Learn how to get your brand in front of the right audiences, despite challenging advertising rules
Table of Contents
• What Are Cannabis Advertising Rules?
• How Do Cannabis Advertising Rules Affect My Business?
• Why is Brand Identity So Important?
• How Can Marketing Cannabis Content Help My Business?
• Powerful Advertising Starts with These Content Services
• How Can Social Media and Influencers Help?
• Don’t Forget the Underrated Power of Cannabis PR and Events
• Here’s Why Being Fluent in Cannabis is So Important
• Cannabis Marketing Experts Know How to Win Without Ads
• Does Your Marketing Agency Have Cannabis Fluency?
What is one thing that two-thirds of Americans support and/or consume, but have never seen traditionally advertised via TV, radio or most print outlets? If you guessed cannabis, you couldn’t be more right. And while there might be a day when a cannabis ad could be wedged in between cereal commercials and Saturday morning cartoons, it’s inconceivable right now.
Despite the winds of legalization blowing across the country, cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. This means many advertisers are fearful of government backlash for promoting THC-based products.
These types of regulations mean that trying to market and sell cannabis is, well, tough. Many cannabis businesses can’t let products be displayed, shown or really talked about on some of the most viable marketing and advertising channels out there, including traditional media, all the way up to digital giants such as Google and Facebook.
With limited options, many businesses are forced to market products via grassroots methods, without any guarantee of success. Instead of passed-by print ads, tattered fliers or overpriced billboards, the better way for burgeoning businesses to boom in growth is through thoughtful, strategy-oriented marketing—which all starts telling a great story.
Brands may be everywhere, but that’s because they’re everything when it comes to standing out as a company. From the Wal-Marts of the world, down to the local grocer, every business must attempt to only reach consumers, but resonate with them on a deeper, more personal and wholly memorable level. To do this, companies must develop a stand-out brand that involves much more than just a logo or a name.
Good brand is all about having an identity and differentiators that are defined by real values and a distinct personality. In our industry, this might involve growing premium, top-tier, super fresh flower while dispelling all snooty notions by making the product extremely affordable and conveniently accessible.
If this story of this brand can be messaged the right way, through the correct channels, audiences will not only be engaged and enthused, but fall in love and become heartfelt advocates, which helps your business stand out in a sea of sameness. Of course, with a set brand identity, creating and marketing eye-grabbing content to continue elevating your brand comes naturally.
To understand the importance of content marketing, let’s first touch on Search engine optimization (SEO). This is the continual process of meeting the standards and demands search engines like Google rank as highly as possible in relevant searches by the audiences you’re trying to reach.
Appeasing Google and hitting the top of search pages starts with stellar content marketing that uses relevant search topics (e.g. cannabis business), search keywords (e.g. cannabis business marketing), and engaging stories that draw in search users (e.g. What is the importance of cannabis business marketing?)
But meeting search users where they’re at and engaging them is just part of the SEO riddle. In the eyes of Google, content must not only be relevant and useful, but create a level of trust and credibility. See, it didn’t take long for the internet to turn into an ocean of spam, false information and, well, junk. To be a better search engine, Google wants to ensure its users are getting the most quality content possible.
At a glance, cannabis marketing uses a number of components to reach both broad and niche audiences, including:
• Content Marketing
• Inbound Marketing
• Curated Events
• Cannabis PR
• UX/UI Design
Currents of content marketing also trickle over to social media. In fact, in the world of big canna, social media has become one of the most fluid and essential ways to promote cannabis business—mostly because limits on advertising mean that reaching niche audiences directly is more important than ever before.
While selling cannabis on social media isn’t allowed, brands can use platforms like Facebook or Instagram to get hundreds to thousands to millions of followers, let alone views, shares, likes and other invaluable interactions, all of which grow brand awareness by the second.
In this social space, countless cannabis connoisseurs have begun developing social clout to become affiliate marketers for a plethora of brands who can alter the performance of a business or product with just one post. These, of course, are the coveted influencers of cannabis.
Because awareness in your company or brand can’t be built through traditional marketing, like hearing a radio ad or seeing a TV spot, building trust in your products or services is even more challenging. That’s where influencers come in. With a self-grown audience of like minded followers, their word is bond. So let them build trust for you. A similar concept applies to using trusted media outlets and face-to-face, real-life communication.
Because cannabis advertising is hindered at every turn, public relations is a tool within marketing that is key to getting in front of the world. And having an agency that understands and can harness complex relationship-building mojo is crucial.
With creative publicists connected to hundreds of journalists looking for specific stories, a brand can wrangle its narrative and begin telling a unique, captivating story through cannabis journalists.
Pitches, emails and phone interviews are part of this game, but so are must-attend events. Curated, exclusive event marketing can turn a company from nothing into something based on the fact that an event lets you meet and mingle with real people. Instead of getting stuck across digital barriers, you can sell yourself in real-time to fellow humans.
With great Event Marketing, you get to demo the wares, flaunt the expertise and cement interest with grand gestures of breaking new ground. From this, you can generate hundreds of useful connections and potential business leads, just from one night of having fun and chatting cannabis.
Cannabis has developed its own unique language. And being fluent in it says wonders to your intimate knowledge of this magical plant and the multibillion dollar industry surrounding it. And a deep and thorough understanding of everything that goes into what you’re selling means nothing will get lost in translation.
That helps when you’re jumping headfirst into this booming marketplace. Those who can speak canna can instantly create a bond with fellow insiders, enthusiastic audiences and the supposed experts.
With no standard pillar of advertising to lean on, every cannabis business needs to connect with the media. It’s really that simple. Through media placements come that first hint of credibility, which snowballs into the first round of stories, then a ton of shares across social media, then clicks on your website and, before you know it, sales.
Grasslands founder Ricardo Baca knows this media connection well and how it has helped transform the cannabis industry. After 20 years of journalism experience and working as the world’s first-ever marijuana editor-in-chief, Ricardo has dedicated himself to becoming fluent in cannabis and tying together our nascent industry to hungry writers who want a great story that audiences can’t stop reading.
It’s this cycle that inspired Ricardo to use his unique expertise in both cannabis and journalism to start Grasslands. He knew well that, without a marketing agency out there understanding the finer points of both cannabis and the media cycle, brands would simply have nowhere to turn. The door to advertising is shut. The grassroots options don’t see results. Social media is just a start.
To Ricardo, the only true path to success has to come from using a team of strategic marketers and PR experts to make your brand seen and heard.
Beyond utilizing the right strategies to amplify your brand, finding a cannabis-fluent agency that can enact the complex tools and methods detailed here is essential to standing out and growing into a national household brand. Are you ready to market your business for the better? At Grasslands, we love to talk shop. Reach out anytime.