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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.

social media for cannabis companiesYour 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!

Cannabis Marketing Is Unique

Cannabis Marketing Is Unique

Marketing in the Cannabis industry is not the same as other industries.  With Federal Laws and online policies creating roadblocks, you might feel perplexed about how you are going to make your brand’s voice heard above the rest.  Throughout our experience marketing for several different types of cannabis companies, we have determined the best techniques for reaching your potential audience.  The cannabis industry is cut-throat and complicated which makes it extra important to spend every dollar of your budget wisely.

Cannabis Marketing in Action

Once you have established a vision and goal for your company’s initiatives, it’s time to put a plan into action.  The first and most important thing you need, is a fully-functioning and visually appealing website.  The domain you choose for your site will help set to your business apart from your competitors.  It must be easily memorable and wholly unique.  Sometimes, choosing a domain is difficult because there are so many out there to choose from and you don’t want to have any overlap with other companies.  If you are running into duplicate company names, one trick is to add the word “dispensary” or “collective” after your brand name.

It is important to remember to add an age gate to your website as well.  As cannabis becomes more widely legalized, maintaining accountability when advertising or promoting cannabis is imperative.  We recommend conducting thorough research to educate yourself about the laws in your individual state.  As you probably know, the laws are different anywhere you go, but one thing stays the same no matter what:  we do not want children on cannabis websites.  Adding the age gate must be a top priority.  It’s a simple step that means a lot.

Cannabis Website Design

When you are considering the design of your cannabis website, there are several key factors to take into consideration before you get too far into the design.  Choosing a visually appealing color scheme, logo and font are all essential when it comes to grabbing your customer’s attention and branding your company in a unique way.  Don’t choose boring fonts and do not create a logo that might relate to children.  Anything that is cute and cuddly, or is a cartoon, might not be the best choice for your intended audience.  It’s a good idea to stay away from the things that have plagued cannabis sites over the last few years.  Things like bikini girls holding blunts and bad word art are no longer the reigning culture of cannabis.  A focus on health, wellness and cleanliness is a much better road to follow.

Besides having your own distinctive and functional website, it’s vital to display your brand on other big industry-relevant sites.  Sites like Weedmaps and Leafly are good examples of highly-navigated sites where people are looking for cannabis brands and deals just like yours.  For monthly or yearly fees, you can hold a place on these websites relatively easily.  Choosing a marketing company to vet out impactful websites for your business will save you time and money.

Cannabis Branding Fundamentals

Once you have a website established, the next step is setting up a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. This type of advertising ensures your website can be seen by the world.  They say the best place to hide a dead body is on page two of Google.  This is accurate!  When you are searching Google, how often do you scroll down and go to the next page?  Not often, right? A solid SEO campaign will drive your site closer and closer to the top of Google searches.

So, how does an SEO campaign work?  Is it magic?  No, it’s the cunning use of targeted keywords utilized throughout your site, followed by meticulous monitoring and adjustments.   Right now, it is completely legal to advertise your cannabis website in this way, so take advantage!  Remember, SEO campaigns can quickly become very complicated.  As a business owner, we recommend knowing the basics, but leaving the rest up to a company who specializes in this field, like Cannabis Marketing, Inc.

Another form of advertising commonly used by the cannabis industry is Native Advertising.  Native Advertising will help enhance your SEO campaign by presenting custom ad messages to those who have shown interest in products and services like yours.  You can easily captivate your audience with well-presented, branded material that doesn’t stand out as blatant marketing.  To the user, your ad will have in-built value because it appeals to their interests.  The ultimate goal is for a highly-influential website pick up your ads.  Once this happens, your SEO campaign will kick into high-gear and drive you up the Google listings.  Pretty cool, huh?

E-mail campaigns are another effective method of advertising for cannabis businesses.  Building a list of customer e-mails and data is crucial to impactful communication.  Once you build a targeted list, you will be able to talk directly to your clients about upcoming events, promotions and other news-worthy information.  Once you establish a routine with your e-mails, your customers will always be reminded about your business.  Just be careful not to e-mail too much.  Spamming is not cool.

Lastly, we want to mention influencer marketing.  Even though this type of marketing is gaining popularity, especially in the cannabis industry, it has been around for a long time.   The act of influencing requires a specific result: an alteration in thinking or behavior.  Many people confuse influencers with someone who is just really popular.  But in actuality, an influencer is someone who can impact the perception of others and even encourage them to do something different.  When seeking out influencers, keep this in mind: do they have what it takes to give you a solid return on your investment?  Do they have the ability to deliver a message to a large number of people?  Are they credible and have the trust of their industry followers?  Do they have the extraordinary power to persuade and convince their audience?

It’s our advice to be selective when working with influencers.  If done right, influencer marketing can improve the perception of your company and can build a community of advocates who will drive reach and brand awareness.

As your marketing starts to take off, it’s crucial to consistently monitor your various campaign’s progress.  When you actively monitor and analyze, you give yourself a change to dig in and see what works and what doesn’t; what is performing exceptionally well, and what is not.  This will help you to mold and shift your strategies so you can continue driving forward.  This aspect of your marketing takes a lot of time and focus.  We always recommend utilizing a cannabis marketing agency to monitor and strategize your campaigns.  This article has only touched the tip of the nugget when it comes to your marketing options.

It can all seem overwhelming very quickly and it’s important you focus your valued time on your cannabusiness.  Leave the details of marketing to us!

CBD and Professional Sports

CBD and Professional Sports

As CBD awareness and acceptance rises in the world, many are asking how CBD can be used in fitness and sports and how athletes can take advantage of the multitude of benefits.    How does CBD effect an athlete’s body, exactly?  Is it legal for athletes to consume CBD?  Should it be?  Before we get to these essential questions, we want to make sure you understand what CBD is.

What Is CBD?

There is a lot of noise out there when it comes to CBD and we want to clear the air.  CBD stands for cannabidiol.  This is a chemical compound which comes from the marijuana plant.  Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the part of the plant of which CBD is derived, does not have cause any psychoactive effects when consumed.  CBD will not cause the someone to ever feel “high” like THC.  So, why doesn’t CBD get you high?  That’s because CBD effects different receptors in the brain than THC does.   In the 1990’s, scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system which transmits signals from cannabinoids in the body.  There are over 100 known molecular targets of CBD in the body which leads to a multitude of benefits when CBD is ingested on a regular basis.

Consuming CBD

There are thousands of CBD products currently available on the market, giving users a wide range of options for consumption methods.  CBD can commonly be found in the form of oils, tinctures, vaporizers, liquids, and even pills.  The easiest and most effective way to ingest CBD is through tinctures.  Sublingual tinctures are considered the “old standard” of the CBD industry.  Tinctures are comprised mainly of raw hemp oil that has the actual cannabinoids from the plant present.  It is important to do a little bit of research and verify the extraction methods and lab in which the CBD was manufactured.

Over the last year, one of the most popular forms of CBD has become the gel capsule.  Users who are switching from their typical medications to CBD often prefer this method because of the easy transition as well as the similarity to traditional medicines.  People who have smoked in the past are also finding it easy to transition from cigarettes and e-cigs to CBD vaping.  CBD vapes will always taste better, feel better and have far less health risks and traditional smoking.  For someone suffering from concentrated joint or muscle pain, topical CBD lotions and salves are the best recommended option for fast and effective results.  Those who suffer from chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia and MS, agree that topicals are essential to their pain management and help to maintain a high-quality of life.

CBD Benefits for Athletes

Even though CBD has many beneficial claims, it is still going through the process of complete legalization and acceptance.  This is especially true in the world of sports and athletes.  CBD is considered a performance enhancing drug because of the numerous health benefits for athletes.  Some of the advantages of CBD for an athlete include cortisol reduction, weight management, pain management, restful sleep, anti-inflammatory, and insulin sensitivity promotion.

Science has shown that CBD oil effectively reduces stress while diminishing the harmful effects of increased adrenal function and anxiety.  Athletes who are actively working to build muscle mass often experience times of painful inflammation.  CBD helps relieve muscle and joint irritation that occurs because of weightlifting and other strenuous exercise.  Even if someone is not an athlete, there are still advantages to conquering long-lasting inflammation. Did you know inflammation can be linked to a shorter lifespan?  Inflammation is tied into a very large number of life-threatening chronic diseases so it’s best to eliminate as much as possible with natural CBD.  Researchers are also finding that, along with the ant-inflammatory benefits, CBD is helping with pain relief and stress relief as well.  This is perfect for professional athletes

Organized Sports and CBD

So, what’s the deal with organized sports and CBD?  For the first time ever, WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) is allowing professional athletes to use CBD products.  WADA was established in 1999 and is responsible for diminishing doping in sports internationally.  In accordance with scientific research and available information about the cannabinoid, they have updated their banned substances list to eliminate CBD.  Did you know in 2013, WADA even raised the tolerated amount of THC allowed in the system of Olympic athletes?  And again, in 2016 they changed rules to allow Olympic participants to smoke cannabis, just not during the competition?  We think this step was HUGE in opening doors for CBD potential in sports.  You never know, maybe at our next Olympics, we will see athletes sponsored by CBD brands!

In other big CBD Sports news, we were excited to see that CBD was allowed this year at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.  This was a major world step in eliminating the dishonor of Cannabis.   The World Cup happens every 4 years and gains the attention from countries around the world.  This year, the World Cup had 3.2 billion views globally!  We think it’s fantastic that the athletes could openly consume cannabidiol throughout the competition with the world watching.  The use of CBD at the World Cup will hopefully be the starting off point for the common acceptance of CBD in professional sports.  As of now, major sports leagues like the NFL, NBA and MLB still prohibit all athlete use of CBD, even though athletes are still trying to push the boundaries.  Several well-known athletes, including MMA fighters and NFL players, are turning to CBD oil as a safe and effective alternative to addictive painkillers.

Regardless, more scientific studies are revealing additional medicinal properties of CBD every day.  Even the World Health Organization has referred to CBD as being generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile.  It is only a matter of time before CBD will be viewed in sports as an essential supplement for ultimate athletic performance.

 

Want to learn more?  Follow our blog for continued education and updates on legislation in the CBD world.  Cannabis Marketing, Inc. helps cannabis, hemp, and CBD brands build their audience through effective marketing and increased education.  As the legislation continues to change, we will continue to be on top of the latest news, so we can market your brand with compliance and the latest trends in mind.  Call us today for your FREE consultation.

 

Resources:

https://www.lifesum.com

https://www.wikipedia.com

https://www.hightimes.com

https://www.wada-ama.org/

SEO Case Study

SEO Case Study

Have you ever wondered why some businesses get found easily on Google searches, and some do not?  Even though your cannabis, hemp, or CBD product and brand has a strong social media presence and your website is gorgeous, you’re still not seeing the traffic you’d like.  The reason that the best brands get found consistently is in part due to Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.

SEO tackles many of the website issues that are invisible to the naked eye.  Optimization of your website, which includes adding keywords, backlinks, and analytics to your site, are just a few of the simple ways your SEO provider will help customers to find your brand FIRST when searching the internet for cannabis, hemp, or CBD.  Cannabis Marketing, Inc. partners with the best SEO providers in the cannabis space to ensure that your website is optimized for the most traffic.

We rely heavily on analytics to show return on investment (ROI) and help you understand exactly where your website has improved.  Google ranking is one way that we can show your improvement, by benchmarking where your brand starts on Google, and revisiting month over month how many keywords you are ranking for, along with where your brand ranks in general.  People often don’t search past page one of Google, so it is important to rank for as many keywords as possible, along with ranking for your brand name itself.  Our goal is to help you become the name that people think of first when it comes to cannabis, hemp, or CBD!

Our team understands SEO, and will sit down with you and your management team monthly to review each piece of your analytic summary.  This case study for SEO shows how, through a Fully Managed SEO program, we were able to identify and correct many of the issues that were originally holding this site back from its full potential.  Because of these efforts, we were able to increase organic visitors from out of state search terms such as “best dispensary in Colorado”.  This brand’s local presence in maps and organic searches also increased significantly over the course of just one year.  The growth of their website allowed this client to feel confident in expanding their offerings to include an online store to further increase their overall sales!

Organic Increase of Users on the Website: 95.76%

Total Views on Google Search and Maps Increased 303%

Customers Visiting the Website from the Listing Increased 425%

New Users Visiting the Website Increased 175.94%

From SEO to social media to print advertising, we work with your cannabis brand to employ strategies that create results.  Our strategy includes all the modes that are compliant for advertising cannabis, hemp, and CBD, which in addition to SEO, may also include social media, radio (and soon television) for your business.  Cannabis Marketing, Inc.’s proven marketing strategy helps us to stretch your valuable marketing dollars further, while promoting your brand in a way that increases growth and ROI.

The cannabis, hemp, and CBD industry is changing every day, and our team stays on top of the newest and best forms of advertising to get your brand the exposure you need to succeed.  If you’re ready to take the next step and grow your cannabis, hemp, or CBD brand, contact us for a free consultation!

Reputation Management Case Study

Reputation Management Case Study

You’ve heard it before, and we’ll say it again: reputation is everything when it comes to your cannabis brand.  You’ve worked hard to ensure your product is quality, that your customers are happy, and that your marketing efforts are on-point.  So what do you do about reviews?

Social Proof is the phenomenon in which consumers copy popular actions of others in an attempt to demonstrate correct behavior in a given situation.  This sounds like a very serious definition for what essentially boils down to consumers using reviews, word-of-mouth, and brand association before making a decision.  The reason this affects you and your cannabis, hemp, or CBD brand is because consumers are going to look for social proof before they trust your company, and especially before they make a purchase.  Aside from using social media to increase brand awareness and create that Human-2-Human interaction consumers are looking for, how else can you ensure that your brand is reflecting the positive social proof that will encourage consumers to not only buy, but to become lifelong brand advocates?

Reputation Management not only involves monitoring reviews for your cannabis, hemp, or CBD brand.  It means maintaining five-star reviews and helping to raise your star rating if it is below five stars.  It is responding to reviews, both positive and negative, to showcase your brand in the best possible light while addressing consumer’s questions, concerns, and accolades.  There are many different platforms for consumers to leave reviews, and monitoring all feedback about your company can seem never-ending.  With Cannabis Marketing, Inc.’s Reputation Management team in your corner, you can continue to focus on your business with the ease of mind that your customers are being responded to with the utmost care and respect.

Our case study for reputation management shows how we were able to improve a cannabis brand’s online reputation over the course of one year.  The result was more five-star reviews, more positive feedback, and more positive brand awareness across all review platforms.  Although Facebook and Google are highlighted below, we monitored reviews for all the major review platforms, such as Leafly, Weedmaps, PotGuide.com, Yahoo! Local, Yelp, and Mapquest.

In 2016, the brand was only available for review on five platforms.

By 2018, they were available for review on eight platforms, giving them more reach.

In 2016 this brand had a 4.6 rating for Facebook, which grew to 4.8 by 2018.

In 2016 this brand had a 4.2 rating for Google, which grew to 4.4 by 2018.

Overall reviews were 84% positive in 2018.

This company received only 12 reviews on average each month in 2016,
which grew to 116 on average each month in 2018.

By actively generating reviews, monitoring new reviews, and responding to reviews and questions in a timely manner, reputation management from Cannabis Marketing, Inc. helped this cannabis brand to reach more consumers while positively supporting their brand culture.  Show your customers that you care while enhancing your brand image!  Our team can help.  Contact us for your free consultation and marketing recommendations today!

Social Media Case Study

Social Media Case Study

Your cannabis, hemp, or CBD business is doing well, but you know that there is more of the market that you haven’t yet tapped.  You have worked hard to get your business off the ground, and you know that spending money to move to the next level is necessary, but it’s also scary.  Marketing companies are everywhere, and when you’re trying to get the word out about your cannabis business, it may seem like they are a dime a dozen.  You probably get contacted weekly (or even daily) from marketing companies that you’ve never heard of, promising this result or that, but how do you know that what they claim is truth?

Analytics don’t lie, and Cannabis Marketing, Inc. is serious about providing results.  That’s why we benchmark where our clients start out when they come aboard, and provide monthly and year-over-year analytics to show where their marketing dollars are having the most impact.  Instead of sending reports over that you have to decipher on your own, we sit down with you and your management team to review every piece of your analytic summary.  From SEO to social media to print, we work with you to employ strategies that ensure accurate tracking so we can prove results.  Our strategy includes all the modes that are compliant for advertising cannabis, hemp, and CBD, which may also include radio (and soon television) for your business.  A cohesive marketing strategy that includes all modes of advertising helps us to stretch your valuable marketing dollars further, while promoting your brand in a way that increases growth and return on investment (ROI).

Our case study for social media shows how we were able to expansively grow a cannabis brand over the course of one year.  This brand already had a social media presence, but by thinking outside the box, using tried-and-true social media techniques, creating stunning content, and interacting with their followers, we were able to increase their social media followers and engagement extensively.

Facebook followers increased 102%.

Their YouTube channel followers increased 2111% (not a typo).

Instagram experienced a 68% increase, even after removing many of their original followers who were underage.

MassRoots, a cannabis-friendly platform, saw a 35% increase in followers.

Social media helps to create and improve brand awareness, and the team at CMI focuses on increasing followers and engagement to reach the most organic audience possible.  Social media tells a story to create loyal followers and brand advocates, increases customer service access and satisfaction, and over time, will lead to increased sales.  As a bottom-of-the-funnel sales technique, social media success does not happen overnight.  Amazing content, daily touches, human-to-human interaction, and staying on top of the constantly-shifting algorithms are things that the team at Cannabis Marketing, Inc. take care of for you over the long term so you can continue to run your business.  Social media is a living, breathing marketing animal that must be nourished with consistency, passion, and knowledge of what is “allowed” per each platform’s terms.  The cannabis, hemp, and CBD industry is changing daily, and our team works tirelessly with the best modalities of marketing to create success for your brand.  If you’re frustrated by social media, and ready to take the next step in marketing your cannabis, hemp, or CBD brand, give us a call for a free consultation!

 

First Time Visiting A Recreational Dispensary? What You Should Know

First Time Visiting A Recreational Dispensary? What You Should Know

How times have changed…What was once considered taboo and illegal by society has now become recognized as neither by an ever-growing majority in Colorado.  Since Amendment 20 passed in the year 2000, the consumption of cannabis for medical use has been legal in the state.  On November 6th, 2012, recreational use of marijuana become legal with the passing of Colorado Amendment 64 (going into effect in January 2014).

Over four years later, we are able to enter Recreational Dispensaries throughout the region and treat ourselves to a wide variety of products.  Those who visit these establishments for the first time may feel a bit overwhelmed by the experience.  We can empathize, and want to assure you, there is nothing to fear!  As Dispensary Marketing grows, let’s take a closer look at what you might want to know before you enter a Colorado recreational cannabis dispensary for the first time.

 Before You Head Out

At one time, you had to be issued a Medical Marijuana Card, or Red Card, in order to purchase cannabis products.  Since 2014, those of us who are 21-years or older are able to have access and make purchases from recreational dispensaries with just our valid government-issued ID or license. Think of it in the same way you would visiting a liquor store to buy alcohol; no ID, no sales.  Even if you are not purchasing anything, you must be 21 to enter, and your ID must be on hand at all times.

Typically, the friendly staff at the front of the store will check your ID, maybe sign you up for a loyalty program to earn points on your purchases, and ask if you’ve been in before.  Alternately, you could have your ID checked by a third-party security guard.  Don’t worry, they are there for your safety and protection!

Lastly, don’t forget your cash.  While Colorado (and an increasing number of states) have made recreational use of marijuana legal, the Federal government still lags behind the times.  To put it blunt-ly (haha), banks aren’t willing to take the chance of handling transactions through credit or debit cards while cannabis remains illegal on the federal level.  While most establishments have an ATM on site, it is a good idea to bring cash with you, even if just to avoid the ATM fees.

 First Time Users

When it comes to recreational cannabis, two of the most popular methods of consumption are eating and smoking.  There are differences in both, and your budtender will be able to help you decide which to try first, as well as review the types of feelings (head high, body high, energy, couch glue, etc) you can expect to have with different strains and products.

Edibles are attractive due to the fact that they do not smell like you’ve been smoking, their effects can last for hours, and they are more discreet.  Edibles can vary in THC concentration depending upon a variety of factors, including how they were made and what strain was used.  It can take between one and two hours for you to feel the full effects of your dosage, so until you understand how cannabis affects you, flower (smoking) may be the safest route for first-time users.

Smoking marijuana is what most people associate with when they think of consumption.  There are different ways to smoke cannabis including bongs, blunts, joints, pipes, and vaporizers.  As a first time user, you may want to try different strains before investing into a large amount of flower, but luckily, grams and pre-rolls (joints) are inexpensive and offer you variety.  Again, don’t be shy to ask your budtender for their favorites, they are there to help you make the most of your experience!

First time and occasional users need to remember, slow and easy.  Consuming cannabis can increase anxiety and paranoia, as well as cause sleepiness.  When smoking marijuana, take a small puff and wait.  The full effect should be felt after approximately 15 minutes.  If you wish to increase the effects, take another small puff.  The beauty of legal, recreational cannabis is that you can experiment with all kinds of strains to find your perfect match!

 Types of Cannabis

In recent years, marijuana cultivation and education have increased dramatically. Different types of cannabis plants have been identified, along with the effects from their consumption.  A closer look at the three types of strains should help you to decide what you are looking to experience.

Indica: The Indica plant produces a stronger body high.  Feelings will include relaxation and sleepiness.  Uses include relief from anxiety, body pains, headaches, spasms, seizures, and stress. Strains from this plant include Kush and Northern Lights.

Sativa: The high produced from the Sativa plant is characterized as a more intense mental experience, best described as energetic or uplifting in nature.  Feelings may include creativity and energetic bursts.  Uses include relieving depression, increasing creativity, focus, energy, and feelings of at-ease and well-being.  Popular Sativa strains include Maui Wowie and Purple Haze.

Hybrid: Hybrids are another popular type of cannabis, and are a mix of Indica and Sativa strains. Due to the different benefits and effects of hybrids, these strains can be used to target the desired result for medicinal users when treating their illness.  These strains can share characteristics of both strain families evenly, or favor one plant’s benefits over another.  Hybrids will produce less extreme characteristics, but not necessarily less powerful highs for users.  You can ask for a Sativa- or Indica- dominant hybrid if one strain family is better suited for your needs over the other.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical compound found in cannabis that produces the feelings of being “high”.  You’ll notice during your visit to a recreational dispensary in Colorado that each strain has different percentages of THC content.  CBD (Cannabidiol) is another cannabis compound that offers medicinal and relaxing properties, without the feelings of being stoned.  Beginners and low-tolerance users may wish to consider lower THC levels and higher CBD levels while gauging tolerance and finding the perfect strain.  This combination is often found in hybrid strains of cannabis.

 

Here are a few of the most popular strains that you might find when you visit a recreational cannabis dispensary in Colorado:

 

Lower THC/Higher CBD leveled products

 

Indica: Aliens On Moonshine and Pennywise strains

Sativa: Harlequin strain

Hybrid: ACDC, Cannatonic, Dancehall, Harle-Tsu, and Sour Tsunami strains

 

Higher THC leveled products

 

Indica: Plushberry strain

Sativa: Jack Herer and Maui Wowie strains

Hybrid: Blue Dream, Chernobyl, and Permafrost strains

 

The Amount Available for Purchase

When Colorado first legalized recreational cannabis use, residents were limited to 28 grams of product (one-ounce) and non-residents to just seven grams.  As of 2016, non-residents are now able to possess the same amount as residents.  Because of varying levels of THC and different types of product available, the amount you can purchase will vary depending on what you buy.

The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) in Colorado has determined that 1 oz of Flower = 8 grams of Concentrate (Shatter, Wax, etc) or 800mg of Edibles.  You can mix and match, as long as your total purchase doesn’t exceed the equivalent of 1 ounce of cannabis.

 

Consumption

Once you’ve completed your first successful visit to a Colorado recreational dispensary, you may be eager to rip open your exit bag and start enoying.  But wait!  Cannabis consumption laws in Colorado are strict, and you can get a citation or DUI for driving while high, or for smoking in public.  There are very few places where you can openly and legally consume, but laws are always changing and cannabis lounges are on the horizon.  In the meantime, keep your cannabis products sealed and out of the front seat of your vehicle.  Wait until you get to a private residence to consume, and don’t drive until you are completely sober.  Same as alcohol, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and cannabis citations are a real thing.

 

Final Thoughts

Now that you have a better idea of what to expect and look for, head down to your local recreational cannabis dispensary and shop around with confidence!  Make sure to speak with your budtender in order to find the strains you are looking for.  Find yourself a proper location that is safe to indulge, and set some time aside for yourself.  Most importantly, enjoy this new era of legal recreational cannabis!

How to Grow Your Cannabis Business Using Social Media

How to Grow Your Cannabis Business Using Social Media

Traditional businesses have long used social media as a way to grow their brand, feature their products, and connect with customers.  Social media marketing is one of the lowest-cost ways to gain an audience or build a brand-new business, and has become an absolute necessity in our expanding digital world.  And though traditional businesses sometimes have to jump through hoops to achieve their social media goals, cannabis marketing is an entirely different beast.

You may have heard of (or even experienced yourself) the frustration of your Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram pages being pulled down.  You may have advertising dollars to allocate towards Facebook and Instagram ads, and have been left feeling defeated when your ads don’t get approved.

We understand!  Social media is constantly changing, and so are the rules.  The cannabis industry is new, it’s exciting, and it’s growing quickly.  Social media channels like Facebook simply have not been able to keep up with the change of the tide, and so, pages are punished when trying to feature a product or brand.  You’re at risk every day of being pulled down if someone reports your post!  On top of all that, social media is time-consuming.  You either need to spend the hours yourself to create and maintain an amazing social media presence for your cannabis company, or you need to outsource it to someone who knows what they are doing in the cannabis advertising space.

The question is: How do you create a social media presence that grows your cannabis business AND follows the terms and conditions of the social media channels you NEED to be on?  Read on!

If you’re intending on creating and managing your social media profiles on your own, there are a few things you can implement today that, with consistency and a little bit of elbow grease, will yield results.  These are Content Curation, Image Creation, and Live Video.

Content Curation


As cannabis business owners, a common strategy to get people in the door is to create amazing specials, and then blast them out everywhere possible.  Social media seems like a no-brainer!  Of course, your cannabis products and ongoing specials should be featured, but the point of social media is to BE SOCIAL.  The goal of posting anything on your pages is to make more sales, but you first must engage current and potential customers.  Engagement is the best way to gain loyal brand ambassadors; people who will tell their friends, family, and followers about you and your fabulous cannabis products.  This should be your #1 goal.

So how do you make that happen?  By posting amazing content that encourages engagement.  Engagement is simple: it’s when someone likes, comments, or follows your page or your post.  Engagement helps you to measure the ROI of your social media campaign, along with each post individually.  Repeat what works, and stop doing what doesn’t work.

You’ve probably heard this before: Content Is King.  Great content will yield great engagement.  Go to your cannabis brand’s page and take a peek at your most recent posts.  What was the post about?  Was it about your brand or a sale?  How many likes did your most popular post get?  Did anyone share a post to their followers?  Were your most engaged with posts images, videos, or links?  Content is the likely reason why you’re seeing less-than-amazing engagement on your feeds, but it is easy to correct!

Every cannabis brand is different and unique, so first, create your brand guidelines, and use these as a map for your social media content.  Create segments of social media content, and rotate your content to keep your profiles fresh and interesting.  One segment should be company-oriented, one segment could be community-oriented, and one segment could be something you are passionate about that relates to your brand.  All segments are engagement-oriented, with the goal of getting as many post likes, comments, and shares as possible.  As you go through the year, you can change up your segments to add more variety to reach different demographics while continuing to engage with your loyal followers.

When creating content, think about your customers and your brand values, and then form your social media content around that.  By using this strategy first, and implementing badass images and live videos into the mix, you’ll see your following and engagement rise organically.

Image Creation


Images for your cannabis brand don’t have to be the same-old-same -old that everyone else is posting.  Feature your brand, your staff, and your accomplishments by posting a mix of photos and professionally-created images.  A graphic designer can be your most valuable asset in setting your cannabis dispensary or cannabis brand apart from the rest!  Your goal with any image you post is to have created social media content that people can relate to, and that they’ll ultimately share with their friends, family, and followers.

Our favorite images at Cannabis Marketing Inc are those that have people in them.  And we’re not alone: People engage with and relate to images with people in them more than other types of images (up to 38% more, according to Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs).

Photos that your cannabis company could share could be your budtenders, a team-building event, or behind-the-scenes at your grow.  The more your followers see you and your staff, instead of just a logo, the more they will fall in love with your vision, your brand, your employees, and ultimately, your products.  Show your followers that you are a real-life human being, and they will trust you.  Trust equals sales and lifelong customers.  Who wouldn’t want that?

Live Video


Live video can be scary, but it’s a content piece that cannot be left behind.  Videos are flooding our news feeds, and are only growing in popularity.  People love live video because it is real, authentic, and sometimes messy.  Take advantage of this trend by showing your followers video snippets of behind-the-scenes, of you working, or of a hilarious “something” that is happening inside your business.

Besides being in demand with your followers, Live Video gets seen by far more people due to social media algorithms.  So you have the opportunity to be seen by even more people, and gain even more followers than from a typical post.  Of course, with the ever-changing algorithms, this could change at any time!

The bottom line with video is it allows people to see YOU.  So don’t hesitate to share about yourself and your brand, and film it LIVE!

In Conclusion…

By ensuring your content is on-brand, is engaging in both photos and imagery, and by stepping outside of your comfort zone and filming live, you can grow your social media following within months.  And learning the ins and outs of social media for your cannabis business doesn’t have to be something you go at alone.  The team of experts at Cannabis Marketing Inc is here for you, ready to employ the best strategies for your brand, while sharing our creativity and love of the industry with you and your followers.

 

 

Why Marketing your Dispensary is Vital to Your Business

Why Marketing your Dispensary is Vital to Your Business

Your products sell themselves, but wouldn’t you like to sell more?  Marketing your dispensary is vital to ensuring your business thrives throughout the year, and Cannabis Marketing Inc’s team of professionals is here to help.  Whether you are interested in traditional marketing avenues, or high-tech, rapid expansion, having your marketing strategy outlined and analyzed for efficacy and legal compliance is a must.  Marketing your dispensary not only gets you in front of customers more often, but helps to strengthen your brand and mission!

The daily decisions you make as a business owner can ensure your focus and drive your success.  This is why having a clear brand outline is one of the first things to address with your cannabis marketing team.

  • Do your partners in marketing understand why you started your company, the ways you want to influence the industry, and your goals in revenue and growth?
  • Do they know your mission, your colors, your fonts, and your logo variations that convey your brand in a consistent manner that also aligns with your values?
  • Are they able to adapt your strategy as you grow?
  • Do they have enough experience working with others in the cannabis industry to give you tried-and-true guidance?

Your cannabis marketing company should fit you, your personality, and your growth goals to create a lasting partnership that will yield high ROI.

There are many ways to market your business.  The tedious process of sorting through what works while ensuring you are spending your marketing dollars wisely can be overwhelming.  A cannabis marketing agency who feels like a partner with you in business helps ensure your marketing dollars are spent wisely.  An agency can free up your time and make sure your investment is focused on increasing revenues.  We dial in and analyze results to focus on the best marketing mediums for your business at all times.  Cannabis Marketing Inc specializes in these available marketing avenues for your dispensary (subject to change with legislation):

Digital Marketing

You probably see digital marketing all the time and barely realize it.  Your email, website ads, social media feed, and even blogs like this one are considered digital marketing.  Digital marketing is highly effective because people spend more and more time online.  Purchases are made after reading reviews online and seeing social proof, directions to your dispensary are found via Google, and strain information can be found before someone even enters your location.  In addition to the convenience factor, digital marketing allows for detailed analytics.  Measuring impressions, clicks, and conversions shows us exactly what works, and what doesn’t, so we can design every single digital campaign for optimum results.  From SEM to email campaigns, we can address your digital presence and ensure that it is running successfully to beat out your competitors and take the lead digitally.

Website Design and Management

Besides your storefront, your website is your customer’s first impression of your dispensary.  Your website helps to tell your story, share accolades and specials, strengthen your brand image, connect with customers, and even helps you to be found!  Search Engine Optimization is key to your dispensary being found in the sea of cannabis businesses online, and your marketing team at CMI is well-versed in making your website work for you.  Our SEO experts are top-rated professionals who will help ensure you are using the right keywords and metatags to reach your ideal demographic while improving your Google ranking.

 Social Media

Social media is a must-have when marketing your dispensary, with well over 2 billion global users, and an average of 2.25 hours spent on social media EVERY DAY!  Social media gives your cannabis business the opportunity to connect with your customers, build your brand, and share your mission.  Social media for cannabis is our expertise.  We can ensure that we employ a social media strategy that will help to increase your business, expand on your message and educate the consumer about your culture.  The team at Cannabis Marketing Inc has your best interests in mind by ensuring a multifaceted cohesive approach across several platforms.  We understand that content is king, frequent engagement works, and messaging is important for your cannabis brand.  By analyzing your most successful posts and campaigns each month, we can prove your return on investment, while continuing to create content that resonates with your fanbase.

Print Marketing

Print marketing is a huge marketing medium for cannabis, as enthusiasts look for great deals, industry updates, and new information about their favorite products.  Publications like newspapers and magazines allow you to reach your ideal demographic, if you have a team who understands the compliance factor.  Because of constant updates in cannabis advertising regulations, traditional marketing does have limits, but may yield the return you are looking for.

 Radio

Radio advertising allows you to reach your key demographic multiple times over the course of a campaign.  With advertising regulations changing constantly for your dispensary, it’s important to be compliant, while running effective campaigns that reach your key demographic.  We work with the largest stations to get you the most reach and frequency at the right price.  We are experienced in writing scripts, working with the right talent, and making your ad stand out.

 Video

Even though television advertising remains difficult for cannabis brands, you still can create memorable, hyper-branded content using video.  Using your social media presence, your YouTube channel, and a quality videographer, you can get your message out to customers while appealing to the millions who mainly watch videos online.  Online video advertising is also more widely-accepted than you’d think, with millennials choosing to watch ads instead of swiping away.  This advertising will only grow, so building up your YouTube presence early is ideal for your brand growth and recognition.  The future for video advertising on television remains to be seen.  We are actively engaged with what the rules and regulations are as they adapt to the various FCC regulations.

These different marketing strategies are not a one-size-fits-all.  Which marketing strategies will you be employing for 2018?  Let us help you create a strategy that works.  Our team at CMI is built for success; from our research to our content to our connections; we are here to steer you right.

Matching Cannabis Businesses With Charities

Matching Cannabis Businesses With Charities

It is no secret legal cannabis companies in state and local governments are continuously paying substantial taxes to the Federal Government.  The government uses this money for public needs such as schools, roads, hospitals, etc.    In Colorado alone, the Department of Revenue reports medical and retail marijuana tax and fee collections amounting to $226,157,028 from January to November of 2017.  The numbers have continued to grow year after year and will continue doing so as marijuana continues to gain acceptance as a legitimate and essential medicine.  So why won’t government funded charities take contributions from legal cannabis companies?

Making It Easier To Donate To A Good Causedispensary marketingAs cannabis businesses continue to expand, so does the desire for philanthropy.  Whether it’s large donations to local schools or re-building struggling hospitals, giving back to those in need feels good and cannabis companies want on that train.  As an expanding cannabis business, partnering with charities not only feels awesome, but is commonly seen as the next logical step in the growing process (no pun intended).  Ever since dispensaries began opening decades ago, they have been working hard to find unique and innovative ways to give back to those less fortunate in their communities.

Unfortunately, giving to charity has proven to be more difficult for our clients than expected.  As reported by Forbes, many charities simply aren’t willing to accept donations from legal cannabis companies.  Period.  In some cases, charities might be willing to consider monetary donations from cannabis companies, but only if the benefactor remains a secret.

Throughout the years, the cannabis industry has been anonymously contributing millions to their local and state charities, proving that it’s not all about the marketing and press.  Cannabis companies are just honest businesses trying to help those less fortunate.  There are numerous stories of large cannabis companies publicly attempting donations to large charities like children’s hospitals and veteran’s services.  These well-known non-profits are always willing to take the donations either through a company affiliate, or completely anonymously.  In many cases, the donations are completely rebuffed if contributed directly.  There is no way to determine the actual amount donated to charity since cannabis was legalized years ago.

Why Don’t Charities Like To Accept Donations From Cannabis?

Most charities have been dissuaded from accepting cannabis donations because of regulatory issues.  For example, Colorado Children’s Hospital states that because banks will not handle cannabis money, they are unable to accept cannabis donations.  Others claim their views do not align with those of the cannabis industry.  There is a well-known story in Calaveras County, California where the local Cannabis Alliance attempted to donate money to a depleting community school.  The prohibition-minded city council members quickly rejected the donation without discussion despite their town’s dwindling economy and poor budgeting.

Even though the rejection of charitable donations is disheartening, we are happy to report light at the end of the tunnel.  As the cannabis community continues to grow, so does public awareness and acceptance.  In San Francisco and other progressive cities, many government-funded non-profits will happily take legal cannabis donations despite the “risk” of losing their government aid.  In Denver, there are several charities eager to accept public donations for veterans, local homeless, public event spaces as well as retail outlets and parks.  So far, it has been fantastic to watch the success of these charities and to see change.  We can only expect our cities to continuously flourish because of the cannabis market.

Cannabis Donation Solutions

Is your business ready to make donations?  At Cannabis Marketing Inc., we know the ins and outs of cannabis philanthropy.  We are eager to help your cannabis company help the less fortunate of the world and we will not let the word “no” stand in the way when it comes to charity.   Call us today to find out how we can connect your cannabis brand with successful charities nationwide to make real change in your community.