By: Rachel Garland
Are you ready to grow your cannabis business online?
Then it’s vital to have a game plan in place!
Cannabis marketing is a big challenge for most companies.
After all, you’re operating in an environment that is not only highly regulated, full of grey areas, and constantly changing…
You’re also dealing with a space where advertising restrictions are rampant.
Paying for Facebook ads to boost posts or using Google Adwords to drive website traffic are not options at the moment.
(Yes, if you’re wondering, Cannabis & CBD businesses are still restricted from taking advantage of paid online advertising opportunities.)
So, what’s a new cannabis business owner to do?
Get creative and be strategic.
Discover step-by-step directions to build your cannabis marketing game plan from scratch.
What is a Cannabis Marketing Game Plan?
To successfully grow your cannabis business online, you need a game plan.
What does this look like in action?
Simply put, you understand:
Where you are
Where you want to be
How you plan to get there
Your cannabis marketing plan is like a road map.
It tells you which direction to go along with how you’ll measure your progress, and where your final destination (or end goal) is.
A lot of businesses make the mistake of flying by the seat of their pants when it comes to their marketing.
While you’ll need to act and adjust quickly to changes in the market, you also need an overall goal.
Ask yourself - what is the higher purpose of your business?
Be laser clear on what you and your team are trying to achieve.
Creating a cannabis marketing game plan will help you do exactly that!
Keep reading for seven steps to get started.
1.) Understand Your Business Inside and Out
Clarity is key to marketing a cannabis business successfully.
Therefore, the first step you should take when building your game plan is understanding your business inside and out.
A few key questions to consider:
What three words best describe your business?
What makes your brand different from the rest?
What kind of experience does your product or service provide?
The better you understand your business, the stronger your marketing plan will be.
Pinpoint the stand out features of your cannabis or CBD business to position your company for success.
2.) Define Your Target Market
If your target audience was in a room right now, could you accurately describe them?
Cannabis companies that try to reach everyone end up reaching no one.
Define your target market to set your business apart.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by creating customer profiles.
Let’s use an example to put things into perspective:
Say you run a cannabis bakery in Oklahoma.
Instead of just saying your audience are residents of your community, you outline exactly who you’re trying to reach.
As a matter of fact, you identify three main types of customers your bakery is trying to attract:
Local Sweet Lovers
Nearby Catering Companies
420 Wedding Couples
Whenever your business runs a promotion, you cater your advertisements to one of these three target markets.
By getting specific exactly on who you’re trying to reach, your marketing efforts have greater impact, thereby building brand and driving more sales.
3.) Evaluate Your Competition
Understanding your competition will help you position your business as the best in the market.
After all, you need to know what other choices your target audience has in order to separate your brand from the pack.
Here are a few important questions to consider:
Who are your top 3 competitors and why?
What are their products or services?
Where are they advertising their business?
What are their top strengths?
How about their biggest weaknesses?
Who are their most important customers?
Answering these questions will give you major insight into your competitors.
Using this information will help you dominate the market and set your business up for long-term success.
4.) Set Your Top Marketing Goals
By marketing your cannabis or CBD business, what are you trying to achieve?
Chances are, you want more people to know about your brand and purchase from you.
If you want to crush your goals, you need to be specific as possible.
Just saying you want to make more sales isn’t an effective plan.
So what should you do instead?
I recommend setting SMART Goals
S - Specific (what are you trying to achieve?)
M - Measurable (how are you going to measure your progress?)
A - Achievable (are the goals you’re setting possible?)
R - Relevant (how does this goal support your business’s higher purpose?)
T - Timely (what deadline are you setting?)
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you run a CBD store in Tennessee.
Your top selling product is a 200mg tincture.
In fact, you can hardly keep it in stock because it is flying off the shelves.
Which is why you decide to order double the amount of inventory than you normally do.
A great SMART goal you could set would be rather than saying you just want to sell more tinctures, you might say:
I want to increase our 200mg tincture sales by 15% by the end of the 2nd quarter in order to expand our customer base and profitability.
By setting SMART goals, you will pinpoint exactly what you want to achieve to grow your business.
5.) Select Your Promotional Strategies
Once you’ve set your goals, it’s time to define how you’re going to get there.
Select which promotional strategies you plan to use.
There are a wide variety of platforms you can advertise your cannabis business on.
Some of the most popular options include:
Does your company need to be on all of these platforms?
In a perfect world, yes.
In reality, not exactly.
Let me explain:
The more places you promote your business, the better.
After all, you want as many people as possible to come into contact with your company.
There are only so many hours in a day and there are only so many advertising dollars to be spent.
Hence why it pays to be selective.
I recommend if you’re starting out, focus on the top three platforms your target audience is spending the most time at.
This will diversify your strategy (AKA you’re not putting all of your eggs into a single social media channel like Instagram, for example)
You will be directing your efforts to the most valuable outlets, thereby maximizing your marketing efforts.
6.) Establish a Cannabis Advertising Budget
How much do you plan to spend on advertising each month?
Establishing a clear budget will help you put your funds to the best use.
Yes, even your small DIY business need to define how much you plan to spend on marketing,
Advertising is a must for every business.
Remember, even large corporations never stop promoting their products or services and neither should you.
In order to grow your cannabis business, you need to stay relevant.
One highly effective way to do that is by continually promoting your business, building brand, and expanding your reach.
Set a monthly budget to determine what marketing efforts offer the highest ROI (return-on-investment) to boost your business.
7.) Put Your Game Plan Into Action
You now know some highly effective ways to create your cannabis marketing game plan.
But it doesn’t end here!
As a matter of fact, it is just getting started.
Once you have your game plan ready to go, it is time to start TAKING ACTION.
You can read about something…
You can plan for it…
But until you take action, it is just a thought.
Purposeful action is what separates the best from the rest.
Growing you cannabis business takes day in and day out effort. Success doesn’t happen overnight.
There is no better time than the present to get started.
And if you need help along the way…
Since 2016, I’ve been working with CBD and cannabis brands to take their business to the next level.
I know what it takes to build a 420 business from unknown to influential.
I want to help your cannabis business grow.
If you enjoyed this article, let me know in the comments below.