there any local fairs, giveaways, or meetups planned in your area? Contact the moderators and offer sponsorship. You never know how many prospects you’ll end up attracting from such an occasion, but your cannabis performance based marketing program will surely benefit from it.
8. Try Event Marketing
When it comes to promoting unconventional products like cannabis, communication is critical. You gotta go out there, be bold and make a statement about your company. This is how event advertising works.
Marketing cannabis at events may seem frightening, but in fact, it’s just connecting with people and telling them about your startup. There’s plenty of marketing events to join as an exhibitor. Just find a marijuana-oriented event, research influential people you know would help you grow your business, and tell them about your company.
But don’t restrict yourself to booths only! Speak to potential clients, tell a joke or two, build relationships. You’ll be surprised how fun and enjoyable the process is. It might also help to think of event marketing as meeting new friends. Everyone does that, right? There’s nothing to fear as long as you keep the conversation going. Remember: the first rule of event cannabis marketing — communicate.
9. Work on an Email Marketing Campaign
So how do you get there? Easy-peasy: email marketing.
Users that subscribed to your mailing list are either your former, active or potential customers. We want to emphasize this: these are the people who voluntarily typed in their contact information to receive your emails. Are you really going to deprive their inboxes of engaging content (the same goes for the cannabis outreach emails)?
Provide your current and potential customers with valuable and personalized compilations, articles, check-lists, practical data on marijuana-related products, caveats — basically, any info they might find interesting. Analyze your website statistics and check the user journey. What do your potential leads look at on your website? Use this info to reinforce your cannabis email marketing strategy and make the message super relevant. As for the newbies, ask them what they’d like to know about — they should end up only with content they care about.
Keep in mind that your emails go to users who expect to receive them. But always remember to check the rules if you don’t want to do something illegal or have your content go straight to the spam (or even worse — trash) folder.
10. Billboards and Cab Ads
Out-of-the-house (OOH) advertising works its magic! At this point, fans of cannabis performance based marketing might get disappointed as OOH is hard to track results on, but it doesn’t make it less effective. Now that the quarantine has softened up, people go out into the real world more often. This paves the way to traditional cannabis marketing methods like billboards, vehicle and bench ads.
Every state sets different rules for cannabis OOH advertising, but generally, they come down to the following guidelines:
• Don’t show the consumption of CBD
• Don’t place it anywhere around schools or daycare centers
• Don’t depict the product itself
• Don’t make any health assertions
• Make sure at least 70% of viewers are over 21 years old
• Add a disclaimer (unique for each state)
This strategy is perfect for companies whose income depends directly on their audience’s whereabouts. Plus, it engages older leads who spend most of their time outside and prefer to stay away from the digital world. This way, you can broaden your target audience and increase your brand’s awareness. As you can tell, with marketing cannabis companies, you sometimes have to step back from your usual methods and seize every opportunity.
11. Partner with Cannabis-Friendly Businesses
We bet you’re not the only one struggling to promote your product in the industry. There’s definitely a bunch of other aspiring startups that face similar or identical problems. Why don’t y’all help each other out?
You might ask, “But how can two companies benefit each other when it comes to cannabis marketing?” Where do we begin…Well, for starters, you should find common ground, and then take it from there. Сreate a mutual product that reflects both businesses’ strong points. Or display a logo of the other company on a batch of your products and have them likewise demonstrate yours. Hosting a webinar together or efficiently marketing new cannabis apps will work too. The options are limitless.
Bring your crew together to brainstorm on this once you’ve found a complementary brand to team up with. Such partnership will display your brand as innovative and sociable in the eyes of your prospects.
It’s clearly a gold rush out there for marketing cannabis products. But due to many restrictions around cannabis, as well as high competition, business owners gotta get off the beaten track. In other words, take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Why not try, huh?
If there’s one idea we want you to take from this article, it’s “experiment, grab every opportunity, and don’t break the law” 😅
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