Marketing a cannabis business is not an easy job. With regulations on advertising, restrictions on social media and a myriad of other roadblocks, some businesses may choose not to market at all rather than face the obstacles – but that’s not the best method for growing a business. Cannabis is a rapidly expanding marketplace, with some states, like Oklahoma, completely saturated with over 2,000 dispensaries, the most in the US. Businesses need to stand out amongst the crowd to ensure that they’re appealing to their consumers. It’s important to focus on cannabis business convention marketing in Oklahoma before the expo to start generating some buzz. Since businesses in Oklahoma are unable to use the words “marijuana” or “cannabis” or even feature strain names in advertising- the old, tried and true advertising methods become nearly useless in Oklahoma cannabis marketing.
However, since the cannabis industry has been facing these obstacles for some years now, marketers have gotten creative and rolled out newer methods to successfully market their cannabis businesses.
Here are 4 tips to help you market your Oklahoma cannabis business:
1. Create a well-designed, effective website
There are tons of reasons why a business should dedicate time and dollars towards a fully functional, easy-to-use, well-designed website. It is imperative that your website is also mobile-friendly. This is because a large portion of consumer decisions are made by referencing the web first.
By creating an easy-to-use website, consumers can learn about the company and look at products, gaining as much general information as needed – all from the palms of their hands. Cannabis business websites should contain a live menu, business hours, location, contact information and specials, at least. A website is even more impactful if it features newsletters, blog posts or loyalty programs. By thinking outside of the box and saving the marketing budget for digital advertising rather than print or social media, there are far less roadblocks and tested, effective methods to marketing an Oklahoma cannabis business.
2. SEO is King
Now that we’ve established why it’s important to have a functional website, we can talk about Search Engine Optimization. SEO is an extremely important factor when dealing with any type of digital marketing. Strong SEO allows your business to be easily searchable by your customers. Despite the fact that Google doesn’t feature analytics on cannabis-related keywords, it’s still easy to find out which keywords should be featured on your website. A quick Google search will turn up pages of cannabis-related content, notice the commonly referenced terminology and replicate that based on your business specifications.
3. Newsletters, Blog Posts & Loyalty Programs
In addition to general website copy, creating a blog that provides useful information about cannabis is another way to boost SEO and impact your website’s searchability. A blog with helpful, general content will bring potential customers to your website and drive traffic. Driving traffic is the #1 reason for optimizing SEO as it increases the credibility of your brand and your website.
Another way to keep customers engaged is through newsletters. Even a single monthly newsletter provides content to consumers and keeps them abreast of what’s going on in the world of Oklahoma cannabis and any specials, events or sales happening at your business. It also enables the business to keep track of emails, creating a list that is valuable for marketing email blasts or for creating loyalty programs.
Loyalty programs are mutually beneficial for both the business and the customer. At the bare minimum they allow the company to collect important customer data like emails, phone numbers, names and purchasing patterns. Customers can opt into a loyalty program sent through emails or SMS texts. For example, these programs can offer a small percentage of purchases for locals, holiday specials and flash sales. Loyalty programs can built into your marketing at a cannabis convention in Oklahoma.
4. Have Your Customers Leave Reviews
Making your business as easy to find as possible is essential to the success of your online presence. Add your business to as many directories as possible. Some directories like Google My Business and Yelp, but also cannabis-specific directories like Leafly, Weedmaps or Jane.
Also, encourage customer reviews on popular platforms. 97% of people read local business reviews and use them to guide their purchasing decisions. A big part of having a strong online search presence is having reviews and a high score (think 4.0+) so not to make customers hesitant about your business. By encouraging your customers to leave reviews, you’ll be adding to your search optimization. If a customer had a good experience, you can use that information to inform your customer service team. If a customer has not had a great experience, you can be first to publicly (and professionally) respond to negative reviews.
There are many ways to advertise and market an Oklahoma cannabis business without having to navigate the challenging world of cannabis advertising regulations. Unfortunately for the cannabis industry, the traditional methods of print advertising and social media are extremely difficult and rife with regulatory red tape. This isn’t a reason to fret as nowadays there are so many other ways to market a business without using these older methods.
The cannabis industry relies on businesses coming together and that often means a need to create a stronger network of businesses you can connect with. Build your network at a cannabis conference to help set yourself up for success. Check out Oklahoma cannabis convention marketing at CannaCon.