As we brink on an evolution of mainstream cannabis integration and regulatory conception, brands are taking notice of the opportunities, and working to step up their cannabis marketing strategy. At such a pivotal point, now is the time to take stock of your position and goals, and see if your message matches the mark. It’s well known that nothing comes easily in the cannabis industry, but with a little direction and creativity, building your cannabis brands awareness isn’t impossible.
For consumers wading into the waters of the cannabis market for the first time, there is one factor that will continually rise to the top in their consideration process – trust. Although there are dozens of other factors that go into building a brand, when it comes down to a buying decision trust is likely the most critical factor. It can however be hard to build. Building a likable, accessible, even engaging brand is one thing, but to convince the consumer that your cannabis brand is who you say you are comes down to conveying quality, safety and consistency.
Smart cannabis brands are leveraging this by marketing their brand around this message. Gone are the days of rasta colours, homemade bong tutorials, and general stoner stigmas. Trusted cannabis brand messaging and imagery now focus on healing, wellness and balanced lifestyle. Brands that can convey these messages are the ones that will rise to the top.
With edibles only a short time away until legally available in Canada, cannabis consumers are going to begin to test new ways of incorporating cannabis in to their lives. For many the thought of smoking and vaping can seem harsh, so exploring more lifestyle friendly options will see more brands shifting from dispensary counter experiences to marketing lifestyle applicable integrations. Cannabis brands ability to create products that fit consumers lifestyles will find more success than those working off the old menu of spliffs and bongs. It will take time to clear the stigmas associated with cannabis built over the years, so for those consumers looking to test the waters, providing options that are less conspicuous and provide benefits to their lifestyle will see greater success.
3. Partnerships And Multi-brand Holdings
Strategic partnerships are growing in popularity as a way for companies to expedite their growth, and this holds true for the cannabis market as well. Perhaps the most well-known example of this Tweed and Bedrcocan, now known as Canopy Growth Corporation. Now, it’s not likely that your company’s strategic partnership will turn the cannabis market on it’s head as Canopy did, but it doesn’t mean it’s not an option worth exploring. Finding other similar sized complimentary cannabis companies looking to grow can prove very fruitful for your cannabis marketing strategy. Cannabis companies that do their research may find that with the right partner they’ll benefit from extended market reach, which means access to new customers and revenue channels. Finding the right partner can be the first step toward deeper market penetration within your target audience, without the months of build time.
As many cannabis brands have experienced, traditional marketing channels like Google Ads and Facebook are not very easy, if not impossible given all the advertising regulations. That is why SEO for cannabis marketing is key! Being able to rank in the top positions for keywords that drive your business is essential for continued growth. According to a recent study by Advanced Web Ranking, if your business is in the top three positions of the search results page, the click through rate is 30%! This is perhaps the area of greatest opportunity for cannabis marketing, but it can often be overlooked as it is a long term strategy that takes time to build.
So how can you begin your cannabis SEO strategy? The LiT Agency located in Squamish recommends starting with an in-depth keyword analysis and identifying terms that will drive good volume and tie well with your product goals. From there you can begin to develop content that supports those terms. Aside from content, there are many other SEO tactics they recommend including gaining additional visibility by creating and maintaining a solid Google My Business Profile, as this shows at the top of the search results page. Lastly, there are many factors on your website itself that can deter Google from indexing and penalize your rankings. To see if your website measures up, you can test your Cannabis companies SEO here.
Many cannabis brands get discouraged by all of the restrictions around online advertising that they overlook staple channels like billboards, print ads, and other channels like podcasts or speaking that can build a brand’s visibility. Now, of course, there are still limitations to what you can communicate, so don’t get too excited, no pricing, distribution, appeal to youth, so on and so forth, but when marketing cannabis brands, you need to get creative. Aim to pique interest and have your audience remember your name to type into Google. The more that you can do this, the more you will not only continue to grow your awareness but the more that Google will begin to see your brand as a trustworthy entity. This will give you big SEO points and benefit you in search results.
Growth is a real possibility now, bi-coastal, bi-country, the cannabis market is evolving and brands need to keep pace with it or fear being left behind by the new and thirsty.