By DJ Francis
Frustrated by advertising restrictions and regulations on your cannabis business?
It’s true: Paid advertising for cannabis products is tricky business. You don’t want your business on the wrong side of an ever-evolving set of laws.
Before broaching paid advertising, you’ll need to read up on the Dos and Don’ts of Cannabis Advertising.
But paid advertising isn’t your only source of leads. In fact, paid advertising is likely not your best source of leads either.
Why Content Marketing?
HubSpot reports that sales teams were more than twice as likely to report that leads produced through inbound marketing (like content marketing) gave better return on investment (ROI) than leads produced through outbound marketing like paid advertising. The 2018 report showed that 46% of sales teams said, “inbound marketing gives us higher ROI,” ranking inbound as the best approach by far (see image).
Simply put: If a company provides valuable content, the lead is more likely to buy from them. Consumers appreciate being helped, not interrupted. Content marketing is the process of producing content that is valuable to your lead.
Specifically, this is content designed to bring your audience value, not sell your product. (That’s a tough distinction for many small business owners.)
Why are we helping and not selling?
It’s all about credibility and trust. Your prospect may or may not be prepared to purchase today. But they are always ready for a solution to some sort of pain point.
By making yourself a credible resource, leads seek you out when they are ready to purchase. That’s why it’s called inbound marketing: Leads come to you because of your expertise in a particular area.
Sure, there are regulations around advertising your cannabis product. But there are very few regulations around helping your prospects in order to generate trust and credibility.
Here are three proven inbound marketing tactics to drive quality leads to your cannabis business.
1) Online content
Content marketing is all about producing content that your audience finds valuable. Content marketing typically lives online, on a website or other repository. Then, your leads can find this content day or night, on a laptop or via their mobile phone.
How content marketing plays out in the cannabis industry:
Company makes: The world’s best consumer vaping product. (B2C: Selling to people.)
Company produces: An infographic on features consumers should look for in their vaping products.
Company makes: Sensors to automatically irrigate cannabis crops at scale. (B2B: Selling to other businesses.)
Company produces: “The 2020 water management report: Producing 2X yields with only fractional water increases.”
The business publishing that content benefits by attracting organic search traffic based on content keywords. And this content serves as a destination for any message distributed on a business’ owned or paid channels. Now your “ads” can link to valuable content — better to improve credibility and trust.
Online content is your always-open, always-ready storefront where your business can demonstrate expertise to attract qualified leads.
2) Email content
It baffles me to see cannabis business websites without an email collection tool. Any website builder offers the option to passively collect email address, usually for free.
There is no reason NOT to include email marketing in your marketing mix. Active email accounts are expected to hit 3.9B in 2019. And 86% of professionals prefer email over other methods when communicating for business purposes.
Email works because the recipient is in complete control. They decide when to sign up and when to unsubscribe. They either read or ignore your emails. It’s all up to them.
Email is especially good for cannabis businesses because they can engage a similar audience as they would advertise to, without the advertising expense. Once they sign up, that lead is yours for as long as you can engage them.
Plus, you can automate email to nurture leads. Imagine if your business sent a welcome email within an hour of sign-up. Then maybe the business sends a link to a useful white paper a week later. And if the lead pokes around your pricing page, imagine sending her a personal email from her regional sales rep to schedule a call. It’s all possible. Automating your email marketing can change your Sales-Marketing process overnight.
3) Event content
Businesses often underestimate the power of in-person conferences and expos. Use the event as a content distribution channel, preparing and distributing content with the care and diligence you would for any lead.
Prepare content for specific types of leads you are sure to meet at a given conference. Address common topics in your printed content to serve as a conversational lead-in during the event. Consider the type of content that would be valuable to your lead before, during and after the event…then serve it up at the right time.
Events should be especially high on the list of anyone selling to other businesses. The 2019 Demand Gen Report lists in-person events as the #1 way to generate top-of-funnel leads for B2B companies.
Events serve as a distribution opportunity for your content. They should also serve as a lead generation and lead nurturing opportunity as well.
Don’t Get Frustrated about Advertising Regulations
Don’t get stuck in a cycle of paying for web traffic. The leads from paid ads tend to be low quality and they stop flowing when the budget dries up.
Instead, show your expertise through content marketing. Content is the way to rank well on Google. Content is the way to attract new customers to your product or service. And content is the way to nurture leads who aren’t quite convinced.
To learn more about content marketing, download my white paper at: http://bit.ly/SecretGuideToLeadGen. I share stories in that paper that I haven’t shared anywhere else about corporate clients and the secrets to their content marketing success.
And use these three tactics in your own content marketing effort. Content marketing makes sense, it’s cost-effective and it works.
About the Author
DJ Francis is the founder of Hub And Spoke Marketing and B2BCannaContent.com. DJ helps cannabis companies kick-start their marketing and often implement marketing automation platforms. Past cannabis clients include COVA and Best in Grow. Non-cannabis clients include Airbnb, Wells Fargo and Confirmation.com.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. This website contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; Cannabis Marketing Association and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.