The Uphill Battle of Marijuana Marketing

The Smart Way to Market for Marijuana.

The Uphill Battle of Marijuana Marketing

Marijuana marketing has been a challenging prospect for marketers, as marijuana is still only legal medically in 37 states and recreationally in 21 states. Each state also has its own regulations, some only allowing CBD with the use of THC and others having maximums for THC levels. Varying state laws, issues with social media platforms, and search engines blocking cannabis ads also adds to the list of difficulties that marketers cite when discussing marijuana marketing.

On top of this, fighting the stigma associated with cannabis can make it difficult to place ads or billboards.

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So how do you create a successful marijuana marketing campaign?

Step 1. Search Engine Optimization

Optimizing your website and descriptions for SEO means that you can increase traffic to your site without having to worry about violating search engine terms of use. Chances are, if someone is interested in marijuana, they’re looking for it – so creating a page that shows up on search engines while still grabbing the attention of your audience is one of the most important steps in creating a successful campaign. That said DON’T FILL YOUR DESCRIPTIONS WITH KEYWORDS. Keyword stuffing can get your account pushed to the bottom of search engines or even blocked if you use any that violate the terms of service.

Step 2. Do your research

Just like on search engines, several social media platforms have stringing rules for marketing cannabis. Many prohibit the mention of cannabis altogether and will also flag or delete your posts and even your account for using cannabis keywords, images, or instructions for use. Researching for cannabis never ends, as the rules are constantly being updated. Take a few minutes every week to double check the guidelines for any platforms you run a campaign on – it's better to have to remove posts and pivot to a new idea than to have your entire account banned.

Research also applies to what cannabis users are interested in. Medical marijuana users may be more interested in higher CBD levels whereas recreational users may be looking for higher levels of THC. If you’re marketing for both, make that clear on your website and create sections for both markets to take the confusion out of their search.

Step 3. Campaign in-house

People in your business means they’re already interested. In-store campaigns can make your store memorable, especially if you have something coming that isn’t currently available. If you’re a seller, paying for signs and pop-ups in the stores that sell your product can help to increase interest, especially if you’re releasing a new product or having a sale. Adding in the option of opt-in advertising, say with an incentive such as reduced pricing or a free product, can help to keep you at the forefront of your consumers' minds.

Step 4. Be honest

Emphasizing credibility is one of the most important aspects of marketing marijuana, whether you sell it for recreational use or medical use. Many products in the last several years were found to misrepresent or mislabel their products, causing a lot of distrust in new products and sellers. This caused a lot of hurt to the cannabis industry, however emphasizing a commitment to honesty, government regulations, and lab testing can help to gain that trust back. Being transparent about what is in your products can create trust with consumers, as many are hesitant to buy products they aren’t familiar with or that don’t have clear labels emphasizing their components– and who can blame them?

Step 5. Go old school

People underestimate the power of billboards and old school marketing. This can help to create a better connection with local audiences and placing a billboard in a high-traffic area, such as a highway exit to a major metropolitan area, can help to create a memory in consumers' minds that piques interest in your product. Of course, design and delivery is everything. You don’t want to seem too interested in whatever is new and shiny nor too old-school, so finding that balance is a great way to appeal to a broad market.

Step 6. Cross promotions

If you already have a business in place, promoting with influencers or stars known for their cannabis consumption can help to add to your consumer base and credibility as a reliable brand. Though this is something that may be much more successful for larger brands, there are many celebrities without a cannabis brand that may be interested in having their own line or promoting yours.

Marijuana marketing is difficult to get into, but when you have the right knowledge and tools you can be successful. At The Phoenix we believe in the power of Brand Strategy, is one of the most important tools for marketing for any brand or product.