3 Proven Digital Marketing Tactics for Cannabis Businesses
Getting your brand in front of the right audience online is a challenge for any company, but that challenge is exponentially harder for the legal cannabis industry. Thanks to the murky legality of cannabis on the federal level, some of the most popular digital marketing platforms that are available to “mainstream” companies simply aren’t available to cannabis brands.
But with some creativity and research, it’s absolutely possible to implement a robust and effective digital marketing strategy that will get your cannabusiness in front of potential customers. To make it easy, we’ve compiled a list of proven cannabis marketing tactics that any business owner or marketing director should be employing.
How do we know what cannabis marketing tactics are best? We live and breathe this stuff. Every day at Agency 420, we get results for our cannabis clients using these methods and more.
Use Programmatic Advertising Instead of Pay Per Click
There’s a reason why this cannabis marketing tactic is listed first. Programmatic Advertising is the most important and effective marketing solution available to the cannabis industry.
When you think about online advertising, what do you think of first? If you’re like most business owners and marketers, Google and Facebook are probably top of mind. And while these are the largest ad platforms, major players like Google Adwords, Facebook, and Amazon, unfortunately, don’t allow cannabis companies to advertise on their platforms (yet). But don’t be discouraged, this is where programmatic advertising comes in and why it is so valuable.
Programmatic Advertising is the practice of using a software solution to purchase digital ads on websites throughout the internet (i.e., using technology to buy space for your cannabis ads). You, or someone you pay to manage programmatic ads for you, will define and target your audience and bid for ad placement on whatever websites your audience visits. In short, it’s a very powerful way of meeting your potential customers where they are.
Craft a Useful Social Presence, Not a Paid One
When it comes to paid ads on the major social media networks (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube), cannabis ads are not allowed. But paid ads aren’t the only way to drive successful conversions for your business on social media. Instead, you’ll have to get creative about your approach and invest your time crafting a useful social presence, not a paid one.
Instead of paid ads about your product, push out some fun and interesting facts about it. Share interesting content that your audience will love to read. The key here is to put yourself in the shoes of your audience online and anticipate what they want to know, find funny, or might be curious about.
Let’s take Twitter, for example. If there’s a question you know your audience is searching for answers to, provide that answer directly in a tweet. Maybe it’s about how the endocannabinoid system works or why live resin concentrates are different than wax. These days tweets regularly show up as top search results, so providing worthwhile information on Twitter can actually expand your organic reach in search engines.
And don’t forget to add a picture whenever possible! Tweets with pictures are 34% more likely to be retweeted. And on Instagram, photos with faces get 40% more likes on average.
Harness the Power of Organic Search by Boosting SEO
With the fraught regulatory environment and restrictions, search engine optimization (SEO) is a vital and integral part of the marketing strategy for any cannabis brand. As mentioned, paid ad placements are not going to be available. So the goal with SEO is to increase organic reach (showing up higher in non-paid search results).
Just because you can’t buy paid search placements, doesn’t mean you can’t show up at all on major search networks. But getting to the top of organic search results will take a lot of work. To do this, you will need a two-part strategy.
On-Page SEO Optimization:
This is the more technical side of SEO and all of your effort on the quality of your content will go to waste if your on-page optimizations aren’t up to par and continuous. Because this is a more technical job, it may be in your best interest to hire or contract someone with the necessary skill set. On-page optimization refers to optimizing individual web pages to include the following:
- Accessibility for bots in order to be crawled and indexed by search engines
- Catchy titles, descriptive URLs, and meta descriptions (all the right lengths)
- Inclusion in the XML sitemap
- Responsive design so it looks good on any device (don’t forget most people are on mobile devices these days)
- Visually attractive design and easy-to-navigate user experience
Create Uniquely Valuable Content:
Content is king. And you have to make sure yours is not only technically optimized, but uniquely valuable. On-page optimizations can help get users to your site, but high-quality content is what is going to keep them there.
Just like creating a useful social presence, your content strategy will require getting in the mindset of your potential customers. What answers are they looking for? What information would they be interested in?
Consider your brand’s personality. If you are a company that makes pre-roll joints and prides itself on its joyful personality, you want your content to reflect that. Maybe write a blog post on the science behind cannabis and happiness or a list of outdoor activities that will get endorphins pumping paired with the perfect pre-roll joint from your selection.
These days, it’s not enough to just write a few blog posts. Consistent, uniquely valuable, and relevant content is what will set you apart from your competitors and will introduce your brand’s personality to potential customers.
Crafting an effective digital marketing strategy for your cannabis brand can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. If you need help getting started or taking it to the next level, Agency 420 is here to help.