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Discover the Ideal Marketing Strategy for Cannabis Businesses: Inbound Marketing

by | Aug 1, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

The cannabis industry is rapidly growing, breaking new ground with every passing day. However, despite its popularity and potential for profit, we all know it remains a challenging sector to navigate, particularly when it comes to marketing and advertising. With regulations varying from state to state and platform to platform, devising a successful marketing strategy can be a daunting task. But fear not, inbound marketing might just be the solution your cannabis business needs.



Understanding the Cannabis Business Landscape

The cannabis industry, a multi-billion-dollar market, has been on an upward trajectory for some time now. What’s more, the acceptance and legalization of cannabis products continue to spread across the globe, opening up new markets and opportunities for businesses.

However, it’s not all smooth sailing. Advertising cannabis and its derivative products such as CBD remain highly regulated. The laws governing this industry vary greatly depending on the state and the online platforms used for marketing. Hence, it becomes imperative to work with an agency or partner that’s well-versed in these ever-changing regulations.

Why Inbound Marketing is Ideal for Cannabis Businesses

Inbound marketing, in contrast to traditional outbound methods, focuses on creating content that attracts customers to your brand.Inbound marketing is a customer-focused approach that attracts potential customers through valuable content. It involves SEO, social media, email marketing, and lead generation to build trust and establish authority, ultimately converting leads into customers. This could be through engaging blog posts, informative videos, and other content that offers value to your target audience. In the context of cannabis businesses, inbound marketing offers a unique advantage — it can enable you to create meaningful engagement with potential customers while staying within the boundaries of regulatory compliance.


Know Your Audience

Identifying Your Target Market

Understanding your target market is the first step toward creating effective inbound marketing strategies. Broadly speaking, the cannabis consumers most often reached by marketing efforts can be segmented into four categories, defined by New Frontier Data’s 2023 Consumer Archetypes as the most frequently-consuming cannabis user types.

Savvy Connoisseurs

Highly devoted cannabis users, consuming both for medical and recreational purposes. They get cannabis from legal dispensaries or informal sources like friends and illicit dealers. They spend the most and buy cannabis frequently, usually once a week, and tend to be younger and often share with friends and family.

Contemporary Lifestylers

Regular cannabis users who use it primarily for relaxation. They prefer smokable cannabis and mostly obtain it from regulated sources like dispensaries in states where cannabis is legal. They spend moderately to high on cannabis.

Medical Lifestylers

Frequent cannabis users, mainly using smokable forms for medical reasons like pain management. They acquire cannabis from legal dispensaries and are the second-highest spenders among the archetypes.

Legacy Lifestylers

Frequent cannabis consumers primarily using smokable products for recreational purposes. Unlike legal markets, they get cannabis from friends or illicit dealers since they live in states with limited access to legal dispensaries. They spend similarly to Contemporary Lifestylers but outside the regulated market.


Developing a Cannabis Marketing Plan

Checking State Laws and Online Platform Restrictions

Before you start crafting your marketing plan, it’s crucial to understand the rules and restrictions in place. Check the state laws where you plan to market your products and understand the guidelines set by online platforms you intend to use. For instance, Facebook prohibits any cannabis marketing that shows the use or sale of ‘prescription, recreational or illegal drugs’, regardless of state legalities. Cannabis Marketing Association provides our members with a downloadable guide of all 50 states compliance and regulations on a quarterly basis.

Hiring a Cannabis Marketing Expert

Given the complex nature of cannabis marketing, it can be beneficial to hire an expert. A marketing expert specialized in cannabis will help navigate the maze of regulations, ensuring your strategy is both effective and compliant. The CMA community is chock-full of expert agencies and solopreneurs to help you level up your marketing and achieve your goals.

Tips for Starting Your Marketing Plan

Your marketing plan should start with defining your target audience, setting clear goals, and identifying the best platforms to reach your audience. Remember, the key to successful inbound marketing lies in creating valuable content that draws potential customers to your brand. This could be educational blogs, engaging social media posts, or even podcasts discussing various aspects of cannabis.


Navigating Advertising Restrictions

Understanding the Limitations on Traditional Platforms

Traditional advertising platforms like TV and radio have strict limitations regarding cannabis advertising. For instance, in Colorado, TV advertising is permitted only if the advertiser provides evidence that no more than 30% of the audience is expected to be under the age of 21.

Alternative Advertising Options for Cannabis Businesses

With traditional platforms imposing stringent restrictions, cannabis businesses often need to explore alternative options. These alternatives include programmatic advertising technology like demand-side platforms (DSPs), which allow cannabis ads to be specifically campaigned within local and state borders, ensuring compliance with applicable rules and regulations.


Exploring Online Advertising for Cannabis Businesses

Use of Online Ads

Aligning with Your Target Market’s Platforms

For effective online advertising, align your marketing efforts with the platforms your target audience frequents. If your target market consists mostly of millennials, leveraging Instagram and YouTube can be beneficial. On the other hand, if your target market includes older adults, platforms like Facebook might prove more effective.

Utilizing Cannabis-related Keywords

Using the right keywords can significantly boost your online visibility. Identify popular cannabis-related search terms and incorporate them into your content to improve your search engine rank.

The Role of Websites, Forums, Social Media, and Search Engines

Websites, forums, social media platforms, and search engines play a crucial role in cannabis marketing. Establishing a robust online presence on these platforms lets you reach a wider audience, foster community engagement, and build your brand identity. Remember, while using these platforms, it’s crucial to comply with their specific guidelines and restrictions related to cannabis advertising.


Advanced Cannabis Marketing Strategies

Understanding Geo-targeted Advertising

Geo-targeted advertising is a powerful tool that allows you to deliver customized content based on the user’s geographical location. This can be especially useful for cannabis businesses looking to target specific states or regions where their products are legal.

Adapting to Changing Policies and Public Opinion

The cannabis industry is evolving rapidly, with policies changing and public opinion shifting. Therefore, it’s crucial to stay updated and quickly adapt your marketing strategies to these changes. Regularly monitor industry trends, regulatory updates, and consumer behavior to keep your marketing strategy relevant and effective.


Future of Cannabis Marketing

Predicting Trends for 2023

As the cannabis industry continues to grow, we can anticipate several possibilities, such as greater acceptance of cannabis products, expanding legalization, an increase in cannabis tourism, and new avenues for marketing and advertising.

Standing Out in a Crowded Market

With the influx of new businesses into the cannabis sector, standing out in the crowded market is becoming increasingly challenging. However, by focusing on creating high-quality, valuable content and using innovative inbound marketing strategies, you can differentiate your brand and attract a loyal customer base.



Embracing Inbound Marketing in the Cannabis Industry

In conclusion, inbound marketing presents an ideal solution for cannabis businesses navigating the complex landscape of regulations and restrictions. Focusing on providing value to the audience allows you to build strong relationships with potential customers and position your brand as a trusted authority in the cannabis industry. Embrace inbound marketing today and pave the way for success in your cannabis business!




Emily Wells, Membership Manager, Cannabis Marketing Association

What started as a perhaps juvenile enthusiasm for cannabis sparked an intense career interest when my time at CU Boulder approached its end, and my professors insisted that the most fulfilling careers combined your innate talents with your truest passions. Through classwork and internship opportunities, my intuitive communication skills and love for cannabis were seamlessly integrated, and my passion for the plant grew tenfold.

In my time at Cannabis Marketing Association, I’ve been given incredible opportunity to grow in my personal role and help scale the organization, all while navigating the intricacies of the cannabis industry and remote work. Now fortunate enough to be part of an industry still in its infancy, I’m eager to amplify my communicative adroitness and ability to establish meaningful relationships, while speaking truthfully and authentically about a plant hidden in the shadows of stigmatization and empowering others to do the same.

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