Cannabis Marketing, the do's and dont's
Updated: Dec 7, 2021
The cannabis industry has seen explosive growth and unprecedented change over the past few years. Exponential growth in the industry continues with no end in sight. In fact, the US market is conservatively expected to double to $41.5 billion by 2025.
While the industry continues its meteoric climb, many cannabis companies are searching for ways to be more operationally efficient as they scale ever-expanding enterprises. By teaming up with vertical business vendors that oversee production and processing, cannabis brands can boost their productivity, cut sales costs, and ensure quality control.
For companies looking to break into the cannabis market, particularly B2B companies that sell farming technology, lighting, fertilizer, and other growing and processing equipment, now is the optimal time to market your services—but make sure you do it right. It’s a Goldrush out there, but it’s a gold rush laden with conflict, government restrictions, guidelines, and penalties to get tripped up on (we’ll discuss this in more detail later).
In an industry where change is the only given, how do you do it right? We’re here to provide some insight from our experiences working within the industry. So without further ado, here are our dos and don’t of marketing for the cannabis industry.
The Dos of Cannabis Marketing
1. Audit Your Foundation
First thing’s first: how prepared is your business? You cannot build your marketing efforts without a solid foundation to fall back on. Does your website speak to your audience and support their buying journey? Is your team equipped to follow up with any leads you gain through your marketing efforts? This is the most important step, so don’t skip it. Take these steps to effectively audit your foundation:
Assess your website. Does the design reflect who your brand is today? More than that, is it usable across all devices? Optimized for search engines? You want to ensure that people find your website when they’re searching for the solutions you offer—but your website must capture their attention once they’ve found you.
Capture leads. Bringing visitors to your site is one thing, but what happens next? If you don’t capture their contact information, they may leave without you ever knowing they were there in the first place. Add relevant, impactful call to action statements throughout your site. These should encourage visitors to take the next step in their buying journey. You might provide high-value content that they will be willing to trade their contact information for or encourage them to book a meeting with a business specialist.
Keep your contacts organized. When new high-value leads come in through your website, what happens next? Are they saved to a CRM? The right tool will help you organize your contacts and take further steps to guide them through their journey.
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What should you post? The most important thing to keep in mind is social media should be used to educate your customers (not to push your product). Think about the things they care about and cultivate posts that will speak to them. Impactful and relevant forms of content on social media include industry news, educational graphics, sharing links to relevant strategies and technologies, and behind-the-scenes footage of your products in use.
Once you’ve begun posting, test out and really dig into the analytics you get from each specific platform. Identify what works best for you and spend your time and resources on that channel. Remember: you don’t want to spend time and resources on channels that aren’t relevant to your audience, so this analytics step is important.
Cannabis brands can make great use of traditional social media platforms, but there is still the fear that you might cross a line and get your social accounts banned as a result.
A good alternative is to explore other platforms that focus strictly on cannabis. Joining these websites can open doors for your business without the worry of possibly getting banned.
Here’s our top pick for platforms to join:
Leafwire: Leafwire is a great place to network with investors and professionals in the industry.
MjLink: With 2.5 million users, MjLink makes it easy to connect with other cannabis entrepreneurs.
Email for Cannabis Marketing
When used correctly, email marketing is an incredibly powerful tool to reach your target audience. It’s a great way to deliver your message directly to your prospects and keep them up-to-date on the latest news about your business.
Start by building your email list. Remember, you should never buy email lists—that’s a quick way to get yourself in trouble. Rather, you should attract potential customers with your content marketing efforts and encourage them to give you their email addresses. They may trade their information for high-quality content offers, or they may sign up for your email newsletter.
Once you have their email addresses, it’s time to craft your email marketing strategy. Ask yourself:
How often will you send out emails?
What will the emails be about? Upcoming events, new blogs, product launches?
How will you segment your emails? Will you send the same message to everyone, or change the messaging based on certain actions your prospect has taken?
Email marketing is a great way to keep your brand top of mind—and at the top of your prospects’ inboxes.
The Don’ts of Marketing Cannabis
Now that we have covered the dos, AKA “The Fun Stuff,” here’s what you DON’T want to do when marketing your cannabis services—AKA “Don’t Stick Your Finger in that Socket.”
1. Don’t Overlook Your Branding & Public Image
Companies in the cannabis industry must emphasize their public-facing image. Don’t forget that just ten years ago, selling equipment to help grow cannabis was still seen as a black market enterprise.
It’s up to you to present a professional brand image—your clients want to see you as a legitimate business, not one that engages in shady practices.
2. Don’t Fall Behind on Ever-Changing Regulations
Guidelines for cannabis marketing are continually changing, particularly when it comes to social media.
Social media giants have proven to be unpredictable when it comes to cannabis industry marketing. As laws change, the means by which you can market your cannabis business will change too.
3. Don’t Lie or Over-Exaggerate
The overall goals of digital content marketing are to provide valuable information to your target audience, boosting relevant traffic, and generate conversions. Lying about your products or services defeats your purpose and will backfire.
It’s not enough to highlight the benefits of your services. You’ll also have to prove your claims with links to relevant studies or content.
Whatever you do, avoid pseudoscience at all costs!
4. Don’t Blend in With the Crowd
It won’t be long until verticals in the cannabis industry are jam-packed with competition—some of it good, some of it fly by night.
With a profusion of competitors, it’s crucial to establish how your product stands out from the fray. Ask yourself these questions:
What makes your cannabis equipment different from others in its category?
How can you improve upon current industry standards?
What makes your brand similar to competitors, and what can you do to differentiate yourself?
The Current State of Cannabis Marketing
Now that we’ve explored some of our top tips for marketing in the cannabis space, let’s dive a bit deeper into some of the reasons that this industry is so very complicated. With changing public perceptions, government regulations, and the added complexity of state and federal laws, the industry is in a constant state of flux. Let’s explore some of the factors at play.