Cannabis is already a significant business, with a promising potential to grow (that’s not a pun!) even bigger. The gigantic snowball effect brought to us with marijuana legalization across the United States have made the industry thriving once again with all its branches – dispensaries included.
However, cannabis marketing can get tricky from time to time; Although the medical use of marijuana is legal in 23 states (and the legalization of the recreational use of cannabis seems to be on the similar track), the plant itself remains illegal on the federal level, entailing numerous complications, about which I would like to speak to you later in this article.
That being said, is there a way to run your business, be the part of the cannabis industry, have your dispensary promoted, and, at the same time, obey the letter of the law? Or, in short, should you hire a cannabis marketing agency?
Let me help you figure it out!
The Obstacles in Advertising Cannabis
While it seems that the Internet and Social Media make a perfect environment for the cannabis industry to thrive, you may want to reconsider your opinion on that after dealing with running Facebook Ads/Google AdWords campaigns, as you can’t target marijuana commercials on their engines. Last but not least, you won’t be able to register a trademark for a marijuana brand, so the road to big marijuana brands could be a long one.
Before you accuse me of driving the final nail to the coffin, I’d like to reassure you that Cannabis Marketing Agencies will come in handy in dealing with all these issues.
How Can a Cannabis Marketing Agency Help You Overcome these Obstacles?
Be it the Social Media or the website itself, you need valuable content. You know, one that will be as educational as an academic piece of work, and as absorbing as a fantasy best-seller. In the cannabis industry, the role of a marketing agency is to:
- Beat the stoner’s stigma – unfortunately, when most people think of a marijuana billboard, they see a vector graphic of Bob Marley passing a gargantuan joint. The role of cannabis marketing agencies is to make this stereotype and yield to the way cannabis users want to be believed – the true, responsible way. From now on, there will be no terms like ganja, pot, weed, reefer and sticky-icky. Also, phrases like getting ripped, getting bake, or toking up will be razed from your dictionary.
- Educate people – if you have a dispensary, you want to be considered a professional who knows his or her products. A marketing agency will help you display all your strains on your website and share them on cannabis-related portals like Leafly or Canna SOS. And then again, content is of paramount importance, so this is where a blog knocks to your door. You may want to share your ideas in the form of unique, educational and both entertaining, engaging articles with strong data-driven evidence of your product’s health benefits.
- Promote your services legitimately – marijuana marketers should only target people in states where marijuana is legalized. Showing off with your product in a state where even the possession of marijuana is considered a crime? It”s a big no-no. If you’re eager to make your dispensary visible to broader audience (online, in print, on a TV, or at an event), 70% of attendees must be 21 years of age or older. Moreover, you won’t register a marijuana-related trademark or create advertisements on neither Google nor Facebook. Well, it all boils down to what Melanie Rose Rodgers, a Managing Partner at the Denver, Colorado-based marijuana marketing agency Cannabrand told said, “One major challenge our clients face is all the red tape that exists due to marijuana’s federally illegal Schedule I status.”
Now, let us take a look at how to promote this content.
Implementing the Agency’s Strategy
A cannabis marketing agency will presumably come up with three main channels of your content & product promotion:
- SEO – despite the fact that Google AdWords doesn’t allow marijuana-related commercials, the cannabis industry is so young that now is the best time to make an effort and try to land on the podium of a Search Engine. Marketing Agencies know exactly how to do it by targeting the keywords, or by boosting credibility by linking to relevant and valued sources. Every business owner should at least get a grip of basic SEO rules and hire agencies/consultants to incorporate more advanced tactics into the overall strategy.
- Social Media – again, we encounter a problem with ads on Facebook and Instagram, two of the most recognizable social media platforms. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to find a social ninja who will build the image of your brand, get in touch with influencers, and spread the good news across the Social Media communities of patients, because that is how you should treat your audience – like responsible marijuana users. How about maintaining a personal relation with these responsible folks by a newsletter? Since they are a huge part of your business, they will feel delighted when they receive something special from your company.
- Events & conventions – it is a very wise move to show up on one of many marijuana-related conventions. The latest New England Cannabis Convention Boston brought together over 50 businesses and hundreds of attendees; although there were different panels and discussions held there, the majority of the space was taken by vendor booths. Marketing agencies are, least to say, proficient in researching various events.
So… Should I hire a Cannabis Marketing Agency?
Overall, I think the question at the beginning of this text should be “Why should I hire a cannabis marketing agency?” I’ve already introduced you to all benefits that hiring cannabis marketing specialists entails, and I could go down the rabbit hole even further; Instead, to cut the long story short, I should say that in the maze of all these paradoxical legal restrictions, a group of people who know the industry root to branches can do wonders to your business and skyrocket it within a reasonable period of time. All it takes is some legal flexibility, a smooth use of all accessible promotion channels, and – of course – a master plan.