February is coming to a close and we will be moving into the third month of 2018 already! If you haven’t had the chance to get your marketing in check, you still have time. It can be a little overwhelming to figure out where to even begin. Chances are, you’re already up to your chin in inventory, day to day operations and on top of everything, you still have to find some time to work on your cannabis marketing plan, too! We know where you’re coming from. Our goal is to help you start making smart cannabis marketing decisions to move in the right direction this year. Here are 20 tips, on a variety of subjects, to help you successfully market your cannabis brand.
Website & Content
- Create visual content: Visuals are an excellent way to attract local customers to your cannabis business. Pictures are worth a thousand words; videos, a million! You should create a video this year to help you advertise your business and upload it to Vimeo or YouTube. Optimize this type of content by using a quality title including your city and putting your website link in the video’s description along with your physical address and contact phone number. You should also use 200-300 words to describe the content in the video utilizing keywords to help you get found.
- Use guest content writers: Guest content writers are a great option for getting more attention on your website. For one thing, writer’s block is real and sometimes you just don’t know what to blog about. A guest blogger can come up with riveting content. For another thing, a guest blogger often carries their own influence. They will want to share their content and their own online community or following will notice it. From there, you’ve given your business the chance to be noticed by a whole new group of people.
- Target all of your content to local customers: If you’re a local business or a storefront, your content should always be created for the people directly around you. Sure, there are a lot of subjects to cover that aren’t always local matters, such as legalization or national news. You can always talk about these things but the majority of the content you produce should be reaching the people within 5 miles of your store. Even if you have multiple sister locations, there are a ton of different ways to custom fit and repurpose your content to make sense for each location. Content that is relevant to locations is also a big help when it comes to search engine ranking. If you need help, Team MaryJane is a Denver-made cannabis marketing agency specializing in SEO and content, and we’d love to be a part of your next project.
- Spruce up your storefront: Cosmetic updates are a huge part of making yourself stand out in the cannabis industry. A cannabis business with a nicely decorated, calming, welcoming waiting area is more likely to see repeat business than a business with bars on its windows and blacked out windows! If it’s been a few years since you’ve updated your decor, you should look into it. The greatest dispensaries in Denver bring their brand into all aspects of their marketing, including their own presentation.
- Join local groups: You should be utilizing online platforms like Meetup.com to find group meetups in your area. You can find a variety of groups for a variety of cannabis topics. These events are great for making a splash in your community, networking with other cannabis brands, and learning more about your customers. Meeting people in person in your area can help you position your business within the community.
- Go to cannabis conferences: Local groups are great for making personal relationships, but conferences are great for making professional relationships. Attending the big cannabis industry conferences and expos can help you discover new ideas/ways to grow your business, and to make connections with potential vendors and cross-promo opportunities.
- Utilize cross-promotions with other local brands: There are a lot of symbiotic relationships in the cannabis industry, and they appear everywhere! For example, the glass shop across the street wants more business, so you begin stocking some of their pieces in your store for cheap. Your store earns a profit on the glassware, and the glass shop earns business when your store refers customers to them. Always be on the lookout. There are opportunities for strategic partnerships everywhere!
- Add your business to local listings: Yelp and YellowPages are great for helping someone find your business, but they also provide quality inbound links to your website. There are also a ton of cannabis-related directories like Weedmaps, Leafly, and Leafbuyer. These directories exist to help put customers in touch with stores! However, some directories aren’t very reputable and can hinder your SEO instead of helping it, so be sure to stick to reputable and popular directories.
- Gather reviews: Word of mouth marketing is digital now thanks to the emergence of Google reviews, Facebook reviews, Yelp, and so many others. The best way to maximize your word of mouth success is to get some good reviews on a variety of review sites and directories including Weedmaps and Leafly. You can also put testimonials on your website!
- Use everything Google: Google+, Google My Business, Google Adwords and Google Analytics are all so important to a winning SEO strategy. Cannabis marketing is based on content marketing and keywords most often since advertising can be a little tricky, and Google products can help you boost your ranking. Updating Google+ with keywords, running ads and measuring your success with Google Analytics can help boost your rank. Most importantly, make sure your Google My Business page is set up so that people searching for a business like yours locally will see you pop up with your contact information. Learn more about local SEO with these tips.
- Love the hashtag: The hashtag (#) is how users categorize content on social media. By searching hashtags and regularly using them yourself to join in on relevant conversations you are more likely to find leads to build your own online community around your business. When using hashtags, always be specific, and don’t use more hashtags than words. Here are some additional tips on hashtags and how to pick the best hashtags for your cannabis business.
- Share local news: In the cannabis industry, it’s very important to be engaged with your local community. A great way to do this is to share the useful news that your audience will find useful. Information about your business is great, but things in the cannabis industry change regularly, and it’s great to keep everyone on the same page in regards to what’s going on with your city’s marijuana program.
- Use cannabis centric social media platforms: There are a ton of cannabis centric social media platforms growing out there. The most popular is Massroots, also known as the Instagram of weed. You can also use sites like Duby, which is similar to tinder but for weed pics and not hookups. These sites don’t have as many monthly users as facebook or twitter, but their audiences are already looking for cannabis industry content. You won’t get as much engagement, but you’ll get better engagement.
- Join local Facebook groups: There are hundreds of local facebook groups in every area. By participating in niche cannabis groups you are able to make more meaningful connections with a larger audience of people who are already potentially interested in what you’re doing or saying. There are groups for a variety of different subjects. For example, there is a group just for people in Denver to talk grow tips. As a dispensary or similar cannabis brand, odds are you can have discussions in a group like this. Keep in mind you should never join a group with the intention of selling. You should always go in as yourself and build relationships and casually bring up your business when people ask. Sharing your knowledge builds trust, which will help sell your business more than any advertisement under the sun.
- Monitor social media: There is a huge buzz on social media about the cannabis industry. We are making strides in the US for legalization and good medical marijuana programs for people that need it. People everywhere are talking about it. You should keep an eye on what people are talking about on social media. Whether someone had a bad experience at a dispensary or there’s a new cardholder out there looking for the best first-time special, positive or negative you can find ways to connect. If you don’t keep an eye on people mentioning your business, talking about their needs or giving their feedback, you are missing the opportunity to make a meaningful connection that builds trust and strengthens your brand.
- Leave comments on related blogs and websites: As we mentioned with the groups, you should be participating in active discussions. Forums, channels or blogs that are relevant to your business/industry are a great place to start. If ypur comment provides value to the discussion, you can share a relevant link to a piece of content you wrote on your website on the subject. Keep in mind that you should comment back and forth at least 3 times on a thread before you link to your website. Be an active, approachable human member before promoting your business. If you want to learn more about the cannabis industry social media best practices, our cannabis marketing experts have published a plethora of additional resources on the subject.
- Join online directories: Google, Yelp, Bing, and Yahoo all have local directories that are useful to be a part of. There are also several cannabis directories as well, such as Weedmaps, Leafbuyer, and Leafly. If your business isn’t listed on these cannabis directories, you are missing a massive amount of potential customers. Overall, the more places you can list your business name, address, and phone number, the better! Utilize free local listings, craigslist ads, and more!
- Create backlinks: In order to be successful with SEO you need to have a variety of quality backlinks. Google has confirmed that links are a high-ranking factor along with good content, so the more links you have that express quality, relevant information to your industry, the better chances you have to be successful with organic SEO.
- Optimize your homepage: Your homepage is by far the most powerful and authoritative page on your website. It carries the most authority for search engines and plays a big part in your SEO success. You should have a minimum of 400 quality keyword rich words on your homepage. Not just for search engines, but for your visitors as well! They should know what product/service you provide within 3 seconds of landing on your homepage. Additionally, your homepage should list your business name, physical address, phone number, and any additional contact information available so that search engines can rank your website’s credibility when compared to the directories your business is a part of.
- Optimize your meta tags: A meta tag is a snippet of text that describe the content on a specific page. They don’t appear on the page, but it does appear in the page’s code. These tags can improve click through rates and boost your rank by helping search engines determine what a piece of content is about and whether or not it’s useful.
The cannabis industry is evolving on a daily basis, and there are hundreds of different things you need to do to feel like your brand is “everywhere at once”. Cannabis marketing can be overwhelming and a lot to take on for a small or developing business. If you stick to these 20 basic tips, you will be more likely to get your audience’s attention and hold on to it.
However, If you feel like the world of cannabis marketing is just way too much for your small team to deal with right now, Team MaryJane can help you. Our Dispensary in a Box program will set your business up for success for one small, flat-rate monthly fee. Our team consists of a variety of cannabis marketing experts who are only focused on one thing: Increasing your digital visibility with our world class cannabis marketing services. Consultations are always 100% free, sso what are you waiting for?