Improve Brand Awareness for Online Cannabis Businesses
While the future of cannabis is undoubtedly bright, some of the current restrictions may stifle the growth of online cannabis businesses. Ecommerce allows brands to bypass some of the excessive regulations imposed on traditional companies. However, it is not exactly an open season for online startups, as they too have to comply with restrictions founded from a stigmatized view of cannabis.
Main Challenges of Cannabis Marketing
One of the significant challenges for any cannabis business, whether online or conventional, is marketing. Strict regulatory requirements make it a bit difficult to get coverage via the traditional channels. Since the laws vary from state to state, ads and marketing must be tailored to meet local and federal laws. Typically, advertising is not allowed around minors, which means high-traffic areas like shopping malls, arenas, and stadiums are off-limits. Mainstream outlets such as national television and radio are usually out of the question, due to the stringent rules which get more complicated across state lines.
These nuances tend to drive up the cost of a cannabis marketing campaign significantly. Even with fully compliant, viewer-friendly content, the popular online alternatives for promotion are also unavailable. Major platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram do not currently accept cannabis ads. This is expected to change as the laws shift towards more leniency and public acceptance is improved. But for businesses looking to establish a solid customer base, it severely limits their potential reach and impact. To stand out among the sea of competitors with these limitations will require creativity and the willingness to push the envelope with marketing strategy.
How to Gain Competitive Edge
It is imperative to think outside of the box to remain competitive within this emerging industry. Though there may be some difficulties in gaining traction, it is not impossible. These methods may not yield the explosive results of a traditional ad campaign, but they will certainly boost the long-term visibility and reputation of the brand.
Create Engaging Content
In this digital age, content is king. Blogs and other online publications are a great medium to reach new potential customers. Providing educational material is an effective way to produce evergreen content. Keep the topics interesting and the writing SEO optimized, to boost the chances of building a quality readership.
Collaborate with Other Platforms and Networks
Survey the online cannabis landscape for brands with established platforms. There are quite a few that exist with large audiences. A strategic partnership, guest post, or even a paid spot may help to create more exposure. Although cannabis advertising is not allowed on traditional platforms, some popular digital networks facilitate promotional content such as Mantis.
Utilize Social Media
Social media is a must for any legitimate online business. It should be a minimum requirement for those within the cannabis industry. Any channel which provides access to a vast user base and the opportunity to build a following should be utilized to the max. Rules will vary depending on the platform, but usually, educational content is permitted. Each post should be captivating, informative, consistent, and of course, aligned with the site policy. Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube can be fantastic marketing tools.
Email marketing tends to be underestimated, but statistics show that it delivers a high return on investment. Not only does it provide one of the best means for direct impact, but it also improves the odds of customer retention. Perhaps the biggest challenge would be to build the email list. This can be done by using free incentives to encourage sign-ups, well-placed website pop-ups, exclusive offers, and creating attractive landing pages. As the list grows, focus on developing campaigns with a personal touch, which makes the customers more invested in the brand.
Think Outside of the Box
Any marketing strategy for an online cannabis business should be geared towards making it stand out amongst the rest. At times this may require some unconventional methods. The main goal is to direct as much attention toward the company and its products. Getting some airtime on a popular podcast, seeking product placements and influencer marketing are all great ways to boost brand awareness.
As the cannabis industry matures, the problems with marketing will be resolved. Until then, the early entrants in the space will need to think of unique ways to circumvent the restrictions and grow their brand. This may be a blessing and a curse, as necessity tends to inspire innovation.
Here at Cannabis Tech, we offer all these options and more, to help your production, science, and/or technology company reach your target audience. Over time, we amassed a large, organic audience, and based on recent survey data our readers consist of high-level professionals and entrepreneurs in the industry who are looking for the products and services you offer. If you’d like to learn more about how Cannabis Tech can design a B2B lead generation package for you, then reach out today!