Like any new industry, the early years of legal cannabis were fast-moving and exciting. And as the industry matures, we’re getting a clearer picture of products poised to drive future growth, and cannabis edibles are the front runner.
From infused beverages and dark chocolates to gummies and mints, edibles are arguably the most diverse and attractive cannabis product category for businesses and consumers. And with COVID-19 and the vape crisis limiting consumer attraction to inhaled marijuana products, we expect to see edibles surge in popularity this year.
But the methods of effectively marketing cannabis edibles online are different than other product categories, and some risks could limit growth for edibles-focused businesses, from regulatory compliance to increasing competition and consumer concerns.
Here’s how to use digital marketing to bring awareness to your cannabis edibles brand or dispensary.
Optimize your site and content for Google search.
Americans have a growing interest in cannabis edibles, and more of them are scouring the Internet for information. And while there are millions of pages on the web, none are more critical to edibles brands and dispensaries than the search engine results page (SERP). Your brand is virtually invisible if it doesn’t show up in the #1 or #2 position on the first page of search results. And today, because of new SERP features like paid results and rich snippets, ranking in the #1 spot doesn’t guarantee the same visibility it used to.
“There’s a marketing joke that goes something like this: “Where’s the best place to hide a dead body? Page two of Google.” Nowadays, a good place to hide a dead body is actually anywhere below SERP features.” – HubSpot
How do you win?
Your content and site copy must align with the keywords and questions customers are asking Google. And those questions tend to be things like, “what are different types of edibles,” or “what are edibles,” as opposed to “order edibles online,” or “buy edibles.” In short, you need to carefully study customer personas to determine what your audience cares about and devise a content strategy (more on that below), that addresses their questions and concerns. And all of that content needs to be optimized for search along with the rest of your website.
Don’t overlook the importance of branding.
The cannabis industry is growing, and experts predict cannabis consumer spending to exceed $40B by 2024. Competition is expanding as investors and entrepreneurs embrace cannabis with visions of gold and grandeur.
And the significance of exceptional branding increases as competition expands. Faced with a massive selection of competing vendors and dispensaries, cannabis consumers choose the recognizable and well-established edibles brands that they trust.
Similarly, dispensaries select brands that are likely to drive the most sales when they are making product placement decisions, and those brands tend to be the ones consumers are most familiar with.
The same can be said for almost every industry and all products across the cannabis spectrum. Branding is more than just your logo, name, slogan, and packaging. Your brand is a promise – it sets consumer expectations, and brands fail when they don’t fulfill their promise and let consumers down. It’s that simple. You need to figure out why you’re in business, define your target customers, and identify what your edibles brand delivers that’s unique in this increasingly competitive space. A strong brand puts your edibles business or dispensary ahead of competitors – online and in the real world.
Use Social Media, but be realistic about your expectations.
Social media is an essential component of online edibles marketing. Still, with paid Facebook and Instagram ads off the table, and algorithmic changes forcing a
decline in organic reach, you need to set realistic expectations.
Don’t rely on social media as a primary component of your overall cannabis edibles digital marketing strategy.
But do include social media as a part of your content distribution strategy, and focus on a regular cadence of publishing to each platform. Keep your social accounts active, maintain brand consistency across bios, graphics, images, and captions, and don’t automate your posts to death.
Most cannabis businesses and social media managers use marketing automation tools to automate social media publishing. And that’s fine. But don’t forget that successful brands use social media to develop a genuine connection with their community. Be real, be human, and interact with your audience every single day.
Content really is king.
We steer clear of cliches, but in this circumstance, content truly is king. Alongside the other standard organic digital marketing methods like SEO and social media marketing, content marketing is a powerful tool to earn clicks and attract new customers. The key to success in using content to market your edibles is authenticity and an understanding of your customer’s overall digital journey. Content marketing is ideally suited toward top-of-funnel customers who are actively searching for information and education.
Your job is to create content that’s valuable and answers all of your customer’s questions. This might sound easy, but it’s not, and that’s why many brands outsource content creation to an agency (like Hybrid).
The goal of marketing cannabis edibles online is to fill your conversion funnel with new customers. To this end, successful brands educate, inform, and establish brand loyalty and trust, building awareness, an extensive email list, and, ultimately, revenue.
If you’re inspired to grow your edibles business online using the tactics mentioned in this blog, our team would love to have a conversation.
Reach out – let’s do great work together.