Let’s face it, marijuana has been popular in the United States for a long time. The only thing that changed over the past years is that state laws are becoming more accepting of the plant. Because of the wide popularity of marijuana combined with full and partial legalization in many states, more and more businesses are popping up across the country, even abroad.
The good thing about the cannabis market is that there is a strong demand for such products. Medical marijuana patients in different states will continue to use MMJ for their chronic and debilitating conditions and symptoms. Recreational users in fully legal states are likely to remain consumers. So, there are plenty of customers to go around.
What can drive more customers to a particular business is their marketing strategy. In the cannabis industry, an effective campaign can spell the difference between one business from others. Know more about unique ways to develop and improve their marijuana marketing strategy.
Cannabis in the Time of the Pandemic
One thing that needs to be emphasized when talking about the cannabis business and marketing is the fact that we are in the middle of a pandemic. Various economic sectors needed to adjust to operate and make their goods and services accessible. Such changes are expected to remain even after the pandemic, as we enter the new normal.
So, how is the marijuana sector during this public health crisis, especially with the economic and social challenges it caused? What you need to know is that the industry was impacted by various restrictions such as limitations in the number of visitors at any given time, protocols, and even curfews.
The good news is some state governments enacted emergency rules to provide safe access to marijuana during these trying times. Some now allow curbside pickups and deliveries, telemedicine, and extension on medical marijuana card validities.
What’s more, is that cannabis sales continue to rack up even during the pandemic. According to Forbes, legal sales in the United States reached a record-high of $117.5 billion in 2020, showing a 46% surge compared to 2019 numbers. These sales are attributed to adult-use consumers with chunks of sales from Colorado with $2.24 billion (increased by 26%), Oregon with $1.1 billion (29%), and Illinois, a new market, with more than $1 billion. California holds the highest contribution with $3.5 billion.
Cannabidiol is also a huge booster for the industry, especially as it has now been removed from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) Controlled Substances Scheduling. Statista revealed that the US saw a tremendous increase in CBD sales from 2019 to 2020. The total CBD sales in 2019 are $845 million, which jumped to $1.198 billion in 2020.
These numbers are seen as favorable by leaders of state governments, especially because of a time of economic crisis. Many states considered legalizing marijuana to generate more tax revenues in order to pay state debts.
Plus, the sector is simply a revenue generator. According to Fool.com, California is the biggest earner when in 2020 with a marijuana tax revenue of $1,031,879,926, followed by Washington with $469,2000,000, Colorado with $387,480,110, and Oregon with $133,150,349.
Innovative Opportunities in Cannabis
The marijuana sector does not only refer to retailers who sell products such as joints and flowers, especially in states where weed is legal. Instead, it is composed of a lot of direct and indirect businesses that help cannabis plants reach consumers.
Entrepreneurs can go for direct cannabis businesses such as crop cultivation, product manufacturing, and selling. They can also choose to be an indirect service or goods provider for cannabis businesses. Some of the indirect options can include software, hardware, and logistics providers.
Given this, those who are thinking of joining the industry have a lot of opportunities to grab. The only thing they need to do is to pick one that suits their resources the most, create a business plan around their selection, and make a marketing strategy that can push them to success.
Creating a Unique Cannabis Marketing Campaign
A business’ marketing strategy plays a huge role in its potential for success. In fact, a marketing and sales plan is a vital part of a business plan. The few facts and figures mentioned above give entrepreneurs an overview of the market, something they can use to develop and improve their campaign. Here are some tips and techniques you should look into.
Capitalize on CBD
CBD marketing is a good way to boost their sales, especially because hemp-derived CBD was removed from the Schedule 1 list and moved to Schedule 5, and was ultimately removed from the Scheduling thanks to the medicinal benefits backed by scientific and anecdotal evidence.
More and more people are turning to CBD as a natural way to address pain, inflammation, and fatigue, as well as enhance their mood and cognition. Statista expects US CBD sales for 2021 to be $1.615 billion and is projected to spike to $1.918 billion in 2022.
Entrepreneurs can consider focusing on CBD, whether they want to enter cultivation, production, and retail.
For its marketing, owners should capitalize on the therapeutic properties of the cannabinoid. However, they should be careful not to include unfounded claims. They should also be mindful of regulations regarding content, testing, and labelling.
Improve Your Branding
Upon deciding on a product or service, another important part of a business plan that has a huge impact on the marketing approach is branding. Branding is a part of marketing composed of practices that help shape the business’ brand. It is focused on defining what the company is and influencing what it means for its target market.
Your brand is composed of various elements such as visual aspects or brand identity, name, message, and market image. It is essentially what invokes feelings in customers and what they feel about the brand.
Making changes in the branding strategy can help make businesses stand out, especially in an industry that is rapidly gaining traction. Businesses can focus on reinforcing their messaging, identity, and other elements, or reframe what they currently have.
Focus on Content and SEO
Content is a huge part of marketing, including branding. Posting on social media, for example, contributes not only to strengthening the brand but also in converting the target market from simple audience to customer.
Generating and posting content is a great way to attract potential customers who are looking for a cannabis company to transact with. Say, a customer from Washington, DC is looking for a dispensary near them. Their first step to finding one is to ask Google using keywords like “dispensaries near me” or “marijuana stores in DC.” You want to make sure that they find your website or social media accounts through this process.
Content plays a role in achieving this with the help of search engine optimization (SEO). This is the process of optimizing a website for Google’s algorithm in order to rank high in search engine results. This is how customers typically find businesses and entrepreneurs should capitalize on this.
Cannabis SEO consists of using marijuana-related keywords and including them in metadata such as meta descriptions, page names, URLs, and even domain names. These keywords can also be baked into content, especially articles and blogs. Images and videos embedded on pages should have file names, titles, or URLs bearing the keywords.
Build an Affiliate Network
Marijuana SEO is not limited to optimizing the business’ website. One integral part of it is affiliate marketing. In SEO, a site’s ranking influences the likelihood of its appearance in search engine results. The rank is determined by the site’s compliance with Google’s SEO standards, popularity, and trustworthiness.
The rank can be increased by making improving the site’s authority on its focus domain or domain authority. SEO affiliate marketing can help with this. What entrepreneurs need to do is to get in touch with owners of high-authority websites and convincing them to post content created by the entrepreneur complete with keywords and cannabis backlinks.
To make it clear, backlinks or inbound links are hyperlinks placed in posts published in another website going back to the entrepreneur’s website. Think of it as a referral system through posts and clicks. Visitors and customers of a high-authority site who click on an affiliate post are essentially “referred” by the aforementioned site.
These clicks are very important in SEO. Having an affiliate network where a business can post content with backlinks to their business site can increase the likelihood of appearing in search results.
Utilize Cannabis Directories
One way to gain such an advantage is to register to cannabis directories. There are a lot of websites dedicated to compiling businesses, their websites, and other information about them to make it easier for customers and clients to find service or goods providers.
Running a cannabis business can be a good idea with a well-thought-out business plan complete with an effective marketing strategy. Those who are unsure how to bring out the potential of their marijuana business should consult a cannabis marketing agency.