7 Digital Must-Dos To Promote Your Cannabis Business

Light Bulb Concept

Promoting your cannabis business is challenging. Because cannabis is still illegal federally and laws vary from state-to-state, knowing what you can and cannot do isn’t always clear. While you want to avoid advertising with search engines such as Google and Yahoo, sending postcards through the mail, or setting up a store on Facebook, you do have options for reaching your patients and dispensaries.

1. Start With a Strong Brand. Creating a strong brand will build patient and dispensary recognition and give you a competitive edge in the market. Focus on what makes your products different and the shared values you have with prospects. From there it will be easier to connect with customers and introduce new products.

2. Go Organic Strategically. Choose your words carefully for your website and your social media posts. Hone in one the phrases and words patients and dispensaries use when looking for cannabis products, then hone in on other words specific to your brand and the shared values you project.

3. Follow Mainstream Social Media Rules. You can promote your brand on social media if you understand the ground rules. Earlier this year, Facebook dropped some dispensaries from its platform. This rattled the industry but the dispensaries hadn’t read the fine print for using the mainstream platform. Focus on education and brand recognition on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. (see How to Protect Your Cannabis Facebook Page for more insight)

4. Use Cannabis-Based Social Media Platforms. There are social media platforms specific to the cannabis industry and promoting your brand on them will be safer. By now you’ve probably heard of MassRoots, the first to market. But there are others including Duby, which is similar to Instagram and Social High, which is like Facebook–both are specific to the marijuana industry.

5. List Your Business on Cannabis Directories. Many of these directories are free and offer great back links to your website. Some worthy of mentioning include the Marijuana Business Daily Industry Directory, Medical Jane’s Database of Cannabis Businesses, and Ganjapreneur Business Directory, and Dispensaries.com.

6. Maintain a Blog. Writing your own content on your own blog is a great opportunity to share your story and your brand. Blog posts can easily be shared on social media platforms, can be extensions of your website, and can attract prospects based on your knowledge, industry insight, and personality.

7. Email, Email, Email. Connecting with existing patients and dispensaries by email is crucial. Collect emails at every turn if possible–at conferences, cups, online–wherever your brand intersects with prospects. Then create emails with impact and maintain contact consistently.

What’s been your experience promoting your cannabis business online? What’s worked best? If you’re struggling to promote your cannabis business, bring on a digital marketing expert to help!

 

 

 

Mobile Trends Impact Email Opens; Is Your Small Business Part of the Trend? Do You Need To Be?

Today Marketing Land published the article, “Report: 66 Percent of Email Opens on Mobile, Mostly iOS Devices.” The tagline to the title is “Only a third of email opens now happening on the PC.”

We’ve known mobile would overtake PC for a while. Now studies—such as the one released by Movable Ink—are reporting on those happening trends. Movable Ink’s report, called Q3 Consumer Device Preferences Report, looked at emails opened by devices used, times of day, and vertical breakdown.

The results from the Movable Ink study shows the following: 66% of emails opened on mobile device, 49% using a smartphone and 17% using a tablet.

 

Email Device Opens

 

Time of day is interesting. According to the report, smartphone email opens were consistent throughout the day, while PCs were used primarily in the morning and tablets were used during evening hours. That certainly reflects how most Americans use their technology.

What is most interesting is that emails related to financial and automotive were opened using a PC, while other categories such as retail, media and entertainment emails were primarily opened using a mobile device.

What’s the nature of your business? What device does your target audience primarily use to open your emails? Do you know? How effective are the landing pages associated with your emails? Have you updated your website to be responsive/mobile friendly?

Marketing trends are one thing; knowing your audience is another. I have one client whose customers primarily (88% of them) access his website from PCs—and if he used email marketing—would most likely open them on PCs too. However, no business should overlook the value of having a mobile friendly website and email campaigns.

Pay attention to the devices your customers and prospects use to open your email campaigns and access your website. At some point—if trends play out as expected—more mobile email opens are in the future. Perhaps, even for your business.

Have questions about mobile websites or email campaigns? Contact me today at elise@misakimarketing.com.

How Good Is Your Customer and Prospect Email List? Why Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law Makes Sense

E mailThanks to the Internet, connecting with customers and prospects has gotten somewhat easier. For my clients, all of whom are located in the United States, email marketing is a viable vehicle for reaching those customers and prospects. Since the US Federal government enacted the CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Act of 2003, most businesses comply with an opt-out option when sending emails.

Our neighbor to the north has taken a new and more strict approach. Yep. Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL), which took effect in July, requires implied (information published in plain sight, given to the business, through an existing business or non-business relationship) and express consent (contact clearly agreed) for any business to send electronic information to their contacts.  Basically, you need contacts to opt-in to receive emails.

Third Party Email Lists Can Be Too Good to Be True

While the opt-out option is routine today, what Canada has put in place makes some sense. Especially if a business wants to email to credible email addresses.

Buying email lists can send a small business down a slippery slope if you’re not careful. First of all, people who don’t know you or your product/service are harder to sell to and may not want to get an email from your business.

In addition, most email list providers promise good contact information, but purchased lists can be full of out-of-date data.  How well do you know the list seller? Be very selective when purchasing lists and do a test emailing to determine the value of the list.

Bad data usually leads to low deliverability.  This doesn’t just get you bounced emails, it can potentially hurt your email sending reputation. What? Yes. Reputable email service providers monitor email activity and watch for things like properly formatted emails, change in email volume being sent, email bounce rates.  The last thing any business wants is their ISP flagging their account and blocking all email activity.

Build Your Own Email List

Getting emails from people who want to stay connected to your business will give you better email lists, which will give you better deliverability and a better reputation with your service provider…a better scenario all around.

How do you build an email list?  Here are some suggestions.

  1. Add a “Sign-Up for Email” to your website.
  2. Invite new customers to sign up as part of the e-commerce purchasing process.
  3. Ask at trade shows.
  4. Offer email sign up on everything including marketing collateral, invoices, rebate cards, advertisements, direct mail, etc.
  5. Ask when meeting with customers and prospects.
  6. Require an email as part of website visitor downloads and requests.
  7. When a customer or prospect calls you with questions or requests, ask them to join your email list.

Be responsible and respectful and before you know it, that email list will be growing and valuable.