Cannabis Marketing: Everything You Need to Know in 2024

Cannabis Marketing in 2024

The legal cannabis market is booming, with global sales projected to reach $55 billion by 2027. While the slew of U.S. states adopting medical and recreational legalization in recent years has opened the cannabis industry to reach these exciting heights, navigating the cannabis marketing landscape can still be challenging for growers, brands, and dispensaries.

A sometimes-confusing patchwork of federal and state regulations determine how and where cannabis can be marketed. As a result, cannabis brands can forget billboards and TV commercials many traditional media advertising avenues are off-limits. Many social media platforms also have strict policies, paid advertising options are in short supply, and visuals depicting product use are often a no-go.

But fear not! While cannabis marketing currently requires pivoting away from conventional tactics, as well as fighting lingering stigmas surrounding cannabis, these challenges can actually open the space for new and creative marketing solutions.

In this article, we’ll discuss cannabis marketing tactics that can leverage organic reach, build thriving online communities, and harness the power of content to attract, engage, and convert your target audience.

a cannabis leaf displayed on browsers and social media pages

1. SEO & Content Marketing

While traditional advertising avenues remain largely closed for cannabis, a powerful option remains in SEO, or search engine optimization.

SEO offers a cost-effective, long-term marketing solution. Instead of paying per click or impression, with an effective SEO plan, your cannabis brand can steadily climb the search engine ranks with relevant keywords, attracting a steady stream of traffic over time.

While SEO is a key strategy for all types of digital marketing, it’s especially compelling in the cannabis space, where there’s still an abundance of high-volume, low-competition keywords. Unlike in saturated markets where landing top keyword searches can be an exhausting uphill climb, in the cannabis landscape, there are currently countless opportunities to capture audiences actively searching for expert information, tips, and products.

SEO empowers you to become a trusted resource in the cannabis community. As you rank for relevant keywords, you position yourself as an authority on topics like types of strains, medical applications, or safe consumption methods. This type of content creates brand awareness and trust in web visitors, and can ultimately translate into loyal customers and advocates.

2. Digital PR

Digital PR lets you connect directly with your audience through strategic online outreach. Engage with journalists, influencers, and industry leaders in the digital space. Consider participating in online discussions, hosting webinars, or partnering on compelling content initiatives.

Crucially, digital PR boosts your SEO game as well. Secure placements in relevant online publications, earn backlinks from high-authority sites, and watch your search rankings climb. This organic visibility brings targeted traffic – ideal for a product category often shrouded in misinformation.

3. Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs acknowledge and appreciate your valuable customers. Points for every purchase, exclusive discounts, early access to new products these tangible rewards show your gratitude and incentivize continued engagement. Remember, small gestures can cultivate great loyalty.

But they aren’t just about the rewards for customers; they’re also valuable data mines. Track purchase patterns, preferred strains, and engagement levels to understand your customers better. This data-driven approach allows you to personalize offers, recommend relevant products, and tailor your program to cater to individual needs and preferences.

4. Social Media

Social media platforms offer a space for open conversations about cannabis, chipping away at outdated stigmas. Users on social platforms like TikTok share experiences and strain reviews, ask questions, and make connections with others, normalizing cannabis use and dispelling unhelpful myths.

Forget flashy ads; passionate users are cannabis brands’ greatest champions. Social media lets you engage directly with these advocates, fostering loyalty and dialogue. Most importantly, user-generated content can become marketing gold, showcasing your products with authenticity and trust.

Finally, the fast-paced world of social media perfectly mirrors the dynamic cannabis industry. Share glimpses of your latest collaborations, showcase product innovations, and participate in industry trends. Savvy social media use keeps your brand at the forefront of the conversation, attracting both consumers and investors.

5. Email Marketing

Compared to other marketing channels, email offers unparalleled bang for your buck. Build your email list organically or through targeted campaigns, and reap the rewards for years to come.

Email lets you maintain ongoing relationships with your customer base, as well as segment your audience and deliver personalized messages. Send targeted offers to first-time buyers, educational content to medical users, or exclusive updates to loyal fans.

Measuring ROI with email is also less challenging than other channels. Email marketing analytics, available with all CRMs, allow you to track what resonates with your audience and what falls flat. Track open rates, click-throughs, and conversions to see what type of content, offers, and timing work best for your audience. This data-driven approach helps you refine your strategy and maximize your return on investment.

6. Influencer Marketing

A new breed of influencers is blooming: the cannabis connoisseur. Cannabis influencers are powerful brand partners because they build loyal followings around specific niches within the industry. Whether it’s medical cannabis education, recreational strain reviews, or crafting tips, you can partner with influencers who perfectly align with your brand message and target audience.

Consumers crave genuine experiences, not staged marketing ploys. Collaborating with influencers allows you to tap into their natural storytelling abilities. Reviews, tutorials, and testimonials shared by trusted figures feel authentic and engaging, driving organic reach and engagement far beyond traditional ads.

7. Outstanding Customer Service

In a market often saturated with similar products, customer service becomes a differentiator. By prioritizing exceptional service, you can create a memorable experience that sets your brand apart.

Furthermore, navigating the world of cannabis, especially for first-timers, can be daunting. By offering knowledgeable, friendly, and personal service, whether in-person or online (with live chat or a chatbot), you can guide customers through their choices, address concerns, and foster a sense of trust and confidence. This creates loyal advocates who not only return but enthusiastically recommend your brand to others.

8. Community Outreach

The cannabis industry has long faced stigmas and misconceptions. Community outreach provides a powerful platform to begin changing misconceptions. Sponsor local events, partner with educational institutions, and organize workshops or seminars that share informative and empowering information about cannabis. By engaging in open dialogue and dispelling myths, you build trust with your community, paving the way for acceptance and growth.

Also, community outreach isn’t about going it alone. Collaborate with local businesses, artists, or entrepreneurs to host events, launch joint initiatives, or cross-promote each other’s services. This not only benefits the community as a whole but also expands your reach, attracts new customers, and cultivates valuable partnerships that fuel your brand’s growth.

9. Lifestyle Branding

Lifestyle branding is perfect for cannabis because it taps into human experiences and allows you to show the impact of your product (without literally showing it). Share user-generated content that showcases your brand woven into everyday life, building an emotional bond that goes beyond the immediate effects.

Lifestyle branding isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula. It’s about discovering your niche. Imagine curated playlists for your strains, pairing indica with mellow jazz or sativa with invigorating electronica. Recipes, travel guides, fashion collections, hobbies think beyond consumption and embrace the activities that complement your brand’s ethos.

10. Health & Safety Branding

Building trust in your brand requires transparency, education, and a relentless commitment to health and safety. Focusing your content marketing strategy on health & safety can allow your brand to serve as a reliable source of informed choices and responsible practices.

Health & safety brand positioning thrives on research and evidence. Partner with medical professionals, publish educational content, and promote responsible consumption practices based on scientific facts. Empower your audience with clear dosage guides, detailed terpene profiles, and consumption tips tailored to different needs and experiences.

Quality is a key component of this branding strategy. Showcase your commitment to high-quality ingredients, rigorous testing, and responsible sourcing. Be transparent about your cultivation and production processes, ensuring every step meets the highest standards. This builds trust with health-conscious consumers who value integrity and responsible practices.

11. Industry Awards

Awards recognize groundbreaking products, innovative practices, and trailblazing brands who push boundaries. Winning cannabis industry awards instantly boosts your brand’s reputation, attracting both consumers and investors.

If it makes sense for your brand, you could even consider hosting awards. Such programs offer a platform to connect with fellow entrepreneurs, showcase diverse innovations, and foster a spirit of collaboration that benefits the entire industry. By recognizing exemplary achievements, awards set the benchmark for excellence and ultimately benefit the entire cannabis community.

12. Sustainability

Let’s face it: Cannabis cultivation, like other agricultural industries, has to grapple with sustainability. From organic farming methods to water conservation techniques and renewable energy sources, embracing sustainable practices throughout your operations allows you to appeal to eco-conscious consumers while also protecting our planet’s resources.

Whether it’s reducing waste, minimizing packaging, and/or using organic farming practices, be transparent about whatever sustainability efforts your brand makes. Offer detailed information about your sourcing, production processes, and environmental impact. Traceability tools, certified partners, and independent audits build trust and demonstrate your commitment to ethical practices.

Ready to take your cannabis marketing to the next level?

Big Sea’s deep expertise in content and SEO strategy has already made a splash in cannabis marketing. Don’t let your cannabis brand or dispensary get left behind in this quickly evolving space. Partner with us today to find your niche, level up your search rankings, grow your audience, and unlock your brand’s full potential.

Cannabis Marketing FAQs

Who is the target audience for cannabis marketing?

Medical patients still represent a large number of overall cannabis users, and 18-25 year olds are the largest demographic of consumers. Those 55 and older, however, are one of the faster growing demographics. Understanding your specific niche, whether it’s seniors seeking pain relief or millennials enjoying microdosing, is crucial for crafting targeted messaging and attracting the right customers.

What is the average budget for cannabis marketing?

Generally, brands allocate 3-9% of annual sales to marketing efforts. However, this can vary based on your brand’s stage, target audience, and chosen marketing channels. Remember, effective strategies and targeted campaigns can make even smaller budgets bloom!

What is a cannabis brand strategy?

A brand strategy is the DNA of your cannabis business. It’s defining your unique selling proposition, your values, and your voice. It’s understanding your target audience and their needs. By crafting a key message that underlies your brand, you’ll be consistently recognizable to consumers, from packaging to social media and more.

Is the cannabis industry still booming?

The cannabis industry is indeed booming, with projected growth of $55 billion in global sales in legal cannabis over the next four years. Despite these huge numbers for the industry as a whole, legal cannabis is not a gold rush. Competition in the space is fierce, regulations are evolving, and consumer expectations are high. To thrive, brands need to be nimble, adaptable, and focused on building genuine relationships with their customers.

How can my dispensary stand out?

In a crowded dispensary landscape, standing out from the pack requires creativity and community. Curate unique product selections, host educational workshops, offer personalized consultations, and build a welcoming atmosphere. Use smart SEO content marketing and social media to put your dispensary on the map. Remember, it’s about fostering connections, not just selling products.