The legitimate cannabis industry is going through a period of explosive growth. Legal US cannabis sales in 2016 (the last year for complete data) totaled an impressive $6.9 billion. This is according to ArcView Market Research. Projections for the future are even stronger; annual sales by 2021 may be higher than $21.6 billion.

If you’re one of the many entrepreneurs looking to carve out a piece of that pie for yourself, you need wisdom and insight as well as dedication. For the overwhelming majority of businesses in the cannabis industry, a digital marketing plan is an absolute essential. Below you’ll find five strategic principles that your company can employ.

1) Social Media

Few products sell themselves in the modern marketplace without a carefully-curated social media presence. Social media is particularly important in the cannabis industry. These platforms give you a precious opportunity to interact directly with your consumers and earn your business a relevant place in their lives.

Popular social media platforms for cannabis marketing include Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, but these are by no means your only options. Whether you simply breeze through liking your customers’ posts or engage in in-depth conversations with them, your social media activity nurtures ongoing relationships.

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Social media is more than just a communications tool, though. Pay attention to what this activity teaches you about your customers. You can gain access to new customers and chart out new strategies for enticing them by looking at how they behave on social media.

Integrate your cannabis website closely with your chosen social media platforms. Include all the relevant buttons for easy sharing and communication. Remember that every opportunity to interact with your online audience is also an opportunity to win new customers.

2) Powerful Content

It takes good content to market your cannabis business. Whether you’re posting on your website or sharing on social media channels, quality content is the coin you spend to earn potential customers’ attention. Bear in mind that the content you present is, essentially, the voice of your company. Don’t settle for bland filler designed mainly for SEO benefits. Make an extra effort to make your content useful and entertaining to your customers. And it goes without saying that you want your content to be unique!

3) Search Engine Optimization

Although there’s tremendous money to be made in the cannabis industry, you’re not the first – or even the thousandth – entrepreneur to dive in. A crucial part of your marketing job is distinguishing yourself from the competition. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is an important way to do that.

Over 80 percent of modern consumers rely on online research to choose between competing businesses. The whole point of the SEO game is to place your business’s website higher on the search engine results page than your competitors. Delivering a quality product and useful content are important, but you give yourself a tremendous boost if you are the easiest business for potential customers to find.

Smart optimization doesn’t just improve your business’s visibility. It’s also tailored to the search engine usage of specific sorts of customers. In this way, SEO work makes you more visible to a more valuable audience.

4) Gathering Influencers

Influence marketing is a huge asset in the cannabis industry. Garnering the support of key influencers exposes your products and services to a highly receptive audience.

Influencers bring big benefits to the marketing table. Good ones come with a built-in audience over which they exert a significant influence. Good influencers also generate their own content, which has the potential to spread on its own. Influence marketing thus combines the easy share-ability of viral marketing with a much more targeted effect.

5) Cultivate A Long-Term Audience

While growth and profit are essential for keeping your cannabis business healthy, you actually can’t go far if you focus exclusively on those goals. If you’re ruthless about chasing short-term profit, long-term stability will pass you by.

The best way to plan for longevity is to make an effort to educate your customers. When you focus on delivering information and enhancing your customers’ cannabis knowledge, what you’re actually doing is turning them into advocates for your business. A customer who trusts you and values what you have to say becomes a powerful ambassador for your brand.

Giving your customer interactions an educational focus also pays off because it positions you as an expert in the cannabis industry. This encourages potential customers to take you more seriously and may even elevate you to a more trustworthy position compared to your competitors.

The cannabis industry is a fast-growing and fast-changing business landscape. That doesn’t shake our conviction that a strong digital marketing plan is a huge asset to any cannabis business. The basic principles we’ve shared here are just the tip of the iceberg.

Have any of these principles helped you in marketing your cannabis business? Are we overlooking a strategy you consider vitally important? Do you want to learn more about one of our principles in particular? Let us know!

Posted by Wendy Dessler

Wendy is a super connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized marketing plans depending on the industry and competition.

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