The marijuana industry has been experiencing a major paradigm shift over the past years. With legalizations of the plant for medical use to the decriminalization of possession and legalization of adult-use cannabis, the sector not only boomed economically but also in terms of its social standing. While misconceptions and stigma still exist especially among conservative groups, the mainstream reception of cannabis and infused products are rapidly becoming positive.
This is apparent in various media, including mainstream and social media, as well as other online avenues. Of course, it is reasonable to expect that underground avenues are generally more welcoming given that the plant has long been more accepted in countercultures.
With the thriving cannabis industries all over the world, there is no denying that the positive presentation of marijuana in more popular channels plays an important role in its success. Of all the avenues that portray the plant in a favorable light, digital marketing is actively changing the game for the industry.
Websites, in particular, are doing its part not only in boosting the mainstream presence of the plant but also in helping businesses reach their full potential.
Websites as a Digital Marketing Tool
Websites are an integral element of digital marketing or the practice of promoting and advertising products or services through digital channels. With websites, cannabis business owners can make their offerings more accessible to potential customers. Here’s why these sites are important:
Online Presence of the Company
One of the key points of maintaining a website is for the business to have an official online presence. Think of your site as the online counterpart of your brick-and-mortar location. This tool lets you manage your business in the wider arena of the internet. Complete with a company name, list of products and services and customer support avenues, your site becomes a virtual representation of your company.
Branding and Recall
Before you start your business, you have come up with an idea of what you want to offer and to whom you want to offer these products or services. From this, you decide on a name, a more specific target market, and a general idea of what you want your business to be known for. All these contribute to your business’ branding.
You take all these into account when you launch a physical location for your business. The same should apply to your website, especially as this will help cement your brand and name. From designing a user-friendly layout to the colors, texts, and images you publish, your site becomes the main reference for your brand.
One-Stop Resource for Customers
As mentioned, your site will contain valuable information about your business and offerings. But why stop there? You can shed some light on matters related to your business. For a cannabis business, you can use this opportunity to discuss realities and misconceptions about the plant and related products. Websites also offer an opportunity to establish your authority over the topic.
The Marijuana Industry at a Glance
Websites play a huge part in the marijuana industry’s success. The cannabis industry has spent millions on internet display advertising. In fact, its spending from 2017 to 2019 increased significantly, with recorded figures of $131.95 million (2017), $238.335 million (2018), and $370.274 million (2019). In fact, the sector spent the most on digital marketing.
Aside from this, the industry also spent a huge amount on marketing in general. The companies funneled $925 million in 2017, $1.133 billion in 2018, and a projected $2.26 billion in 2019 for marketing.
Allocating a huge chunk of their budget into marketing proves to be fruitful, especially with the help of the public’s clamor for such products. Sales of cannabis products jumped by 48% in 2019, bringing the total amount to $15 billion. The United States and Canada are two of the biggest contributors to this number. According to research, a huge chunk of revenues comes from the medical sector (71%) followed by adult recreational use with a revenue of $9.1 billion.
The global marijuana market value is also expected to reach more than $63 billion by 2024, with an expected marijuana sales growth rate of 853%. and $73.6 billion by 2027. This is a huge leap, especially with an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.1%.
Meanwhile, in regions where the plant is less popular, the status of the industry remains unstable. Africa is one of these regions. According to reports, the main source of revenues for the African marijuana sector is illegal cultivation in countries including Morocco. However, maximizing the economic potential of the plant through legalization could help the region generate $7.1 billion annually by 2023.
Experts say that South Africa can lead the way toward medical marijuana legalization. It is expected to generate $667 million for its potential medical market.
The Role of Websites in the Cannabis Industry Success
Seeing that marketing plays a role in the success of cannabis businesses, more and more companies are getting into this trend. The main thing about cannabis and marketing is that the industry remains to be widely shut out of traditional marketing platforms such as television and radio.
This is because many countries still have not legalized marijuana even for medical uses. In fact, even the United States still considers marijuana as a Schedule I drug, listed among heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. Some states even have rigid rules that limit the promotion and advertising of said products and services.
This may be a setback when it comes to maximizing all marketing avenues but for the industry, this is not that huge a hindrance. This is because the marijuana sector can use digital marketing. With the proper use of this avenue, companies can generate more revenues and attract more clients.
As mentioned, websites are an integral part of digital marketing for the marijuana sector. It does not only provide an online means to present their offerings, but also creates opportunities. One of these is by creating a strong and positive voice advocating for the plant. By publishing written, audio, audio-visual, and graphic contents shedding light on the applications and benefits of the plant, you are contributing to the conversation.
Moreover, websites present an opportunity not only to advertise but also to sell products. The majority of sites for focusing on cannabis have a built-in online store that lets visitors browse catalogs, place orders, and even make payments. Such a convenient option creates a great user experience, which is proven to boost revenues and sales.
Digital Marketing Tools that Go Well With Websites
While websites are proven to be useful in the success of marijuana businesses, it is important to remember that they can only do so much when it comes to attracting customers. After all, how will potential clients find your website among thousands of other businesses that have websites? The answer to this is an effective digital marketing strategy.
To create an efficient and successful campaign, you need to use other tools to complement your website. Here are some of the most useful ones:
The marketing world distinguishes website visitors from leads. Visitors are those who simply visit your site. They become leads when they show interest in buying or availing your offerings.
Because of this, it is important to design a lead generation plan that not only helps you identify potential customers but also cultivates a relationship with them. Some of the best practices to generate leads include using CRM software, creating interesting content, and live chat.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a great tool that can help you generate leads. Basically, this is the process of creating relevant, useful, and keyword-rich content that qualifies as high-quality content as per Google’s algorithm. The main goal of SEO is to have your webpages appear on the first page of search results.
To do this, you need to make sure that you use keywords that are usually keyed in by users when doing queries. For the cannabis industry, phrases such as “medical marijuana” and “marijuana dispensary” are often used in queries.
Social Media Marketing
To boost the potential of your website, as well as lead generation and SEO strategies, you might want to make sure of social media platforms to further promote your products and improve your branding. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter let you create accounts that you can use to post advertisements and get in touch with your customers.
Remember that social media is one of the most and widest used services on the internet, and your customers are likely to have an account in at least one of these platforms. With a social media account, you are making your business more accessible to existing and potential customers alike.
The Bottom Line
The cannabis industry is flourishing thanks to the help of the media and effective marketing through digital means. Websites, in particular, play a hand not only in the success of individual marijuana companies but also in the overall achievement of the cannabis industry in global and local markets. With the proactive approach business owners take with the help of website development companies, they are boosting income and helping in sparking positive conversations about the plant.