Properly managing a digital presence is important for your marijuana business.
One of the interesting things about the cannabis business is that so few of the people involved in it have an educational background specifically geared to succeeding in it. There are no Masters Degrees in “Selling Legal Marijuana,” and the variation in paths people have taken from other industries into this one gives cannabis an especially diverse community of growers, storeowners and service providers working toward similar goals.
While some in the industry come from a ‘gardening’ background, others are web developers, accountants, marketers, glassmakers and scientists. Many in the industry have chosen to focus their efforts on their own core capabilities, but there is also a growing need for people to diversify their skills and adapt to all of the methods available for creating and evolving revenue streams to maximize profitability.
When we examine brands from a marketing perspective, some are fully realized and ready to become nationally known product lines, while others are barely known ten feet from the door of their own store. As with other industries, a lot of the name recognition companies have acquired comes from digital marketing online, so we are exploring these techniques in greater detail for the benefit of all of our readers. Here are some suggestions you should consider immediately to market your products and services more effectively.
1 – Build Your Brand
Many storeowners are so focused on getting customers in the door that they overlook the larger goal of becoming a brand. Ask yourself what would have happened to McDonalds or Burger King if they allowed their first store to be known as a generic burger joint without bothering to craft a cohesive brand around their product? Having a properly protected logo, robust social networking presence, fully functional company website, and a persistent media campaign is crucial to becoming a company people know and trust. As history has proven many times, brands are capable of outlasting the here today, gone tomorrow crowd.
2 – Create a Worthwhile Website
Creating a website is a fairly simple and inexpensive way to expand your digital outreach. For about one thousand dollars you can have an entire site built that includes information about your products, a complete menu of your inventory, easy to access directions and contact pages etc. Your website is often the first impression your store makes on a potential customer, and with a platform like WordPress it is now easier than ever to create the kind of first impression that brings clients to your door and rather than inadvertently steering them toward someone else.
3 – Expand Your Social Media Presence
Building out your social media presence is about more than just tweeting random bits of information throughout the day. A professional social media strategist can help you craft a presence that spans several different platforms and engages consumers. “Social media isn’t about annoying people by blurting out memes and asking inane questions” explained Lauren MacEwen, CEO of 7Veils.com. “Our clients rely on us to engage consumers and drive traffic to their stores. We do that by starting organic conversations and being inclusive. That doesn’t just drive up the number of likes on your Facebook page, or the amount of views your Instragrams get – it translates into actual dollars at the cash register when people have a seamless way to refer their friends and share their good sentiments about your brand.”
4 – Review Sites and Directories
The public stigma against legal marijuana is finally starting to abate, but the number of high quality digital ad outlets available for store owners remains narrower than desired. One area that is becoming more useful is the review and directory niche. Previously dominated by only a few sites like Weedmaps and Leafly, new entrants are starting to grow large audiences capable of delivering customers. “We have reviewed nearly 900 stores nationwide and counting” said Stewart of WeedStoreReviews.com “We operate at a much lower price point than other review sites, and with plenty of additional benefits included absolutely free for our clients – which is why we are already seeing excellent results for Featured stores and free listings on our site from the many marijuana consumers we entertain in our rapidly growing community online.”
The key to getting the most out of your digital presence online is creating a coherent campaign that covers all of the venues described above. Getting reviewed when your website is barely working, or trying to build a comprehensive website when you haven’t secured your intellectual property rights, can be a complete waste of resources. However, as the field continues to grow more crowded, businesses that reach higher will likely prosper, while those content to rely on a small local clientele could stagnate or eventually be overrun entirely.
By Steward Tongue