The cannabis industry is a tough one. In addition to the challenges imposed by federal and state laws, there is also the constant threat of being raided by police. These raids can be disruptive for business owners, forcing them to shut down their dispensaries or risk fines.
To combat this, many businesses turn to marketing strategies that are not only effective but legal. In fact, according to a study released in October 2018, more than half (54%) of states with legalized medical marijuana have adopted advertising restrictions specifically designed to prevent misleading consumer information from appearing on billboards, television, or radio broadcasts. As long as those restrictions apply, cannabis companies can’t even advertise online, either.
Although the laws may look strict at first glance, they actually do allow for some creative advertising opportunities. You just need to know where to find them.
In this article, we will discuss how you can create an effective cannabis retail marketing strategy. We will explain what these restrictions mean for your business, provide examples of successful marketing strategies, and outline a few tips for developing your own.
Before we begin, please keep in mind that all information provided here is purely informational and should not be used as direct instruction. If you choose to implement any of the methods discussed here, you must seek out professional advice and guidance before doing anything else.
What Are Advertising Restrictions?
Advertising restrictions refer to the rules governing which forms of media cannabis companies can use to market their products. The restrictions vary depending on whether you are operating a dispensary, growing facility, delivery service, or another type of business within the cannabis industry.
A Canadian cannabis delivery service is a great way to get your favorite products delivered right to your door. This type of service is convenient, reliable, and can offer a wide variety of products to choose from. Delivery services are a great way to get the products you need without having to leave your home.
As mentioned above, most states require cannabis companies to refrain from advertising online or through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. If you want to stay compliant, it’s important to understand why these limitations exist.
The primary reason is to protect consumers from receiving inaccurate or deceptive information about cannabis products. Although these restrictions don’t stop cannabis companies from making direct sales to customers, they do prevent misleading claims from spreading on social media. For example, if a customer posts a photo of a strain labeled “hemp,” but the image shows leaves instead of flowers, the company cannot claim that the product contains hemp.
Another concern is protecting children from seeing advertisements that might appeal to them. Because cannabis is still illegal under federal law, many parents fear that it could encourage kids to try something that they shouldn’t. Although marijuana isn’t physically harmful, it is still addictive, so young users could become dependent on it and suffer serious health consequences later in life. To avoid this, advertising restrictions limit exposure to cannabis ads on TV, radio, print, and other traditional forms of media.
Finally, the government wants to make sure that the public has access to accurate information about cannabis products. If the government allows certain types of marketing, it would prevent people from learning about potentially dangerous substances. This could lead to higher rates of drug abuse and overdoses over time.
If you aren’t ready to give up on social media entirely, there are ways to work around these restrictions. However, it’s still best to refrain from advertising on sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others. Instead, focus on traditional forms of media, such as newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio. That way, your ad won’t appear alongside something that seems harmless, but actually promotes negative effects associated with cannabis use.
For more information about cannabis advertising, check out our guide to cannabis advertising regulations.
Where Can I Find Legal Cannabis Marketing Opportunities?
With advertising restrictions in place, there aren’t many places left for cannabis companies to promote their products.
However, when you take a close look at the landscape, you will notice a few things. First off, many brands are already using traditional forms of media to promote themselves. For instance, you can see cannabis-related commercials on TV, read news stories about cannabis companies on local news websites, and even see cannabis products advertised on print ads.
Additionally, if you do some digging, you will discover that many cannabis companies use third parties to promote their goods. For example, you can buy CBD-infused coffee from Starbucks, vape pens from VapeXpress, and edibles from Crave Catering. When you look closely at these marketing campaigns, you will often see that they are using the same types of images and phrases that were banned on social media.
These types of ads are perfectly legal because they don’t violate any advertising restrictions. In fact, they’re probably even more effective than typical social media content because they create brand recognition among potential customers who haven’t heard about your products.
If you aren’t interested in using the services of a third party to advertise your products, however, you will need to rely on more unconventional options.
There are several ways that you can leverage the internet to build awareness for your cannabis business. Here are four of the most popular strategies:
1. Start blogging
You don’t necessarily have to start a blog if you don’t want to. Blogging doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. You can simply write a short post each day sharing interesting content related to cannabis and then schedule it to go live at a specific time.
This approach works well if you want to build traffic quickly and attract new followers. It’s also easy to update your blog regularly, which means that you can add fresh content whenever you feel inspired. And since you’re posting to a niche website, you can easily target keywords relevant to your business.
As long as you follow the basic guidelines of good SEO, you should enjoy success with this technique.
2. Use Google Ads
You can find plenty of websites dedicated to helping advertisers set up Google Ads accounts. All you need to do is sign up for an account, upload your ads, and wait for revenue to roll in.
Google AdWords is a great option when you want to target potential customers in specific locations or with specific demographics. For example, you could create a campaign targeting men between the ages of 18 and 35 who live in Oregon.
Although it can be challenging to get started with Google Ads, the process is fairly straightforward once you learn what you’re doing.
3. Engage with influencers
Influencers play a huge role in the cannabis space. People trust recommendations from celebrities and experts more than other types of endorsements or endorsements from friends and family members. To tap into their audiences, you can contact influencers directly or pay for sponsored posts on their blogs and social media pages.
When planning your strategy, consider the following questions:
• Who are your top influencers?
• What kind of content do they typically share on social media?
• How much do they earn per month?
• Do they have existing relationships with other big names in the industry?
Once you answer these questions, you will have a better idea of what kinds of posts they’ll appreciate the most.
4. Leverage podcasts
Podcasts are an excellent way to reach out to new clients. You can host interviews with other people in your field, record audio versions of your own speeches, and offer exclusive deals on your products.
Although these podcasts will mostly consist of promotional content, it’s easy to mix in some educational material on your show. If you’re looking to expand your client base, you should definitely consider creating a podcast.
Although these options will help you build awareness for your business, they won’t guarantee results. If you want to ensure that you succeed, you will need to put in the effort required to develop a strong cannabis retail marketing strategy.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to improve your chances of success. There are plenty of proven techniques that you can use to boost your visibility online. If you plan carefully, you will be able to craft a strategy that will allow you to grow your business without worrying about getting caught.