Many social media platforms have strict policies against advertising cannabis products, which can make it difficult for operators to reach their target audiences on these channels. But there are effective mechanisms for cannabis marketing.
Build Your Brand
One of the most effective and organic strategies is to focus on building a strong brand identity. This may seem simple, but it goes well beyond simply creating a distinctive logo and packaging design.
According to marketing website 99designs, “Branding is about defining who you are as a company. It’s your mission, your values, and what makes you special and unique.”
That logo and design has to evoke the values that reflect your company and your products. Cookies, for example, is one of the best-known brands in the U.S. Even the distinct font can trigger an emotional response that makes you think of the brand – even if its a word other than “Cookies.”
To execute on this, you must develop consistent and compelling brand messaging. It’s this messaging that will directly – and indirectly – sell your products for you.
And you need to be willing to stand behind that reflection. Operators can differentiate themselves from competitors and create a memorable and recognizable brand that customers will associate with quality and trust.
Another key strategy for cannabis operators is to focus on building relationships with customers and the broader cannabis community through a variety of channels, including sponsoring events and festivals, hosting educational seminars and workshops, and partnering with other businesses and organizations in the industry.
By building these relationships, operators can not only increase their visibility and credibility within the industry, but also create a loyal customer base that will help to promote their business through word of mouth.
But be aware, there are restrictions in this arena, as well. Wanda James, founder and CEO of Simply Pure, recently lamented on Twitter about how she’d love to establish a scholarship fund but can’t do it under her dispensary’s name for the University of Colorado.
It makes zero sense to me that I can not have a scholarship fund named after my dispensary, The Simply Pure Scholarship. pic.twitter.com/xqGLFSFp60
— CU Regent Wanda James (@Wanda4CU) March 3, 2023
With so many restrictions and prohibitions on how and where you can promote your brand, it pays to think outside of the box.
Find ways that your establishment can fill a need and get visibility in the community.
For example, many Colorado’s Adopt-A-Highway signs have been bankrolled by cannabis enterprises – at one point, at least half of them. Many companies, including Binske, still employ this strategy.
Even with limits on social advertising, there are ways to leverage digital marketing tools to reach your target audience.
For example, search engine optimization (SEO) can be used to improve the visibility of a cannabis business’s website in search engine results.
In addition, email marketing can be used to build and maintain relationships with customers. Make your messages easy to share, as well, to allow your customers to spread the word about you.