High Time for Cannabis Marketing: Expert Tips and Strategies

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Cannabis marketing experts and business owners, listen up! It’s high time to step up your game and take advantage of the rapidly growing industry. 

With more states legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use, competition is fierce but so are the opportunities. 

Cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States and it shows no signs of slowing down. 

The global legal cannabis industry was valued at $16.7 billion in 2022. It’s projected to reach $21 billion in 2023. 

With a leading revenue share of 78.8%, North America dominated the legal market in 2022. 

That said, marijuana remains federally illegal, so marketers must be careful not to run afoul of the law.

The key to success lies in effective cannabis marketing strategies that can elevate your brand above the rest.

From social media tactics to influencer partnerships, this guide provides expert tips on how to market cannabis products effectively and efficiently. 

So roll up your sleeves and get ready to learn from the best in the biz!

A still-life photograph featuring an unlit joint and a marijuana leaf gracefully arranged on top of a magazine resting on a coffee table. The joint is neatly rolled and awaiting ignition, while the marijuana leaf exhibits its characteristic shape and rich green hues. The image conveys a sense of anticipation and invites contemplation of cannabis culture and its associated relaxation.

Key Takeaways

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Before Marketing Your Cannabis Business

Marketing a cannabis business can be tricky due to strict regulations.

When it comes to developing an effective sales strategy, there are a few key things to keep in mind:

Define Your Goals and Objectives

What do you want to achieve with your cannabis marketing campaign? Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, or generate sales? 

Define specific marketing objectives that are measurable, attainable, and time-bound. Your marketing goals should also support and complement your broader business strategy.

Identify Your Unique Value Proposition

A strong and unique value proposition is crucial for cannabis companies to stand out. 

Do your research and find out what makes your company different from the rest. Determine your brand’s unique advantages and the benefits your intended audience values.

Use customer feedback and insights to identify what sets your brand apart and how you can improve your offering.

Prioritize Ethics and Responsibility

As the legal industry grows, your brand should prioritize ethics and responsibility in cannabis marketing by:

  • Being transparent about your sources.
  • Educating your customers on cannabis, its effects, and responsible consumption.
  • Using responsible messaging.
  • Supporting social responsibility initiatives through partnerships or donations.

This will help build trust and credibility with your audience.

Define and Research Your Target Market

Who are you trying to reach with your cannabis marketing campaigns? 

Medical or recreational users? Patients or caregivers? Adults or teenagers? 

Narrowing down your potential customer base will help you create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns.

Once you’ve defined your target market, ask questions such as:

  • What do they like? 
  • What do they dislike? 
  • What are their buying habits? 

The more you know about your target market, the easier it’ll be to create a cannabis marketing campaign that appeals to them.

Identify Target Demographics

When it comes to targeting cannabis consumers, there are a few key demographics to keep in mind:

  • Age: The majority of cannabis consumers are between the ages of 21 and 34. They’re the most likely to be open-minded about trying new products and brands.
  • Location: Make sure you’re targeting consumers in states where cannabis is legal. Focus your efforts on the areas you service.
  • Interests: Some people may be interested in trying cannabis for recreational purposes, while others may prefer it for medicinal purposes. Knowing what interests your target audience will help you create more effective messaging.

Conduct a Competitor Analysis

A competitor analysis helps you understand what other businesses are doing well, and where there might be opportunities for you to improve.

Here are some tips to raise the bar of your cannabis marketing efforts:

  • Identify your competition: Look at businesses that offer similar products or services, and consider both direct and indirect competitors.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses: Evaluate your competitors’ pricing, distribution channels, and marketing strategies to identify gaps and areas where you can differentiate your brand.
  • Analyze your findings: What opportunities do you see for your business? Use this information to create a competitive advantage for your business.

By taking the time to conduct a competitor analysis, you’ll gain valuable insights that’ll help improve your cannabis marketing strategy.

Perform Customer Surveys

Surveys can be an effective way to gather feedback about your cannabis products and services, as well as gauge customer satisfaction levels.

Focus on questions that provide valuable insights into your customers’ needs and preferences. 

Some examples of survey questions include:

  • What drew you to our cannabis business?
  • What do you think of our products/services?
  • How likely are you to recommend our products/services to others?
  • What can we do to improve your experience with our products/services?
  • What other types of cannabis products/services would you be interested in?

Take the time to understand what your customers want to create effective cannabis marketing campaigns that are more likely to lead to conversions.

Conduct a Market Analysis

Once you’ve identified and researched your target audience and competitors, it’s time to analyze the market. 

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Identify the size of the market, its potential growth rate, and its major players: Research your target audience’s needs and trends that drive their behavior.
  • Determine opportunities and threats: Evaluate the potential demand for your offering and any barriers to entry. Assess the regulatory and legal environment, and any other external factors that may impact the market.
  • Pinpoint your key marketing channels: Will you use traditional advertising channels like print or radio? Or will you focus on digital channels like social media or search engine optimization?

Conducting a market analysis is an ongoing process. 

Continuously monitor the cannabis market, its trends, and its players to adapt your strategies accordingly. 

Create Buyer Personas

With a good understanding of your target market, you can begin to narrow down who your ideal customer is. 

By creating buyer personas, you can get a better sense of what motivates your target customers and what challenges they face. This information will help you develop more targeted cannabis marketing campaigns.

Consider demographics, such as age, gender, location, and income level. You should also think about their psychographics, such as their interests, lifestyle, and values.

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Cannabis businesses are fighting for market share in a rapidly growing industry. 

So how do you differentiate yourself from the crowded marketplace, stand out from the competition, and build customer loyalty? 

Here’s how to develop your brand for success in all of your cannabis marketing efforts:

  • Consider what your target audience wants in a brand to develop a personality that resonates with them.
  • Be transparent about what you do and why you do it. Your audience wants to know that you’re true to your word and that you stand behind the products and services you offer. 
  • Keep your messaging consistent across all of your cannabis marketing channels. This builds trust and credibility with your audience, which is essential for brand success.
  • Share the story of how your company started, what drives you, and what makes you unique. This humanizes your cannabis brand and makes it more relatable to your audience.
  • Stand out from the crowd with simple, striking, and memorable visual elements. Invest in professional photography and graphic design to make a positive impression.
  • Be concise and to-the-point so people understand and easily remember your brand and its story.
  • Create a unique brand story that sets you apart from your competitors and highlights any special traits.
  • Evoke emotion to make people feel something—whether it’s happiness, excitement, inspiration, or anything else.

Cannabis Marketing: Create a Winning Strategy

Digital marketing, SEO, and performance based marketing solutions have come a long way in the highly-regulated cannabis industry. But there’s still room for improvement. 

To help marijuana businesses stand out in a crowded market, we asked marketers and advertising experts to share their top tips and strategies.

Here’s how to create a winning strategy to market your cannabis products effectively:

Use Cannabis Advertising to Your Advantage

Most online platforms don’t typically accept ads for cannabis or related products. 

That said, there are a few exceptions. 

Here’s a brief overview of each major platform’s stance on cannabis advertising:

Cannabis Advertising on Google

According to Google’s updated Ads policies, adverts for certain FDA-approved products containing cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp-derived CBD topicals are permitted in specific regions. 

However, Google’s policies are strict and any ads promoting CBD-based products like inhalants, supplements, or food additives remain disallowed.

Some companies employ eyebrow-raising tactics like scrubbing all cannabis-related keywords and phrases from their Google ad copy and website. 

They use alternative search terms and images, or they run their cannabis ads aggressively before Google shuts them down.

If you’re looking to build a strong online presence and drive organic traffic to your website, tactics like these aren’t a good idea. 

Rather focus on cannabis SEO (search engine optimization) and other marketing strategies listed below.

Cannabis Advertising on Facebook and Instagram

Meta allows ads for hemp products but not tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD, or other goods with similar cannabinoids. 

On platforms like Facebook and Instagram, cannabis marketing for such products is only permitted in Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Compliance with the local laws is a must, though.

Cannabis Advertising on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s advertising guidelines prohibit the promotion of “drugs or related products” but the general consensus is that it’s not as strict as other platforms.

Give your LinkedIn ad the best chance of getting approved. Refrain from using ad copy or images of cannabis, consumption, or related products. 

If your ad gets rejected, you can always make some changes and resubmit it for approval.

Cannabis Advertising on Twitter

In February 2023, Twitter updated its advertising guidelines to allow limited cannabis marketing in Canada and US states where it’s legal. The following conditions also apply:

  • Authorized CBD and THC businesses can advertise their brands and provide cannabis-related content. 
  • Such ads can’t depict cannabis use nor sell or promote marijuana products, with the exception of hemp-derived CBD topicals with less than 0.3% THC.
  • Cannabis companies must comply with any applicable laws and regulations regarding such advertising.

While restrictive, marketing your cannabis business on Twitter is an untapped avenue that can significantly expand your reach.

Programmatic Advertising: An Effective Alternative

Programmatic advertising is among the most effective sales strategies in the cannabis industry. It uses automated bidding systems to allow the purchase and sale of digital ad inventory in real-time. 

This technology enables cannabis marketers to target specific audiences and optimize ad performance with data-driven strategies by acquiring online, streaming, video, and voice ad slots. 

Programmatic advertising is an extremely effective alternative to major platforms like Facebook and Google Ads. 

It allows local businesses to reach cannabis consumers thanks to countless high-traffic mainstream sites like USA Today, ESPN, and Newsweek that accept ad buys for cannabis products.

Be Mindful of Cannabis Marketing on Social Media

As you’ve seen, paid search ads directly promoting cannabis are prohibited by most social media and major online platforms. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t leverage digital marketing on social media.

It’s one of the most powerful tools that your brand can use to reach your target audience through creative, educational, and meaningful cannabis content—despite the restrictions.

With over 2 billion active users on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter, social media can help you:

  • Build relationships with customers and followers: These connections can be leveraged to promote brand loyalty and advocacy. 
  • Share your story and connect with customers on a more personal level: This nurtures trust and credibility with potential customers.
  • Track customer engagement and understand what resonates with your audience: By analyzing likes, comments, shares, and other interactions, you’ll gain valuable insights to adjust your cannabis marketing strategy accordingly.

That said, here are a few tips for using social media successfully:

Cannabis Marketing on Social Media: The Dos and Don’ts

Keep the following in mind when using platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and the like:

DO:

  • Grow your audience with fresh, relevant, and educational cannabis content.
  • Consistently engage the community with interesting, informative, and attention-grabbing posts and comments.
  • Use visuals to break up your text and make it more captivating. Utilize images, infographics, or videos on your social media platforms.
  • Use call-to-actions (CTAs) to encourage reader engagement. Add links or buttons that motivate readers to take action, such as subscribing to your newsletter or following you on social media.
  • Indicate that your content is for users over 21 years old and comply with any other  social media guidelines.

DON’T:

  • Directly advertise or promote your cannabis products in social media posts, including in your captions, hashtags, images, or videos.
  • Use pictures or other media depicting your cannabis products or consumption in any form.
  • List your marijuana-related products or prices.
  • Use explicit CTAs like “visit,” “buy,” find,” or “try” in reference to your offerings. 
  • Depict or imply cannabis consumption in any form.

Social media posts with commercial intentions may be interpreted as advertising by users, competitors, or regulators. 

Follow the same standards you do with paid advertising and focus on educational content, engaging the community, and building connections.

Bonus Tip: Leverage Infographics and Educational Materials

Infographics are a visually appealing way to communicate complex information, and they can be shared easily across social media and other channels. 

Educational materials help to build trust and credibility with your audience by providing valuable, unbiased information about cannabis and your products.

When creating these content types, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep it simple: Infographics should be easy to understand at a glance. Use clear visuals and concise text to communicate your message.
  • Be creative: Take advantage of the visual medium by being creative with your design. Use colors, shapes, and images to make your infographic stand out.
  • Make it shareable: Include social sharing buttons on your infographic so that viewers can share it with their networks. You can also embed your infographic on your website.
  • Promote your brand: Use your logo and color elements in your infographic designs to reinforce your brand identity.

Infographics and educational content are vital to your social media efforts. 

But they’re also useful in other aspects of your cannabis marketing strategy, like email campaigns. 

Promote Your Brand With Cannabis Email Marketing

Email marketing has a return on investment (ROI) of 3,200%. That’s an average return of $32 for every $1 spent! 

It’s a critical part of any successful cannabis marketing strategy. If you want to get the most out of your email campaigns, implement these best practices:

  • Keep your list clean: Regularly delete inactive subscribers and remove bounced email addresses to improve deliverability.
  • Segment your list: Break down your subscribers into smaller groups based on interests, demographics, or purchase history. More targeted, relevant messages are more likely to convert.
  • Personalize your messages: Use subscriber data to add a personal touch to your emails. Include their first name in the subject line or send tailored recommendations based on past purchases.
  • Use automated emails based on triggers such as sign-ups, purchases, or website activity: This allows you to stay top-of-mind with your subscribers without having to manually send each email yourself.
  • Experiment to see what works best for your audience: Try different subject lines, layouts, calls-to-action, and images to see what gets the best results.
  • Keep it short and sweet: Get straight to the point and don’t try to cram too much information into one email.
  • Use engaging subject lines: Be creative and come up with something that’ll pique your audience’s interest and make them want to actually read your email.
  • Stay compliant with state and federal regulations: Cannabis businesses must be extra careful to comply with all applicable laws surrounding advertising, including those related to email marketing.

Types of Email Campaigns For Effective Cannabis Marketing

Not all emails are the same. 

Vary and diversify your cannabis marketing efforts with unique campaigns based on intent, such as:

  • Prospecting emails: Generally sent to customers who haven’t bought from you yet. They exist to introduce a new lead to your product or service.
  • Engagement emails: Keep your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds. They might include content like user guides, how-to videos, case studies, or short informational tidbits.
  • Announcement emails: Tell your customers about changes or updates to your products, special offers, or ongoing promotions. 
  • Contest and giveaway emails: Build engagement and generate leads. They work by offering something of value (like a prize) in exchange for an email address or social media follow.

Use Creative Cannabis Marketing Strategies

Now that we’ve covered all the fundamentals of a successful cannabis marketing strategy, let’s look at a few more creative approaches.

Create a Buzz With Influencer Marketing

Influencers are social media users with a large following who can generate interest and excitement around your products. 

By partnering with influencers, your cannabis brand can tap into a ready-made audience of engaged consumers who are interested in trying your products.

Do your research to find people who will be an excellent fit for your product, brand, budget, and overall cannabis marketing strategy.

Use Clever Product Placement

Like any other consumer goods, cannabis products can be placed in strategic locations where they’re likely to be seen by potential customers. This could include dispensaries, head shops, and even some grocery stores. 

Not every location will be receptive to cannabis product placement, so do your research beforehand.

Be Memorable With Product Packaging

Invest in high-quality packaging that’s eye-catching and professional. Whether you’re advertising online or in print, make sure your branding is consistent. Use the same colors, fonts, and logo everywhere so customers can easily recognize your cannabis business.

Inspire Action With Outdoor Ads

Outdoor advertising is a fantastic way to reach potential customers. But there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Your ad must comply with local regulations. Make sure it’s clear and concise with eye-catching visuals that pack a punch. Use an attractive offer or CTA to inspire action, and place it near high-traffic areas or near other cannabis businesses.

Strut Your Stuff With Cannabis Events

Connect with potential customers and other industry professionals through an awe-inspiring cannabis event. 

Pick a convenient location that’s easily accessible and choose a format that meets your goals. Are you hosting a networking event, panel discussion, or workshop? 

Make sure your cannabis marketing event is appropriate for your target audience.

Promote it through various channels like social media, email, and print to create a buzz beforehand.

Drive It Home With Direct Mail

Direct mail allows you to target a specific audience with your message. It’s a cost-effective and personalized way to turn potential leads into long-time customers.

Decide who you want to reach and what your message entails. Is it a promotional offer? Discount? Freebie? Make sure it’s simple and eye-catching, so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

Include a CTA that motivates an action, whether it’s visiting your website, coming into your store, or anything else.

Showcase Your Products at a Cannabis Trade Show

Cannabis trade shows offer a unique opportunity to network with other marijuana businesses and showcase your offerings.

Find out which upcoming trade shows are convenient and worthwhile attending. 

Keep your booth professional, with knowledgeable employees or volunteers and enough brochures, business cards, and other materials to meet demand.

Offer relevant promotional items to get people interested in your brand. You can also leverage social media to generate traction before, during, and after the cannabis trade show.

Expand Your Brand With Cross Promotions

By partnering with another brand in the cannabis space, you can tap into their customer base and introduce them to your products or services.

Choose a cross promotion partner that aligns with your goals and has a customer base that complements yours. 

A fair exchange of value between the two brands is vital, along with an attractive offer to drive conversions. Promote the partnership across all channels, including social media, email, and website banners. Measure the results afterward and see what can be improved.

Paint a Picture With Print Ads

Print advertising is an effective way to reach your target market. But with the recent legalization of cannabis in many states, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, consider your audience. Who are you targeting? Keep this in mind when crafting your message.

Next, make sure your ad complies with all local laws and regulations. This includes ensuring Don’t make any health claims or include any minors.

Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative! Cannabis-themed ads can be fun and eye-catching, so think outside the box.

Turn it Up With Radio or Podcast Ads

With the right audio ad, your cannabis business can reach a new, untapped market.

Find like-minded podcasts or stations and reach out. Some hosts work differently to others, so compile a shortlist and get relevant ad info before making a decision.

Even lesser-known radio stations or podcasts can elevate your cannabis marketing strategy, so don’t discount the small-timers.

Include a CTA and use catchy, attention-grabbing language that intrigues and inspires listeners to discover your brand.

Stand Out With Sponsorships

With cannabis marketing, one way to stand out from the competition is to sponsor events.

Find suitable events that align with your brand and attract your target market. 

Think about what you hope to accomplish. Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or drive sales? 

Keep your goals in mind when choosing which events to sponsor and make sure you offer something unique. Budget carefully, though; and don’t be afraid to be creative.

Be Daring With Guerilla Marketing

In an ever-changing and crowded landscape, creative cannabis marketing is a must.

One way to stand out from the competition is with guerilla marketing. 

This approach is all about being unexpected and unconventional. 

It’s a bold, low-cost way to grab attention and promote brand awareness with surprising and delightful tactics. Here are a few tips:

  • Use eye-catching and memorable visuals. Bright colors, interesting designs, and creative placements will help you get noticed.
  • Push the envelope. The more daring you are, the more likely you’ll stand out from the crowd. Of course, make sure you stay within the bounds of the law.
  • Get personal. Directly engage with your target audience through personal interactions and events. This could include anything from giving away free samples to setting up a booth at a local festival or fair.

Ramp Up Your Revenue With Retargeting

Retargeting is a form of online advertising that allows you to target ads to users based on their previous interactions with your website or app. 

This means that you can reach people who have already shown an interest in your offerings, and are more likely to convert into customers.

You can work with a self-service platform like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, or partner with an agency like Hippo Thinks that specializes in cannabis marketing. 

Whichever route you choose, be sure to set up your campaigns carefully and track your results so you can optimize your approach over time.

Trail a Blaze With Killer Cannabis Marketing

The cannabis industry’s exponential growth presents a unique opportunity for brands to reach a new and untapped audience. 

But with federal and advertising restrictions, cannabis marketing comes with its own set of challenges.

To be successful, define your goals, objectives, and unique value proposition. Build a distinct and authentic brand that genuinely resonates with your customers. 

Conduct in-depth research on your target audience, market, and competitors, and leverage these insights to develop an impactful marketing strategy. 

Once you have the basics down, create innovative email campaigns and thought-provoking social media content that shows the world your brand’s value.

And don’t be afraid to get creative! Diversify your approach with everything from influencer marketing and sponsorships to radio ads, direct mail, and retargeting.

By using every viable avenue, you can blaze a trail for your brand to be the best. 

We’d love to give you a hand. Contact us today if you want our cannabis marketing experts on your team.

Build a Distinct and Authentic Cannabis Brand

So, why not blaze a trail that sets the bar for empowering, informing, and engaging cannabis consumers? But where do you start? 

Here are a few tips for a winning cannabis content marketing strategy: 

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