Cannabis leaves with money showing growth

3 Powerful Differentiators for your Cannabis Business

Whether you’re a cannabis dispensary owner, a processor, or a grower, the question you must constantly ask yourself is “why would somebody purchase my products over my competitors?” Be honest with yourself. If you can’t answer clearly, consumers won’t be able to either. That’s why differentiating your business from competitors is so critical. When a cannabis market develops and becomes saturated, (i’m looking at you Oregon), standing out from the pack is the difference between success and failure. Here’s three powerful differentiators for your cannabis business.

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coronavirus cannabis dispensary open

Protecting your Cannabis Dispensary during the Coronavirus Outbreak

Amidst the coronavirus outbreak, cannabis dispensaries across the US are posting record sales numbers. Many people are stocking up on what they consider to be the essentials. While we are always excited when our clients see increased sales, we need to emphasize the following:

 

Do not trade a short-term jump in revenue for the long-term damage you can do to your customers, employees, and community by continuing to operate your business as usual. It is NOT business as usual for most Americans right now, and precautions need to be taken by dispensaries that are continuing to operate. 

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cannabis dispensary website

5 Revenue-Driving Essentials for Every Cannabis Dispensary Website

A cannabis dispensary website needs to drive revenue.

We’ve seen it many times: a cannabis dispensary that has a gorgeous store in a perfect location, but a single-scroller landing page for a website. NO. A website should be more than just a page with your store’s address. It should drive revenue; it should make you money. In fact, in a saturated market, a revenue-focused website can be the difference between your businesses survival or failure. Here’s five elements that every cannabis dispensary website needs to have to drive revenue.

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UNDER THE INFLUENCE: WHY CANNABIS INFLUENCERS ARE THE ANSWER TO YOUR MARKETING QUESTION

[ut_header style="pt-style-7" align="center" title_linebreak_mobile="on" spacing="custom" spacing_bottom="2" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_accent_font_weight="bold" title="Mike Tyson is a heavy-hitter." lead_accent_color="#151515" effect="fadeIn" css=".vc_custom_1569771988203{margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}"][/ut_header]

The former heavyweight champion revealed in August that he smokes $40,000 of weed every month at his future cannabis resort, Tyson Ranch.

The story came up in an episode of Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson, a podcast where “Iron” Mike sits down for a “performance-enhanced” conversation with celebrities, athletes and luminaries. Details on Tyson’s colossal cannabis consumption scored him a ton of earned media, with multiple news outlets and social media channels covering the story.

So what does this story teach us? 

Mike Tyson smokes a lot of weed. 

But what else?

Mike Tyson is a cannabis influencer at the top of his game.

He generated massive awareness for his resort, and he did it organically. He brought up his monumental weed consumption in conversation, tied it in to his new venture, and let the message spread digitally. Besides production costs, it cost him nothing. 

As an influencer in the weed game, Mike hits hard.

BACK TRACK A SECOND. “INFLUENCER”. I KNOW THAT WORD, BUT COULD YOU GIVE ME A REFRESHER?

Relax. Despite all the hype, “influencer” is a relatively new word. Before 2016, it lacked a definition on Dictionary.com.

 

An influencer is someone who can change the way people think and behave.

Whether they’re writing an impassioned defense of universal basic income on their personal blog, or posting Instagram Stories of their Maldivian overwater villa, influencers create new thoughts, new desires, and new perspectives. 

And they’re persuasive. Influencers develop a unique bond with their followers, sharing regular, engaging content. They’re always on hand. They’re your five minutes at the bus stop. Your after-work wind-down.

Plus, they follow back. While traditional media is mostly limited to one-way conversation, social media allows influencers to communicate directly with their followers, sharing likes, posting comments, and responding to direct messages.

[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-7" align="center" text_transform="uppercase" effect="fadeIn" spacing="padding-bottom:0px"]Sounds groovy. But what makes Mike such a “heavy hitter” in the weed business?[/ut_title_divider_2]

He’s a problem solver.

Federal legislation makes it tough to promote your cannabis business, with social media companies like Twitter and Facebook banning weed advertisements.

By partnering with influencers, you can knock down these obstacles and get your brand off the canvas. Whether you’re sponsoring digital content, developing co-branded merchandise, or offering free bud for a review, influencers like Tyson can connect you to a new, engaged audience.

[ut_parallax_quote revealfx="on" revealfx_color="#ffffff"]ALRIGHT, I’M IN. BUT HOW DO I FIND AN INFLUENCER TO WORK WITH?[/ut_parallax_quote]

Work with an agency, like us

We’ll match you with influencers who are perfectly suited to promoting your business. We’ll manage the partnership and help you build the relationship. And we’ll take care of the paperwork.

Whether you work with an agency or go solo, start by asking yourself: who is my ideal influencer?

[ut_service_box icon="fa fa-handshake-o" headline="VALUES" imageicon="4081" effect="fadeInLeft"]What do you believe in? What’s important to you? Perhaps you’ve installed LED lighting, solar power and water reclamation systems to reduce your carbon footprint. Pick an influencer who shares your commitment to the environment. This is known as brand alignment. [/ut_service_box]
[ut_service_box icon="fa fa-handshake-o" headline="DEMOGRAPHICS" imageicon="4082" effect="fadeInRight"]Who buys your weed? Who orders your lighting systems? Your customers probably have some things in common. Do they tend to be old or young, male or female, professional or self-employed? If you want to hit your target market, you’ll want to find an influencer with an audience that shares key characteristics with your customer base.[/ut_service_box]

Once you’ve established the requirements, it’s time to find the candidate. This is the fun bit. Watch YouTube. Search Google for cannabis bloggers based in Denver. Scan Twitter with relevant hashtags. Make a note of the influencers who stand out and resonate with you and your business. 

Next, delve a little deeper into your influencer shortlist.

  • Is their content entertaining?
  • Could you get on with them?
  • Do they have a large following?
  • Is their audience engaged? Do they have a lot of likes and comments on their posts?
  • Are there any red flags? Could anything they’ve said cause negative controversy?

[ut_parallax_quote revealfx="on" revealfx_color="#ffffff"]OK, I’VE FOUND MY MATCH. NOW HOW DO I REACH OUT?[/ut_parallax_quote]
[ut_simple_time_line animate="true" global_delay_animation="true" events="%5B%7B%22marker_size%22%3A%22small%22%2C%22marker_pulse%22%3A%22off%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22For%20the%20time%20being%2C%20e-mail%20reigns%20king%2C%20particularly%20if%20you%E2%80%99re%20reaching%20out%20to%20an%20influencer%20with%20a%20large%20following.%20Popular%20influencers%20are%20flooded%20with%20partnership%20requests%20every%20day%2C%20so%20it%E2%80%99s%20easy%20for%20yours%20to%20get%20lost%20in%20the%20pile%20of%20DMs%20and%20comments.%5Cn%22%7D%2C%7B%22marker_size%22%3A%22small%22%2C%22marker_pulse%22%3A%22off%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22If%20it%E2%80%99s%20a%20popular%20influencer%2C%20chances%20are%20they%E2%80%99ll%20have%20their%20own%20agent%20and%2For%20publicist%20too%2C%20and%20that%E2%80%99s%20who%20you%E2%80%99ll%20be%20writing%20to.%20Influencers%20often%20note%20their%20representation%20in%20their%20social%20media%20bio%2C%20or%20you%20can%20do%20a%20quick%20Google%20search%20to%20find%20who%20you%20should%20be%20emailing.%20Tools%20like%20hunter.io%20can%20help%20you%20scan%20websites%20to%20find%20the%20right%20email%20address.%5Cn%22%7D%2C%7B%22marker_size%22%3A%22small%22%2C%22marker_pulse%22%3A%22off%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Write%20a%20%3Cins%3Epersonal%3C%2Fins%3E%20email%20that%20communicates%20what%20you%20like%20about%20your%20would-be%20influencer%20and%20why%20you%20think%20you%20should%20work%20together.%20Be%20%3Cins%3Especific%3C%2Fins%3E.%20%E2%80%9CI%20feel%20our%20brands%20align%20and%20I%20believe%20we%20share%20many%20similar%20values%E2%80%9D%20becomes%20%E2%80%9CWe%20share%20two%20loves.%20Weed%2C%20and%20the%20environment.%E2%80%9D%20%5Cn%22%7D%2C%7B%22marker_size%22%3A%22small%22%2C%22marker_pulse%22%3A%22off%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Consider%20floating%20an%20idea%20for%20a%20partnership%20in%20your%20opening%20message.%20Your%20pitch%20for%20co-branded%20edibles%20might%20come%20to%20nothing%2C%20but%20it%20could%20give%20your%20influencer%20something%20to%20nibble%20on%20while%20you%20build%20out%20a%20partnership%20together.%5Cn%22%7D%2C%7B%22marker_size%22%3A%22small%22%2C%22marker_pulse%22%3A%22off%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Keep%20in%20mind%20what%20kind%20of%20partnership%20you%20want%20to%20establish.%20Free%20or%20paid%3F%20Cash%2C%20contra%20(free%20products%20or%20services%20exchanged%20in%20place%20of%20cash)%2C%20or%20both%3F%20You%E2%80%99ll%20need%20to%20iron%20out%20these%20details%20eventually%2C%20including%20your%20expectations%2C%20and%20it%E2%80%99s%20best%20to%20write%20up%20a%20contract%20to%20make%20everything%20legal%20and%20concrete.%5Cn%22%7D%5D" time_line_dot_color="#00bbb4" animation_style_left="fadeIn" animation_style_right="fadeIn" global_delay_timer="200" delay_timer="200" delay_timer_marker="100" time_line_dot_inner_color="#00bbb4"]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-7" align="center" text_transform="uppercase" effect="fadeIn" spacing="padding-bottom:0px"]Let me guess. You can help with that too, right?[/ut_title_divider_2]

Indeed we can. We’ll take care of the legalities and make sure your business and your brand are protected.

That means you can focus on the fun part: building fun relationships with people who share your passions, your values, and your audience.

Influencers can connect you to new people and help you overcome bans on cannabis advertising. They promote your products or services by showing how your bud, bong or baked goods fit in with their lifestyle. They help you build your brand and they embody the values your business stands for.

That’s a combo “Iron” Mike would be proud of.

[ut_header style="pt-style-2" title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="Contact Us"][/ut_header][ut_c7_shortcode form_id="7"]


8 simple steps to a winning giveaway in the cannabis industry

If you’re in the cannabis industry, you can gain a lot by giving stuff away.

People like free stuff, so giveaways earn a ton of organic (free) views and engagement.

Not only does this save you money, it also provides an alternative to paid online advertising, prohibited for cannabis companies by government legislation and social media company bans

And to round out the benefits, contests and sweepstakes allow you to grow your email list, generate leads (potential sales), and build brand or product awareness.

Giveaways are a win-win if you’re in the cannabis industry. Read on for eight simple steps to getting your contest or sweepstake right. 

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 1" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Set Your Goals[/ut_title_divider_2]

Set measurable, attainable targets so you can measure your success. If you’ve done this before, look at the results from your last contest: How much can you grow these numbers?

Set a goal for leads – customers that share their information. This can include their name, e-mail address, postal address, cellphone number and interests. Think about the quality of your leads too – are they qualified? Are they likely to buy your product?

Leads also give insight on how much awareness you’ve generated. Additionally, set targets for engagement – how many likes, shares, retweets or comments are you aiming for?

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 2" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Pick Your Prize[/ut_title_divider_2]

Prizing is tricky in the cannabis industry since regulations limit what you can give away. In Colorado, for instance, retail cannabis stores may not give away cannabis or any cannabis product, or any consumable items including food and drinks..

So what can you give away? What will your customers, new and existing, be most enticed by? What prize connects to your brand and contest? Some ideas include:

      • Experiential: tickets to cannabis events or competitions, concerts in your city
      • Accessories: papers, grinders, glassware
      • Grower equipment: lighting, ventilation, hydration

If you’ve got partnerships, do any of your agreements include contra (free products or services supplied by a partner). For instance, if you’ve sponsored an athlete or sports team, you could ask for comped tickets to give away throughout the season.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 3" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Create Your Giveaway[/ut_title_divider_2]

If you want to maximize your entries, make your giveaway easy to enter.

The easiest kind of giveaway is a sweepstake. It’s based purely on chance: the entrant just has to enter their details and the winner is randomly selected. 

In fact, you don’t even need to ask for details. A share, tag, or follow will suffice if boosting awareness is top of your agenda.

Let’s say you’re launching a product and you want to generate hype. A few days before release, you launch a contest on social media, teasing the product and asking your followers to retweet or share the post to enter a sweepstake to win it. Alternatively, ask your followers to tag a friend in the comment section and, to build sustainable awareness, ask them to follow you as well. Sit back and watch the engagements multiply.

You can also build engagement by creating a cool contest and creating some fun content. You could test your followers’ knowledge with cannabis trivia, challenge them to predict the next Cannabis Cup winner, or encourage them to share something personal, like a photo of their favorite smoke spot. 

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 4" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Spread the Word[/ut_title_divider_2]

Publicize your giveaway through as many different channels as possible. If you’re looking for new leads, you’ll need to look for ways to expand your reach beyond your existing audience.

[ut_service_column size="small" headline="Social Media" icon="fa fa-twitter"]Social media: Post on all the platforms you’re on – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (including Stories), Snapchat and so on. Choose an eye-catching picture or graphic and make sure there’s a word like win, giveaway, sweepstake or contest in the first line of the caption.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="Web" icon="fa fa-desktop"]Place an ad on your home page. Build a dedicated landing page and drive traffic to a custom URL.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="Influencers" icon="fa fa-user-circle-o"]Team up with an individual that commands a big following online and ask them to help publicize your giveaway. It’s a win for the influencer and their following, too.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="Partners" icon="fa fa-handshake-o"]Ask your partners to help publicize your giveaway through social media, e-mail and any other channels.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="Print/out-of-home" icon="fa fa-pencil-square-o"]Hand out “Scratch and Win” cards at an event or retail location. Utilize print and public advertising for “text-to-win” contests.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="In-person" icon="fa fa-tablet"]Set up a tablet computer and collect entries at an event or your place of business.[/ut_service_column]

Publicize regularly throughout the contest and, at the end of the giveaway period, communicate urgency with “last chance” messaging.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 5" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Gather the Entries[/ut_title_divider_2]

Whether you’re publicizing your giveaway online or otherwise, collecting your entries digitally will save you a lot of time on data entry.

Use a data management system like Formstack to build an entry form to collect entries automatically:

      • Decide what information you want to collect
      • Build the form and embed it on a dedicated landing page
      • Create a custom URL for the landing page
      • Drive traffic to the URL through your marketing collateral
      • Use custom tracking links to identify which channels or creatives are most successful in driving traffic to the page

If you’re publicizing your contest offline, asking your customers to remember and manually enter a URL can feel cumbersome. “Text-to-win” giveaways use five or six digit “Short Codes” to make entering contests easier. Your contestants to text an opt-in word to the Short Code you’ve created, e.g. “Text WIN to 762200.” Your contestant will automatically receive a reply containing the URL for the contest entry page.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 6" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Make Sure It's Legal[/ut_title_divider_2]

Contesting laws differ from state to state in the US, so make sure your giveaway is legal

Also, you’ll need to draft up a Terms and Conditions for every contest you run. At minimum, this should contain details on:

      • Name of contest
      • Key dates and times (start, end, prize draw)
      • Eligibility
      • How to enter
      • Prize (quantity and description)
      • Prize claim
      • Conditions attached to the prize
      • General conditions
      • Use of personal information

Hyperlink to the Terms and Conditions on the contest entry page. Include a check box for entrants to confirm their agreement. Additionally, include a check mark for entrants to opt out of their personal information being used for marketing purposes.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 7" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Pick a winner. Share the good news.[/ut_title_divider_2]

When you’ve picked the winner of your giveaway, don’t forget to tell your followers – with your winner’s permission. Announcing the winner confirms your contest is real, so your followers will be more likely to enter the next one. Plus, winning is always a good story to tell.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 8" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Review[/ut_title_divider_2]

Look back at the objectives you set at the beginning. Were you successful? Did you collect enough leads and build sufficient awareness? 

What went well, and how could you improve? Record your numbers so you can try to beat them next time.

Contesting is a craft honed through experience. At Hybrid, we can help you get it right the first time. Chat with our team for advice on building the perfect giveaway for your cannabis business. You’ve got nothing to lose, but a lot to gain.


6 Dynamite Techniques to Grow Your Cannabis Business’ Email List

Those of us in the cannabis industry know that the tools and tactics available to us are limited. When, where, and IF you can advertise comes with a variety of restrictions. The instinct of most cannabis businesses is to invest heavily in social media. They get on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other platform you can imagine, and then saturate them with content. We’re not saying not to do that, but use social media with this understanding:

[ut_header style="pt-style-7" title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" font_size="26" title="You do not own your profile on any social media platform."][/ut_header]

For example, imagine you spend enormous amounts of time, effort, and money on your cannabis dispensaries’ Instagram account. You grow a healthy following and use it as a primary driver of traffic to your business. Then disaster strikes. Instagram decides to change their terms of service and determines that you are now in violation. They shut down your account, no warning, no questions asked, no recourse. What impact would that have on your business?

We’re not suggesting you avoid social media. We’re simply suggesting that you have a diversified approach to your marketing channels, with social media being one of at least several.

There is a belief amongst some (usually those outside the marketing department) that email marketing is old-school. While the tool of e-mail might be losing some steam in certain settings (teams adopting Slack for example), it’s still the most widely used tool on the internet, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Why? Because it works. You can use e-mail marketing to promote specials, drive attendance to events, provide news and updates, and keep your loyal customers engaged.

That’s why building your own e-mail list should be at the top of your priorities. YOU own your businesses email list, and it doesn’t run the risk of shutdown by anyone. And in the world of cannabis, your email list is your best friend. So, here’s five tips that will help you build your very own, very valuable email list for use in your own cannabis email marketing.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="1."][/ut_header]

POP-UPS

When building an e-mail list, pop-ups are going to be your biggest growth engine. They’re often annoying, but they don’t need to be. The blatant in-your-face pop-up as soon as somebody hits your website is off the table. Don’t do it. Instead, consider an exit-intent pop-up. That’s a pop-up that’s triggered when somebody is about to leave your site (typically it’s cursor movement to the top corner of the page that acts as a trigger). They’ve already done everything they need to do, so you’re not interrupting them. Slider pop-ups can also be an effective option. They just slide in to the corner of the screen and are much less obtrusive. Which one will work better for you? Consider A/B testing both.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="2."][/ut_header]

GATED, HIGH-VALUE CONTENT

By gated, we mean that a potential lead or customer needs to enter their email to access the content. It’s a trade-off, and to hold up your end of the bargain, the content has to be valuable. Often, this will be long-form content. Examples might be: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Extracts, or The Ultimate Cannabis Grading Workbook, or perhaps some type of checklist.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="3."][/ut_header]

PROMOTE AN ONLINE CONTEST

Run a contest based where an email signup is required to be entered. You can promote the contest on social, on your website, and at events. If you want it to be successful you need to offer something significant as a prize. Maybe it’s a gift certificate to your dispensary, free product, or tickets to a cannabis-related event.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="4."][/ut_header]

COLLECT E-MAILS IN-STORE

Have (and promote) email sign-ups in-store with an offer for something free. It can be small, and definitely should be branded. Consider rolling papers, lighters, grading books, or grinders. Tip: ditch the paper sign-up sheets, and go with a tablet. You can a basic Amazon Fire tablet that will work just fine for around $60.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="5."][/ut_header]

SIGN-UP OPPORTUNITIES

Create multiple opportunities on the website to sign up. Don’t rely on the pop-ups by themselves. There should be a small sign-up window somewhere on the front page, and peppered elsewhere throughout the site.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="6."][/ut_header]

OFFER AN INCENTIVE

This goes hand-in-hand with pop-ups and sign-up forms. There’s nothing wrong with attracting sign-ups by letting customers know they’ll get sale info emailed to them. But if you really want to supercharge your sign ups (and you do), consider a one-time use coupon code. It doesn’t have to be much, 10% usually does the trick. Just make sure the coupon code is deliverable to their email address to prevent fake emails being used.

Keep in mind that you’re never done growing your email list. Average attrition for most lists is around 22% or more per year, so it’s not something you set and forget. Need help getting started? That’s what we’re here for. Drop us a message on this form and one of our cannabis marketing specialists will get back to you.


Ultimate Cannabis Long-Form Content Ideabook

For cannabis dispensaries, content is the name of the game. You need to have a lot of it, it needs to be consistent, and it needs to be good. Most dispensaries miss the boat by focusing on just a couple specific types of content, for example, Instagram and twitter posts. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a strong social game, but you need variation in your content offerings. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! You need diversity, and where most dispensaries fail is long-form content. For example, ebooks, white papers, guides, and checklists. That’s why we’ve put together our Ultimate Long-Form Cannabis Content Ideabook. Any of these ideas would be great as resource available on your site, and would provide a healthy SEO boost. Or, gate them to boost sign-ups to your email list. 

[ut_title_divider_2 align="center" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]The Cannaseur’s Cannabis Grading Book[/ut_title_divider_2]

You hear it all the time: focus on the experience. It’s not just about a customer getting high, it’s about what happens before, during, and after. You may have heard about cannabis users “journaling” about their sessions. That’s a tall order, and despite the hype, I see no evidence this will ever become a widely-adopted practice. Grading books are a different story. People like to collect things, millennials like to collect experiences, and the checklist/report card format takes much less effort than a journal. We’d recommend a separate page for each strain. There should be a place to record information like the strain name, date purchased, date consumed, and place purchased. Create rating categories other than just the “high.” For example, aroma, appearance, and taste. Use a 1-5 scale for each category, but be sure to leave a space for Notes. Canadian Licensed Producer 7 Acres created a beautiful grading book that’s only available in printed form. That’s a great giveaway or promotional item for dispensaries, but be sure to offer a downloadable/printable version as well. 

[ut_title_divider_2 align="center" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Senior Citizens Complete Guide to Cannabis[/ut_title_divider_2]

You’ll see much of what’s in this idea book are guides. That’s because the terminology works; it sounds long enough to be valuable, but less intimidating than an e-book. Think of creating guides that are tailor-made for the personas you have targeted as your ideal customers. One of the most desirable and growing demographics in the cannabis world are senior citizens, and (surprise), they are vastly under-served. Yes, typical digital marketing tactics may not be as likely to work on seniors, and you may need to add physical presence to some of your touches, but it will pay off. Seniors are exceptionally habit-driven, and if you can bring them in and make them comfortable, they will reward you with their loyalty. A Senior Citizen’s Complete Guide to Cannabis should include a basic look at all aspects of cannabis types, uses, methods of consumption… And, of course, where to get it. You really want it to work? Include a direct contact PHONE NUMBER to a Senior Specialist at your organization. If you really want to make a commitment to the senior citizen demographic, keep in mind your Senior Specialist shouldn’t be a 22 year old. It needs to be somebody that’s old enough to relate!

[ut_title_divider_2 align="center" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Ultimate Cannabis Extract Checklist[/ut_title_divider_2]

The world of extracts is vast and ever-growing. It seems like new extract products are popping up all the time, and older categories go in and out of favor.  Providing somebody with a way to navigate the complexity is valuable, especially if there is some sort of incentive. Imagine a checklist that has an explanation of each type of extract, a specific product suggestion for that category, and a place for a signature or stamp next to each listing. When they complete the checklist, they get a free piece of branded paraphernalia of some kind. Now they are not only incentivized to download the checklist (in exchange for their contact data), but they have a reason to print it out, physically bring it to your store, and purchase a whole range of products. Want to take it up a notch? Give them a 10% discount on any product on the checklist that’s purchased when they bring the list into the store with them.

[ut_title_divider_2 align="center" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Complete Beginners Guide to Cannabis Extracts[/ut_title_divider_2]

Newcomers to the cannabis world rarely go straight to extracts or concentrates. It’s like tattoos- you don’t go straight to the neck, face, or hand tat, you work your way up to it. But when cannabis users are considering making the jump from more traditional cannabis products (like dried flower, pre-rolls, etc) to extracts, it can be an intimidating experience. That’s no surprise, just one look at somebody firing up a dab rig with a blow torch can send folks running. That’s the purpose of the Complete Beginners Guide to Cannabis Extracts. It’s a way to break down some of the intimidating barriers with facts and information in an easy-to-read format. Smooth out your customer’s journey through your product line, and give them a comfortable transition into a high-margin category.  

[ut_title_divider_2 align="center" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Complete Beginners Guide to Cannabis Edibles[/ut_title_divider_2]

This is a similar concept to the above Extracts guide. People are curious, but there are a lot of stories out there about poor experiences for first-time cannabis edible users. This would be an opportunity to remove the stigma and fear, and educate potential consumers on safe and slow edible consumption. For many, edibles are a preferred consumption method. With a guide to edibles, build the messaging around the fact that it is a viable alternative to smoking. There’s no paraphernalia required, and edibles can be very discreet. Traditionally, smoking was what first-time cannabis users started with. But that isn’t necessarily the case for some newer cannabis demographics (like seniors citizens) who have an aversion to smoking, or were perhaps raised in the Reefer Madness era. To them, edibles seem completely different. A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Edibles could be an excellent introduction. 

[ut_title_divider_2 align="center" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Cannabis Cookbooks[/ut_title_divider_2]

There are many, many cannabis cookbooks available these days, and many recipes that are available online. However, there are very few free collections of cannabis recipes that are of substantial quality. Start with something seasonal, and sweet. 5-7 recipes are enough to call it a book, and everybody likes cookies, cakes, and treats. The Fall Cannabis Cookie Recipe Collection, for example. Or Winter Baking for the Cannabis Sweet Tooth. You can get recipes out of an already-published book and modify it to make them your own. Make sure to accompany each recipe with high quality photos and detailed instructions. This one may take more effort, but has the potential to be very valuable content. 

[ut_title_divider_2 align="center" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Tourist’s Guide to Cannabis[/ut_title_divider_2]

This guide should be localized, for example, the Colorado Tourist’s Guide to Cannabis. Cannabis tourism is thriving, and will continue to do so as long as the pool of adult-use legalized states remains small. Most tourists rely on yelp or google to find places to purchase and consume. Make it easy for them, drive traffic to your site, and send excited consumers to your business. While most of these lead magnets will work as both gated or un-gated content, this one might be better off un-gated for the potential SEO boost. You can still have a downloadable version offered in exchange for an email contact. 

A Tourist’s Guide needs to have several elements:

  • Where to purchase (your dispensary!)
  • Where to consume
  • Where to stay (cannabis-friendly hotels, for example)
  • Local laws, regulations, and restrictions
  • Cannabis-themed attractions (ex: cultivation facility tours)
  • Things to do in the area when you’re under the influence

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but meant to help you generate new ideas or variations of your own. Long-form content creation is challenging and time-consuming. Luckily, you don’t need to do it yourself. At Hybrid we are PROS at writing valuable, long-form cannabis content. Fill out our specialized Contact Form and one of our cannabis content specialists will get in touch. 

Would you like to download a PDF version? 


Cannabis Businesses and Inbound Marketing: The PERFECT Fit

Marketing in the cannabis industry faces challenges far beyond any other regulated industry. Liquor? They got it easy. Pharma? We see painfully cheesy medication ads on TV every day! But cannabis – if you’re a successful marketer in the cannabis space, you’re a real cowboy. You think outside the box because you have to! So many traditional tactics are off the table for cannabis marketers, that it’s tough to build a coherent and complete strategy. Not to worry, because we’ve cracked the code. INBOUND MARKETING. It’s the perfect fit! The philosophy behind inbound marketing is to use tactics that bring visitors in (to your website, for example), rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects or the attention of potential customers. For example, a basic inbound tactic is maintaining a blog that’s constantly updated, and contains valuable and useful information. This acts as a magnet to draw people to your website, where they not only read the blog, but learn more about your products or services, and ultimately (with the right call to action) convert into a viable lead. 

So, why might this be a good strategy for cannabis businesses? It’s because they face three massive handicaps. 

[ut_animated_image size="full" image="4100" effect="fadeIn"]
[ut_parallax_quote quotation_marks="no" cite_custom_border="yes" quote_font_size="20" quote_letter_spacing="-0.04" quote_text_transform="uppercase" quote_ins_font_weight="bold" revealfx="on" quote_ins_color="#12867c"]ADVERTISING RESTRICTIONS[/ut_parallax_quote]

Much of the ad inventory on the internet held by the various platforms is off-limits to cannabis advertisements. While there is still plenty that’s not, you’re starting with large portions of your potential customers being walled-off from seeing any display ad campaigns you might want to run, just based on the sites they typically visit. One of the most powerful digital advertising tools available, Google Ads, also restricts use from cannabis businesses. (Yes, plenty of them sneak ads through, but technically, it’s against Google Ads terms of service. While you might be able to launch ads, they could be pulled down at any time.) Social media advertising is almost a no-go for cannabis businesses. Facebook ads are very difficult to slip through, and if you do manage to get one past their automated filters, it will likely be taken down in short order.

We’re not advocating that you stay away from digital advertising entirely, but that you do it with the understanding that you are operating at a disadvantage compared to businesses in other industries, and won’t even come close to reaching your complete target audience. (If you’re targeting super-desirable cannabis demos like seniors or women over 35, you’ll have an even tougher time!) You simply don’t have the same opportunities or access to ad space.

[ut_animated_image size="full" image="4103" effect="fadeIn"]
[ut_parallax_quote quotation_marks="no" cite_custom_border="yes" quote_font_size="20" quote_letter_spacing="-0.04" quote_text_transform="uppercase" quote_ins_font_weight="bold" revealfx="on" quote_ins_color="#12867c"]Social media ownership[/ut_parallax_quote]

Imagine you own a chain of dispensaries. You invest time, money, and effort to build a social media following, zeroing in on Instagram as a primary driver of traffic to your business. Now imagine that all of the sudden Instagram changes their terms of service, and you are now in violation. They take down your Instagram profile, no warning, no questions asked, no recourse. What would you do, and how would it impact your business? Never forget this fact:

YOU DO NOT OWN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES. 

he platform where your profile is hosted owns your profile. They can do whatever they want, at any time, and you will suffer the consequences. Again, we are not advocating you don’t use social media, but do so with the understanding that it should be simply one traffic source out of many (if you’re doing things right) and not even an especially important one if you’ve adopted an Inbound strategy.

[ut_animated_image size="full" image="4105" effect="fadeIn"]
[ut_parallax_quote quotation_marks="no" cite_custom_border="yes" quote_font_size="20" quote_letter_spacing="-0.04" quote_text_transform="uppercase" quote_ins_font_weight="bold" revealfx="on" quote_ins_color="#12867c"]Government regulations [/ut_parallax_quote]

Even if there were no platform-side issues with social media or advertising, you’ve got the government regulations to deal with. If you have a plant-touching business, that adds a whole different layer of difficulty. Regulations from state-to-state (and US to Canada) are literally all over the map, and even the regulators themselves don’t always know how to interpret them. In some places, like Montana, you simply can’t advertise or market your products at all. Then other states, like Pennsylvania, have little to no marketing restrictions. There’s even a few that throw in seemingly random rules, like Colorado, where “unsolicited pop-ups” are banned. If you’d like more detail on each state’s rules, take a look at IAB’s helpful map.

Most of the above issues have to do with going out to pull traffic and generate interest. And that’s why inbound is the perfect strategy for cannabis businesses; inbound is about creating value that organically brings people <in.

We believe this is the winning strategy for cannabis businesses. We believe in it so much, in fact, that it’s at the core of much of the work we do for our partners. Can it work for you? Absolutely. If you’d like to give it a try on your own, a great place to start is our Inbound Cannabis Content Ideabook. Or, if you’d rather hand it off to the pros, get in touch with one of Hybrid’s Cannabis Marketing Experts today.


The Ultimate Sales Hunter Trick to target Canadian Cannabis Licensed Producers

If you have an ancillary cannabis business selling products or services to Canadian cannabis Licensed Producers, you’ve probably already recognized that the most difficult part of closing a sale is simply getting in contact with the decision makers. Cannabis cultivators in Canada (LPs) range in size, but many of them are large organizations, and growing constantly through mergers and acquisitions, (Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth, Aphria, and Tilray, for example). You might need to fight through an army of gate-keepers before you even get a chance to communicate with the person that needs to hear your message. Thankfully, I’ve figured out a trick that works to get your email in the inbox of the exact person you need to talk to. I used this technique as a starting touch-point that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales over a 1-year period. 

STEP 1

[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Identify the decision maker + decision influencers. [/ut_title_divider_2]

For this step, LinkedIn will be your best friend. You’ll dig in to your target company and search out the head of whatever department is relevant. For example, if it’s operations, you’re looking for the Chief Operations Officer, for compliance you’ll search out the Chief Compliance Officer. Then you’ll go down the chain, identifying everyone in his/her retinue. Stopping at the Manager level is usually good enough. You can go further down but will likely face diminishing success the further away from the top you go. 

STEP 2

[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Find the press releases + determine email format.[/ut_title_divider_2]

Regardless of their whether their motivations are to boost share prices, encourage investment, or make themselves feel more important, just about all Canadian LPs are issuing press releases on a regular basis. The larger LPs publish releases on Cision, in addition to their own website. Track down your target’s most recent press release. What you’re looking for is a contact email at the actual LP (not a PR company). Most businesses use a company-wide format for their email addresses, (although there are exceptions, which we’ll address further along). That’s the golden nugget here: you want their email format. Here’s a few common ones, with my own name as an example. 

j.mcfarlane@canadianLP.com – First initial . Last name
jmcfarlane@canadianLP.com – First initial + Last name
johnathan@canadianLP.com – First name only
mcfarlane.j@canadianLP.com – Last name . First initial
Johnathan.mcfarlane@canadianLP.com – First name . Last name
Johnathan.m@CanadianLP.com – First name . Last initial

Once you have the format, you can determine the likely email for each of your targets, from the top to the bottom. (You might be wondering why not just use a tool like Hunter.io. I tried that, and unfortunately it didn’t work for a single one of my target LPs, hence this strategy.)

STEP 3

[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Craft the perfect email. [/ut_title_divider_2]

Forget sending a marketing or sales-y email. What you need to do here is be noticed, so it needs to be a genuine, personal email that addresses specifics about your target’s company. Mentioning recent company news is always a good idea. Writing the perfect cold email is worthy of a blog post on its own, so I’ll leave that for another day. Regardless, you need to write a killer subject line, as this whole tactic only works if they open the email! Keep in mind you’ll need to craft different emails based on the target’s persona. You aren’t going to speak to a 50-year old CEO the same way you’ll speak to a 25-year old mid-level manager. 

STEP 4

[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Send tracked emails to determine viability of email addresses.[/ut_title_divider_2]

Using your preferred email client, send your emails with Hubspot email tracking turned on (at this point DO NOT log the email into the CRM, as that would automatically create the contact in Hubspot). There are other stand-alone email tracking tools, but we’re a Hubspot Gold partner and always recommend Hubspot to our clients. The best-case scenario here is that your target(s) actually replies to your email. A close second-best is that they simply open the email. That’s a valuable action too, as it tells you that you have a valid email address. If a few days go by without a reply or open, occasionally I’ll take a shot-in-the-dark with another email format. Sometimes upper-level executives will use the first-name only format, while lower-level employees use the standard company format, so that’s a good second attempt. 

STEP 5

[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Move lead to Hubspot, initiate sales or marketing process. [/ut_title_divider_2]

Whether it’s with an email reply or only an open, once I’ve confirmed a valid email address, I then create that contact in Hubspot. If I received a reply to the email, then I’ll continue to engage with them 1-1 to move them through my typical sales process. If I get a simple open without a reply, I would then continue to market to them as I would to anyone with their persona. 

If your company sells products, equipment, or services to Canadian licensed cannabis producers, then you only have 130 potential customers at the time of this writing. Don’t let yourself be blocked by gatekeepers or administrators. I used this technique to initiate relationships with many executives, directors, and managers. It worked extremely well and was a big part of my successful sales and marketing strategy in the Canadian cannabis industry. Not once did anyone ever ask how I got their email address! 

If you decide to try this yourself, we’d love to hear how it works. And, if you need help crafting your own sales and marketing strategy, we’re here to help. A great place to start is our Complete Guide to Cannabis Marketing. 


REVOLUTIONIZE Your Cannabis Tradeshow Strategy with One Cheap and Easy Trick

Our clients run the spectrum from dispensaries to cultivators to equipment manufacturers.

 While trade shows aren’t a good strategy for all of them, they remain a valuable source of business for some of our business to business clients. Because trade shows can be expensive, here at Hybrid we’re always looking for ways to optimize and squeeze as much value as possible out of each event. 

That’s how we came up with the TRAVELER TRICK.  

[ut_parallax_quote quotation_marks="no" quote_font_size="35" quote_text_transform="capitalize" cite_font_size="18" cite_text_transform="uppercase" revealfx="on"]Now what if I told you that for about $20 per lead, you could accomplish three things:[/ut_parallax_quote]
[ut_fancy_list list_style_type="icons" values="%5B%7B%22icon%22%3A%22fa%20fa-share%22%2C%22title%22%3A%22Personally%20connect%20with%20the%20lead%2C%20face%20to%20face%2C%20in%20a%20memorable%20way.%22%7D%2C%7B%22icon%22%3A%22fa%20fa-share%22%2C%22title%22%3A%22Have%20the%20lead%20associate%20you%20with%20good%20will%20and%20positive%20emotions.%20%22%7D%2C%7B%22icon%22%3A%22fa%20fa-share%22%2C%22title%22%3A%22Plant%20your%20logo%20physically%20inside%20the%20lead's%20booth%2C%20where%20it%20will%20stay%20in%20plain%20sight%20for%20all%20to%20see%2C%20likely%20for%20hours.%22%7D%5D" icon_color="#12867c" css=".vc_custom_1561223373187{padding-left: 20px !important;}"]

You’d pay that money at every trade show, for every top lead. 

The traveler trick is very simple: coffee “travelers” from Starbucks, physically delivered by you, to your lead’s booth. (A traveler is a 64oz box of coffee, complete with cups, milk, cream, sugar, all in a handy carrying container.) It’s the logistics and planning that make it or break it. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. 1 coffee traveler for each lead’s booth (we’ve done up to 15 in a day, so you’ll need to prioritize your leads based on value beforehand.)
  2. A collapsible, fabric wagon. You can get them from Costco or Amazon
  3. Gift tags with your logo on them (and enough space to hand-write a note.) About the size of a business card is perfect, so just order business cards from VistaPrint or somewhere quick that are blank on one side, your logo on the other. Best to go with a matte finish rather than gloss, it’s a touch easier to write on. 
  4. Colored twine that reflects your brand colors. Yep it’s a detail, but details matter. Get hemp twine to make it a talking point. Etsy has it in every color. 

Now that you know what you need, it’s organization that makes it work. Here’s what you’ll do, and a rough timeline. 

[ut_service_column icon_type="lineaicons" size="medium" headline="2 WEEKS OUT" icon_linea="icon-arrows-slim-right" effect="none"]Order your gift tags with enough time to make sure they get to you with plenty of wiggle room.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column icon_type="lineaicons" size="medium" draw_svg_duration="120" delay="true" headline="1.5 WEEKS OUT" icon_linea="icon-arrows-slim-right" effect="fadeIn" delay_timer="200"]When you’re researching who’s going to be there and who you’d like to target, come up with your list of 10-15 ideal customers. These are going to be your traveler targets. Print out the trade show map, and have it noted where each lead’s booth is located.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column icon_type="lineaicons" size="medium" draw_svg_duration="120" delay="true" headline="1 WEEK OUT" icon_linea="icon-arrows-slim-right" effect="fadeIn" delay_timer="200"]Make sure all your gift tags are hand-written to each lead, and that your booth number is on them. Try something like this:

To the team at XYZ company,

Enjoy some coffee on us! Have a great show-

Your friends at YOUR COMPANY
Booth #1234
[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column icon_type="lineaicons" size="medium" draw_svg_duration="120" delay="true" headline="2 DAYS OUT" icon_linea="icon-arrows-slim-right" effect="fadeIn" delay_timer="200"]Get in touch with the Starbucks closest to the convention center. Let them know you exactly what you need and when you need it, as it will take considerable prep on their part for an order that size. [/ut_service_column]

SHOW DAY

This needs to be done on opening day, and before the doors open. That’s your best opportunity to shake hands with a few people, get the coffee in their hands when they need it, and establish your presence and availability for the rest of the event. Give yourself at least 2 hours before show start, probably more depending on where the Starbucks is, how spread out the expo hall is, etc. 

If Starbucks has done their job, the travelers will be ready and waiting for your pickup. That’s where the wagon comes in- you can typically carry 6-8 travelers in the wagon, so can get everything to your car in 2 trips, and from your car to the expo hall in 2 trips. Or, if the Starbucks is close enough, it’s helpful to skip the car altogether. 

Get all the travelers to your booth and get the gift cards tied on. Now it’s time for your big moment.

SHOW TIME

You need to delivery the travelers by hand, personally, to each booth. Don’t roll the wagon around the expo hall, it will lessen the impact if your lead see’s that you’re passing travelers out to a bunch of people rather than just them. Always try to have a specific person to ask for, but otherwise, just find whoever looks like they are in charge, introduce yourself and who you work for, shake their hand, and let them know that you thought they might like a bit of coffee to help kick off the start of the show. 

You’ll be amazed at how well this works. We’ve done it many times, and people love it. It kick-starts relationships, opens doors, and sets the stage for the type of treatment your leads can expect from you when they become customers. 

Why does it work? It’s simple. People love coffee, people love free, and people love to feel like they are personally important to you. 

Give it a try yourself and let us know how it turns out!