Every business needs a solid marketing strategy and that includes cannabis businesses. Marketing allows your brand to get in front of new audiences, talk to them the right way and, hopefully, convert them into brand loyalists. In a market as new as legal marijuana, differentiating your company with great cannabis marketing can set you on a path for major growth.
That being said, cannabis marketing can be challenging. And as a business owner in a highly regulated and ever-changing space, frankly, you have more important things to worry about. To help lighten the load, we’ve gathered five of our top tips for jumpstarting your cannabis marketing strategy, based on our experience as a leading marketing agency for the cannabis industry.
5 Tips for Jumpstarting Your Cannabis Marketing
1. Build a Strong SEO Website
When most business owners think about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), keywords and blogging are the first things that come to mind. But a strong SEO strategy has to go beyond content strategy and start with a solid technical foundation. Remember, your website is almost always the first introduction to your brand that people get, so keep it buttoned up and user-friendly with strong SEO.
Yes, Google looks for keywords. But they also score and place your website in search results based on its speed and usability. To measure how you’re doing on these fronts, there are plenty of tools (both free and paid) that you can use:
- SEMRush is a paid, all-in-one tool for online marketing that can help you find appropriate keywords for your business, understand the keyword and content strategy of your competitors, audit your cannabis blog and look for SEO and backlinking opportunities.
- Page Speed Insight from Google is a free web developer tool that you can use to gauge the speed of your website. If your site takes too long to load, users will leave and take their money with them. Google recognizes that waiting a long time for a website to load doesn’t make users happy, so a slow site won’t get to their top of search results.
- To understand how your visitors use your site, you can use a heat mapping tool like Crazy Egg. Usability can be a nebulous term when it comes to websites. Can your users easily find what they are looking for? Is it easy to move through your site without too many pop-ups and redirects? You can find out what your users care about, or don’t care about at all, on your website by seeing where they click most. These insights should inform the changes you make to your website and help increase its usability.
2. Get Listed in Cannabis Business Directories
Trust us when we say getting backlinks to your site is important. Backlinks are simply when other reputable sites link back to yours. Google and other search engines see backlinks as a seal of approval of sorts, evidencing that your website is legitimate. And search engines will reward your site accordingly.
The easiest way to get legitimate backlinks to your site quickly is by getting listed in cannabis business directories. Leafly and Weedmaps are two of the largest cannabis business directories, but there are so many to choose from and more are popping up every day, like Ganjapreneur and Dispensaries.com.
Think outside the box and figure out which directories are most geared towards your audience. Reach out to those for a listing. Most cannabis business directories will have different options, ranging from basic and free to expansive and paid. Always evaluate the add-on perks for any listing; some offer free banner ads on their site, extra photos, featured listings, email inclusion and more.
3. Build Your Email List
Email is your friend. It might feel like a dated or unsexy cannabis marketing tactic, but a strong email list and strategy can drive real results. Email is a great way to communicate with your engaged audience, providing them deals, updates, relevant content and more. So, how do you start?
First, sign up for an easy-to-use email marketing platform like MailChimp. Simply add a MailChimp signup form to your site to start collecting subscribers; you should also have a way to gather emails in-store or at events. Once you’ve grown your list, get in touch on a monthly basis (at minimum) with succinct and valuable content. And be sure to include things they would only know about through email (think coupon codes, event pre-sales, etc.) to give them an incentive to stay subscribed. Don’t forget you can use email to cross-promote your other marketing channels like social media as well.
4. Craft a Solid Media Strategy
A strong media presence increases visibility. To get your businesses’ name out there, consider how you can utilize a display advertising partner. Display advertising allows you to tell your brand’s message using the right visuals to reach a wider audience than you would be able to organically.
Unfortunately, many of the major display advertising platforms (Google, Facebook, etc.) will not be available for cannabis brands. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create a strong display strategy for your cannabis business. Investigate paid advertising options with networks like Mantis that are cannabis friendly.
5. Don’t Forget Local Listings
You’ve heard the saying, “Think global, act locally.” That same concept should be applied to cannabis marketing. Paying attention to local marketing is key and that effort should start with local listing management. These local listings make it easy for potential customers who are searching for a business like yours to get your address, hours and any other necessary information.
There are dozens of local listing directories. Yes, Google is the largest, but all of them require maintenance and management. To make it easy, you can use a tool like Yext to manage local listings on over 60 directories. Take advantage of all the features to enhance your listing; add photos, calls to action and staff bios. By optimizing your local listings, you’ll get more organic visibility and drive people into your shop.
Running a cannabis business is a lot of work. Agency 420 is here to lighten your load and take cannabis marketing off of your hands so you can get back to running your business.