Every decision you make pertaining to your dispensary plays a role in the overall experience for the customer. The environment plays just as big of a role as the cannabis itself.
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Marketing your cannabis brand can be a bit of a challenge with federal and state rules as well as restrictive social media platform guidelines that all but ban brands. In addition to all of that, cannabis brands are constantly having to prove their legitimacy to naysayers and overall critics of the industry. As a group of hungry professionals who are no stranger to standing up to a big challenge, the cannabis industry itself must be innovative in its approaches so that it can responsibly market its brands to potential customers. Here are 5 ways you can creatively market your brand while overcoming some of the challenges that marketing cannabis brings with it:
Create Accurate & Compelling Content to Engage & Educate
One of the downsides of the growing industry is that there is a lot of opposition content (read: crap) out there that is simply not true about the cannabis industry. In response, professional cannabis brands should not only focus on marketing their products, but also educating the public about cannabis. Your content and marketing need to prove that it’s ready to engage with people, rather than be passive about information. Some creative ways to engage include crafting a simple blog about something you are passionate about in your community, hosting a Facebook video tour of areas within your provisioning center, sharing photos of your friendly budtenders with a quick biography, or providing your own response to emerging news and research on your social media. These things that show you’re ready to work with, engage, and be a part of people’s lifestyle and that attitude can get potential customers to pay attention to your brand. Your content and your marketing is the tool that will gain the attention of even the person who is not ‘sold’ on what you do. When you can project an engaging and educational image via your marketing, naysayers will be able to see that your business is legitimate and that there’s nothing nefarious going on in what you’re offering your community.
Utilize Social Media Responsibly
All cannabis businesses share the pain of trying to market their products on social media platforms within the regulations of these sites. Even with the best of intentions, sometimes it can be hard to stay within the guidelines and to not get your accounts shut down. This where your creativity will come into play. Simply, tread lightly and be impeccable with the language you are using so to not get tripped by the platform’s algorithms. For instance, Instagram recently changed the rules of the way cannabis brands are able to use their platform, providing that they do not include location deals of how to retrieve products. Being continuously shut down doesn’t look good on your brand, so it’s up to you to ensure you are abiding by the rules and guidelines of the platforms you are using.
Explore Non-traditional/Non-mainstream Advertisement Methods
With so many restrictions for advertising, such as where ads can be placed and what content is allowed to be displayed in ads, cannabis brands often need to turn to non-traditional advertising methods to engage their customer. These non-traditional methods of advertising are going to take a bit more footwork than simply buying ad space, but the payoff will be worth it. Use your brand as a venue to get yourself out there. Create, advertise, and host educational events and speaker panels that are important to the cannabis community. Go out to meet medical doctors and talk to them about your brand rather than slipping some information about your dispensary under your door in a brochure. Find opportunities to be hosted on cannabis podcasts, or mainstream radio shows to discuss your services and products, and take every opportunity to participate in trade shows, health and wellness fairs, or just about any venue that can get you in front of potential clients.
Become The Community Expert On Cannabis
Being the authority on cannabis in your local community will not only help your brand grow, but will give the media, and other important stakeholders, a go-to on all things cannabis giving your brand recognition as a thought leader. Be sure that you are making contacts with media and some of your local legislators so that you become the go-to authority and professional expert on cannabis and its impact on communities. When your name, and your dispensary’s name, shows up as the continuous expert, that in itself will drive traffic to your store and the products you offer as people with trust your knowledge and opinion on products over your competitors.
S#it Happens: It’s All About How You Deal With It
Your brand is going to have a moment when something not so great in your marketing strategy happens – no brand is immune to the odd snafu that can get them in marketing hot water. How your brand reacts to a situation will be what nets you customers, or makes you lose them. This is another instance where your creativity will have to come in to play with your marketing. If you have made a mistake, whether it be in content, hitting the wrong nerve with a marketing approach, or something more serious, be genuine and own up to your faults. It is very easy to play the blame game or to pretend that the issue is not happening, but those attitudes are more likely to turn people off your brand. If you have a marketing slip up, look to find the source of your mistakes and learn from them. If there is someone that is directly affected as a result of your mistakes, alert your customers and let them know the corrective measures that have been adopted to ensure that the issue will not happen again. It sounds so simple, but a lot of brands do not own up to, fix, and learn from mistakes making the fallout from their customers, or legislators eager to shut down cannabis retailers, much worse than if they would’ve just acknowledged the issue. This is a tried and true method which will ensure brand loyalty from customers who know that your brand has integrity.
It’s Not Perfect, But We’ll Work with What We Have
Marketing for cannabis is rife with hurdles and red tape, so the best we can do as an industry is creatively forge ahead and model the way for responsible content and marketing that shines cannabis in the best light possible. Being an honest and genuine brand, working within an imperfect industry, and being genuine with education and respectfulness will solidify a relationship with your customer and will drive them through your doors and speak highly of your brand to others. Not only that, but it will build the most coveted marketing of all time, word of mouth marketing. Friends love to take friends to great shops, and your shop will be no exception.
This article was first published on https://www.cannabisimp.com.