For the Cannabis industry, Google, Facebook, and other advertising platforms have restrictions on advertising CBD and Cannabis related items. While you might not be able to advertise on these platforms today, there are alternative ways and best practices to follow when promoting your brand.

So, let’s get to it!

Here are six channels to consider, plus a few of our recommendations, when it comes to marketing your Cannabis brand.

SEO

The first place to start is ensuring you have a solid foundation. Cannabis companies need to invest in organic content to inform and educate their customers. SEO is one of the channels brands can utilize to tell your brand story and drive organic site traffic to your website. People are looking for information about the products you sell and how cannabis can ease a variety of ailments. So, it is important that your content is created around searcher intent. This is most easily achieved through a blog or a content hub on your website. Remember, people want to be educated and it’s your job to educate them on how your products fit into their lifestyle and why they need you.

If your company sells locally, don’t forget about creating and optimizing your local listings as well as the specific location landing pages on your website. These location-focused efforts aid in driving traffic to your brick and mortar stores. Once you have successfully created a solid foundation, you can begin to grow your brand through the use of additional advertising outlets.

Display Advertising

There are ample opportunities for display and programmatic advertising through specific display advertising partners outside of Google and Facebook. Although advertising restrictions for Cannabis vary, for CBD only companies, this is a fantastic method of advertising.

The most effective way to find and engage new audiences is to create a holistic strategy through a targeted media plan. A sample plan might include targeting health and wellness enthusiasts who have an interest in CBD products based on past online behaviors. Another strategy would be to reach users while they are consuming relevant content.

We recommend promoting your brand next to page-level content such as CBD oil, physical therapy, pain relief, anxiety…the list goes on. Additionally, take advantage of outlets such as Podcasts, Pandora, Twitter Influencer Marketing, and Digital Out of Home. An important thing to note is that Twitter requires approval for these types of promotions and brands can only promote non-ingestible products. To keep these restrictions and best practices straight, we recommend working with an agency. And that isn’t bias talking—as a Cannabis brand, you have enough to worry about.

Affiliate Marketing

Another channel that can generate a great deal of revenue for CBD specific companies is affiliate network marketing. CBD affiliate programs are a great avenue to increase your content exposure on top sites. By using commissions to fund featured articles, brands are able to broaden brand awareness, reaching audiences that would otherwise go untapped with almost any other area of CBD marketing.

In addition to content sites, cashback sites are another effective way to increase brand awareness and revenue. Shoppers are increasingly aware of sites that offer cashback for purchases and typically only buy from brands listed on those sites. By offering competitive cashback, your CBD brand can increase its awareness with an audience that is actively looking to shop and thus, increase its revenue.

Email Marketing

One of the most effective ways to re-engage first-time customers and encourage repeat purchases is through email. By collecting the right data on your consumers, you can target these individuals with relevant messages that address their current pain points and where they are in the customer journey.

If you are a Cannabis brand, you know all too well the sensitive nature of your product. But, there are specific email service providers that work with Cannabis and CBD companies. The key to success with your email program is contingent on two things; first is the capabilities of the email service provider and how well it interacts with your eCommerce platform. Second, you must have a clear strategy around communication with new customers, repeat customers and lapsed customers. Each of these segments is important to every brand and they each come with unique needs. A one-size-fits-all message will not work.

SMS Marketing

A great way to complement your email program is SMS – aka text messaging. Similar to email service providers (ESPs), there are specific SMS platforms that work with CBD and Cannabis companies. With consumers spending more time than ever on their phones, SMS is an effective way to reach them. SMS is a channel that boasts strong click-through rates and high conversion rates. In a competitive market, SMS gets you in front of loyal customers, allows you to have authentic dialogue and drives strong incremental revenue.

Analytics

The key to understanding what channels and promotional tactics are working—or not, in some cases — is a measurement. The key to success here is a clean, accurate implementation of Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics. Brands need not only to properly collect data but also have experts reviewing that data to measure results accurately.

As our VP of Analytics, Lauren Owen, so aptly puts it “not investing in web analytics is like setting up a physical store and letting customers in while you wait outside, unable to see in the store, with nobody on the sales floor to see how customers are shopping. You wouldn’t do that in a physical store, why do that in your digital store?”

Final Thoughts…

You need to know your audience. Build a connection with your customers. Build trust. People will pay more for your quality products and remain brand loyal if you showcase yourself as an expert in the industry.  It is important to demonstrate your knowledge through your own experiences that’s how people will connect with you. Be honest. Be noteworthy. Be authentic.   

Nuances in the Cannabis industry change constantly. Cannabis brands need a marketing partner that they can trust to act as a liaison between the brand and the unique restrictions and guidelines of each marketing channel. While we were as specific as possible when calling out the differences between CBD specific recommendations and those that encompass the Cannabis industry, we welcome brands’ Cannabis-related questions and are always happy to connect. Feel free to drop us a line and we hope to talk with you soon.