The recreational cannabis industry is growing at breakneck speed thanks to savvy visionaries. These early adopters who figure out how to get into the cannabis industry now will be leaders of the industry in the future.
Our partners have built amazing cannabis products but have had trouble figuring out how to properly market their brand.
This may be old news to you, but because the cannabis industry has not reached federally legal status, conventional marketing tactics that utilize nationally-syndicated platforms simply are well, illegal.
This means running ads on social media, Google, and television is extremely regulated. One bad turn could put your brand in serious jeopardy—which is the exact opposite of what we work hard do here at BRDG.
Our team shares this information with our current and incoming clients who are in the trenches of building a cannabis brand from scratch, so figured we’d share it with you as well.
1. Know the law
Learn about the recreational marijuana laws in your state. Don’t mess around with this one.
It should go without saying, but even with years of experience running a successful brand or conducting brilliant marketing campaigns, you have never encountered anything quite like the cannabis industry.
Your meteoric rise can quickly turn into your meteoric demise with one wrong move, so learn the law and play by the rules.
2. Have a business plan
After you understand the law, come up with a business plan which should include general concepts and basic strategies for what you’ll sell, how you’ll sell it, and who you’ll be selling to.
Whether you’re starting a plant-touching business such as:
Or you’re starting an ancillary business that focuses on something related to cannabis but not directly involved with growing it or selling it to consumers such as:
- Marketing for cannabis companies
- Legal work for the cannabis industry
- Financial/accounting work for the cannabis industry,
- Data platforms or tech-related services for the cannabis industry
- Almost any B2B service that can be performed for cannabis industry clients
Have some concepts in your mind for a company/brand name, what kind of business you’ll operate, how you’ll find new customers, and how you’ll conduct day to day business operations.
There are lots of different opportunities to make money in a new and growing industry like recreational cannabis.
3. Get to know your target customer(s) beyond cannabis.
As with any product or service, your job is to provide a solution or memorable experience for a very specific reason.
Your customers are people with a variety of interests and perspectives. As a marketer, it is important for you to seamlessly seep into your target’s world and provide value every time they engage with your product.
The way you do that? Build empathy for what your customer cares about with or without your product.
Products are very important but they’re only a small part of the equation of what makes people want to buy from you.
Consider other angles you can connect to your target audience with that aren’t directly focused on your product itself.
4. Establish a strong digital presence
These days if your business isn’t online, in many ways it doesn’t truly exist. Especially in a post-covid world that has shifted a lot of our business and social activity into the online sphere.
Having a strong digital presence allows you to reach exponentially more potential customers and it also enables people who are looking for cannabis-related products to find you more easily.
Being able to bring in inbound leads is crucial in the cannabis industry since traditional advertising is restricted by the law.
Social media marketing and being active online can make or break your business in 2020. There are businesses that have built all of their success on the back of digital marketing efforts.
5. Create video and audio content at scale
Video and audio content can be key for areas for brands to invest in.
As the internet matures, and consumer behavior mature with it, it’s getting more difficult to gain and keep people’s attention online.
The algorithms say what the people say—video and audio are far more engaging than static images.
It may sound daunting, but we’ve got a hack for you that can get you several hours (or TONS of 20-second clips) of high-value content. Play the game like 82% of web traffic by 2022 depends on it.
Start creating content at scale if you want to take advantage of the internet and digital marketing’s ability to reach an exponential number of people.
6. Make the data work for you
You don’t have to navigate blindly when it comes to your business.
You can take advantage of 3rd-party data and data you have yourself from your own analytics to inform your business decisions and how you approach your potential customers.
Take a look at any significant trends whether they’re product or demographic-based, pay attention to particularly successful or unsuccessful products, and analyze the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns as examples of practical ways of using data.
Even though the cannabis industry is super bright-eyed and green (ha!), there is both a ton of data available and a ton of data your brand can capture to make informed decisions about how to engage your customers and prospects.
7. Show up at the top of Google searches
If you’re anything like us, you Google pretty much everything. Have you tried Googling something specific about cannabis?
Chances are you were underwhelmed by what you found. This is a huge opportunity, cannabis marketer!
Fill those gaps (and rank highly in search engines) to drive a ton of traffic to your page. If you are a dispensary or local service provider, SEO is crucial.
From your homepages and landing pages to your blog content and product pages, you’ll want to make sure they’re optimized for organic search traffic as part of building a strong digital presence.
8. Develop relationships with cultural leaders
Can you come up with a community or culture that doesn’t have a vibrant cannabis subculture? We tried, to no avail. This (presumed) fact serves as a massive opportunity for the bold marketer.
Find your brand’s niche and build relationships with the cultural icons in that niche.
You can fast track the hassle of trying to build your own community from scratch when you partner with the ones who drive culture.
9. Do good business
You’ve done you’re planning, you’ve done your strategy, and now it’s time to execute. Start marketing and selling your products and giving your customers what they want, when they want it.
Make sure your customer service and consumer experience are top-notch so customers remember you and keep coming back.
Business is about more than just marketing and selling. It’s also about customer retention.
The buyer’s journey can be said to go from:
- Action (conversion)
Conversion isn’t the final step. Making a sale isn’t the end of the ideal buyer’s journey, you want to keep selling repeatedly to that customer.
10. Speak and act on the social justice issues of the cannabis industry
Legal cannabis is AMAZING and has so many health benefits, right? This seemingly “brand new phenomenon” was built on the backs of millions of marginalized communities across our country.
While many states have taken measures to expunge non-violent drug offenders, there are several opportunities untapped with regards to rehabilitation and even awareness.
The conversation is just getting started and you have an opportunity to position your brand as a leader in human rights advocacy.
We cannot move forward without acknowledging the past.
Starting a cannabis business and figuring out how to get into the cannabis industry can be a realistic goal for lots of people these days, and the opportunities will only continue to grow over time.
As more states legalize and the country gets closer to federal legalization, the cannabis industry will boom in value.