As a cannabis retailer, marketing your business effectively presents a unique challenge. Not only do you have to work within the confines of state marketing regulations, you’re also handicapped when it comes to many digital advertising channels.
Until the federal government changes its stance, digital ad giants like Google and Facebook will likely continue to deny paid advertising to cannabusinesses. However, you can still leverage search engine power to reach potential customers with content marketing.
What Is Content Marketing?
Put simply, content marketing is a method of engaging prospective customers by educating and entertaining them through—you guessed it—content.
Content can take many forms (think blog posts, videos, infographics, case studies, etc.), but it has a singular goal: to attract and build trust with prospects.
It’s also important to understand that content marketing is not a selling tactic. In fact, using salesy language in your content can actually have the opposite effect, repelling potential customers away from your brand and into the open arms of a competitor.
Content Marketing Fits All Budgets
One of the great things about content marketing is that you don’t need a giant budget to get started. In fact, if your dispensary already has a website, you can begin creating and publishing content today.
But, before you do, a brief word on website design…
Not All Websites Are Created Equal
Think about this: 80% of customers conduct online research before making a purchase decision. This means your website is very likely to be the first interaction a potential customer has with your business. What kind of impression is your site leaving these leads?
As a dispensary owner, you need to think of your website as an extension of your physical store—a digital brick and mortar, if you will.
How much concern, consideration, time and effort went into the design and layout of your facility? I’m guessing a lot.
But if your website is bare-bones, lacking any sense of design or user experience and generally unhelpful to an online user, the likelihood that they will visit you in person is significantly lower—especially if a competing retailer’s website outperformed yours in the customer’s view.
Your Website Is a Powerful Publishing Platform
Now that we’ve established the importance of a clean, functional website, let’s talk about your site’s content.
You should think of your website as your content marketing HQ. Before you begin a blog or launch an email campaign, work on building out your site with high-quality, informative content that is focused on your potential customers.
Put yourself in their shoes. What kind of information are they looking for? What questions are you and your employees most frequently asked, both by repeat and first-time customers?
Do you find yourself educating cannabis newcomers and tourists on the basics of various consumption methods? Are you conversing with your regulars on the nuances of your newest strain?
These types of questions and topics make for killer content that can convert online users into paying customers.
To Blog or Not to Blog?
When it comes to publishing timely, relevant and informative content, blogs are a great option. However, I’m sometimes hesitant to recommend blogging unless A) you’re (or someone on your staff is) extremely dedicated to it, or B) you’re going to pay someone to write it for you.
Don’t get me wrong—a blog can be a powerful tool in your content marketing chest. But too often I come across blogs that haven’t been updated in six months…one year…or longer. And while it may have zero correlation with the quality of your business or product, let’s face it—an abandoned blog is just not a good look.
So, unless you know you can dedicate the time to produce a minimum of one blog post per month, you may want to consider outsourcing it.
Here’s the good news: you don’t need a blog to publish great content to your website. In fact, much of the content that gets published via blogs could serve just as well as evergreen webpages on your site. And, as long as you structure your site logically, Google will index its content and return it to users if it is relevant to their query.
Content marketing is all about establishing trust and rapport with your potential customers. And in our digital age, the best way to launch a content marketing campaign is with an asset that you probably already have: your dispensary’s website.