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If you're in the cannabis business, a powerful DIGITAL MEDIA presence is essential for building the strength of your brand (and for ensuring long-term profitability).

But which digital media channels are the best for building your cannabis enterprise? We have 5 suggestions!

Untitled presentation (7)The cannabis industry is an exciting one. There is no doubt about that. Growth seems limitless and it’s a sellers market. It’s almost as if all you have to do is get into the market and you’ll rake in profits, hand over fist.

While the above may be true, one should never, ever assume that the situation will remain rosy for the long term. Let’s face it; we’re in the Wild West of the cannabis trade. Along with this goes not only wide-open spaces for expansion, but known and unknown dangers as well. You may be on top of the world now, but any slight change to the landscape could trigger a cascade of effects that place your business (and all of its seemingly endless profits) at risk.

To mitigate this risk, two of the most important things that you absolutely must do are: 

  • Create a powerful brand
  • Get as many loyal customers who spread the good word about your business as though it were gospel in the new age

New call-to-actionFor the first point above, we have two resources that we strongly encourage you to check out. One is our eBook, Brand Juggernaut: A How-to Guide for Creating a World-class Brand Identity. This is a general guide to help any business create a brand identity that gives long-term staying power.

The second resource is specifically for entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry:The 8 Crucial Elements You MUST HAVE to Make Your Brand Shine Brighter Than the Rest.

The article you're reading now will help address the second bullet point above with critical digital media channels and relevant statistics that we feel you need to know. This article is for both cannabis producers and dispensaries. Without further ado, let’s begin.

A compelling webpage

Having a webpage is a no-brainer, right? We all know that you don’t really have a legitimate business without a webpage. But the operative word we use for these purposes is “compelling”. So, what does that mean?

A definition for the word “compelling” that is found on online is, “evoking interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way”. With this as a context, can your webpage be considered compelling? Can you name three ways that your website is, indeed, compelling? And how is it better than the industry standard?

If you cannot answer these questions the affirmative, it is more than likely you need to re-examine your website and identify key and differentiated ways that you can create an undeniably compelling website.

Blogging

Once you have a fantastic webpage, you will need to drive traffic to it by putting out vibrant, engaging, educational and relevant content. Blogging is absolutely critical in this regard as it will help you rank higher in search engines (where people are searching), create legitimacy in the minds of your target market (win them as customers) and continue to provide helpful information that solidifies your operation as the go-to place for their cannabis needs (creating loyalty). This is the case for both cannabis producers and dispensary owners.

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To bolster this case, here are a few statistics:

  • You have a 434% higher chance of being ranked highly on search engines if you feature a blog as part of your website. (Source)
  • 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts. (Source)
  • 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a directly with a business. (Source)
  • Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts. (Source)
  • Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website. (Source)
  • 70-80% of users ignore paid ads and only focus on organic results. (Source)

Build your email contacts list

It is essential to build you list of email contacts. In fact, in 2016 Campaign Monitor reported that of every $1 spent on email marketing, that $44 is the average return on investment!

But how can you build your email list? Here are a scant few suggestions:

  • Collect emails in your store
    Creating some kind of a store membership campaign will incentivize your customers to sign up!
  • Create remarkable email content! 
    This helps increase the frequency by which readers will forward your content through their social networks.
  • Create a blog to which your visitors can subscribe
    Again, the quality of your content is important for increasing engagement and the frequency by which people will share your content.
  • Encourage your viewers to share your content with their friends
    You can best do this by including social sharing buttons and an "Email to a Friend" button in your published content. By using these simple methods, you'll better be able to gain a gateway to their friends and networks as well (and thus increase your email list and the strength of your brand). 
  • Create a lead generation offer
    You can best do this by creating a compelling eBook and host it on a landing page where visitors must give their contact info to gain access to your fantastic content. 

E-newsletter

As you build out your contacts list, one of the best pieces of content that you can send out is a periodic e-Newsletter. In our experience in working with a wide variety of clients from diverse industries, e-Newsletters provide an amazing method for building brand loyalty, especially if you follow our recommendations for creating a powerful brand in the cannabis industry.

Lindsay Goddard, the Email Product Manager at The New York Times, has the following to say about the importance of their newsletter.

“Every newsletter has a very different goal, whether it’s driving eyeballs back to the site, or serving as a testing ground for a new product, or serving as a special incentive to a paid subscription...Doing these in-depth analyses really allowed us to see the value in a newsletter, and how they’re such useful habituation vehicles to becoming a paid subscriber.

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While your cannabis business is not in the business of producing news content, you are in the business of promoting business and winning loyal customers. E-newsletters are also highly effective at driving traffic to your site, which is exactly what you want in building your brand, and ultimately winning/maintaining loyal customers.

Social media channels (but be careful)

Social media is mission critical in generating awareness for your cannabis brand and creating an actively engaged following. Here are a few reasons why social media is critical for building the strength of your cannabis brand.

  • Connects you with your prospects and customers
  • Builds your brand
  • Provides cross promotional opportunities
  • Provides educational opportunities

The above said, if you're in the cannabis industry, you will have heard by now that social media channels can be very finicky with what they allow to be published. The Internet is rife with stories about some pages being taken down altogether, with all the organic visitors being lost to posterity. And this of course precludes any possibility of placing paid advertisement on social media to generate brand awareness.

So, while social media channels will not allow cannabis marketing with paid advertisements, you can still build your organic reach while steering away from the dangers of having your cannabis pages shut down, by doing the following:

  • Keep it classy
  • Keep it subtle
  • Keep it educational
  • Keep it creative!

Finally, whatever social media channels you choose, the main goals of your social media activities are to reinforce your brand messaging through unique and compelling content that will generate likes, shares and followers.

Conclusion

In the end, whichever digital media channels you use is up to you. There are many to choose from, but the above channels – a compelling webpage, blog, contacts list, newsletter and social media – are the absolute must-haves for your cannabis business.

New call-to-actionAlso, with your digital media activities, we cannot recommend highly enough that you include a healthy mix of our seven other brand-building essentials. As stated at the beginning of this article, you can check these out in our extensive article, The 8 Crucial Elements You MUST HAVE to Make Your Brand Shine Brighter Than the Rest, which you can download by clicking the cover page image to the right!

If you are consistent with your communications (and by extension your brand messaging) through your digital media channels, and use our other 7 brand-building essentials, you will generate a very powerful, organic and actively engaged following that will contribute significantly to the overall financial value of your cannabis business. This is a critical advantage and asset to have, especially in a highly turbulent and quickly changing industry where less savvy market participants could find themselves at a strategic disadvantage, and possibly irrelevant, very quickly..

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