Marijuana Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Business
Before you get started reading the valuable information on marijuana marketing in this article, we wanted to let you know that we have an updated article on local SEO search ranking signals for all dispensaries – retail and mail order. Check it out here: Top 20 Local Search Ranking Signals For Your Weed Marketing Strategy.
When it comes to the cannabis industry there are a variety of restrictions with not only paid advertising of marijuana products, but also with other marijuana marketing strategies like PR and non-paid promotional tactics.
In fact, Local SEO is an ideal digital marketing tactic for dispensary marketing which completely avoids any need for dispensary advertising.
Even old-school traditional marketing tactics can serve cannabis marketers well when it comes to marijuana marketing strategies in 2019.
Tactics such as PR, print advertising, and outdoor advertising (billboards and bus shelters) are proven alternatives to advertising cannabis products and services.
The bottom line is that your marijuana marketing plan needs effective marijuana marketing strategies that will create awareness of your cannabis brand and drive the right traffic to your website your retail cannabis store.
This article will focus on helping cannabis business owners implement innovative marijuana marketing strategies designed to create mass brand awareness of your marijuana and/or CBD products, in your targeted geographic regions, and ultimately grow your business.
UPDATE 2021: Check out the bonus #7 marijuana marketing tactic we’ve added to the end of this article. We discuss 2 digital advertising strategies we’ve used to advertise weed online in Canada & the USA since 2018.
6 Innovative Marijuana Marketing Strategies Guaranteed to Meet Your Goals
We’re taking a mixed approach to marijuana marketing with the following marijuana marketing tips. Mixed meaning that we’ll look at a few digital marketing strategies for marijuana as well as include a few traditional marketing tactics.
Some of these marijuana marketing ideas require paid advertising placements on traditional and digital channels, whereas other marijuana marketing strategies will require organic marketing services that include elements of SEO and content marketing, but drive free organic traffic as opposed to paid ads.
If you’re looking for interesting and effective ideas to implement into your cannabis marketing strategy, we have six of them here for you. Let’s get to it!
1. Advertise Marijuana Products and Brands on Native Ad Networks
It is possible to advertise CBD products or marijuana products online without using Google or Facebook!
We recently wrote an in-depth article on how to advertise marijuana products on 3 unique digital advertising platforms, using display ads. This article shows how many marijuana brands were able to include paid cannabis advertising in their marijuana marketing strategy.
One platform we didn’t mention in that article is Traffic Roots. This platform is a hyper-targeted digital display advertising network built for niche audiences interested in music, yoga, sports, cannabis, and other modern lifestyles.
Traffic Roots says they “empower advertisers to scale their digital efforts by reaching more consumers on reputable websites with minimum effort. Our network provides traffic from traditionally unavailable niches through our trusted network of lifestyle branded websites.”
They continue to say “We have a wide network of websites that offer advertisers a unique opportunity to connect with high-quality content unavailable with Facebook, Google, and other advertising networks.
The beauty of this particular cannabis advertising network is that they have curated a collaborative network of lifestyle sites where cannabis ads perform well.
The platform is ready for any type of marijuana or dispensary advertising including hemp, recreational flower, CBD, and medical marijuana advertising.
Including 420-friendly display advertising networks in your marijuana marketing strategy will allow you to reach cannabis consumers but are not cannabis businesses. For example: eye drops, snacks, beverages, clothing, skateboards and other products that test well for cannabis audiences.
To learn about 3 other ad networks that are 420-friendly and offer display advertising and native advertising for marijuana products and services see this article.
2. Use Affiliate Marketing To Drive Sales From Influencer Marketing
Affiliate marketing as a marijuana marketing strategy can easily be filed as a traditional tactic that will still work well to provide decent ROI today. Affiliate marketing has been an amazing and affordable marketing method for many years, so it makes sense that many cannabis companies already offer these types programs.
If you’re unfamiliar with affiliate advertising, it’s defined as a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.
You may be doing this in some way with if you use influencer marketing as part of your marijuana marketing strategy. But the campaign may be short and one-and-done.
By adding an affiliate marketing element into your influencer marketing campaigns, you could create long term sales from certain key/profitable influencers. These influencers could be from social media platforms like Instagram but could also be influential bloggers.
Blog content marketing is another proven digital marketing tactic to use in your marijuana marketing strategy, but it takes time, knowledge, and resources.
So instead of using in-house content writers, you can partner with a cannabis blogger who has an engaged and sizeable audience and establish an affiliate marketing program to increase sales of marijuana and CBD products.
It’s actually really simple. All you need to do is list the details of your affiliate program on on your website to start recruiting cannabis bloggers or Instagram influencers to work purely on commission.
In order to actively promote your affiliate marketing program, you should:
- source appropriate influencers
- reach out to those best suited to your cannabis brand
- join affiliate networks
- buy advertising placements on websites popular to cannabis users
3. Use Facebook Groups For Marijuana Marketing
Ok so social media for dispensary marketing and CBD advertising is not a friendly place when it comes to marijuana marketing, but it’s still one of the most important channels that must be included in your company’s marijuana marketing strategy.
While it still is possible to advertise cannabis on social media, including Facebook, Youtube, and Google search, there’s another strictly organic (i.e. non-paid) approach to marijuana and dispensary marketing on Facebook.
So while you already have your Facebook business page going, you know that your organic reach is close to 1-2% of your total fans/followers, right? That’s why we recommend including a customized private Facebook Group as part of your marijuana marketing strategy.
Facebook groups that are populated with high-quality, highly relevant cannabis content will generate a ton of engagement and conversation among group members, and not directly with the Facebook Group’s admin.
And that’s exactly what Facebook wants! More meaningful conversation between users, not so much between uses and the brand.
If you give Facebook what it wants, which is essentially providing relevant cannabis content that some Facebook users want, the reach on your content will not be restricted and will grow instead of shrink.
Some useful tips for the types of content that may work well in a Facebook Group dedicated to recreational cannabis and CBD products would be to:
- Post helpful content that educates users on your marijuana and CBD products
- Provide expert opinions on cannabis products written by you or an expert cannabis content writer you outsource
- Provide expert opinions on CBD oils and other products on behalf of your cannabis brand
4. Don’t Forget Cannabis Product Vending Machines
It seems like there’s not a lot of talk about marijuana vending machines. if you think about how vending machines have been used traditionally to promote various types of related products you’ll come up with some cool ideas to add to your marijuana marketing strategy.
As far back as 2014, there were marijuana vending machines being used in Vancouver, BC, Canada to dispense medical marijuana.
Today, companies like Grasshopper Kiosks and American Green make digital vending machines for marijuana dispensaries who stock them with pre-rolls and beverages. Yup, these machines include refrigeration to keep your canna fresh.
Marketing opportunities for your cannabis brand include interactive ads placed on high-resolution touch screens that come equipped on these vending machines. Or you could choose to wrap the vending machine with your branding and product offerings.
Grasshopper Kiosks say their solution provides the only compliant automated retail system in the cannabis industry, where customer solutions meet versatile business solutions through kiosks, lockers, and payments systems.
One of the key selling points they use is the fact that cannabis customers prefer fun ways to shop for cannabis and would rather skip the line while picking up orders.
Benefits for dispensary owners include shorter transaction times (3 minutes), the ability to monitor product quality and inventory, the opportunity to enhance profit margins, and ensure compliance while keeping your budtenders’ jobs more interesting.
5. Online & Local Marijuana Directories
There’s a dual benefit for your marijuana marketing strategy if you’re using local and other online directories.
Since there are plenty of cannabis online directories available today, your cannabis brand should make sure that your company is properly listed and optimized on as many cannabis specific websites as possible.
This is one of the most likely places that a new cannabis customer will find you.
Many cannabis users are particular with the type of marijuana they use. You’ll increase your online discoverability and visibility by being listed in relevant online directories.
Another benefit to using local directories in your marijuana marketing strategy is that you’re able to strengthen your brand’s reputation and potentially increase trust. Users use online directories as a reliable source for high-quality, trustworthy businesses.
Many online directories will also have a customer reviews section which will further enhance your marijuana brand’s reputation and can convince users to choose your brand over competitors.
Some examples of local and online directories where you should list your marijuana business are:
- Google My Business
- Bing Places
- Yelp For Business Owners
- The Dispensary Map
The second benefit your marijuana marketing strategy gets from using local and online directories is that you can improve your cannabis SEO strategy and search engine rankings. That’s right, these listings help your website’s SEO.
According to Google, roughly four out of five consumers use search engines to conduct local searches. Yet many small businesses have not claimed even a single local business listing online, which is a huge missed opportunity.
Online directories will help provide backlinks to your site and provide Google with a new URL for your marijuana business for every listing in a directory.
Whenever someone searches for your marijuana brand name online, your directory listings can appear in the search results which can help point them back to your site.
6. SEO Improves Your Marijuana Branding & Online Visibility
Sticking with the importance of SEO for your marijuana marketing strategy, did you know that marijauna SEO, or search engine optimization, can help increase the branding and online visibility of your marijuana products?
One huge thing that people forget about online marketing is that Google is always trying to separate the crap from the good stuff.
There’s a quote from Eric Schmidt, the ex-CEO of Google, who said something like, the internet is fast becoming a cesspool where false information thrives…brands are increasingly important signals that content can be trusted.
His exact quote was: “Brands are the solution, not the problem, brands are how you sort out the cesspool.”
I think the point he was trying to make is Google looks at how popular a brand is because if a brand is really popular and people keep typing in a brand name, i.e. your domain name, that means you should rank higher because you’ve built up credibility.
Also, if your cannabis SEO game is on point and you have a page 1, top 5 organic rankings for a handful of profitable keyword search queries, your brand will be seen most often by users search for marijuana or CBD products.
Therefore, it’s super vital for your marijuana marketing strategy to include content marketing so you can create useful, high-quality, SEO optimized content that ranks for popular marijuana-related keyword search phrases.
SEO optimized content production and publishing can and will help you build your marijuana brand and increase your overall online visibility, which will lead to an increase in monthly revenues for your business.
7. UPDATE: Bonus Idea: Where & How To Advertise Weed Online
I can understand you may really want to advertise your cannabis brand on Instagram. I get it. It is possible – but it is very challenging and is arguably not sustainable/reliable.
Facebook & Instagram do allow you to advertise hemp-based topical products only. The only restrictions are that you can have no mention of weed in your ad copywriting, your ad creative, your landing page, your product labels, and on your e-commerce page – the page where the sale takes place.
If you don’t follow these guidelines, you may get your FB ads approved for a few days/weeks, but you will inevitably get shut down and lose your business page, ad account, and lose all of your advertising data, that you paid for.
That’s why we offer the following two highly effective alternatives to Facebook & Instagram advertising for weed products:
i. Google Search Advertising:
We have been managing successful Google ads campaigns for cannabis & CBD companies in Canada, United States, and UK since 2017, and we can do the same for you. We have an 88% success rate for getting Google ads for weed approved, as of Mach 2021. These campaigns include text ads on the Google search network. See our case studies here.
Your ads are shown to people who are actively searching to buy weed online or order weed delivery. We target “warm” people in the evaluation and purchase stages of the sales cycle at the time when they are actually searching Google to find weed to purchase.
When people are actually looking to purchase cannabis products, they are not on Instagram or Facebook. When someone is looking to buy weed online, they are more than likely on Google searching for a solution. This is why we highly recommend using Google search ads for cannabis marketing instead of social media platforms.
Follow this link to learn more about our Google search advertising management services for Cannabis companies.
ii. Programmatic Display and/or Video Advertising/Retargeting on Popular Websites:
Display/banner advertising on some of the world’s most popular websites is an essential tactic for every cannabis company. Believe it or not, our DSP partners allow for video ads for cannabis/THC products, so ad approval is not an issue. It’s easy to start driving highly-qualified traffic to your website.
We are able to target people by demographics and interests with custom advertising just like we would on Facebook & Instagram. We’re also able to retarget all your site visitors, target look-a-like audiences, and custom audiences (email lists), also just like FB & IG, but with no risk of disapproved ads or getting shut down.
The only downside is that the required minimum monthly media spend is high and cost-prohibitive for cannabis companies with a limited marketing budget.
We Can Help Build Your Marijuana Marketing Strategy!
So now you have 6 unique marijuana marketing strategies that you can use to help grow your cannabis business.
While some of the tips above can be easily implemented by you or your in-house marijuana marketing team, other tips may be more than your team can handle.
If that’s the case, our cannabis marketing agency is fully equipped to help you build, implement, and manage your marijuana marketing strategy.
We as comfortable marketing and advertising CBD products as we are with edibles, flower, and other marijuana products.
If you’re ready to start your marijuana marketing strategy, please contact us for a free consultation or reach out using the form below.
We’re Ready To Help You Grow!