Colorado is the oldest and most-developed legal cannabis market in the US. Several years after legalization, competition for marketshare amongst dispensaries heated up, as the post-legalization novelty wore off and normalization set in. Lightshade owners knew they needed to evolve to stay competitive and ensure the continued growth of their business. To stay above the fray, they wanted to focus on premium products, cannabis education, and an exceptional customer experience (both physical and digital). They wanted to craft a new strategy that would help them reach underserved but loyalty-driven demographics: Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and older millennials, and align themselves with Colorado’s outdoor and health and wellness communities.
Marketing for cannabis dispensaries is difficult and faces more restrictions and challenges than any other business category in the cannabis industry. Dispensaries are not only faced with limited access to traditional digital tactics like social media advertising or Google Adwords, but additional restrictions by the Marijuana Enforcement Division that go much further. The stakes are high: improperly placed promotions or blog posts risk punitive actions that could severely damage their business. We needed to set Lightshade apart, but tread carefully.
Design + Content + SEO + Traditional + Digital
We began working with Lightshade shortly after they launched a new website with refreshed branding, but they were in need of a solid marketing and execution partner. Visually, they had a good foundation, but they were lacking in terms of quality content. They needed a lot of it, it needed to be consistent, it needed to be professional, and it needed to speak to not only their new target demographics, but also the existing. They also needed a marketing plan that viewed the tactics through a sales lens, rather than focusing on vanity metrics.
Hybrid came in with a fresh approach that included a comprehensive suite of services that covered all of Lightshade’s needs. Social media, video, blog posts, and educational content was all included in the mix, and guided by SEO opportunities. We took over all brand extension and design, including store signage, collateral, apparel and merchandise.
We also took the reins on the website design, development and optimization with a focus on increasing visibility and traffic, as well as a complete overhaul on content. This required an extensive local and organic SEO plan. Email marketing had been almost non-existent, so in January of 2019 we set up a weekly send cadence that included promotions, links to blog posts, and other relevant content. Social media management was next on the list. Consistent scheduling of posting on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook was put in place with a goal of audience growth and retention.
Lastly, we brought a strategic approach to advertising for Lightshade. For years, print advertising was their primary method of communicating to consumers, but it wasn’t being measured. Hybrid reimagined the advertising strategy to make sure the messaging was in line with the audiences, the placements made sense, and that the placements were being measured to monitor effectiveness. If something wasn’t performing to expectations then we’d shut it down immediately!
Like all of our partner relationships, we are in a continuous process of improvement. With Lightshade, we are routinely bringing new tools, tactics, and ideas to the table, and constantly analyzing what’s working and what isn’t.
There is a reason Lightshade is our oldest client. The impact from our work is dramatic and continue to provide exceptional results, catapulting Lightshade into a firm position as one of the top cannabis dispensary businesses in Colorado. They now far exceed any of their competitors in digital visibility, and are continuing to grow and thrive while many competitors stall.
Strategy, Branding, Web & Graphic Design, Print Advertising, Content Creation, Social Media Management, Blogging, Email Marketing, SEO, Programmatic Advertising, Apparel & Merchandise, Art Direction for Photography & Video, Interior Design Consulting, Environmental Design