Take a look at most sources talking about online or digital marketing. Many of these sources mention Google when discussing techniques and strategies. This is absolutely reasonable as Google plays a role in helping people find companies’ websites. It also aids businesses to improve the probability of their potential customers finding them.
The thing about these other sources is that they are talking about industries without too much controversy and complexities when it comes to online marketing. They could be talking about using digital marketing techniques for, say, accounting or printing services.
They can talk about and recommend the use of Google’s offers to market their goods and services with minimal worries about legal issues or Google policies.
The same may not be true for marijuana marketing, especially as Google may have its own policies regarding this plant. As the tech company and search engine play a vital role in digital marketing, the question now is this: do cannabis and Google go together? Here’s what you need to know.
What are Google Ads?
First, let us talk about Google Ads and why you should consider using them. Google Ads is the pay-per-click (PPC) advertising approach offered by Google. Under this model, advertisers can publish ads, which will appear at the top of search engine results pages and be labeled accordingly.
The goal of this approach is to increase the number of clicks received by the advertiser’s website and pages. It aims to help you sell your products or services, drive traffic, and disseminate information. Per the name pay-per-click, advertisers need to pay whenever a user clicks on their ads.
It might sound counter-intuitive, especially as you are probably going the digital marketing route to minimize your spending on these activities. What you are probably going for are organic results that you can get for free. However, PPC plays a huge role in achieving this goal.
Let’s face it: it is difficult to achieve organic results without help. Google is your leverage toward this goal. Plus, Google lets you set and manage your budget. It also offers insights into whether the ads are getting you closer to your goals.
Some of the benefits offered by Google Ads include targeted advertising through things like keywords and locations, control over costs, metrics and results, and easy campaign management.
Once you get the jumpstart you need, you can stop using Google Ads and focus on other digital marketing techniques such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and other similar strategies.
Starting and ending your Google Ads campaign is easy and entirely up to you. However, you need to remember that the company has policies that dictate what the company accepts and what it does not. The key is knowing where cannabis products stand in Google’s policies.
Google’s Rules Surrounding Cannabis Ads
So, how does Google see cannabis when it comes to its PPC model? You need to remember that it has a provision tackling dangerous products and services. Unfortunately, it lists marijuana and “legal highs” under recreational drugs, particularly psychoactive substances meant for recreation.
It also lists products and services that enable the use of recreational substances such as cannabis cafes, bongs, and other paraphernalia.
What about CBD marketing? Hemp-derived CBD with only 0.3% of delta-9 THC is probably allowed, right? Well, you will be disappointed to know that this medicinal cannabinoid is also listed under unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements along with diet and slimming teas, and other supplements.
So, if you submit cannabis, CBD, THC, and marijuana ads for approval, there is a huge chance of Google rejecting your application. Its bots or algorithm is also very good at finding ads that were not detected earlier.
Can Cannabis Companies Use Google for Marketing?
The good news is Google Ads policy does not mean that cannabis companies do not have a place in Google, just not under the PPC model. There are various ways you can use Google and the best place to start is through your website.
As a business operating at a time when almost everything can be done online and there is a demand for it, you need to have a website, a good one at that. Say you already have one or you undergo the process of website development to get it. How will your customers find it? With the help of Google, of course!
When you launch your website, the surest way to access it is by entering your URL at the address bar or by clicking a link leading to it. What you want to happen is for your site and page to appear in search engine results pages. This is possible through search engine indexing.
Indexing is the process of your website and pages being found and analyzed by Googlebots, then stored in its index. Any eligible website and pages have the chance to appear in search results if they are optimized for it.
Best Online Marketing Techniques for Cannabis Businesses
The fact that you have a website means that you are already working with Google. You just need to understand how it works and how to better use this to your advantage. Once your site and pages have been indexed, you can try different techniques to boost your business. Check out some of the best choices.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. This is the process of optimizing your website to be more suitable for the search engine’s algorithm. You can do this by making your site more usable and responsive.
You can also take advantage of keywords. If you sell CBD products, you might want to use phrases such as CBD oil, dispensaries in DC, and other similar terms. These go into metadata, meta descriptions, page names, headlines, body, and file names.
When the next user makes a query using the keywords you chose or something similar, there is a chance that your site will appear in search results pages, as long as it has been indexed.
The main goal of SEO is to increase your rankings in search results. You want to make sure that your site and pages appear at least on the first page, but ideally at the top. Most customers only click on the first few options, but even then, they tend to skim the page before they decide to engage.
SEO combined with excellent web development can help you reel in more visitors, leads, and eventually, sales. It can also play a role in increasing your website’s authority by driving organic traffic to your site.
Online Reputation Management
Another way you can use Google to your advantage is to use it for reputation management. As much as you want to please consumers, your target customers have their own temperaments, opinions, and standards. This is why you are bound to get negative reviews even if you feel that you did everything right.
You want to make sure that these bad reviews do not get in the way of your business. Say, a customer purchases your products and they happen to find it or your customer service unsatisfactory. They then write a review on your page. Maybe they post about it on their blog or social media platforms. If potential customers find such reviews, they might steer away from you.
The best way to go is to get more reviews, this can happen if you get more sales and SEO can help you achieve this.
In turn, having a better overall rating can help you rake in more customers. Here, you see that these marketing techniques are connected. You can also use SEO to overshadow such bad publicity.
Google My Business
Another way to use Google for your cannabis business is by setting up your Google My Business profile. If you do not know what that is, just go to the search engine and type “dispensaries near me” or similar keywords.
This will show you a section with several businesses classified as cannabis stores complete with star ratings, addresses, opening hours, websites, and reviews. Clicking on any entry can also show you where it is located in the Google Map. This is what Google My Business is.
Setting up your own profile gives you another way to attract more customers. Remember, many consumers look for complete information and GMB gives it to them. This is a great way to make your website more searchable for users.
From your GMB profile, customers can start checking your website, catalog of products, reviews under every product, and your contact page. They can choose to initiate contact by asking about your products. Experienced consumers are likely to just place their orders.
The Bottom Line
Google Ads is a great idea for businesses looking to market and advertise online. While it may not be available for cannabis businesses, you can definitely use other tools and features Google has to offer. You can make it work, especially if you work with a reputable cannabis marketing agency