As of January 2022, 428,059 full-time-equivalent jobs are supported by the legal cannabis industry. That is approximately a 15% year-over-year increase. While the acceptance of cannabis is highly contested, the industry gained new legitimacy within the United States with the onset of the coronavirus lockdowns.
In March of 2020, most legal states deemed cannabis “essential business”, meaning dispensaries could stay open and keep serving their communities, and brands could keep supplying retailers with their products. Given the federal status of cannabis, this new designation was a pivotal moment for the industry.
From medical dispensaries to recreational retailers and everything in between, the cannabis business is showing no signs of slowing down.
However, while the legal status of cannabis is increasingly changing in a number of states, the plant remains federally illegal. In fact, according to a Pew Research survey, 67% of Americans believe the use of marijuana should be legalized. The result is a regulatory environment that does not align with cannabis entrepreneurs and their prospective customers.
This means that due to legislation and local sentiment, cannabis businesses face an onslaught of marketing challenges that vary by location.
For instance, the Massachusetts cannabis industry is far behind those of California and Colorado, but ahead of others. Engaging customer bases can be difficult in newer states where cannabis may still have some stigma associated. However, since states like California and Colorado are more established, brands in those states are often less inclined to implement more innovative marketing strategies.
In other words, from advertising restrictions and audience preference to business limitations, the landscape of the cannabis industry greatly informs the marketing practices available to build successful cannabis businesses.
How can cannabis businesses successfully market online?
In spite of the challenges that come with marketing cannabis online, there are ways to sidestep regulations and leverage what is currently allowed to build your brand.
Organic content and owned channels provide the perfect opportunity for cannabis businesses to educate their audience, build brand awareness, and cultivate a community without using the aggressive paid techniques that could get your account banned.
The six key areas of your cannabis marketing strategy should be:
- Website Design and Development
- Search Engine Marketing
- Email and Text (SMS) Marketing
- Social Media
As with all industries, marketing is informed first and foremost by the target audience. In the case of cannabis, there is a big difference between consumer-facing cannabis businesses (dispensaries, cannabis consumer products, etc.) and business-to-business (B2B) cannabis businesses (cannabis drying, growing services, etc.). The methods of engagement and follow-through, as well as the challenges, vary for each business type respectively.
With B2B cannabis businesses, it is difficult to engage other businesses enough to generate significant leads and follow through with purchases or partnerships. On the other hand, with customer-facing businesses, such as dispensaries, there is a struggle with brand awareness and building a loyal community.
Cannabis Creative has extensive experience working with both types of businesses and with years of experience in this highly specialized industry, our teams are well-equipped to navigate the challenges of each respective landscape.
Download our FREE Cannabis Marketing E-Book
In the end, it is essential that cannabis businesses find ways around online advertising limitations and restrictions so they can promote their sites and products.
As the go-to resource for our clients on all things cannabis marketing, we decided to create a free guide for anyone looking to find success in this ever-growing industry.
Download our FREE Secrets to Successful Cannabis Marketing E-Book to get our team’s in-depth breakdown into six key areas of cannabis marketing: branding, website design and development, search engine marketing, email and text marketing, and social media.