The world changes fast, and in recent years, cannabis laws have been transforming globally. In the US, it’s now legal in 23 states.
With the legalization of cannabis comes a lot of business opportunities for a lot of people. You might find yourself interested in capitalizing on this.
While it’s a new industry, there are some elements of cannabis retail that remain consistent, including the need for quality marketing. Having a good understanding of cannabis retail marketing will help you achieve success in your new business venture.
In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about effective cannabis retail marketing. Keep reading for more.
What Is Marketing for Cannabis Retail?
Let’s say you’ve just entered the world of cannabis retail. You’ve figured out various elements such as your company name, your suppliers, and even a location for a brick-and-mortar store. This is all great, but if you want to start making money, you need to let people know about your brand.
That’s where cannabis retail marketing comes in. It’s all about promoting your brand to make people aware so you can start bringing in customers.
Know the Rules and Regulations
Cannabis is unlike a lot of other products on the market. Even in places where it has been legalized, there are still plenty of rules and regulations that you need to abide by. It’s also important to note that these rules vary a lot based on location.
You should be aware of any local and/or federal laws that could affect how you can market your brand. It’s essential that you comply with all rules and regulations so that you don’t run into any legal issues.
Local Cannabis Marketing Laws
Across the US, cannabis marketing laws vary. There’s currently no federal legislation, so each state has its own laws. You need to understand what the rules are for your state to ensure you operate within the law.
Some common cannabis marketing laws include:
- No false or misleading language
- No depiction of children or anything that would appeal to children
- You can only market cannabis if you’re licensed to sell it
- Don’t over-glamorize cannabis use
- Don’t promote overconsumption
Some states have strict regulations in place, while others have none. Research the rules you need to follow for your state so you can create marketing campaigns that won’t lead to any issues for your business.
Advertising Platform Restrictions
These days, the majority of marketing is done online. There are plenty of digital opportunities to promote your brand – but this isn’t necessarily true when it comes to retail with cannabis.
These platforms have global audiences and often set certain restrictions that may limit you. Some platforms currently don’t allow cannabis advertising, including:
- Twitter Ads
- TikTok Ads
- Facebook Ads (including Instagram and Partner Networks)
- Google Ads (including YouTube)
- Snapchat Ads
While it may be possible to post ads on these and run them for a short time, they have automated review systems that will flag your ads and remove them. You may also end up having your advertising account permanently banned.
A lot of brands in today’s world rely heavily on platforms like these for marketing. If you own a cannabis retail business, you won’t be able to. As such, you’ll need to get more creative with your marketing efforts.
Best Cannabis Marketing Strategies
To make the most out of your business, you need to optimize your marketing efforts. There are several strategies that you can use to improve your marketing campaigns. These are typically more nuanced than they are for other businesses due to the restrictions surrounding cannabis retail.
Search Engine Optimization
When looking for products or services, most people begin their search online. You should build a website for your brand so people can find it.
Just having a website may not be enough, however. You need to improve your SEO if you want more people to come across it.
Having better SEO will make your website show up higher on search engine results pages. The higher your website ranks, the more organic traffic it will generate.
Some of the ways you can improve your SEO include improving website speed, producing quality content, and making your website responsive. There are 5 key areas to focus on with SEO:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Technical SEO
- Local SEO
- Blogging/content marketing
SEO content is arguably more important for the cannabis industry than most others. This is because it’s not prohibited by Google like Google Ads and many other platforms are.
Within such an industry, your options are more limited. SEO is currently one of the few sustainable, long-term marketing solutions available.
Note that while SEO can be very effective, it will typically be several months before you start seeing results. You need to be consistent and patient if you want to generate a lot of traffic.
Marketing campaigns can be very useful, and they’ll be most effective if you keep track of how well they’re working. This means you should be tracking and measuring different metrics that indicate the effectiveness of different approaches.
If you have a promo or a giveaway, for example, you should use UTM tracking along with promo tracking codes. This will tell you where your customers are coming from, how they’ve engaged with your brand, and what they’re after.
This is vital with landing pages too. If you set up a landing page for a special campaign or webinar, you can use a tracking URL to get data on traffic numbers and sources.
Chatbots and CTAs can be implemented alongside this to help direct customers further down the sales funnel. Having a better understanding of where people are coming from and what they’re looking for will make it easier to convert leads into paying customers.
Organic Social Media
Social media has become one of the most useful business tools in today’s world. It allows brands to reach an incredibly wide audience, and it’s very cost-effective. You can share all kinds of content on various platforms – though you must do so with their marketing regulations in mind.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are incredibly popular among various businesses. They have strict rules and guidelines regarding cannabis marketing, however, so you’ll be more limited than many other businesses.
If you promote cannabis on social media platforms, their algorithms may automatically block your account. Some platforms, however, will allow you to age-gate your content to reduce the risk of being banned. Bear in mind that this can limit your visibility.
If you want to make use of social media, it’s worth taking precautions to ensure your account doesn’t get taken down. It can be a good idea to avoid posting too much imagery of actual products to reduce the chances of being banned.
Email marketing isn’t a new technique, but it’s still very useful. It can be a great way to share content directly with your committed fanbase. You may want to offer exclusive deals, promote new products, or tell them about programs you have that will reward returning customers.
Segmenting your audience can help you target new and old customers separately. This will help you create better-tailored content that will lead to increased sales. It can be a good idea to run a promotion at the start to help build up your mailing list.
Affiliates and Cross-Promotion
It’s not easy to get a new business off of the ground, but one way to make things easier is to partner with a more well-established brand. You can connect with other brands through social media, blogs, or emails to discuss cross-promotion.
This is a great way to reach a wider audience and gain more exposure. It can benefit both brands and has become a common marketing technique. It’s best to do this with a brand that has a similar audience to yours.
Invest In Video
Video content has become one of the most useful types of content in today’s world. As many as 91% of consumers say that they want to see more video content from their favorite brands.
Videos can be a very influential part of a user’s decision-making process. There’s a lot of flexibility in terms of what you can do with video content. You can create video content showing things like:
- Product reviews
- Promotions and offers
- Features products
- Interviews with vendors and other partners
You want your videos to be creative and engaging to attract more attention. Video content is easily digestible, and when used right, can have a huge impact on the success of your brand.
Marketing Your Cannabis Retail Business
It’s a relatively new industry, so you can expect cannabis trends to change in the coming years, but some marketing practices will remain the same. Improving your SEO, knowing how to target your audience, and creating engaging content will all help you grow your brand and increase your dispensary sales.
Cannabis retail marketing is essential, but it isn’t easy. Working with a professional marketing company like 46Mile can help.
We offer a full range of marketing and advertising services that can help you reach your business goals. Take a look at our marketing page today to learn more about how we can help your business.