The cannabis industry continues to grow rapidly as consumers and businesses embrace cannabis as a medicinal and recreational value. The number of competing brands will only increase as more states allow for its use. Currently, 37 states legalized medical marijuana, while 21 states have legalized recreational use. Meanwhile, hemp-based CBD is legal in 48 states.
Creating a cannabis brand marketing strategy that's memorable and adheres to local regulations can be challenging for many up-and-coming businesses. Here are some of the best ways to refine your brand image and attract the right audiences.
Knowing Where to Make Your Cannabis Marketing Stand Out
Cannabis still isn't legal on a federal level, so many social media websites won't allow you to advertise it. Instagram and Facebook both have explicit policies barring marijuana advertising. YouTube only allows cannabis brands based in California and Colorado to run ads on the platform, and your reach is restricted to those areas.
Twitter's new CEO, Elon Musk, revised the company's policy to allow for cannabis marketing with several restrictions in place. If your company wants to advertise on Twitter, you must get pre-authorization from the platform's moderation team before doing so. In addition to meeting all the legal requirements for owning a cannabis business, you can't advertise to users under age 21. While you can showcase the packaging of your products, demonstrations of cannabis use are prohibited. You must also be careful when making medical claims about your cannabis products, even if reliable sources have verified those claims.
Despite these limitations, there are still plenty of ways to make your cannabis brand unique. Fortunately for cannabis brands, neither YouTube nor Twitter imposes monetary minimums to gain access to each site's advertising features. Thanks to that, you can start building brand trust and visibility even with a small marketing budget.
Developing a Strong Brand Identity
Customers already expect high-quality cannabis when seeking a carrier, so you have to establish what makes your products unique compared to the rest. A definitive aesthetic will make your brand memorable in the eyes of consumers. Try to keep that in mind when you're choosing your logo's colors, your company's slogan, and any mascots or imagery you'd like to associate with your company. These could also emphasize the quality behind your product, such as farming techniques that lead to high quality.
You should also establish the values that your company holds. 62% of consumers (regardless of age) say they prioritize buying products from companies with a strong purpose. Are there any charities that you help fund with your sales? Has your company made notable contributions to your local community or the cannabis industry? You can use these qualities to bolster your marketing efforts and garner more leads.
Target Your Customers with Display and Email Marketing
Understanding how to use the advertising channels available to you can also greatly benefit your cannabis brand, especially when you know how to target your customers as directly as possible.
Targeted display ads can help you reach potential or existing customers with well-placed ads on websites whose audiences are likely to use cannabis or based on their online behavior and demographics. They help you reach the most likely customers who will use your product and do so on platforms that already comply with regulations. Just be careful to limit your specifications to reach older audiences and stay away from more general sites.
Email marketing is another great tool since it provides a direct channel to your customers and is able to largely avoid regulatory challenges as a result. You can use email to share updates about new products and seasonal offerings, like newly available strains, with additional information about their unique benefits or effects. Because customers must opt-in to email marketing, you have more opportunities to form relationships and connect with your customers as your company and the industry grows.
Educating Your Audience
Establishing brand trust through education quickly nurtures those leads who may be unfamiliar with the cannabis industry. You're also indirectly promoting your company at the same time, encouraging brand recognition. If your brand doesn't have enough established trust, you can leverage sponsored content posts.
Part of educating your audience includes detailing the benefits of cannabis products, but there are some things to avoid when marketing your cannabis brand. Put additional focus to provide clear, unbiased information. For instance, you should never claim that cannabis can cure mental or physical illnesses. Instead, expand on the healing qualities of cannabis and specify that it can help mitigate and manage symptoms. Use as many proper sources as you can to help distill information in an easily accessible fashion.
As cannabis becomes more accepted and widespread, the industry must educate people to dispel preconceived notions and emphasize its benefits. Cannabis's complicated legal status barred many people from embracing it, and sharing this research will help steadily remove any lasting negative assumptions surrounding its use.
Attending Events and Sponsorships
Connecting directly with your potential customers puts a face to your brand and increases your overall visibility. You can also hand out branded merchandise and business cards at these events to ensure that you make a lasting impression on new audiences. Most cannabis conventions don't allow direct product sales, so focus on education and your brand's unique value proposition instead.
Knowing How to Use Your Channels
Even the most lenient social media platforms require a certain finesse to promote your product while respecting federal regulations. Instead of showcasing your product's use, you can focus on your brand's packaging, farming and production techniques, or pleasing imagery to associate with your brand. A good brand aesthetic displays your company positively and entices your leads to learn more about your products.
Choosing the Right Advertising Partner
Early establishment in the cannabis industry will set your brand up for success, but only if you know how to navigate stringent marketing restrictions effectively. McClatchy has broad advertising expertise, from lead generation to measuring the results and improving your future campaigns. We'll also provide guidance to keep your marketing practices compliant while ensuring the most profitable ROI. Reach out to one of our experts to learn how we can help set your brand up for success!