For the longest time, it seemed that cannabis marketing failed to break its desired threshold. Whether it is the stigma associated with the drug or simply the political landscape that errs between legalization and decriminalization, navigating the marijuana industry has always been a challenging one to enter, especially for agencies and businesses alike.
Even a few years down the road, the marketing sector for cannabis industry remains a tangled mass not only of regulations and restrictions, but it also brings up various areas of confusion. The recent filing of marijuana businesses and dispensaries as ‘essential’ during such hard times also seemed to add more fuel to the fire.
There is no denying that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought upon disruptions in just about any country and industry. However, its disruptive effects were no doubt felt by the marijuana sector. It is, after all, still struggling to find and stand well on its feet, even years and months after a series of regulations and acceptance in various parts of the country.
Besides forcing the rest of the world to face an economic crisis of such heightened levels, the virus pandemic has also moved the retail industry to prove its adaptability and resilience. While some have suffered great losses and are forced to close shop, one of the more unsuspecting business sectors to have thrived is the marijuana industry.
While the trajectory of sales and even demand for the plant has greatly risen for various reasons, the question remains is how a cannabis marketing agency, as well as other similar businesses and dispensaries in the field, will successfully rework their way to a still-evolving landscape.
Changes Brought Upon by Covid-19 Pandemic
The pandemic and the strict lockdowns imposed in various parts of the globe have greatly contributed to the way cannabis marketing has changed. Prior to lockdowns and increased cases of the virus, there was a constant demand for travel-related content and even entertainment and lifestyle-centric articles.
The coming of the pandemic, it seemed, drove more people to gear their focus and efforts towards finding more health-related content, including the likes of the benefits and advantages of cannabis. This goes without saying that more individuals have also shifted their focus towards observing behaviors and protocols not only for their safety and wellness, but for the welfare of others as well.
With more individuals looking for cannabis-related content online, this creates an increased push for brands to boost its efforts not only towards marketing their products, but also educating people about what the drug offers and how it can further enrich the lives of people. By making this part of cannabis SEO campaigns, brands can further engage with their target audience while still providing much-needed answers to the public.
Changing Consumer and Retail Behaviors
The economic downturn has undoubtedly changed the lives of many people, some for the worse. In attempts to cope with the changing economic landscape, many people have turned to cannabis companies and dispensaries in times of need.
As a matter of fact, in just the early days of the virus pandemic, many states with legal cannabis and dispensaries have touted the marijuana sector as part of the essential businesses that will continue operations and open up shop.
Some states have even seen a rise in sales with up to 20 percent boom, according to Politico, as many Americans prepare to shelter at home during the lockdown. These 33 states include the likes of California, Colorado, Maryland, and many others. Denver even experienced a spike of around 120 percent after residents were led to believe that dispensaries in the state were going to be closed.
Consumer behavior has drastically changed along with the times, alongside their preferences and their modes of shopping. Apart from getting cannabis products in a more cost-effective and efficient way rather than physically going out, the reasons for purchasing marijuana products have also quite evolved.
Instead of the usual pain management and inflammatory issues, people who were using cannabis products were looking to help manage their psychological and emotional health, as well as manage stress and anxiety. This just shows the versatility of the drug and the breadth of what it can do.
To meet the increased demand for marijuana products, many dispensaries and business have hired more workers, including those displaced by the recent virus pandemic.
Marijuana Marketing in the New Normal
With the retail dynamic changing and cannabis retailers moving to adapt the new normal, one of the key movements that gained heavy traction is moving marijuana marketing towards a more digital landscape. To give customers and even workers their much-needed safety and protection, an e-commerce approach has been thrust at the center stage, now more than ever. Not only does this allow companies to streamline solutions that will work for them, but it also provides business owners and dispensaries alike to optimize their methods and see the pandemic in a new light.
Shift to an E-Commerce-Centric Approach
The move towards e-commerce platforms provided CBD marketing with a chance to flourish. Not only did it lend access to a wider audience, but it also paved the way for more cannabis consumers to gain a deeper introduction to the cannabis world by way of digital content and purchases.
E-commerce platforms certainly serve to market these products. However, these can also be used by businesses and agencies alike to promote cannabis SEO content accordingly. Apart from satisfying the curiosity and educational needs of consumers, businesses who leverage this type of approach also draw in more crowds with their targeted content in a more organic way.
By shifting towards e-commerce, more companies are able to grab the opportune moment not only to sell cannabis products, but also have the chance to lend more empathy and advice that come with selling these products as more individuals and consumers deal with the changing landscape as well.
With the shift towards e-commerce posing difficulties, especially to traditional brick-and-mortar stores, partnering with a cannabis marketing agency is more important than ever. These professionals can gauge the type of advertisements and SEO content strategy to increase traction and visibility online, especially now that many individuals are still being cautious about going outdoors.
By leveraging successful SEO campaigns and practices and employing these onto your platform, businesses in the sector can certainly thrive and get more conversions even while they adapt to a new normal in a pandemic.
Building a Larger Cannabis Business Social Network
Engagement and education remain at the forefront of building a great cannabis business social network. Of course, this should also take to heart SEO campaigns and what it tries to achieve so that it can remain successful in every sense of the word.
While many brands intend to communicate with their users and provide a more transparent approach to the business, the reality is that marijuana is still very a much a taboo, even on socially progressive spaces. Not only do people remain in the dark about its advantages and usage, but it also lacks awareness on the social sphere.
Because of this, creating content primarily focused on cannabis education, engagement, and awareness, all the while leveraging dedicated cannabis social networks, is the way to go. After all, this approach tends to drive more conversions as it strikes a personal chord within consumers as they are seen on another level, instead of being simply seen as consumers and potential clients that can make sales.
Although stunning visuals and graphics certainly make for appealing content on social media platforms, founder of Cannabis Cable TV Danny Keith states that without education surrounding cannabis products, individuals will remain ignorant about what the plant possesses.
With the right approach towards product awareness, brands can not only successfully advertise on social networking sites, but they can also get their foot in the door when it comes to spreading product awareness.
Apart from Facebook, Instagram is also a great way to publish news-related content and updates happening in the cannabis industry. Online events and conferences on Zoom and other similar platforms have also taken shape and this is just the start.
Adjusting Towards a New Landscape
Speaking of engagement in a new landscape, the emphasis on stay-at-home protocols as well as mask-wearing etiquette has changed the way retail businesses operate. This also goes hand-in-hand with the reduction of physical interactions with people, especially those working in dispensaries.
Businesses and brands having new safety protocols in place – such as increased sanitation inside stores, having delivery options or in-store or curbside pick-up, and even contactless payments – may have contributed to people’s new behavior when it comes to purchasing marijuana products and even with the number of visitors and customers a place of business gets.
Thankfully, with cannabis marketing adjusting to a new discipline, it has paved the way for digital audiences to still find their niche. Through communities, websites, and pages, audiences have the ability to connect with marketers not just in the country but around the world, making them have stronger relationships as they come to terms with the new normal.
The Bottom Line
Though the marijuana industry has been greatly affected by the virus pandemic, it has no doubt shown its resilience of the times. With this shift and emphasis on a digital scale, it appears that cannabis marketing can not only survive, but also thrive, amid such tumultuous times.