The cannabis industry is booming! And in 2022, we can expect to see the rise of more companies. But, if you’re a cannabis business owner, then you probably know the struggles that come with marketing a cannabis business online—ensuring compliance, trying not to get your website shut down, and even attempting to stay competitive.
Succeeding in this world of competitive internet marketing is indeed a lot of hard work. Keeping up with marketing and abiding by federal laws is not easy. In fact, most companies that do their own internet marketing without proper knowledge end up losing their money.
In these times when money is hard to earn, we need to be very careful of how we spend it, so I made this article about the best digital marketing strategy for cannabis businesses.
This article will discuss everything you need to know about the top digital marketing strategies for cannabis companies that will give you a better insight into how to start.
How Internet Marketing & Cannabis SEO Can Help Businesses in the Legal Marijuana Industry
Is cannabis SEO really that important? This is a question posed far too often by cannabis business owners across the US. But, before we explain the importance of implementing cannabis SEO into your marketing campaign let’s take a look at a few common frustrations a business in the legal cannabis industry may face.
Cannabis is a highly regulated industry and on a federal level. It is considered a Schedule Class I drug, this in itself makes marketing a legal marijuana company a difficult task. An online cannabis business be it a cannabis dispensary or CBD company will struggle to utilize traditional marketing tactics like a paid advertisement as social media platforms—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter—are governed by federal law.
Now, we know what you’re thinking—can I market my cannabis dispensary through a Google Ads Campaign? Not quite! Similar to social media platforms, Google abides by federal law thus prohibiting any form of cannabis marketing.
So if paid advertisementing is not the most economical option for marketing a cannabis company then what do you do? You optimize your website to build a powerful and trustworthy brand on search engines.
If you’re a business owner entering the digital space, then you’ve probably heard about the dreaded term ‘Search Engine Optimization.’ We get it; understanding and implementing an SEO strategy for a cannabis company can seem overwhelming and, worst of all, an unnecessary expense. But, with more buyers flocking to Google for information and reviews about the latest CBD product or trend, SEO can become a matter of life and death for a company.
Now, Search Engine Optimization is an umbrella term that incorporates multiple sub-strategies. It is a crucial part of any cannabis marketing campaign as it strives to boost brand visibility, brand awareness, and most importantly build trust amongst a subset of the audience. According to recently published SEO stats, on a global level Google accounts for over 70% of all desktop searches. Now, that’s a lot of traffic to tap into! As we’ve discussed above, opting to generate traffic and brand awareness through paid advertising is not the most economical way to increase traffic and revenue. This in itself, is enough of a reason to start implementing organic search engine optimization. We often refer to organic search results as the ‘natural’ listings. These natural search results sit below the paid ads and may be labeled as 1,2, 3, or 4. The numbers allocated to each website under a particular organic search result thus denotes the position or rank on Google.
So, why is it important to rank cannabis companies to rank on Google?
- Build a presence on Google: The equation is simple! Website relevance, supporting links, and reliability are vital variables determining how well Google trusts your website. These are just some of the key components that a cannabis SEO will consider when optimizing your business for Google.
- Create a trustworthy brand: To build brand awareness and trust cannabis SEO experts will incorporate other modalities of marketing one of which includes content marketing. As opposed to promoting a cannabis business through traditional means, most cannabis content marketing strategies will focus on educating a target audience about the industry.
- Compete with your competition: There are plenty of cannabis companies competing for a position on the first page of Google. When it comes to dispensary advertising and cannabis marketing, an experienced cannabis SEO will know the tricks needed to help you compete with your competition.
- Ranking high will increase site traffic: A trustworthy brand with an excellent brand story will rank high on search engines. And, when search engines like Google trust your website, they will increase their position relative to other competing sites. This will indefinitely boost traffic and conversion rates.
Pro’s & Con: Cannabis SEO Vs. Paid Advertisements
Paid advertising for a cannabis business is perhaps one of the most common concerns a cannabis entrepreneur may encounter. But, unfortunately, digital marketing for cannabis companies or even dispensaries isn’t as accessible, you may think! And this is because cannabis is still classed as a Schedule I drug on the federal level. So, the big question remains—what are the paid advertising options for a cannabis company.
First, let’s look at what precisely digital marketers mean by paid advertising. Paid advertisement or PPC (pay-per-click) is a common tactic digital marketers use to improve search visibility, traffic, and conversion on a website. However, it’s also important to note that this form of advertising comes in many forms, including Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.
Pro’s of PPC
- The most significant benefit to paid advertising is that you’re going to get a higher return-of-investment when compared to SEO.
- If implemented correctly, business owners may see a surge of traffic to their websites.
Con’s of PPC
- Paid advertisement is a lot more expensive, especially in the short run.
- Cannabis companies are not allowed to promote their products on platforms that comply with federal regulations.
Above we discussed how cannabis SEO is an excellent tool for cannabis and dispensary marketing. But, how does it stand against PPC for cannabis companies?
Pro’s of Cannabis SEO
- When implemented correctly cannabis SEO strategies can bring in sustainable traffic that converts.
- In the long run, cannabis SEO will provide a greater ROI.
Con’s of Cannabis SEO
- Search engine algorithms change, which means SEO tactics must evolve. You may rank high for a specific search query for a few months and then get beaten out by a competitor.
- Traffic doesn’t come overnight: It takes time to build an optimized website and you might think that your SEO marketing tactic isn’t working.
How Dispensary Advertising can Use Content Marketing for Cannabis Companies
There’s no question about it; the cannabis industry is highly regulated. Yet, despite this, it is an industry that is expected to grow by up to 22% (over $35 billion) by the end of 2022. With tons of cannabis and CBD companies competing for first place, creating brand awareness and trust becomes all the more challenging.
Cannabis content marketing is another pillar of digital marketing that aims to build brand awareness through the power of words. In this industry, words will be your most powerful tool. Staying compliant with FDA regulations, keeping creative, and knowing the industry is only a few of the skills attributed to a cannabis content strategist.
When creating brand awareness for a cannabis company, a cannabis content strategist will take a more creative approach. Rather than market a product, a content strategist will use a variety of tactics to educate their target audience in this regulated industry, education and creativity of our utmost importance as this alone will boost brand awareness.
Check out our in-depth article for more information on boosting traffic through cannabis content marketing!
Quick Tips and Tricks For Cannabis Digital Marketing
So, you’re ready to dive into cannabis marketing! But, where do you start? To help you get started, we shared some of our most effective tips and tricks to help you begin the journey of implementing cannabis digital marketing strategies that don’t involve paid ads.
Tip #1) Know Your User’s Persona: Before you begin your cannabis SEO strategy, it’s essential to understand who your primary target is and what their personas are.
Tip #2) Unique Selling Proposition: As the industry flourishes, the competition gets tough. Ask yourself, what makes your cannabis business different from your competitors? What are the main features of your product you wish to promote? What story does your brand want to tell?
Tip #3) Stay up to date with the cannabis dispensary trends! There’s a push to legalize cannabis at a federal level. As more states legalize marijuana, we see the rise of cannabis dispensaries. Staying on top of the latest trend, i.e., best cannabis strain for 2022, most flavorful weed strain, will help define your presence in this competitive industry.
There’s no doubt about it; the cannabis industry—although rising, is indeed a highly regulated market. And with more companies expected to emerge, things will get competitive. Today, cannabis digital marketing agencies utilize organic SEO and content marketing as their primary digital marketing strategy. SEO and content marketing for a cannabis business is a skillful task that requires industry knowledge, a creative eye, and of course, an agency skilled in the art of marketing a cannabis company.