Blog : Business

How to Market Your Cannabis Company in a Competitive Market

How to Market Your Cannabis Company in a Competitive Market

The Cannabis Industry requires marketing that is simply not the same as it is with other industries.  You may be feeling confused as to how to navigate Federal Laws and online policies to make your brand stand out in this growing industry, especially as Facebook and Instagram continue to deny advertising and unpublish cannabis pages.

At Cannabis Marketing, Inc., we employ effective strategies to set up your marketing for success, whether you specialize in topicals, edibles, concentrates, CBD, or have a storefront.  Our goal is to help you reach the largest audience while utilizing the best techniques.  Read on for several ways you can begin to effectively reach your ideal target audience in the cut-throat cannabis industry.

A Great Website

First things first, you need a great professional website to house all of the information and cannabis products your customers are seeking.  Spend time to really think about the overall vision and mission of your company and allow your website to tell your brand’s story.

Even creating lists of what your brand is and is not can be helpful to make your company stand out.  Refer to that list often and incorporate other members of your staff within your marketing campaigns to discuss and support the mission of your brand.

After creating a vision and goal for your company’s brand, it is time to create a fully-functioning, mobile-responsive, visually appealing website.  You only have moments to make an impression on online users and your website needs to tell a story quickly and effectively.

Make sure to stick to only a few fonts and colors to make the brand and site cohesive.  You want your audience to trust you, and if your branding is strong, the more you will stand out in the cannabis industry.

Choosing a domain will make a big difference in your marketing, as it is something you will want your audience to remember easily.  Your domain will typically contain your brand name, as that is what people will first type into Google when searching for you.  You can search for available domains here.

It is also important to remember to add an age-gate to your website.  This is to ensure children are not browsing on your website, similar to what liquor brands have on their sites.

As the cannabis industry grows in popularity, maintaining accountability when promoting or advertising cannabis is imperative.  Do your research on the laws your state has for advertising cannabis and employ a team of experts when in doubt.  This protects you and your customers.

Canna-Tip: If you run into duplicate company names, try adding the word ‘dispensary’ or ‘collective’ after your brand name.  If you’re still having trouble, let our branding experts at CMI help you come up with a memorable and effective name and tagline for your cannabis business.

Effective Email Marketing

After you have established a great website to house the information and products for your cannabis business, consider email marketing.  Email marketing may not come to mind right away when thinking about how to market cannabis, but don’t scoff at it too harshly, as email is still a competent digital marketing tactic.  When executed strategically to a targeted audience, email marketing can be a highly lucrative and effective way to market cannabis products.

Third, only to Facebook and Instagram, the email inbox is still one of the most popular places people visit daily on their phones and computers.

With clickable links and branded graphics, users can easily visit your cannabis website to read new information on products, specials, announcements, events, and your latest blogs.  Email marketing is a fantastic way to lead consumers right to your website, then to your products, and finally, to sales.

Canna-tip: 94% of people get online to check email, and office workers check their email around 30 times each hour. Did you know that it’s the #1 activity on the internet?  Use email marketing to stay in touch with your customers and reach your targeted audience on any device.

Incorporate a Blog

A question we hear often is “Does blogging work?”  Blogging is a huge part of brand recognition, creating space for yourself as the leader in your field, and establishing frequent and consistent views to your website.  Whether you commit to writing one blog a month or hire on some help to publish one blog a week, the trick here is to be selective and consistent with your blog and its topics.

What exactly is a ‘blog’?  Well, let’s put it this way, it is a medium that has evolved into what is estimated to now be a $300 billion industry with over 75% of B2C marketers using blogs as a marketing strategy (according to Social Media Today).  Blogs are articles that are written specifically for your brand and about a keyword-rich topic that helps your customers to find you when they are searching for that topic.

Blogs and content marketing are effective because your primary audience is actively seeking information about the health benefits of cannabis and CBD, as well as where and how to buy your cannabis or CBD product.  Well-written, informative blogs allow your brand to provide relevant and useful content to current and prospective customers, which helps to further set you apart from the competition!

Like we’ve mentioned, Cannabis is a growing and competitive industry, and while more states are legalizing medical and recreational sales, consumers are seeking reliable information.  Blogs can help to educate your customers by including topics like the laws of your state, product information, industry trends, and different ways for cannabis and CBD to be consumed.  Making CBD and cannabis easier for your prospects and customers to understand will help establish your brand as an expert, which ultimately will help build social proof and lead to more sales and recognition.

While blog subjects can and should range in topics, they all share some of the same characteristics:

  • Updated regularly with new content, found in a visible area on your website
  • Blogs allow your audience to comment and ask questions while interacting with you and your company
  • They present information in an informal but engaging way
  • Blogs help to make dull topics more interesting
  • Social media links tend to be integrated into blogs, allowing the audience to also find your presence on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Twitter.

“Full-Circle Marketing”

The next thing to consider is your “full-circle” advertising strategy.  Your brand, tagline, and website need to be in front of the eyes and ears of your potential audience, reminding them of your presence over and over again.  Did you know that radio remains one of the most effective ways to get in front of your targeted demo?

Only recently we’ve been able to create and air cannabis and CBD ads on the radio, and as legislation evolves, radio will become an even larger avenue to brand your product to current and potential customers.  Contrary to what you may think, your radio campaign will target your ideal demographic, which varies per station.  Each radio commercial gives you the opportunity to advertise specials, events, and new product announcements, and is served to your demographic in many different places: work, in the car, or at home.  Radio is a companion to consumers wherever they go!

Studies indicate that a consumer needs to hear a message seven or more times before they turn into a customer.  Radio is an effective avenue that provides the frequency you need as well as the reach you may not see using social media or print.  Radio allows you to tailor your message and frequency to consumers to lead them to your store or website, and our clients have always seen an increase in sales and traffic when implementing this strategy.

Grow with us!

We hope this blog (yup, this is a blog!) has inspired you to start marketing your cannabis or CBD product and provided some insights to help you stand out in this very competitive industry.  Here at CMI, we want your cannabis business to grow as high as your passion, and if you need help getting started or getting unstuck, we are here to help.  We invite you to contact us for your free custom strategy proposal and let us be your cannabis marketing gurus.  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter for tips and insight into all things cannabis marketing!

Marketing Your Cannabis Product, Creatively

Marketing Your Cannabis Product, Creatively

When it comes to marketing your cannabis product, many companies automatically steer towards the things they consider simple and free, like building a social media page or sending out a text message.  As you’re growing your business, if your budget is small, these strategies may make sense, especially if you are newer to the market.  Thinking outside the box not only helps to make your marketing dollars stretch further, but it also helps to make your product stand out among the sea of your competitors.

As you begin marketing your cannabis product, it’s important to first decide what your mission and values are,  along with what your voice will be.  Do you want to be perceived as the cannabis or CBD product that is fun-loving and adventurous?  Do you want your CBD brand to align with Women’s Health?  Do you want your products to be adopted by medical dispensaries or recreational dispensaries?  Deciding these important items BEFORE you start marketing your cannabis or CBD product will help to steer you in the right direction to get the clients that you want, as well as keep you on track as you grow.

BRANDING

Branding is paramount when it comes to thinking outside the box and making your cannabis product stand out.  Colors, fonts, taglines, and your logo should all coincide and clearly represent your brand and the message you want to convey.  Working with a graphic designer or branding experts like the team at Cannabis Marketing, Inc. will help you to create a branding kit that includes all the guidelines you need so that every piece of marketing material has the same look and feel.  From social media to your website to print and promotional handouts, branding is everything.  How do you want your cannabis or CBD brand to be perceived, and who is your target audience?

SOCIAL MEDIA

Simply creating a Facebook page is no longer enough to create a brand presence for your cannabis or CBD product; you want to build profiles on every available social media platform that fits your demographic.  Platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram TV are platforms that are often overlooked by cannabis brands, but when posted on consistently and thoughtfully, they can create a loyal and engaged audience.  It is more important to post quality content than to post too much content, and each social media platform has its own community guidelines and best practices to follow.  Facebook is constantly updating its algorithms, so it can be nearly impossible to run your business, create quality social media posts, and maintain your reach effectively.  Cannabis Marketing, Inc. has a team of social media experts who continually keep up on the latest social media changes and updates so that our clients get the best reach for the lowest cost.  Social Media Advertising is another area that we excel in, and where you may be frustrated in finding that your pages are taken down and your social media ads account is suspended, we have had past success in appealing these and flying “under the radar” to keep your product’s presence as compliant as possible.

VIDEO

A marketing medium that helps to truly set your cannabis or CBD product apart is video.  Video sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be!  Recording a video can be as simple as whipping out your phone and recording a Live video for your Facebook page or Instagram Stories.  Videos, even when uncurated and “raw”, give your followers a peek into your culture and help to forge a personal connection.  Customers want to do business with those that they feel they know, like, and trust; and seeing you and your product in the video can help to forge that relationship while keeping existing relationships strong.  Maybe you’re doing a live video while enjoying your product in nature, or maybe you’d like to highlight a dispensary that you’re visiting for a pop-up event.  Whatever opportunities you have to record Live video are additional ways that you can provide an inside look into why people should purchase your product.

CONCLUSION

In summary, thinking outside the box while marketing your cannabis or CBD product will help you to grow your brand and gain additional clients in a fun and creative way.  Thinking creatively and maintaining a consistent presence across all your marketing strategies keeps costs low, engagement high, and encourages more sales.  The more you can start the conversation about your product within this industry, the better, and the experienced team at Cannabis Marketing, Inc. is here to help.  We are a full-service cannabis marketing agency that has all the tools for every budget and need.  Call us today for your free consultation!  719-219-3575.

How Your CannaBusiness Can Get Involved This Holiday Season

How Your CannaBusiness Can Get Involved This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season to boost specials, be merry, and give back.  But when you’re in the cannabis business, giving back to your community and the causes that you care about can become a bit of a chore instead of a reason to celebrate.  Since cannabis is still considered a Schedule 1 drug federally, most non-profits cannot or will not accept donations of any kind from a cannabis company.  Seems silly, right?  The good news is, there are ways your cannabis company can get involved this holiday season with a little creativity and gumption.

When organizing about a community charity event, it’s important to first think about what you feel passionate about.  Do the issues of homelessness, hunger, LGBTQ rights, or domestic violence tug at your heartstrings?  Does your local community have a need for assistance in these areas?  Think about what issues speak to you and your culture, and choosing a cause that speaks to you will come easy.  Hosting a charity event isn’t only about generating positive publicity for your cannabis brand, it is a way to positively impact your community and the people who support your business.

Cannabis Marketing, Inc. has successfully worked with cannabis, CBD, and hemp companies to help them positively impact their community.  From gathering hundreds of pounds of food for local food banks, to gathering local donations of coats and clothes for the city’s homeless and less fortunate, we work with you to ensure your efforts are worthwhile and your community reaps the benefits.  Giving back is more than getting recognition for your philanthropic efforts; it also helps de-stigmatize the negativity that surrounds our industry.  It only takes one brand to make a difference!

Why Work With An Agency for A Community Charity Event?

You are busy, as all business owners are.  Between managing your grow, inspecting product quality, and managing employees, your days are already more than hectic.  Working with an agency to vet quality non-profits, organize the details of your event, and help promote your brand, keeps your focus on managing your business.  We take the legwork and stress out of your daily life and promote your event using every possible avenue to get positive exposure while encouraging community participation.  Our creative team pushes your event through blogs, social media, and even radio to get the word out and increase participation.  Your cannabis, hemp, or CBD brand should be recognized for your efforts, and we have the connections to help you maximize your efforts.  After all, a campaign executed poorly won’t help you, your business, or the cause you care so much about.  So why not invest a little bit of money to get the most for your philanthropic efforts?  You get back what you put in, and we are just as passionate and driven about your cause as you are.

What Kinds of Events Can My Cannabis Company Sponsor?

If you haven’t already, check out our Podcast and Live videos on Facebook, Anchor, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube.  We share marketing tips specifically pertaining to the cannabis industry, and in our most recent podcast, How Your Cannabusiness Can Get Involved This Holiday Season, we discuss how you can get positively involved in your community this holiday season.  You can support us by clicking this link and pledging as little as a few dollars each month to continue to benefit from our cannabis marketing expertise!

The types of events your cannabis, hemp, or CBD company can sponsor are varied, and it really takes a little digging to find those non-profits who will accept donations, either in cash or kind.  In recent years, we have successfully run local campaigns for charities such as the Southern Colorado Care & Share and West Side Cares.  Donating food, clothes, and other items give your company the opportunity to make a true difference in people’s lives.  Let us help you find a cause you care about!

Here are some other charities and causes we would love to work with your brand to promote:

  • Breast Cancer Awareness
  • Homelessness
  • LGBTQ Support
  • Food Banks
  • Domestic Violence
  • Scholarship and Financial Aid
  • Crisis Services
  • Arts & Culture

There is a prime opportunity for your brand to set yourself apart.  Creating a community event, or partnering with an event that is already established, only gives you the opportunity to increase your brand recognition while making a true difference.  There are many non-profits who will say no, but the only thing you need is for one to say “Yes!” to help grow your brand exposure, help your local community, and help to destigmatize the cannabis culture.  Change happens with one person taking a stand and connecting with others.  Wouldn’t you like to be the brand that is creating change in our industry?

How is Cannabis Marketing, Inc. different from other Marketing Agencies?

The cannabis industry is exciting, and there are a lot of companies out there who claim they have the experience and expertise to take you to the next level.  Only Cannabis Marketing, Inc. has the years of experience in all areas of marketing to help your cannabis, hemp, or CBD brand rise above your competition.  We get to know you and your brand values to ensure any advertising we place on your behalf reflects your values and gets the results you deserve.

All in all, giving back to your community and supporting a cause you care about is invaluable.  Let us help you to make the most of your efforts while effecting the most change in your desired cause.  The cannabis industry needs business owners like you.  Create change today!

Measuring Social Media ROI

Measuring Social Media ROI

In today’s world, social media is no longer an option; it is a necessity for your business.  And although your cannabis, CBD, or hemp brand may have social media profiles, do you know how to measure how your social media presence is impacting your business?

According to a survey from Convince & Convert, “41% of companies said they had no idea whether or not their social media efforts were actually paying off”.  This is a huge statement, because social media can be the most valuable and cost-effective marketing tool your cannabis product or brand can utilize.  If your cannabis company can’t quantify your social media spend because it doesn’t tie to specific business outcomes, why would you spend your hard-earned dollars on this marketing campaign, month after month?  Social media is used by all of us every day in our personal lives, but social media for business must have a different and deliberate strategy in order to yield results.  At the same time, social media return on investment (ROI) must be measured differently than how you would typically measure spend vs. return. When deciding to market your business using social media, the key factors for measuring success are going to be figuring out what you’d like to track, and how you’re going to track it.

Your first thought might be to track sales from social media.  This seems like the obvious reason to launch any marketing campaign, but social media is unique in that sales are only a part of your conversion process, and not necessarily the end result.  Social media gives you the opportunity to build relationships, acquire lifelong brand advocates, retain current customers, and provide social proof, just to name a few benefits.  Print ads, radio, and coupons can only achieve a small portion of telling your story, which is what social media can do for your brand.  Social media is vital for your cannabis brand because although some social media platforms may shadowban, block, or disable accounts from time to time, you have much more flexibility and marketing ability through social media channels.  Social media can be used to get your name out among the masses, showcase your employees, reinforce your values and mission, support the cannabis community, and provide an additional layer of customer service.  Social media should NOT be used as a platform to shout your specials!  This may seem counterintuitive, but think about the social media profiles you follow yourself.  Do you follow companies whose entire feed is full of low-quality pictures, boring specials, and demands to come in and spend your money?  Or do you check those feeds every day who provide valuable, interesting content, who speak to the things you care about, and who return your messages promptly when you have a question?  Social media has become a shouting platform for cannabis companies, instead of what it should be: a platform for you to build loyalty, retention, and truly connect with current and future customers.  Without trust, why would customers want to buy from you as opposed to your competitors, of which there are many?  Customer acquisition and conversions to real-dollar sales will come with time.  Building a solid social media following and creating thoughtful, strategic posts will improve both your brand image and your customer service, which leads to more sales. Your ROI for creating great content and engaging with others is going to be based on your follower growth, likes/comments growth, and shares growth.

Social proof is another very important reason to have a social media strategy that is curated, as new customers will look to your reviews, comments, and interactions online before doing business with you.  Whether you’re B2B or B2C, social proof plays a role in new client acquisitions.  Your social media marketing should include strategies to help improve and expand social proof about your company. As your brand grows its following and gains more positive reviews online, conversions will also follow.

As we mentioned before, in order to show ROI for social media, you must establish clear goals so you know exactly what to measure as you grow.  Aside from conversions, what do you want to accomplish by using social media?  Do you want to improve your reviews, grow your followers, or increase the frequency in which your posts get liked, commented, and shared?  What can you measure in order to determine what is working best?  Every social media platform has analytics that you can look at on a monthly or even weekly basis.  Analytics will tell you the posts that have performed best (meaning they got liked, commented on, and shared the most) and you can use this information to determine which types of content should be repeated.  Continue to post what works, and stop posting the things that don’t get engagement, and you’ll see your following grow organically! Numbers don’t lie, and if you have a specific goal in place as it relates to social media, you’ll be able to see when your social media goals are being met.

Last but certainly not least is your time.  As a business owner, you know that time is money.  You’re probably already wearing many different hats, and social media is time consuming.  So the question becomes, how much is your time worth?  Did you know that the average small business owner spends over 24 hours each month managing their social media profiles?  And if you believe, like many business owners, that your time is worth $170/hour, that means you are spending over $4000 every month on social media when you could be focusing on running your business. If you have better things to do than find content, answer questions, run ads, and engage with other pages, the ROI on outsourcing your social media management is a no-brainer.

The bottom line is social media ROI should be looked at in a completely different way than other marketing avenues.  Social media will help build your brand, communicate your vision and mission, and create lifelong customers.  The highly-competitive world of cannabis is causing new brands to emerge every day.  If you want to stand out and be “THE BRAND”, social media is going to be your best marketing tool.  Check out CMI’s podcast on Anchor, Apple podcasts, Pocketcasts, or Stitcher for more about how important social media ROI is, and how to measure it.  If you’re having a hard time quantifying your social media investment or creating content that draws followers in, give us a call instead of continuing to wonder where your social media dollars and time are going.  We offer free consultations and have a team of passionate cannabis advocates who are eager to work with you.  Grow with us!

What and When to Post on Social Media

What and When to Post on Social Media

One of the concerns that I hear from cannabis business owners is that they don’t want to inundate their customers with too many posts on social media.  They don’t want to harass their fans, and feel that they may eventually lose their virtual support.  The good news is that there are hundreds and hundreds of posts waiting for your customers every single time they log onto Facebook or another social media channel.  This means the likelihood that they will see every single post that you publish is quite low, so as long as you are posting gorgeous, engaging content, you can feel free to post fairly often.  “Ideal” frequency is not cookie-cutter; it relates to your business, followers, and consistency of content.  When creating your social media plan, it’s important to form a schedule that can be maintained even during your busiest times of year.

The following guidelines can help you discover what type of cannabis content to post, and when the typical best times to post will be.  Since your business and mission is unique, use these as a starting point, and utilize your analytics on the backend to determine what your audience loves, and what times they are interacting with your posts.

FACEBOOK

  • Publish 3-5 times/week
  • Personal posts (what do you like to do in your free time?)
  • Posts about the cannabis community
  • Posts about your business/budtenders/new products
  • Testimonials/Reviews
  • As you grow, you can publish 2-3 times/day (if applicable)
  • Best days to post: Thursday-Sunday
  • Best times to post: 9am, 1pm, 3pm

INSTAGRAM

  • Publish 2 times/week
  • Posts that share something about you (video or image)
  • Inspirational/positivity quotes and sayings
  • As you grow, you can publish once or more each day (if applicable)
  • Best days to post: Monday & Thursday
  • Best times to post: 2am, 9am, 5pm

LINKEDIN

  • 1-2 times/week
  • Business-oriented pieces, what’s new
  • Sharing information from other cannabis pages
  • Mornings on the weekdays are best
  • Best days to post: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
  • Best times to post: 7am, 12pm, 5pm

PINTEREST

  • Create 5 boards that relate to your business and mission
  • Pin and share 5-15 pins per week to keep your board fresh
  • Share URL from blog to create custom pins
  • Create images to relate to custom content using Canva
  • Best days to post: Saturday & Sunday
  • Best times to post: 2pm, 9pm, 2am

GOOGLE+

  • Post 3 times/week
  • Promote products and budtender knowledge
  • Post how-to’s and tips (super valuable!)
  • Best days to post: Wednesday
  • Best times to post: 9am, 11am, 1pm

TWITTER

  • Post 7 times/week up to 5 times/day
  • Ask questions or take polls
  • Retweet content that relates to the cannabis industry
  • Best days to post: Wednesday
  • Best times to post: 12pm, 3pm

YOUTUBE

  • Publish videos 2 times/month
  • Awareness about the cannabis industry
  • How-to videos (these get great engagement!)
  • Build your community of loyal brand ambassadors
  • As you grow, publish more videos (as many as you are able to create and publish consistently)

Creating a calendar for your social media strategy is the best way to keep on track and remain focused.  Your calendar should include every social media platform, along with what you plan to post.  Creating your calendar should be your first step, before you begin posting and scheduling.  Proper planning creates consistency and excellent execution, which will lead to your continued success.

You can use a printed version or a digital spreadsheet, and if you’re working with a team, a shared file on Google will likely be your best bet.  A calendar makes sure everyone is on the same page and creates accountability (see the sample content calendar below as an example of a monthly plan).  Simply write in the channel and post description for each day.  I also like to color-code my calendars for each social media channel.  It looks a little nutty, but it works to keep me organized!

When you’re ready to take control of your social media presence and grow your brand, CMI is here to help.  We live in the digital space and know how to get your cannabis brand found!

Answering Reviews With Kindness

Answering Reviews With Kindness

We all know that when a customer has a “bad experience” they will tell nearly everyone they know.  But what about the countless great experiences you and your budtenders provide?  How can you continually compete with the expansive reaches of the internet, and show that you are the dispensary folks should be coming to?  A customer can provide rave reviews on countless websites; or they can slam your business all over the green Earth.

You might ask, “Who cares?”  One or two or six customers isn’t going to make or break you or your business. The reason why you want to take notice is called Social Proof.

Social Proof is the psychological tendency we have as humans, and as consumers, to modify our behavior to match popular behavior. Therefore, if Client A posts online that your customer service is terrible, Client B (and C, and D, and everyone else who reads the review), will either avoid your place of business completely or expect terrible customer service.  It doesn’t matter that Client B has no relationship with Client A. Social proof helps to form their opinion of you and your business before they ever step in the door or pick up the phone. It’s the same reason we search Rotten Tomatoes for movie reviews, or ask Siri for the “best restaurants near me”.  We are making our decisions based on what others believe; what others have deemed as popular, successful, and worth our time and money.

Social Media is key to increase your positive footprint in the ever-expanding internet universe.  It can help provide a tangible glimpse into what can be improved upon.  You can connect with both your regular clients and naysayers to encourage them to visit you again and refer their friends.  It provides a free avenue to advertise upcoming events and make special announcements. The more often you can support a positive image, the more important you become, and the more successful you will grow.

So how do you deal when someone leaves a review?  Once someone leaves a review, good or bad, your inclination may be to simply let it be.  After all, it’s already on the internet for everyone to see, what is your answer going to do?

There are several reasons to answer your reviews (especially the poor ones):

  • Saying “thank you” to someone who took time out of their day to leave you a great review is worth your time. This shows you appreciate their patronage and their time.
  • Responding to reviews further supports your presence as a real life human, and not just a brand and logo. People crave human-to-human interaction on social media.  They are voicing their opinion because they want to be heard, and they want to hear from you.
  • Reviews give you a chance to see what you’re doing well, and where you might be able to improve. This is basically free market research for your company!
  • Taking ownership and apologizing for a poor experience, even if it has you fuming, is the right thing to do. Nobody’s perfect, and a poor review should be taken with a grain of salt.  It’s difficult, but you can do this!
  • Future customers want to see that you respond to reviews and address situations that need to be taken care of. Seeing a seething review followed by a professional response from the owner is much more palatable than no response at all, or worse, a rude or defensive response.

The thing to remember is that you are in business only because of your customers.  Being genuine, and thanking them for their good experiences, goes a long way.  Remaining professional and courteous to the unhappy customers goes even farther.

  • Start by apologizing and taking ownership.
  • Acknowledge that they had an issue and you will do your best to correct it.
  • Thank them for taking the time to send their feedback.
  • Use the opportunity to point out something positive about your business.

Here are some platforms to start with…

By staying professional and redirecting your reviews to the many positive aspects of your business, negative reviews won’t make such a negative impact.  If you’re interested in outsourcing your review responses for consistency and peace of mind, talk to us!

Are You Blogging About Weed Yet?

Are You Blogging About Weed Yet?

Blogging can seem like a daunting task, especially of you don’t consider yourself to be a writer.  While you’re crazy busy running your dispensary, sitting down to write a blog post may seem like an impossible task.  The reasons to have a blog for your business are many: you can announce exciting news within your company, share knowledge about your products and services, and most importantly, establish yourself as THE expert in the cannabis field.  You can also break down your blog post to create other social media content, so one piece of work turns into many pieces of content.  If you’re looking for ways to start a blog and increase your following, read on!

Your first step is choosing a blogging platform.  There are free and paid options, with the biggest difference being that a paid site typically gives you the opportunity to use your custom domain.  I love custom domains because they further legitimize your brand, and help tie everything together.  While WordPress has been my go-to platform for my blog and my website, there are many other great blogging sites available!

Once you have chosen your blog platform and set up your site, content is the next important step.  Finding amazing content to share on your blog is simple once you have established your mission and values.  Everything that you post already reflects your business beliefs, and your blog is simply an extension of your online personality and brand.  Your blog shows why you are passionate about your business, and can help highlight your dispensary from your competitors.  Get inspired for your next post by checking out what is trending in your industry, and what people are already talking about.  Stumped?  Check out these tips to get your blog up and running with stellar content:

  • Use customer questions
    • If you are asking for questions on your social media sites, this is a great way to expand upon what people are already asking
    • You can use your social media pages or your competitors to see what customers want more information about
  • Read blogs and articles from the cannabis industry and your competitors
    • This may provide some additional insight into what clients are looking for
    • Other blogs can spark inspiration for your next topic
    • If you have different opinions than what you read on the internet, expand on that to differentiate yourself
  • Search for trending topics
    • Facebook and Twitter both plainly list trending topics
    • Use this data to inform your followers about what matters to them most
    • Check out websites like High Times and MassRoots on Facebook
  • Search through Quora
    • Quora is an online community for people to ask questions and get answers.
    • About 100 million monthly visitors visit Quora
    • You can search for topics relating to weed and see what people are asking

Blogging involves being engaged in the blogging community, just like other social media.  The more you engage with the cannabis community, the better likelihood that people will engage back.  Once you find your ideal topic, utilize these best practices to make your following grow.

  • 500-1,200 words per blog post is great for SEO
    • Blogs should be 500 words at a minimum.
    • Longer blogs have a better chance of ranking with Google.
    • Include images that relate to your topic.
  • Comment on popular blogs
    • Find popular blogs in your industry and start following them.
    • Reply to comments in another blog’s thread, providing your expertise (especially valuable for your budtenders to get involved).
  • Recognize someone else’s content
    • Link back to another blog if you are quoting their article or using statistics.
    • Engaging helps to foster goodwill.
    • Helps SEO.
  • Allow comments on your blog
    • Invites visitors to engage.
    • Gives you valuable feedback and the opportunity to answer questions.
  • Proof your post
    • Since blogging is intended to establish yourself as the expert in your field, proofreading your articles is a must.
    • Take a break. After you write your blog post, take some time away and re-read it later to make any additional edits.
    • Reading your blog out loud helps you to hear the flow of your article.
    • Play with fonts, size, and graphics. Make your blog visually appealing for your audience.
  • Consistency is Key
    • Figure out how many quality blog posts you can create in one month, and stick to that schedule.
    • Release blogs on certain days to gain the most traffic and build anticipation.
  • Use Infographics
    • Infographics are easy to digest, which is great for millennial fans.
    • Create your own with Canva, or share another company’s infographic (use appropriate attribution and link back to their page).
  • Use keywords strategically in your heading and blog content.
  • Make sure your blog is mobile friendly!
    • People use their phones to digest much of what they see on the internet.
    • Check your blog posts to ensure they look great on your mobile device and your desktop.
  • Use numbers in your topic
3 Ways to Build Your Social Media Presence

3 Ways to Build Your Social Media Presence

Using social media for your business is completely different than using social media for your personal life, which is why it becomes so important to treat social media as a marketing tool.  There are proven ways to create a strong, cohesive presence on social media for your dispensary or cannabis product.  Here are just a few ways you can build your brand and create a loyal following…

Find Organic Followers

Finding organic followers is still possible, even with Facebook Ads abound.

  • Look to your community events, national cannabis events that are trending, and friend’s posts that support your values and mission statement.
  • Run a contest with a giveaway.
  • Use beautiful imagery on every post.
  • Create 30-second videos to increase engagement.
  • Utilize Facebook Live, Facebook Stories, and Instagram Stories for short videos to connect with your audience.
  • Use “Call to Action” pieces to engage your audience.  Start a dialogue by asking a question, asking for a share, or asking folks to join a debate.
  • Invite your Facebook friends and contacts to like your business page.

Engage Your Audience

Social media is supposed to be just that: social.  I am a firm believer in what goes around comes around, and while you are hunting for likes and engagement on your page, it’s important to also give.  Spend a few minutes a day browsing through each social media channel to interact with the virtual world around you.

  • Find businesses that you currently support.  Like their pages as yourself, and like their pages as your business.
  • Browse through trending topics on Facebook and Twitter.  Join in the conversation on someone else’s page, and share the topic on your own pages.
  • Share another page’s content if it relates to your values and it relates to your followers.  Not every post has to relate directly to your business.  Instead, appeal to your followers by posting content that you and they care about.
  • Scroll through your Instagram feed.  Like and comment on posts that you love.
  • The MassRoots community is incredible responsive.  Post and comment to get to know your followers.
  • Follow back your Twitter followers.  Thank new followers for checking out your page, and remind them where else they can find you.
  • Expand your pages to be more than just ads.  Social media provides a valuable opportunity to communicate with your clients and engage with the cannabis community.

Be a Real Human

  • Content is King.  Post stunning imagery and information that make your fans want to keep coming back to your page.
  • Consistency Creates Fans.  Create a schedule for each channel and stick to it!
  • Engage with Your Audience.  People do business with those they know, like, and trust.  Get to know your audience, and allow them to get to know you.  Support other businesses and share the pages that you love.
  • Stay True to Your Mission.  Create and share posts that reflect your true colors as a business and as a person.  This takes the guesswork out of content creation and what is appropriate to share.
  • Become the Expert.  Social media as a whole is designed to first connect with your fans, and second establish yourself as the expert in your field.  When people think of the best dispensary in town, will they think of you first?

These 3 proven strategies will help you to begin to create a true connection with your customers.  The marketing team at CMI is here for you to help your cannabis business achieve its social media goals.  Grow with us!

Why is Guidance So Vague for Cannabis Marketing on Facebook?

Why is Guidance So Vague for Cannabis Marketing on Facebook?

This may be a bold statement, but nearly everyone uses Facebook.  Even if you don’t personally use a ton of social media, your customers do, with the average adult checking their Facebook page up to 15 times every day.  There is good reason to be involved on the social media site, but for cannabis owners, creating great content that relates to your brand becomes a little bit more challenging.

Contrary to what I have heard from many business owners, I believe that Facebook changes their algorithms often in order to serve you better, with the goal of creating a better overall user experience.  Algorithms decide who sees your posts, and who doesn’t.  There are ways to target your preferred page audience, and sometimes you even have the option to target a certain demographic for each post.  But when that is not an option, the algorithm takes charge and serves up your content to people who may or may not be your fans already, but who have interacted or liked similar content in the past.  Individuals also have the option to choose interests on their Facebook page, which further helps Facebook to serve them the content that they will care about the most.  The reason why this can be frustrating for cannabis business owners, is because you could have amazing content and not see a lot of engagement.  The best thing you can do is set your preferred page audience, target whenever possible your intended demographic, and use analytics to figure out what is working and what can be improved upon.

There’s come about a wonderful work-around to the organic Facebook that we have been accustomed to in the past.  Facebook Ads give you the opportunity to pay Facebook to serve up your content to more subscribers.  You have to spend money to make money, and the old way of doing Facebook simply does not achieve tangible results.  So, using Facebook Ads allows you to have your content seen by more people, while also encouraging a specific Call To Action that converts.

Facebook ads for the cannabis industry have to be designed differently than ads for a more “mainstream” businesses.  Because of Facebook Community Standards, drug content is not allowed.  So while you are managing your Facebook page and trying to get your cannabis brand out there to your many fans, you are at the same time running the risk of getting your page flagged for inappropriate content.  The Community Standards also make it more difficult to get your ads approved.  Facebook will typically ping your ad as unapproved content, even if you are not directly promoting the sale of cannabis.  We have reached out to Facebook multiple times for clarification on how to best advertise cannabis for our clients, especially after we discovered some promotional ads from a local dispensary, and this was our best response:

 

 

So what they are saying is that if they happen to not catch an ad that has drug content, they are relying on the Facebook community to find and report content that “shouldn’t” be allowed.  Some dispensaries choose to risk it, posting content how they feel, and publishing ads that could potentially shut down their page.  Our philosophy involves minimal guesswork and instead, we learn the “rules” of Facebook so that we can effectively run your cannabis ads and posts WITHOUT the fear of getting your page flagged.

You can read more about Facebook’s Community Guidelines and prohibited Content here: https://www.facebook.com/policies/ads/prohibited_content/drugs#

Creating Instagram Content for your Dispensary

Creating Instagram Content for your Dispensary

Instagram is not only an app filled with visual stories, it has become a valuable social media marketing tool for business.  Over 5 million businesses worldwide use Instagram for business, and with 400 million folks using this app every day, it’s an avenue that should be taken advantage of.

Reasons to use Instagram for business:

  • 80% of people who use Instagram follow a business on the app. This is your brand’s opportunity to be seen by the millions of people who use Instagram every month.
  • Create interest about your brand and your products. Visual posts give fans an interesting way to learn about you and what you are all about.  Short, sweet, and stunning is what Instagram is all about!
  • Build awareness about your mission. Especially in the cannabis industry, education is paramount.  People are yearning to learn about the industry, your values, and why they should do business with you.
  • Create H2H interaction. Human 2 Human (H2H) interaction is simplified on Instagram with the use of Stories and short videos.  You can foster a real connection with your fans by offering a sneak peek into your world or sharing something personal about yourself.
  • Get customers. Using paid ads on Instagram enables you to reach more potential customers, and having a specific call to action on your ad (buy, visit, download) converts at a higher percentage than organic posts.
  • Instagram offers support for businesses. Yes, you have to do a little bit of digging, and a little bit of reading if you’re managing your social media presence in-house.  But Instagram consistently provides up-to-date announcements, enhancements, and best practices to help you succeed.
  • Companies of any size can use Instagram. It doesn’t matter if you are big or small, just starting out or you’ve been in business for years.  Content is the only thing that matters when it comes to gaining a loyal following.

So how do I create great content for Instagram?

If the idea of creating stunning images at regular intervals makes you cringe, there a few really great apps out there that are terrific for creating Instagram content that converts (by conversions, I’m talking about likes, new followers, comments, and sales).

Canva is my absolute all-time most-favorite app for creating custom content.  You can access it on your desktop or mobile, and most of the content is absolutely free.  If you see a download that you just can’t live without, they only cost $1/each.  Every template if formatted for you, so you never have to guess about what pixel size an image for Instagram should be as opposed to an image for Twitter (yep, there’s a difference).

Adobe Spark is an app that you can download from the app store or access from your desktop.  You can create beautiful images and short videos using their free templates, which include customizable graphics and text.

Brandr allows you to upload your transparent logo and impress it onto your graphics.  So whether you have an original photo of your shop, or have created a motivational post, you can brand your image, effortlessly.

Follow us on social media for more tips and content creation inspiration for your dispensary and cannabis product.  When you’re ready to take your content creation and delivery to the next level, the expert team at Cannabis Marketing Inc is here for you!