Is your cannabis brand ready for what’s to come? Does your brand have a strong presence in the market and does it magnetize community around it? These are pressing questions that should be on every entrepreneur’s mind today.
Last November, several states voted in favor of changing their marijuana laws. North Dakota, Montana, Arkansas and Florida made it legal to use marijuana for medical use. California, Maine, Nevada, and Massachusetts will now allow marijuana for recreational use. California, with the largest economy, will catapult the marijuana industry to triple in size by some estimates. Experts project the national market to reach over $20 billion in the next 4 years.
If you are thinking of embarking on a new marijuana venture, or if you already have an existing marijuana brand – you should know that the industry has changed since the days of homemade baked goods and nameless products on the shelf.
The growing industry means big business for those who seize the opportunity. But, before you begin rethinking your business plan, it’s important to know what’s expected of marijuana brands today.
Here are 7 key elements that could be the difference between your brand excelling or…burning out.
Gone are the days of word-of-mouth promotions. Marijuana patients are now marijuana customers, and those customers have options. Because of this, it’s important to embrace the holy trinity: email campaigns, social media and an active blog.
Create a community around your brand. By providing value, other than promoting your brand, you will engage your current and potential customers much better. It will also give you valuable insight, via data collection and analytics, into who your audience is.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are the images you use to promote your brand saying? Using low-quality, low light or poorly shot photos on your website, or social media pages sends the wrong message. Consumers will pass right over your content if they feel there has been no effort on your part to tell them why they should care.
Book photo shoots as often as your budget allows and keep an arsenal of eye-catching images of your product on hand. Don’t forget that lifestyle photos help express your brand’s vibe and message better than words. Remember that people see thousands of images daily — so how will you catch their eye? The goal is to be indexed at the top of people’s feeds.
Whether you get your photos from a stock site or
Did you know that an estimated 70% of buying decisions happen at the point of purchase?
That means little baggies and prescription pill bottles aren’t gonna cut it anymore. Today’s cannabis customer is design savvy and aesthetic-conscious. In a market that sees increasing entrants and competitors, the name of the game is definitely design.
Explore different materials, designs that fit your brand personality, try eco-friendly methods of production and invest in something that will send an inviting statement to the browsing cannasseur. Most of all, perform a competitive analysis of your niche as well as your category to see how you can differentiate–whether it’s color, application or material.
It’s not enough simply to set and forget a marketing strategy without regularly checking in on your progress. Basic tools like Google Analytics, Webmaster, Facebook and Twitter publishing tools allow you to track growth, analyze audience and see how your audience responds to certain content.
Email marketing is another crucial area to get your ducks in a row. Segmenting your email list by the type of customer and their preferences helps you send customized emails that will convert much higher. To do email right, you need to track data and review the analytics. A/B testing, often used to test email messaging, photos and CTAs (Call to Actions), will help steer your marketing strategy.
The point is, data is gold. With data, you can make informed decisions such as what content is performing best so you can give people more of what they like. You can track where your traffic is coming from and invest more energy into that channel. And with this data, you can begin optimize your campaigns and activities to increase your performance and sales.
Knowing your audience isn’t just about learning about what they want to buy, it’s also about learning how to communicate with them. Targeting your key demographic is the first step, but the next step is tailoring your messaging so that you are speaking directly to their needs.
Staying consistent in your brand messaging means your customers can expect to have a consistent brand experience. Whether you make them laugh or you put their mind at ease, your voice can become a recognizable friend. The trick is to define it and stick to it. When it comes to marketing – especially in a constantly evolving industry like cannabis – predictability is your friend.
Despite progressive legislation, people are still on the fence about marijuana. There is a “stoner stigma” and a dust cloud of varying and conflicting studies that muddy the waters. When it comes down to it, plenty of cannabis brands are still neglecting to reach their full potential simply because of the constant threat of being shut down, having social media profiles deleted and losing business in the blink of an eye.
This may seem daunting, but crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s is still the best and only way to protect your cannabis brand. That being said, coming from out of the shadows and letting people know who you are will reach people on a much more personal level. Who are your founders and who are the people behind the brand? What ways is cannabis used in your own daily life? Why did you start your business? What is your story? Pull back the curtain and introduce yourself to the world – it’s time.
Another common mistake cannabis brands make is deciding not to bring on professionals to guide them in the many arms of running a successful business. You may feel like you can do it all, but your time is better spent running your team, developing your internal systems and logistics, and working on your business strategy.
Leave the marketing to the professionals. That way you don’t have to worry about keeping up to date with changing technology and trends. You don’t have to constantly wonder if you’re doing absolutely everything you can to make sure that your product is reaching its proper audience. The cannabis market is fast-expanding, which means your competition probably already hired someone to help them step their game up.