The cannabis industry is in the flowering stage. So it’s time for budding entrepreneurs to establish a winning cannabis business marketing strategy.
But what should you do to reach consumers in this multi-billion dollar industry?
You want people talking about your business. You’re wondering how to reach consumers while building your cannabis brand.
Oh, and you want to avoid discrimination from various platforms.
We’ve all seen the prejudice against this niche — and perhaps it’s justified to a degree. Up until recently, the cannabis industry was bursting at the seams with risks — some of which are still relevant.
Banks were, and some still are, refusing to help this industry grow. Since cannabis is still technically illegal at the federal level, there’s just too much at stake. But more recently, we’ve seen some banks switch sides. While bank regulations are becoming more lenient, Google — among other popular platforms — is still refusing to work with these businesses.
Since Google has become the go-to search engine for researching literally everything, what’s a ganjapreneur to do?
Platforms, including Google, will eventually lift their bans on cannabis-related entities. But what about the other strategies currently available?
Read this guide to find your share of the market with ease.
EcoWaste’s Success Story
Through Google’s ToS, the tech giant refuses to publish “Ads for products or services marketed as facilitating recreational drug use.” This spells serious limitations for those looking to use the Google AdWords platform.
Unfamiliar with Google AdWords? Simply put, it’s a paid advertising system that auctions higher listings in Google’s search results.
While an expert can guide your success advertising on Google’s pay-to-play platform, I’ll go over the basics here.
You’ll input some keywords you’d like your business to show up in the search results for. Then, you’ll set a bid to appear in the search results for those keywords.
The higher you appear in the search results, the more targeted traffic your site receives. Every time your ad receives a click, it costs you money. If the niche you’re in is competitive, you’ll have to pay more per click.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is valuable to business owners across nearly every niche. But with Google’s restrictions, it’s not always an option for businesses operating in the cannabis space.
However, some companies catering to the cannabis industry are already finding incredible success with PPC advertising.
Google AdWords, One Entrepreneur’s Success, & Insight for the Future
Arman Zeytounyan is the owner and operator of EcoWaste Services, the top cannabis waste disposal service operating in California.
Mr. Zeytounyan is experiencing success using several marketing strategies — including our content marketing services.
Zeytounyan has this to say about advertising as a service operator in this niche:
We’ve found a lot of success with Google Ads! It’s possible that our keywords aren’t directly advertising cannabis, which could be why we’re able to advertise. And it’s been working out really well for us.
Aside from print and a few old school forms of advertising, I feel cannabis brands are going to have a tough time getting out there. The obvious answer is to head towards social media, but even then, you can get your account removed.
I think the best investment for cannabis operations right now is going to be towards people. Referrals are and always will be the best way to get business. Cannabis shops should focus on building their business in unique AND professional ways to earn referrals. Be the shop that everyone is talking about. A more tangible investment is getting your happy customers to leave a Google review.
Weedmaps is great for the industry, but the future will be Google. Eventually, the search engine will want to snatch up the ad revenue, so the best time to start is now. While everyone else is focused on today, optimize for the future with Google in mind.
Some entrepreneurs and service providers working in the cannabis sector will find success with Google’s PPC advertising platform. However, it won’t work for everyone.
Distributors of cannabis and products relating to the niche (bongs, pipes, extracts) cannot market through Google AdWords at this point. But as said by Mr. Zeytounyan, optimizing for Google is the long-term play the industry should be focusing on.
Cannabis SEO Content Writing — Cannabis Business Marketing for the Future
Search engine optimization (SEO) for cannabis companies is something everyone in this niche should be working on.
SEO is an excellent digital marketing tactic. Expand brand awareness, increase targeted web traffic, and get your business ranking higher on search engines with the right SEO efforts.
A cannabis SEO strategy is pivotal when it comes to crafting a marijuana marketing plan. You’ve likely heard the terms marijuana SEO, dispensary SEO, or cannabis SEO. The truth of the matter is that regardless of what you call this strategy, implementing it will bring results.
The goal of SEO is to bring qualified leads to your site organically. Then, you can sell that web traffic on your products or services.
Authoritative content will help increase the time spent on your site as well. Thus increasing Google love in the process. But the right content also helps to establish trust.
Let’s go over how to optimize websites to rank in the cannabis niche with a marijuana SEO strategy.
Check Your Organic Search Traffic Before Strategizing
When you start on a cannabis SEO strategy, make sure to check current search traffic. This will give you some of the most important variables for your cannabis company marketing efforts.
Check the number of unique users coming to your site organically. Also, see which pages are performing the best.
Seek out the keywords consumers are searching for to find your page. All of this information is available with a Google Analytics account.
So if you don’t have it hooked up to your site, make it happen. For those who are new to Google Analytics, use this link to get started.
Analyze which of your blog posts are performing the best. These will likely be your authoritative, informative posts.
Articles showcasing facts regarding CBD oil, various strains of cannabis, and even the history of the cannabis plant might perform well. Find the best-performing articles and determine what makes these pieces of content similar. Then, focus on those features in your next posts.
These are some common variables you’ll notice in top-performing cannabis content:
- Images & Media
- Everything Optimized Appropriately
Keep your content up-to-date as well. Look over your organic search traffic to determine what’s making your cannabis SEO strategy effective.
Understanding Your Audience for Cannabis SEO Success
Consider how consumers will look for your content.
You’ll need to conduct keyword research for cannabis SEO as well. We recommend using several free tools that are readily available.
Ahrefs is an excellent paid tool. But the following are 10 of the top free keyword tools you can use to help your SEO efforts without the hefty investment:
- Google Trends
- Keyword Shitter
- AdWord & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator
- Answer The Public
- Google Correlate
- Keywords Everywhere
- Wordtracker Scout
- Google Search Console
- Suggestion Keyword Finder
These are some highly useful tools for finding your ideal high-traffic keywords and LSI keywords. While these tools might seem a bit intimidating at first glance, you’ll quickly learn to navigate your way through each of these tools.
Keyword research will help with your cannabis SEO and marijuana content marketing efforts. However, you’ll need to understand what your consumers are searching for.
Your cannabis SEO strategy will call for keywords. But cannabis-related keywords alone aren’t the end-all-be-all.
Long-tail or LSI keywords are what consumers type in search engines. This especially true since the implementation of smartphones and “voice search.”
Make sure to consider what devices people will use to find your canna-business as well.
Mobile Optimization for Cannabis SEO
Mobile responsive websites are essential when it comes to cannabis SEO. So you’ll want to be sure to include this in your strategy.
Since so many cannabis consumers are glued to their smartphones, don’t forget to optimize with these users in mind. With the amount of time people are spending on their smartphones increasing each year, it makes sense to have your website mobile-optimized.
As you’re creating your marijuana SEO plan, keep what people search for in mind. This means knowing search habits differ between mobile, desktop, and laptop users.
Analyze and use these habits to determine which keywords to use for your website’s mobile optimization. For example, if your search traffic primarily comes from mobile devices, target mobile users to get the word out about your cannabis company.
Google’s mobile indexing targets mobile-responsive websites initially. This means if your website is mobile-friendly, it’ll show when consumers search from their smartphones.
Keep in mind that more than half of the pages Google shows in its searches globally are the result of Google’s mobile indexing. Since so many people are searching for information via their smartphones, mobile optimization for CBD product companies and other facets of the cannabis space will help with rankings.
Putting Together a Google My Business Profile
A Google My Business (GMB) profile helps your brand gain exposure. This is because the profile indexes your cannabis business’s name, address, and phone number with Google. Your business will also come up on Google Maps, as well.
As you work on your cannabis business marketing efforts, you’ll want to expand your reach as much as possible. But it’s also important to avoid neglecting your own backyard.
Regardless of whether you’re a local dispensary or shipping nationwide, GMB can act as the epicenter of your marketing. So when local consumers are looking for a cannabis business in your area, your business will come up locally.
Improving Cannabis SEO with Social Media
Social media is a valuable tool you should be using to boost your SEO and increase your cannabis business marketing effectiveness. Countless cannabis companies organically reach audiences across several platforms. But why?
Because social media marketing is a facet of an effective cannabis SEO strategy.
Websites with more shares and engagement on social media platforms gain Google’s trust. As you post your content, you’ll positively impact your website’s search engine ranking as your content receives more engagement.
When you promote your content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms, you’re encouraging Google to index your pages. In turn, you can expect your pages to get indexed and ranked faster as your content receives more attention.
Google notices “social signals” whenever your CBD content or infographics are shared. These signals show Google that your cannabis brand is being discussed, acting as trusted recommendations in Google’s eyes.
While social signals aren’t an official way Google ranks sites, they can help improve search rankings over time. So try sharing relevant cannabis/CBD/marijuana content on social media to see how these efforts impact your SEO.
Video Content for Marijuana SEO
A cannabis marketing plan including video content is extremely effective. Videos are highly engaging, meaning they can help you outrank competitors.
Communicating your products and services to cannabis consumers makes your content easier to digest. Rather than simply posting an informative article, you provide a streamlined communication of information.
As you work on your cannabis marketing, make sure to include some video content. It’s also great for sharing on consumer-based social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Your audience can watch a minute-long video clip. However, pairing it with an informative article is even more effective. Allow your audience to choose between the type of content they prefer and increase time spent on page in the process.
As you’re posting your video content, use these cannabis SEO tips to fully optimize it:
- Use relevant keywords in the titles and descriptions of your videos.
- Use high-quality video graphics and images.
- Incorporate video content with text content throughout your site.
Using a Blog to Increase Cannabis SEO
Blog writing for your cannabis website is a sure-fire way to promote your website. The key here is to provide your audience with value.
Your web traffic will spend more time on your page because of the value you offer. And this results in Google love as you show the search engine why it should put your content ahead of the competition.
With quality cannabis content writing, you’ll establish authority, become relevant in the cannabis niche, and provide your audience with value. These aspects of your website are essential to highlight long before your audience makes a purchase.
Authority, trust, and relevance are essential for getting ranked by Google. So if you’re looking to get on the first page, you need to fully build your blog out.
Brand awareness increases with quality content. When your audience sees something of value, they’ll share that perceived value with friends. This is how you increase your chances of going viral.
It’s important to provide value in each post. Give your audience a reason to share your content – and your brand’s name.
Incorporate useful information for the cannabis space into your blog articles. While you can’t do pay-per-click at the moment, you can achieve the SEO success your website needs.
Cannabis Email Marketing to Increase Engagement
Google loves when a website has plenty of engagement. So it’s crucial to promote engagement whenever possible.
You’re releasing all of this excellent content. But are you bringing eyes to it? If not, how will people engage with your content?
Here’s where email marketing will help.
Connect with new and existing customers by email. After gathering email (offering an ebook in exchange is a sure-fire way to gather web traffic emails), you should send updates for each piece of content you publish.
Your email list should include everyone who loves your brand – and your content. These are the people most likely to open the email, check out your content, and perhaps even share it.
This is how you’ll draw more eyes to each of your posts. Email marketing gives your brand the opportunity to reach people, even if they haven’t been to your site in a while.
The key here is to distribute quality content. If the content provides value, you’ll find emailing your audience each time you post will help your website organically gain more traffic.
Email marketing is nearly 40 times as effective as Facebook and Twitter together. So it makes sense why so many business owners are using it to get the word out.
Organic Cannabis Marketing Strategies
Cannabis marketing can go unnoticed when you’re not focusing on the right things. Knowing about organic marketing strategies and how to implement them is crucial in the industry.
Let’s discuss how you can market your CBD products, marijuana lotions, cannabis dispensaries, and more with these organic marketing tactics.
Instagram Cannabis Marketing
Instagram is one of the most visual social media marketing platforms available. Posting high-quality images and videos while using appropriate hashtags and geo-locations – focusing your efforts on this platform has the potential to skyrocket your business’s organic exposure.
The great thing about Instagram is that it’s an instant way for your brand to market to consumers. There’s even an in-app shopping feature that sets your page up for e-commerce.
Make Instagram a part of your storefront. You’ll then be free to increase your brand’s visibility by appearing in Instagram posts and stories.
Keep these tips and ideas in mind as you promote your business via Instagram:
- Make daily posts and stories to maintain relevance.
- Consistently post in your feed and stories. Try using an Instagram post scheduler to ease the burden of constantly posting. You’ll be able to set it and forget it, ensuring your mind is free to focus on other aspects of your canna-business.
- Compile a list of relevant, popular, and trending hashtags to use on Instagram.
- Work on establishing brand loyalty. When your customers are loyal to your brand, the competition will have trouble marketing to them.
- Build brand loyalty with excellent customer service. Make sure you’re responding to messages and comments you receive.
- Manage your community effectively. Interact with your followers and increase your engagement in the process.
- Establish responses for any customer service question or situation.
- Influencers and brand ambassadors can be highly valuable. Instagram is an excellent platform to use influencer marketing as the right influences can boost word-of-mouth marketing as well as user-generated content revolving around your brand.
Facebook Cannabis Marketing
Quality content creation and social media go hand-in-hand. This is why Facebook is perfect for posting content targeting cannabis consumers and entrepreneurs. For example, the 45+ age group is found more on Facebook than Instagram.
Historically speaking, Facebook didn’t allow cannabis business pages and marijuana businesses to come up in their search results. However, on Thursday, October 11, 2018, Facebook finally gave in.
Just one week prior to Canada’s recreational cannabis legalization, cannabis enterprises became semi-legitimate in the eyes of the Facebook platform. Business owners can now maintain their pages, distribute content, and gain followers organically.
Before this decision, cannabis enterprises had their content deleted off Facebook, along with its sister platform, Instagram. Even though canna-companies can now post pictures of products without worrying about being banned from Facebook or having their content removed, the limitations still persist.
Facebook and other social media platforms still do not allow the promotion of cannabis. But even with this being the case, it’s possible for businesses operating in this budding niche to come up with a cannabis content marketing strategy to gain organic traffic.
The new policy Facebook has regarding cannabis gives some freedom to the industry. You can now do the following as a cannabis business marketer on Facebook:
- Create Facebook Events containing the word “cannabis” and other industry terms.
- Publish organic posts with industry terms (cannabis, weed, etc.).
- Create a business page name containing industry-relevant terms.
- Have and maintain verified pages.
Organic reach on Facebook is super low now. So the majority of your followers won’t see your posts organically. But Facebook can still be a valuable tool to use when it comes to increasing organic reach.
The Facebook messenger chatbot can really come in handy. Providing incredible customer service has never been easier.
And with older consumers having lots of similar questions regarding CBD, Hemp, THC, and cannabis, you can automate to offer instant answers. You’ll give your audience a positive customer experience with ease when using Facebook’s chatbox feature.
These automated responses are sometimes the difference between making an immediate purchase and going somewhere else. Because of this, the way chatbots can drive sales can help your business’s organic marketing efforts tremendously.
You can also increase engagement on Facebook with discounts and deals. Exclusive cannabis deals for CBD products can spark engagement. It’s even possible to use Facebook Messenger to inform your Facebook followers of daily deals and discounts.
Cannabis Guest Posting
Posting to your cannabis blog is important. But don’t forget about guest posts!
Expand your reach and establish your site’s domain authority with quality content. Then you can begin reaching out to other websites for guest posting.
Becoming an authority in the cannabis niche means other websites might want to share your expertise with their audiences. Reach out to related and unrelated sites your target audience is frequenting for guest post opportunities.
Lots of cannabis websites will accept guest posts from relevant experts. So if you’re an expert in the cannabis industry, you can capitalize on your expertise by approaching cannabis industry websites about guest posts.
Guest posting is the process of creating high-quality articles to post on other sites. You’ll highlight questions regarding a topic and expand upon them with content.
So what’s in it for you? Well, your site gets a backlink, adding to your SEO and increasing your brand’s reach. The other site gets free content – or sometimes, you’ll have to pay.
Make sure the site you guest post on is authoritative. Spammy backlinks can hurt your website.
Looking for cannabis content marketing experts? We’re the team you need. Whether through your blog, social media posts, or emails, we’ll get you the results you crave.
We’re successfully creating and implementing content strategies for new clients every month, and we’ll do the same for you. Book your free consultation to learn how the team at No Strings Content will help your business flower in this budding niche – no strings attached.