cannabis marketing plan online

How to make a kickass cannabis marketing plan

The cannabis industry is definitely unique. And if you want to be more successful, you need to have your own cannabis marketing plan. That is the way to drive traffic to your website and point of sale, increase your clientbase and grow your cannabis business.

Every type of cannabis business is growing at an incredible rate, but it hasn’t been fully embraced and accepted in every country and state under federal law.

This means a lot of the places where people would ordinarily market their business are out of the question, even though your cannabis business or dispensary is totally legal.

So how to make a marketing plan for your cannabis business? Lets dig in.

Start strong with cannabis email marketing

Ok, we might have a sweet spot for email here at emailaudience. But next to your ecommerce platform, email is the one channel that everybody should start with.

Email made a comeback and is embraced by the Cannabis marketing community. That’s because email marketing is one of the most effective ways for your CBD brand to reach your audience and keep them loyal.

Your email list is owned media, meaning it is yours. You aren’t at the whims of a third-party website or social platform who can easily turn around and block or ban you, or even just go out of fashion. 

Which email marketing software won’t block me?

It’s important to know some email service providers you can safely use, but others won’t take cannabis senders and might end up blocking and deactivating your account. Here is an article with email service providers for CBD and cannabis clients. Check that list because it is your first step towards starting a cannabis email marketing channel.

So what are the best email marketing campaigns to start with? Well, the trusty newsletter and promotions are always a good idea. But here is our own top 7:

The top 7 Cannabis email campaigns to start with are:
1. Cannabis replenishment emails (money maker)
2. The trusted Newsletter (Stay in touch)
3. Personalized welcome emails (great first impression)
4. Abandoned cart (ecommerce money maker)
5. Survey and review emails (get great reviews)
6. Hardcore offers
7. Cannabis loyalty program & referral emails (keep them coming back)

Here are some great examples of cannabis email campaigns.

Email marketing is easier than ever for your cannabis marketing. Whether you are a dispensary, CBD brand, Hemp product or other, email tools like MailerLite have made it incredibly simple to access your customers and manage lists. You can segment, and send promotions to the people on these lists, with no fear of breaching the ad rules on a social network. Talking about social…

Use social media marketing to educate and entertain (and then promote)

cannabis marketing facebook example

You can have a great presence on social media as a cannabis business. But you have to remember that running a page about cannabis requires a bit of patience and creativity.

It’s usually not allowed to advertise your cannabis products on mainstream social media platforms such as Facebook  Regardless of what your state law says, advertising platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Google all ban the promotion of cannabis products.

It’s far better to educate than promote. For example, if you are selling CBD products, you can take a scientific approach and tell people all of the benefits that CBD (cannabidiol) can have on the system.

CBD products are legal in the majority of states, and studies almost universally show that they can have a positive effect on anxiety, depression, and pain.

Using the right hashtags on social media

Many people think that hashtags are connected only with Instagram but consider using it on other social media platforms too. This is how people interested in your product may find you. Though you still won’t be able to use paid advertising on these platforms, even with educational content, it’s a far better method for cannabis products than just trying to tempt customers to buy the products. 

Here are two examples of the right hashtags:

  1. Imagine you have good content about how CBD helps insomnia, you have found a picture of a girl pretending to be asleep in her comfy bed, now what about the main keywords or hashtags?
    Use words that will drive traffic to your page such as #insomnia, #treatinginsomnia #bettersleep #naturalremediesforsleep #cbdforsleep #cbdoilforsleep. 
  2. If you are speaking about CBD helping in pain management use keywords such as #painreliese #painrelief #reducepain #painmanagement #naturalremediesforpain #cbd #cbdoilforpain #cbdinfusedproductsforpain. Every time you pick a hashtag Instagram for example offers you variants with the number of mentions on social media. You can have a look at them and decide which ones are relevant to your post.

Cannabis influencer marketing that matches your audience

Cannabis Influencer marketing via social media or outside is all about tapping into other peoples’ followers. If you are able to work closely with an online influencer, you can get endorsements for your products that build trust.

Seth Rogen is a great example. We’re not saying you’ll be able to get him on board, but he used his online platform and fame as an actor to promote his brand Houseplant.

The launch and promotion was so successful, that the traffic brought down his website. But just look at the engagement on the tweet – 950+ reactions, 36.4K likes. Wow! 

Almost nobody has enough budget to get Seth, but start with smaller, what they call micro-influencers.

Tapping into cannabis culture and finding endorsements should be a part of your marijuana marketing plan. With CBD and hemp products reviews of products sent to influencers are often shared on some mainstream platforms. Many influencers trying their luck in this business will actively promote your product if you can send them some samples. They are easy to contact and in most cases they don’t ask for money for advertising your product.

Remember your target market

The key point to remember from your marketing plan is your target market. Not every publication or influencer has the audience that would later be interested in buying your product. Find an athlete that is running an Instagram account, he could be interested in advertising your CBD product for releasing muscle pain after a hard workout.

Find a beauty blogger that will be interested in introducing your product as an anti inflammatory method for treating acne. Don’t waste your time and money on influencers that don’t have your target audience.

SEO for Cannabis isn’t easy, but isn’t impossible

Google is a huge player for gaining organic traffic, there’s no doubt about it. People looking for cannabis products will be googling where they can buy them.

For example, your potential customers may be searching for their nearest dispensary or the best CBD or cannabis products for their needs. If you have enough great search optimized content on your website and do some active link building you might show up at the top of those searches.

Writing cannabis content

So a kickass cannabis marketing plan should always include great content. Write and publish topical, well-researched cannabis content. Answer questions and educate based on facts, sats and studies in the industry.

Look at your competitors websites for ideas, the hunt is on! There can always be some topic ideas In addition use some paid SEO tools such as Ahrefs. Ahrefs’s content explorer is a great tool to generate new ideas. Pay extra attention to the traffic and domain authority of those websites that published a topic the idea of which you like.

First thing if you want to compete with a website who published an article earlier: You simply must writing a better one. Optimise it and publish on your blog. When Google’s robots visit you they will remember your good content. Just as an example when someone searches for a “Kickass cannabis marketing plan” this article will be in the top of the list.  

Google doesn’t allow you to advertise cannabis products, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t reach the top of their searches or you can’t ask Google to let you advertise your website. Don’t hesitate to contact Google.

Keyword research

Keywords are crucial. Use google keyword planner and other SEO tools. Keyword planner is a free tool that gives you keyword ideas. Choose your state and language and start looking for keywords, if your keyword “cannabis” is not in the results that means it is forbidden to use that keyword in ads.

But think about how you’d like to be found and what topics your audience is looking for. There are some trending and less trending topics that might interest you readers but that is as obvious as the daytime that the trending ones would be hard for you to push on the higher positions of SERPs.

Have a look at your competitors, see which one of his pages has high traffic. If “ CBD for Pain” has 100 K topic and the the difference between CBD and THC has 5 K traffic hunt for the second topic, give better and longer content with infographics and easy explanations so that everyone from a 21 year old tiktoker to 89 year old doctor who is not familiar with THC won’t be annoyed while reading your content.

Google’s algorithm is complex. As well as good content, you need links to your website, a quick site with trusted hosting, and other signals to show search engines that you are worth putting at the top of their searches.

Marketing and credibility through high quality directories

Directories aren’t the number one marketing strategy, but a trusted directory can do a lot for your business.

It shows that you have a legitimate site, and that your business is real. Being in these directories is also a  “vote of confidence” in the eyes of Google and other search engines.

Many directories give nofollow links which is better than no link at all, but there are some directories that still can give you a follow link and the desirable “link juice”. Here are some good cannabis directories:

nameWebsiteDATotal traffic
The Cannabis Industry

Promotion at the better directories can go from $300 to $3000 per month, for some that is just the cost of doing business, for others a big investment.

You may have a bunch of directories, more than 2-300 but sometimes you may want to go for a paid one, because always remember one good link equals 10 average or poor backlinks.

Don’t forget about the relevancy, registering your business in a directory of home improvement searching website is a bad idea. Registering in directories is extremely good for a local business, not only are you telling Google and other search engines that you are a good local Cannabis Company in Vegas, but also earning link juice and winning the hearts of that particular directory visitors.

Building quality backlinks and promoting your pages

Backlinks are an amazing way to increase your standing with web search engines. But remember that one mind blowing backlink is worth more that 20 Poor Ones

For decades now, people have been trying to work out how to get to the top of Google results, but the main constant is links to your site from others, or “backlinks”.

There was a time when you could throw lots of links at a site, even from poor quality sources, and this would give you a good chance of getting to the top of Google for some searches.

Every SEO professional will tell you that the backlink quality and relevance means far more than the number of links your site has.

For a cannabis site, this means that if you can get links from big cannabis brands, and resource sites like Leafly are likely to be extremely valuable.

This will drive your results up and hold your website in very high esteem. Increasing the likelihood that you will get organic traffic for your products or your articles.

So any Cannabis marketing plan focuses on getting links to your site, but not from just any source. Spammy links will not help your site, and actually can do harm if you aren’t careful. Don’t focus on getting thousands of links from so-called “link farms”, instead, go for the big fish.

If you have websites that you worship and want to reach their level, be smart. For instance use Ahrefs or SEO Moz for getting their competitor backlink list.

Manual outreach and building relationships

If you want to start guest blogging for links, create a good email template and start manual outreach. The template has to include a personal tone and flatter a bit if you can. You can offer to write a guest post.
“Hey I see you publish high-quality articles, would you like me to write an article for you?”

An authority site will get dozens of similar requests, so it is all about relationships AND providing value.

Offer blog post topics that will put you one step ahead. If the publisher likes your ideas he will choose one thus you will avoid one step of offering them a topic because you have already done that  with. Provide the content the publisher wants and choose the most relevant anchor to the page you are going to pass the link juice.

What else to include in your Cannabis Marketing Plan?

You can have all the traffic in the world, but if you aren’t making sales then there is really no point. A brilliant marketing strategy will increase your sales, but only if you have a funnel to turn new visitors to a website into paying customers.

This might mean offering promotions, and linking to your products within your educational articles. It also means showing people that your website is trustworthy and that the payment system is not risky for them at all.

You can work hard on your conversion rates, which will help you to get the most out of the customers that you gain by creating a quality marketing plan. There are many tools that you can use to analyze customers that visit your website, and whether or not they check out and buy products.

If you’ve worked hard to get a kickass digital marketing plan in place, and you are getting a lot of people visiting your website, you need to offer them both the information they are looking for, and the products they want. This will help you to convert them into customers and create a successful digital marketing plan for your cannabis business.

Emily Watson

Emily Watson is a marketing specialist at Essence Cannabis Dispensary with a primary focus on the development and implementation of marketing ideas. Her main talking points are medical and recreational marijuana, marijuana marketing, and advertising.