In the business world, reputation can be everything. A positive image can pull in customers while a tainted one can have some impact on their customer base and even cause the downfall of your company. Because of this, you want to take care of your business’ reputation not only as a way to protect your company but for more practical reasons like maintaining your sales and revenues.
Reputation is more important if you are running a cannabis business. You have to remember that the general market is just opening up more for marijuana, which makes it a little more delicate, public perception-wise. Plus, if you operate a dispensary, you know that there are a lot of options out there, especially if you are in states where weed is legal.
So, some damage to your business’ reputation can lead to a lot of negative effects, including losing some of your customers. The thing is, you cannot avoid taking a hit to your business’ reputation. As long as your company continues to operate, there will always be a possibility that you will get negative feedback not only from your clients but also from your competitors and other parties. The best way to prepare for this is to look at cannabis marketing agencies.
Marijuana Marketing and Reputation
Marketing is an ever-present need in business, especially for cannabis businesses. It is a way to promote and sell your products and services, but only if you do it properly. It utilizes different strategies and techniques that are known to provide results, depending on the type of business. Reputation management is a significant part of marketing.
Marketing is it is rapidly shifting to a digital space. More and more companies and industries invest in digital method, especially as it is becoming more and more of a necessity to do so. However, traditional practices remain to be relevant today.
So, the first thing you need to know about digital and traditional methods is they overlap in many ways. Take reputation management and public relations, for example. They share some essential characteristics such as the dissemination of information and the goal of influencing perception about the company.
However, they also have vital differences. Public relations uses more traditional communication to influence how the general public perceives the company. Its methods include press releases and events. It uses highly publicized methods for influence.
Meanwhile, reputation management, also called online reputation management (ORM), is the practice of using digital means to influence how a certain segment of the public, specifically your target market, perceives you.
It uses different digital strategies such as search engine optimization and link building to manage your online presence. These methods are stealthier and more technical. Moreover, ORM focuses on both influencing people’s perception, as well as promoting products and services.
Reasons to Boost Business’ Reputation Using Digital Marketing
Those who are not familiar with reputation management may be hesitant to jump to this trend. In fact, this is not only a trend but a legitimate marketing practice that is here to stay. So, it is great advice to start the shift from purely traditional means to a combination of traditional and digital ones.
The primary reason you should boost your reputation using digital practices is that you are already doing it, albeit unknowingly. If you have a business, we will bet that you have a website, as well. After all, these platforms are pretty standard nowadays, especially with the omnipresence of the Internet.
Your website is the online equivalent of your physical store. This makes it a great platform for promoting your products and services, as well as influencing how the public perceives you. It offers a whole lot of opportunities to publicize more positive information about your company and your products.
For your cannabis business, one of your goals is to inform your target market about the potentials offered by your products. Remember, the marijuana market is relatively new and while it already has a captive audience, it continues to attract potential customers. So, you want to make sure that you reel these newcomers in by educating them and your website is the best place for this.
Education and information dissemination is the second most important reason you should look into proceeding with the help of digital marketing. Remember, a lot of the stigma surrounding cannabis is based on misinformation and lack of understanding of the plant. Giving your site’s visitors more information about marijuana allows them to understand it more. It also gives them an idea about its pros and cons, including its medicinal benefits and unintended effects.
Educating the public and your target market about the plant not only benefits your company, but also the cannabis community as a whole. The stigma around marijuana has prevented people from accessing such products, which limited their options. Moreover, this same stigma has negatively impacted minority communities. Shedding some light on the value of the plant can help these parts of the cannabis community.
What is the most likely outcome when an interested party finds out about the vital properties of the marijuana plant and infused products? You can bet that these people will consider buying and some may even become repeat customers. So, the last essential reason to use ORM is to increase your sales and revenues.
As a matter of fact, many digital marketing techniques used to manage your business’ online reputation are heavily used for pulling in more sales. Web design and development, marijuana SEO, link building, and ORM all work together to drive more traffic to your website, which contains your menu of offerings, potentially increasing your conversion rate.
How Digital Marketing Can Improve Your Reputation
So, you are convinced that ORM is the best way to go. Your next step should be getting a bit more understanding about the process. This allows you to maximize the digital techniques used in ORM and get more out of them. To improve your online reputation, digital marketing will:
Expand your exposure
Say, you get negative feedback from customers. Remember that dissatisfied customers are more likely to leave feedback and you do not want bad comments to be the only thing that appears when potential customers look at your reviews. Digital marketing can handle this issue by expanding your exposure and encouraging your customers to leave good reviews.
In boosting your exposure, you will need to make profiles on various platforms such as Google My Business and Google Maps, as well as Weed Maps and other similar services. These profiles are likely to appear when users near you make queries related to your offerings. When customers looking to leave good reviews look for places to post their feedback, they are bound to find these.
The best thing about digital marketing when it comes to ORM is you can show online users your good side. If you are worried about bad reviews appearing in search results whenever potential surf online for services and products you offer, this digital marketing can help. It can increase the number of positive and informative articles that rank high in search engines.
Increase your reviews
With the addition of various profiles, you are bound to see an increase in reviews. However, you need to double down on encouragements to leave feedback. You can do this by launching promos, such as offering freebies and discounts if they take the time to answer feedback forms and write reviews.
To disseminate such information, you can use your website and most importantly, you can use a trusted cannabis business social network. Think of your regular social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These have become reliable platforms for marketing and engaging with customers. However, these place some restrictions on cannabis.
The best alternative is to make profiles in cannabis-focused sites such as WedLife, Weedable, and Duby. These can help you spread the word regarding your promos. Plus, you have a more captive audience as everyone who joins these sites are sure to be in the cannabis community.
Lastly, you can never leave good and bad reviews simply hanging. Remember, customers love brands that engage with their customer base. Aside from social media, your review section is the best way to show your engagement. Marketing experts suggest replying to all kinds of feedback, even negative ones.
For positive reviews, you want to start by thanking the customers, thus reinforcing your brand’s positive character. This also shows your appreciation for paying consumers.
For negative reviews, your best bet is also to thank them. Why? Customers leave feedback because they want to be heard and thanking them is a good way to show this. Then, you can address the issue in a general or specific manner, depending on the situation. Finally, offering some form of compensation such as discounts on their next purchase can encourage them to come back.
The Bottom Line
Reputation management is a tricky thing in business and digital marketing can help you navigate such complicated matters. With the help of a cannabis marketing agency, you do not have to sacrifice your time and effort in wrong moves that can taint your business’ reputation.