The Definitive Guide to Cannabis Digital Marketing & Agency Cooperation: Strategies, Trends, and Success Tips
Published On - October 10, 2023 Brian LettieriLocal SEO
Should you hire a cannabis digital marketing agency? Can you even advertise your brand online?
Such queries keep coming our way as the industry grows at an unprecedented rate.
The answer to both questions is yes, and today, we’re responding to many more. Join us for a complete guide on advertising for cannabis companies.
Digital marketing is a powerful tool for cannabis businesses. They use the internet to educate, engage, and elevate their brands.
This guide is broad-scope but not in-depth. We cover all you need to know, but without much detail. Visit our blog or schedule a live meeting to learn about specific topics.
Understanding the cannabis industry
Marijuana has gained legal and social acceptance like never before. Its explosive growth brought opportunities and challenges for companies hopping on the bandwagon.
We’ll cover the basics before discussing advertising and cannabis digital marketing agencies. Let’s talk about this industry and how it’s shaping up.
Overview of the cannabis market
Legalization in the US began in 1996 when California legalized medical use. It gained traction after 2012, with Colorado and Washington permitting recreational cannabis. Today, 38 states have medical cannabis, and 23 allow personal use.
Weed is the most cultivated and consumed drug worldwide. We see legalization or decriminalization hitting country after country. Market growth naturally follows these trends.
According to estimates, the global weed market will hit $444.34 billion by 2030. Regulations are loosening, and people are getting interested in the herb. These trends present opportunities for budding business owners.
Since most business-making happens online nowadays, this space also has whopping funds. By 2030, funds spent on advertising weed might reach $3.89 billion.
Market segmentation means dividing the customer base into distinct categories. It supports cannabis business digital marketing by narrowing it down. You specialize in one segment and cater to your targets’ needs and preferences.
Besides divisions by geographic location, we split the market into medical and recreational.
This segmentation distinguishes between folks who toke for therapeutic purposes and recreationally. Medical users often seek specific strains and dosages for symptom relief. Recreational users may prioritize bag appeal, flavor, and the overall experience.
Another helpful distinction is based on the available weed products. People can consume flowers, edibles, concentrates, tinctures, and topicals. Knowing which group prefers which method helps you tailor your virtual shelves.
Unique challenges in cannabis marketing
Challenges in cannabis marketing stem from stigmatization and an uncertain legal status. Both are hurdles for cannabis companies and their digital marketing efforts.
The legal aspect comes from regional restrictions and tight regulations. For instance, there are places where weed is legal, partly legal, or prohibited. These limits influence consumer bases, behaviors, and market dynamics.
Business owners often hire attorneys to navigate these tricky waters.
Even though diminishing, the stigma surrounding cannabis remains real. Companies can’t ignore this factor while producing or advertising it.
Some populations hold negative ideas about the plant. In these markets, education should be one of your main goals.
Progressive areas may embrace old-school weed counterculture or take a modern, non-appropriating approach. Know your base and be prepared for all attitudes.
The role of digital marketing in the cannabis industry
Digital marketing refers to any advertising efforts that happen on the internet. The World Wide Web gives us access to prospective customers worldwide. No wonder the marketing landscape has transitioned to the online space!
No business can survive solely offline. Cannabis companies and digital marketing must go hand-in-hand to destigmatize the herb and achieve financial success.
Let’s see why being online matters and what benefits it brings. This section also discusses ways to establish your company on the internet.
The power of online presence
We can’t overstate the power of online presence for modern brands. Being on the internet boosts your visibility, reputation, and influence. It enables global reach and 24/7 accessibility: both impossible in brick-and-mortar.
Besides requiring a strategy, cannabis SEO & digital marketing informs your approach. It lets you collect valuable data on demographics, customer behavior, and preferences. Everything that keeps a business growing.
Benefits of digital marketing for cannabis businesses
Marijuana’s becoming more widespread with each passing day. Retailers are popping up to meet the demand, quickly saturating the market.
Cannabis digital marketing can help you surpass your competition. It brings the following benefits:
- Increased brand awareness. In 2022, a whopping 63% of purchases began in online spaces. People rarely look for stores other than online, and having a presence means they’ll find you.
- Potential for targeted marketing. Offline establishments’ pool of potential customers is passers-by and billboard viewers. Going online means reaching demographics that align with your brand values.
- Greater customer engagement. Being on the internet enables interactions outside the sale itself. Think surveys, reviews, and promotional emails. Engagement leads to loyalty, repeat purchases, and word-of-mouth advertising.
Common digital marketing channels in cannabis
What cannabis digital marketing services and channels are available to your company? Here’s a list of oft-used advertising platforms and why they’re effective:
- Website & SEO. Your site is the primary way customers evaluate your worth. It should be well-outfitted with SEO-optimized content, letting people find you via search engines.
- Social media. These channels contain diverse audiences, building reach and brand loyalty. Create engaging, shareable posts that speak to the community.
- Email marketing. Email is a direct, controllable channel that can encourage site visits and engagement. You can use it for brand-building newsletters, sales, and promotions.
- Content marketing. Content is still king; it lets you create valuable and informative pieces. Think blogs and articles that establish expertise and build trust. How about a beginner guide with video demonstrations? Our team of experts are ready to help you create the most informative cannabis videos.
- Paid advertising. Pay-per-click (PPC) is a limited field for cannabis companies but can be worthwhile. It’s allowed if you don’t over-stuff flagged keywords or claim health perks.
- Influencer marketing. Influencers carry an air of authenticity and can expand your reach and credibility. Always be transparent and choose your online persona well.
With so many channels in digital marketing, it’s easy to feel unsure of where to start. Schedule a meeting with us for a personalized strategy to meet your goals.
Compliance and ethics in cannabis marketing
Cannabis digital marketing and business management may seem like a minefield. The industry’s super-new and regulated. Only businesses that comply with laws and ethical principles will remain sustainable.
Compliance and ethics mean following regulations and being honest about your products.
Laws that weed companies face differ from state to state. They include product limits, age restrictions, and clear labeling.
Notably, some states allow limited forms of weed, like concentrates or hemp-derived CBD. Most ban the advertisement and sale of products that appeal to kids and underage people. The same applies to language and imagery.
The age restriction is universal, with exceptions for some medical patients. Minor-proofing your store, website, and online presence is a must.
Labeling must disclose the contents of your products and any relevant disclaimers. It might also contain third-party lab data for further information.
Responsible advertising ensures law compliance, protects consumers, and promotes ethical business practices. It comes down to:
- Transparent and accurate information. Your products should have clear labels detailing potency and expected effects. You should disclose potential risks and avoid exaggerated claims.
- No appeals to minors. Ads shouldn’t target underage people in any way. Don’t use cartoon characters or child-friendly imagery. Have an age gate on your website and store.
- No health claims. Although anecdotes are plentiful, few medical uses of weed have been FDA-approved. Don’t claim your product can treat a health issue unless science proves it.
- Safety education. Put out materials that promote responsible, informed consumption. Add warnings about overconsumption, impaired driving, and addiction.
What about cannabis business digital marketing on social media? It’s tricky to navigate even if you respect the pillars of responsible advertising.
Marketing cannabis is against Google and Meta regulations. Google bans most ads and pages on consumption, cultivation, and general information. Facebook and Instagram accounts that run such ads might get shadow-banned.
The situation’s slowly changing, with Meta enabling CBD ads in a limited capacity. But the shift is slow-going and not up with the wave of legalization. That’s one of the reasons why you might need expert aid from a cannabis digital marketing agency.
Contact us today to find out more about how to ensure that your website complies with these regulations.
Partnering with a cannabis digital marketing agency
Cannabis remains a heavily regulated product. Breaking the law is easier than it may seem, at least in 2023.
You can risk facing pitfalls or play it so safe that you don’t reach your goals. Or you could get an expert cannabis digital marketing agency in your corner.
The benefits of outsourcing cannabis marketing
As a business owner, you carry the primary responsibility for your company. But you can delegate some of that burden to other experts.
Outsourcing advertising to a cannabis digital marketing agency offers these benefits:
- Expertise in navigating regulations. Marketing agencies are well-versed in industry regulations. They help businesses navigate the legal landscape and keep their noses clean.
- Industry-specific knowledge. You know the plant, but marketers know how to sell it. They know the best practices and opportunities within the marijuana industry. You can leverage their expertise to craft tailored marketing strategies.
Besides, outsourcing lets you stay on top of the latest trends and shifts. Unless you have a marketing team, you should hire somebody for research and ideation.
Tailored cannabis marketing solutions
Tailored cannabis digital marketing solutions are advertising strategies customized to fit a business. They account for the traits, goals, challenges, and demographics relevant to your company.
We focus on a demographic, region, or product to optimize your return on investment. Your resources go where they’re most likely to generate leads and revenue.
Demonstrating proven success in the cannabis industry
Our cannabis digital marketing services have already helped companies in this industry. Let’s look at two case studies that showcase our expertise.
The first is My Natural CBD. It operated in California and came to us to improve its national-level rankings.
We offered full SEO planning that prioritized keyword research. Full backlink integration and precision analytics further expanded its reach. It soon ranked high on the SERPs.
The second is Homegrown Cannabis Company. It’s a premium seed brand that delivers to all 50 states. Its goal was to increase its domain authority, website visits, and sales.
We started by cleaning up the website and re-optimizing old content with keywords. Then, we built high-quality backlinks. To this day, we do link-building buys for the business to increase its relevance.
The collaborative approach
Cannabis companies and digital marketing firms have a mutually beneficial relationship. The former gets the latter’s expertise and sees growth. The latter learns from the challenge, honing its approach.
The collaborative approach involves an advertising company working closely with weed sellers. Teams cooperate to create effective messaging and launch vision-aligned campaigns.
Rather than pursuing short-term goals, this approach establishes long-term partnerships. Ongoing collaboration, communication, and commitment are cornerstones of success.
Elevating your cannabis brand with our expertise
Our cannabis SEO & digital marketing services promise direct benefits to brands. We utilize industry insights and creative strategies to position your company. You’ll gain site visitors, build trust, and profit.
Let’s examine the specific benefits cooperating with us brings to your business.
Comprehensive cannabis marketing strategies
We don’t devise one campaign and call it a day. Our cannabis business digital marketing spans all communication channels. We manage social media, emails, sites, and paid ads to boost your visibility.
This approach guarantees your message is loud, clear, consistent, and comprehensive.
Each channel has unique regulations, and we tweak messaging to adhere to them. Every piece of media we produce is 100% legal to post.
As a cannabis SEO & digital marketing company, we never fly blind. Instead, we start by gathering and analyzing customer and market data.
Here’s how data-driven decision-making can benefit your company:
- Higher conversion rates. We track which marketing campaigns drive sales and sign-ups.
- Better customer engagement and retention. We try and test approaches to keep your shoppers coming back.
- New opportunities. We analyze your and your competitors’ successes to see where you can grow.
A/B testing is everything in this ever-changing market. We attempt new ideas on a small scale before increasing their scope. Doing so reduces the risk of costly blunders.
Nurturing your target audience
Nearly half of Americans can now access recreational weed, and even more may use it as a treatment. With such a big pool of potential customers, it helps to narrow down your target demographics.
You can’t reach everybody. Determine the demographic markers that may make your company appealing. Consider age, gender, place of residence, hobbies, preferences, political orientation, and income.
These factors determine your educational content, promotions, communication channels, and interactive events. They’re the first thing to examine for cannabis digital marketing.
Engagement leads to brand loyalty, which results in business success. You achieve it by producing relevant, informative content and constantly delivering quality. Foster a sense of community and offer exceptional products and customer support.
Tailored SEO for cannabis companies
Did you know that the first search result in Google gets 27.6% of all clicks?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the most valuable marketing tool on the internet. It lets you organically appear on the top of search engine result pages. Boom, people look for a weed business and find you.
Google’s algorithms determine which websites get visibility. The more you optimize, the better your chances. How do you do that? By dominating relevant cannabis-related search terms and producing quality content.
Tailored SEO focuses on your target demographic and local market. Cannabis digital marketing agencies like ourselves examine both. We use that data to devise a strategy and attract the right audiences.
Leveraging social media in cannabis marketing
Social media and cannabis marketing go hand in hand. This mix generates buzz around your brand, encourages customer-produced content, and builds community. Also, 75% of internet users rely on social media to research companies.
Leveraging social media is a must-do to attract and maintain your shopper base. Post fresh, value-added, authentic, and shareable content to create virality. How-to guides, strain reviews, surveys, and scientific updates are excellent options.
Navigating cannabis marketing trends and regulations
The weed industry keeps changing, and you must ride its waves. Doing so means staying up-to-date with its latest trends and restrictions.
Let’s see why and where your company must stay agile to thrive.
Staying ahead of cannabis marketing trends
As the weed industry grows and changes, so do customer preferences and behaviors. Staying ahead of these trends ensures you can adapt as needed.
For instance, there’s rising demand for low-calorie CBD-infused drinks among health-conscious folks. You might develop a new product line and launch a targeted ad campaign. New shoppers, incoming.
Sometimes, the change isn’t as simple. That’s why creativity is vital for cannabis digital marketing.
For instance, use surveys or quizzes if the customers don’t interact with you enough on social media. Or reach out to reputable cannabis resources for backlinks to rank higher on the SERP. Innovation helps you keep up or stay ahead.
Ensuring compliance and ethics
As a weed business, you face various constraints on what you can say and do. Knowing the local, state, and federal law is critical. It informs your advertising, packaging, labeling, and sales.
Consulting a cannabis digital marketing agency or attorney helps. Both study the law and can give you comprehensive answers.
Ethical marketing builds trust and paints a positive image of the industry. It involves honest product representation and transparent communication. It should also include efforts to prevent issues like underage toking and addiction.
Data security and confidentiality
Cannabis companies often handle sensitive information, like personal and payment data. Robust data security measures like encryption and access controls prevent breaches.
Respecting privacy is crucial in industries surrounded by stigma and legal concerns. Protect customers’ personal and medical data, never disclosing it without explicit consent.
Don’t be shy to promote your responsible practices. It builds positive relationships with shoppers and attitudes about the industry.
Industry insights and networking
Lone wolves don’t do well in any industry, cannabis included. Exclusive industry events and partnerships help your business grow.
Conferences and trade shows build name recognition for a brand. Collaborating with suppliers, distributors, and advocacy groups is also beneficial. It fosters growth and clarifies your brand’s values.
Cannabis digital marketing services help with both challenges. Experts provide insights into the industry thanks to their prior experience. They put you in authoritative positions, giving you the clout for valuable partnerships.
Challenges and ethical considerations
Cannabis operates under a patchwork of ethical and legal considerations. Navigating them is likely the number one challenge of running a sales business.
Let’s look at notable challenges regarding laws, ethics, and opinions.
Legal and regulatory challenges
Cannabis is currently illegal on the federal level. Individual states may allow or ban its medical and recreational use. Opening a store and advertising it can’t be countrywide. It must abide by state-level restrictions.
Companies should stick to geo-targeted campaigns in states with legal weed. Research the local law, learn what you can and cannot say, and proceed accordingly.
Every channel for cannabis digital marketing has unique standards for promoting the plant. Follow guidelines to the T, or your campaign may fail.
Misleading content and misinformation can also create liability issues. For example, you can’t call weed a cure for any disease or make products that may appeal to kids.
The industry’s heavily regulated, and you need to watch your words to stay on the right side of the law. Chat with a cannabis-informed attorney for more information.
Ethical dilemmas in cannabis marketing
The two main ethical dilemmas in cannabis business digital marketing are targeting minors and promoting overconsumption. They’re also the hardest to sidestep.
The first issue stems from companies wanting to make the herb unthreatening. Brightly colored ads with goofy characters and candy-looking edibles can help with that. But these practices also inadvertently appeal to minors.
Besides implementing strict age verification, err on the side of caution in marketing. It’s better to have it bleak than child-friendly.
The second issue is tricky because people consuming your products leads to profits. Still, excessive and irresponsible toking can lead to health risks and addiction. You should instead promote responsible use and provide clear warnings on side effects.
Addressing these challenges can save you from a lot of drama. It also showcases your dedication to making weed safe for society.
Handling negative feedback and controversy
What if you make a mistake and get called out for it? The best companies embrace the issue and see it as a learning opportunity.
Respond to negative feedback calmly and timely. Avoid online arguments, snide comments, and cover-ups. Instead, empathize with the customer and offer clear, proactive solutions.
What if the feedback escalates? Publicly address controversy before it pesters, apologizing for mistakes and explaining your behavior. You might consult with a legal team without making any official statements, though.
Regularly monitor your channels for feedback and comments. Remove offensive and inappropriate content and respond to the rest.
Some people might complain because they dislike weed, no matter your responsible behavior. Treat them like everybody else, responding calmly and respectfully. You can ignore pestering comments, though.
Future prospects of cannabis digital marketing
There’s a lot to learn to navigate cannabis digital marketing. And we keep mentioning changes, encouraging you to stay agile and be prepared.
What changes might this field experience in the coming decade? Let’s explore future scenarios and how to leverage them.
Predictions for the cannabis industry
The cannabis industry is expected to keep growing in the coming years. This trend is worldwide, but the most pronounced in the US.
US weed might reach $82.3 billion by 2027. It’ll rise by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.3%.
The surge is due to blooming markets in recently legal states like Vermont and Minnesota. Mature markets have experienced sales stagnations but not downright declines.
Beyond financial growth, the industry may see a revamp. Experts predict blockchain technology for security and product standardization in states with legal weed. More companies might invest in marginalized communities and social equity programs.
Strain and product diversity will keep growing in the hands of diligent breeders. We expect new cultivars and product types, especially those that address specific symptoms.
On the not-so-bright side, this industry isn’t recession-proof. It may suffer due to inflation, with people turning to cheaper gray markets. Some also discuss over-regulation and over-taxation as prominent issues.
Evolving role of digital marketing
Cannabis business digital marketing already matters. Its importance will only increase as more of our lives take place online. Advertising opportunities will increase with acceptance. You’ll be able to access more mainstream channels.
The growing demand for reliable information puts marketing at the forefront. Websites with authority and high visitor counts will dictate the mainstream.
We also expect niche targeting and community building to gain relevance. Companies will focus on specific demographics, necessitating market and SEO research. As competition grows, engagement and trust will be vital for brands.
Companies with good marketing will be able to harness these new trends. Those without will likely see declining sales.
Opportunities for new entrants
Weed is a valuable business pursuit, and its worth will skyrocket in the coming years. So will the competition.
New entrants will differentiate themselves with product diversity and ethical practices. They can quickly position them at the top of the game. Cultivars from top breeders and technological innovation are also game-changing.
Established companies shouldn’t relax due to their years in the industry. The new names will learn from your mistakes and get things right. Focus on continued quality to maintain success.
Cultivate success with cannabis digital marketing
The marijuana market is experiencing rapid growth. As more states legalize, it presents an opportunity for new and established businesses. That’s if they adopt digital marketing, as online operations can’t happen without them.
Remember these key takeaways:
- Ethical marketing, law abidance, and targeted advertisements are essential to your success.
- Data-driven, thoroughly tested multi-channel campaigns are the name of the game. Employ every platform you have and fill it with optimized, well-researched information.
- Partnering with experts like cannabis digital marketing agencies is a good idea. It helps you navigate the legal landscape and gain industry-specific information.
Weed’s future seems bright, with continued growth and evolving customer behaviors. Businesses that focus on ethical, informed marketing will stand out and flourish.
Stay informed, creative, and compliant to profit in this dynamic field. Contact Quantm Media today and leave the marketing busywork to the experts.
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