Cannabis Marketing & SEO in 2022

Organic Traffic is Your Best Friend

Paid search is usually an obvious channel for eCommerce companies to invest in.

Unfortunately, it’s not the best option if you intend on targeting a lot of popular cannabis-related products.

Google categorizes cannabis as a “dangerous product” under the subcategory “Recreational drugs”, which it defines as:

“Ads for substances that alter mental state for the purpose of recreation or otherwise induce ‘highs’”

It specifically mentions “marijuana” as one of these drugs and even those that provide “legal highs”. Cannabis-derived CBD is out; hemp-derived CBD is OK, as long as you don’t mention it.

Therefore, if you’re trying to sell products for the “recreational use” of cannabis, you’re out of luck with Google Ads.

Google-owned YouTube is no different. Over time, it has relaxed its stance on weed-related content. If your videos push the boundaries regarding illegal activities, expect YouTube to take action.

And even if you play it straight with your videos, you can’t link to your website in the description if you sell products. Growers, cultivators, and distributors of cannabis products. Obviously, ads for these products are a no-go, too.

Facebook isn’t a fan of marijuana, either. You definitely can’t run ads for your cannabis products on this platform. You can further try to start pages around marijuana but expect Facebook to take those down pretty quickly. Unless you make a “lifestyle” page about more general topics and only post about marijuana occasionally. You’ll eventually attract the wrong kind of attention from Facebook.

That may not always be the case, but this kind of volatility makes the social media giant a poor choice for cannabis companies looking for reliable marketing ROIs.

Use “Cannabis SEO” to Attract Traffic to Your Site

So, the name of the game is “cannabis SEO”. A term that has grown in popularity as more and more companies realize they’ll need to focus mainly on organic traffic to find new customers online.

But before you go pursuing SEO for your cannabis products, be sure to check with your hosting provider to make sure they don’t have any rules against talking about the drug on sites they support. It’s becoming less and less common these days. Even though you should double-check before putting “cannabis” and “marijuana” everywhere on your eCommerce website. Otherwise, you could find out the hard way that your provider will pull hosting for selling these products.

Otherwise, the trick of cannabis SEO is that it’s pretty much the same as the traditional version

As such, you’ll need to do your keyword research and then create relevant service/product pages and blog posts around them.

Fortunately, the cannabis industry has come such a long way that there are plenty of websites out there already generating plenty of traffic. Use competitor analysis to see what’s working for their SEO campaigns and you can reap the same results. Further avoiding going through the same amount of trial-and-error.

While content marketing may be necessary to hit all of your cannabis SEO goals. Prior to creating your category pages, make sure you have SEO-friendly product descriptions. Depending on how competitive your piece of the industry is, this may be enough to start seeing results relatively quickly. You can always go back and create blog posts later.

But Don’t Completely Give Up on Paid Ads

Now, as long as you’re not selling products that customers could use to ingest cannabis, you may be able to use Google Ads to advertise your products.

You still can’t use terms like “cannabis” and “weed” in the text for your ads or on their corresponding landing pages, but Google will let you target these kinds of queries.

Ads show up. They just don’t mention any unapproved terms.
Most buyers in this industry are savvy enough to know what kinds of products they need even if their pages don’t have “MARIJUANA” flashing in big green lights.

Interestingly enough, it looks like a lot of relevant terms carry fairly low average CPCs, too. Given how much ambiguity there is around using PPC ads for cannabis, I guess this shouldn’t be too surprising, though.

Market Yourself on The Right Platform

You can build your company’s reputation within the legalized marijuana market by submitting blog posts to relevant industry websites.

As with other elements of SEO, this approach is nothing new. Guest posting has been an important strategy for years.

The big advantage you have as a manufacturer of cannabis products is that this industry is still relatively new, meaning there may be a huge demand for your expertise without the corresponding supply.

For example, if your company sells packaging supplies, you probably know a thing or two that growers who are new to the business would be excited to learn about.

You could blog about this topic on your own site, but when you’re just starting out, you may see a lot more value by offering this guest post to an industry site that gets significantly more traffic. Not only will you earn a helpful backlink. You’ll also put your company in front of all of those prospects who regularly visit – and trust – that site for information about their industry.

Networking

Still, if your company is new to the industry, it could be extremely helpful for your marketing goals to attend trade shows and other events. Aside from meeting with potential customers face-to-face, you can also learn about their unique needs.

This approach can prove especially helpful for B2B cannabis companies as some of your prospects’ demands may not be wholly apparent just by running reports with SEO software.

Again, if your company sells packaging examples, perhaps growers have specific needs that they struggle to find online. By speaking to these requirements on your site, you’ll have an easier time keeping the traffic you attract, which means lowering your bounce rate (great for SEO) and earning more conversions.

Affiliate Marketing

Depending on the types of cannabis products you sell, affiliate marketing may be an option, too. In short, this strategy is when you outsource your marketing to companies and individuals who earn commissions when they bring you sales. There’s no upfront cost to your business.

Just like with influencer marketing, many companies have used cannabis-specific affiliate programs to launch their products and skyrocket sales in a very short period of time.

Starting your own affiliate marketing program is easy enough. In order to attract effective marketers, you’ll need to spread the word unless your SEO is already paying off. Growing your network by attending industry events could also help you find these potential partners.

WJ Media Group 

Here at WJ Media Group, we provide the services cannabis companies need to successfully market their company. We have a broad education in cannabis marketing and work with multiple different companies currently. Further, contact us here or at (732) 670-6402.

How to Make Your Dispensary Stand Out

As the cannabis industry grows and more and more dispensaries pop up, it is becoming harder to make your dispensary stand out. To ensure that your business is able to attract and retain as many customers as possible. It is vital to offer a customer experience and products that are memorable and unique. Try these easy tips to make your dispensary stand out.

Create A Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are a tried and tested method of bringing customers back to a business more frequently, and convincing more people to make that store their go-to shop. Dispensaries are no exception to this. Different types of loyalty programs can offer different benefits to you and your customers. For example:

  • A customer referral system rewards shoppers when they introduce your dispensary to their friends, helping you reach a wider audience. This is particularly useful to increase awareness of your business when opening a new location.
  • A points system gives customers progress towards a reward every time they make a purchase. This encourages them to buy more when they visit your dispensary. In addition to shopping exclusively at your dispensary, so they don’t miss out on earning more points.
  • A VIP membership scheme lets customers pay a recurring fee to experience a premium service. VIP membership benefits could include a permanent discount on purchases, or a delivery of curated products to enjoy each month.

Create Educational Content

Many customers, particularly beginners who are unfamiliar with the wide range of legal cannabis products available in your dispensary. They may need more information before they feel comfortable buying. Creating content to help them is a sure way to make your business feel more approachable.

Address common concerns about the legal issues surrounding cannabis. Further share information about how to use products. As well as helping customers understand the differences between products and how to find the right products for them.

The cannabis market can be a confusing place to newcomers. Education is vital in giving them the confidence to buy. Furthermore, a lack of information increases the chance that a customer has a negative experience with a product bought from you. Which they further decide not to return.

Get More Customer Reviews

Customer reviews play a major role in consumers’ decisions about where to shop. The more reviews you have on your website and directory listings such as your Google Business Profile, the better. A large number of reviews gives customers more confidence in your business.

The simplest way to get more customer reviews is to just ask. Additionally, reply to every review, even the negative ones. If a customer goes to review your business and sees that you are not reading or responding to any reviews, they have much less reason to give their feedback.

Don’t forget to monitor and respond to negative reviews as well. Trying to understand and manage negative reviews is also important to manage your brand reputation online.

Hire and Train Knowledgeable Staff

Finding the right cannabis product to provide the experience a customer is looking for requires a strong understanding of your entire product range and the various effects that different cannabis strains can have. Training your staff with this knowledge is vital to ensuring every customer not only leaves your store with the right product for them. But also that they enjoyed talking to and learning from your staff.

Target Underserved Niches

Some cannabis products are harder to find than others. It is likely that every dispensary in your local area sells a wide range of flowers and edibles. But what about oral sprays, topical creams, inhalers, and the many other less well-known types of cannabis products?

Offering these products can attract a loyal group of customers who can’t find what they are looking for anywhere else nearby. Find out which types of products that consumers are struggling to find at other dispensaries, and stock your own shelves with some high-quality options to fill that gap.

Providing a customer experience and buying process that is easy to understand and puts shoppers at ease ensures that they will remember shopping at your dispensary for all the right reasons. Following these tips will help you ensure that your dispensary not only stands out from the competition but also keeps your customers coming back time and time again.

 

What Makes a Great Website in 2022?

Well Designed and Functional

Your site reflects your company, your products, your services, and ultimately your brand. Visual appeal, polish, and professionalism are crucial. Allow white space, uncluttered layouts with quality photographs and graphics look, and let your message shine through.
Equally important, the site must work quickly, correctly, and as expected.

Build to web standards, proofread rigorously and test regularly for problems with speed or functionality. Every page should always be fast and functional. Because many of them could be a potential customer’s first or only impression. Broken, slow, or poorly constructed areas will leave your visitors frustrated and encourage them to leave.

Easy to Use

Site visitors are always in a hurry. Don’t make them work for the information. User Experience (UX) plays a key role in helping visitors use, understand, and stay on your website. Create obvious, logical navigation with a clear hierarchy. Use consistent layouts and visual cues for functionality across the site.

Your site should satisfy both ‘searchers’—coming for something specific, and ‘browsers’—just looking. Help users accomplish their tasks quickly with onsite search. Further, keep them engaged by suggesting related content and minimizing dead ends.

Optimized for Mobile

Today there are no excuses, your site must look great and work well on any platform. The growth of mobile and tablet devices is not slowing down. In addition, you just don’t know what your next visit will be using. Optimizing for mobile will improve both the experience of your visitors and your SEO Rankings.

Fresh Quality Content

Be succinct, interesting, and new. Further, use language that makes sense to your audience—avoid jargon, corporate-speak, and acronyms. It is important to spell correctly, be accurate, be relevant, and keep your website updated on a regular basis.
Blogs and social media updates are great ways to add fresh content, it further keeps visitors returning. Yes, keeping things fresh requires a bit of investment. No, you can’t do without it.

Readily accessible contact and location

Your audience won’t chase you down. Make it easy to engage, offer multiple points of contact: phone, email, social media, and maybe an easy-to-use contact form. A Google map is a bonus. Above all, ensure that this information is readily available on an easy-to-find contact page—if not every page of your site.

Clear calls to action

If your site asks nothing of visitors, they will surely do nothing. What is the purpose of your site? Is that purpose clear to visitors? Even informational sites want visitors to read and share articles. Furter follow the company on social media, download toolkits, join mailing lists or learn more about the organization. Include an ask on each page.

Optimized for Search and the Social Web

It’s not enough to build a nice-looking website that’s easy to use. It needs to earn traffic. Otherwise, all that effort in design, UX, and content development will be for naught. There are hundreds of rules and guidelines for effective search engine optimization, so here are a few to start with:

Use page titles and meta tags on every page. Further alt tags on every image. Optimize content on your site to align with words real people search for. Use keywords appropriately in content as well as links. Use Cascading Style Sheets for layout and further keep your HTML code clutter-free.

 

 

 

Cannabis Marketers’ Top Digital Marketing Methods

Cannabis Marketers’ Top Digital Marketing Methods

Cannabis marketers’ top digital marketing methods are explained here. Researchers from the Cannabis Marketing Association, New Frontier Data, and NXTeck completed the 2022 Cannabis Digital Marketing Survey. Their findings indicate the following methods are most effective for cannabis businesses and their ancillary businesses:
-Website/blog: 64%

-Email marketing: 53%

-Social media: 52%

-Search Engine Optimization (SEO): 51%
In other words, the most effective digital marketing opportunity in the cannabis industry is content marketing. The top four digital marketing methods are all part of content marketing. As they far outranked all other digital marketing methods. Cannabis marketers rank earned media at 19% as the next most effective method. It should be noted that much of earned media is an extension of a brand’s content marketing strategy.

Bottom-line, there is no more powerful digital marketing opportunity for cannabis marketers than content marketing. The creation and sharing of amazing content should be a significant part of your marketing budget.

The Domino Effect of Great Content Published Often and Consistently

Content marketing is so powerful because of the domino effect. When you publish useful, meaningful, and relevant content on your blog. You’ll then have something amazing to share in your email marketing and across social media platforms.

As more people see your content in their email inboxes or preferred social media platforms. They’ll further engage with it, and some will share it with their own audiences, friends, and followers. In order to increase traffic to your website, you can repurpose a single piece of content. As well as awareness of your brand, and leads thanks to the domino effect that occurs online.

Content Marketing

It’s the marketers who understand the value of great content and their target audiences who have the most success with content marketing. These marketers know how to write content for the web (including style, formatting, SEO considerations, and more). They know how to break content into pieces to efficiently repurpose it. Then further extend its reach and lifespan far beyond what the original content could do alone.

For businesses, keep in mind is not just that you should be investing heavily in content marketing. In addition, not all marketers are content marketing experts. Visuals contribute greatly to the success of content marketing. Hence, amazing digital assets need to be created by designers. If you’re investing heavily into content marketing, make sure you have the right people to develop the best strategy. Then further implement it effectively to drive the highest returns on your investments.

The Importance of Your Blog as the Foundation of All Content Marketing

The power of content marketing starts with your blog. A blog that is part of your business’ website is an essential piece of digital marketing today. Keeping a blog updated with fresh content is the whole point of blogging. That means you’ll have more content to share. As a result, Google and other search engines will have more ways to find you.

Search engines rank high-quality, authoritative content higher than other pages in search results. You’ll get more search engine traffic if you write epic blog posts on your website. This is simply because your posts will appear higher in search results. The more people who visit your blog posts, the more who will share them across social media. Which further brings even more people to your website.

Blog Post & Marketing

Your blog also fuels your email marketing, social media marketing, and digital advertising. Blog posts give you opportunities to create targeted email marketing campaigns and social media posts (or ads). These drive people to your website, boost brand awareness, and increase leads. You can use your blog posts to promote lead magnets, such as ebooks and checklists. This can further require that visitors provide their email addresses in order to access those assets. Promote the lead magnet blog post across social media and other digital advertising methods. So, you’ll grow your email marketing list and generate more leads.

Digital Marketing in the Cannabis Industry: Key Takeaways

Marketers report that a cannabis business’ website/blog, email marketing, social media, and SEO are the most effective digital marketing methods. Much better than any other digital marketing opportunity. All of these methods are part of content marketing, so take a look at your marketing budget. Then make sure you’re allocating enough of it to content marketing.

According to the 2022 Cannabis Digital Marketing survey, only 19% of marketers say programmatic ads are the most effective. Just 17% said pay-per-click (PPC) ads are most effective, and 10% said display ads. This compares to 64% who said their website/blog was most effective, and 51%-53% who said their email marketing, social media, and SEO were most effective. Now, take a look at your budget and re-allocate accordingly.

Branding Your Cannabis Business

Logos

The logo of your cannabis brand should determine the overall brand’s visual direction. Start by focusing on your logo when rebranding or building your business. In addition, you can use it to build out the rest of your visual identity strategically. Think beyond what looks good when making creative decisions for your logo. Make sure the design aligns with the values and messaging of your business. There is no doubt that your cannabis brand’s logo plays an important role in the look of your business.

The reason for this is that it serves as a brand identifier. An effective brand logo will do three things: 1.) build trust and brand recognition. 2.) make your cannabis company or brand stand out from the competition. 3.) visually represent your brand in the most basic form. To avoid distractions, you should design your logo in black and white at first. The next step is to explore colors once your design has been solidified.

Colors

Color plays a critical role in your cannabis brand’s look and feel. Different colors evoke different emotions and often serve as a first impression for the customer. Take time to review the psychology of color. Then choose a color palette that will speak to your core demographic in the cannabis community. Color is a great way to contribute to your cannabis brand’s look and feel while adding versatility to your designs. Take advantage of the color palette that you choose – it is a chance to visually communicate with your customers. Colors can also increase recognition up to 80 percent for your cannabis brand. They further end up being the biggest reason consumers decide to buy!

Fonts

Similar to a photo or icon, fonts are a great way to elevate your designs and content. Your font choice is a way to express your cannabis brand’s personality. As well as the atmosphere you’d like to create when presenting your name and tagline in your logo. Be careful not to choose too many fonts – remember you want to stay consistent. You should choose fonts each with a specific purpose – some for print and some for the web. To determine the best font for your cannabis brand’s look and feel. Make sure that they read well,  are visually pleasing, and use them throughout all your branding assets.

Photography

You can boost your business and tap into your viewers’ visual senses by investing in quality photography. When a cannabis brand prioritizes professional photographs to showcase itself. Then they’re more likely to stand out among their competitors in the industry. By placing customers in the environment of the photograph, photography elevates a cannabis brand’s look and feel. It can make a potential client feel more trusting of a provider. Use photography as a tool to elevate your design elements and create consistency across all your social media platforms. Including flyers, website design, and collateral. A good tip is to find a set of photos that you love. Then use those exclusively across all of your cannabis brand assets. This will give your designs visual cohesiveness.

Website

Once you’ve finalized all your design elements. It’s time to build out your most important cannabis brand look and feel asset and promotional tool – your website. Often entrepreneurs make the mistake of prioritizing their website design and treating the logo as an afterthought. Having your logo ready first, allows you to incorporate your cannabis branding colors and fonts into a website. In addition to the photos that you have chosen. To ensure your website and logo work in tandem. Further, implement your core logo colors throughout the web pages as accent colors.

Consider also using your logo’s secondary colors to establish an even stronger connection. Make sure to take advantage of your website because it serves as your online store and often replaces print publications. Further, your website plays a key role in supporting your cannabis brand, facilitating sales, and generating leads. A website is a perfect way to display your cannabis brand’s look and feel. This is because it delivers your marketing message all day, every day.

What Cannabis Brands Need to Know About Content Marketing and SEO in 2022

Invest in the Right Tactics

Recent studies show content marketing is most successful for brands that focus on the right tactics. According to survey respondents, the following 10 tactics will be most helpful to brands in 2021:

  1. Improving content quality: 55%
  2. Search engine optimization (SEO): 46%
  3. Creating more video and visual content: 41%
  4. Updating and repurposing existing content: 38%
  5. Optimizing the business’ website: 35%
  6. Analyzing competitors’ content: 28%
  7. Researching our audience and optimizing the customer journey: 26%
  8. Publishing more “how-to” and educational content: 25%
  9. Adapting to COVID-related changes (e.g., agility): 24%
  10. Diversification and publishing new content types: 24%

Content marketing and search engine optimization are closely related. Search engines find your brand through every new piece of content you publish. Thus, the more content that you can publish that is high-quality, diverse, and useful. Then the more consistent your brand promises will be. You will also get more organic traffic from search engines if you meet your audience’s needs.

Most helpful in ranking content organically in 2021:

  1. Improving the quality of our content and making it more authentic: 61%
  2. Creating more content and posting. 45%
  3. Paying more attention to keyword research: 43%
  4. Further creating more content with unique research and insights: 32%
  5. Improving technical SEO on our website: 28%

For cannabis brands in 2022, the lesson is to create a lot of high-quality content. Further, publish it on your website, and make sure your content is better than your competitors. In addition use keywords naturally, and optimize your website for search.

Structure Your Text Content Strategically

Make text-based content that resonates with your brand’s audience. Inspires people to take action, and further drives traffic to your website. You should include the following elements in your digital content:

  • Headings: Use advanced heading structure in text content. (e.g., headline/title uses the H1 tag, subhead uses the H2 tag, sub-subhead uses the H3 tag, and so on.) To further improve organic search traffic to your website
  • Lists: In addition to headings, Include one or two lists per 500 words for text content to increase traffic.
  • Guides and How To: Always create guides and how-to articles. Also, use the word “guide” or “how-to” in your content title and headings.
  • Images: Include images in every piece of content you publish (when possible) to boost organic traffic.
  • Videos: Further include videos in your content to increase traffic.
  • Length: Always publish content that is more than 500 words. Be sure to publish some content that is also more than 3,000 words.
  • Coverage: Ensure your content also fully covers the target topic.

In 2022, cannabis brands should create content with strategic structuring. Design elements, length, and purpose to further generate the most search traffic to your website.

Define Your Content Creation, Distribution, and Promotion Plans

Defining your 2022 content marketing plans requires you to first decide what types of content you’ll create. Further how you’ll distribute it so people know it exists, and how you’ll promote it to get even more views. Companies got the best results from the following 10 types of content in 2021:

  1. Video
  2. Blog posts
  3. Success stories
  4. Case studies
  5. Webinars
  6. Infographics
  7. Product guides and manuals
  8. Data visualizations
  9. Ebooks
  10. White papers

In terms of distributing content and promoting it, companies used these 10 channels the most:

  1. Social media (organic)
  2. Email marketing
  3. Social media (paid)
  4. Organic search
  5. Sponsorships (events, webinars, podcasts)
  6. PPC / paid to advertise
  7. PR / media outreach
  8. Influencer marketing
  9. Guest posts
  10. Native advertising / sponsored content

In 2022, cannabis brands need to focus on creating different types of content. Creating content for prospects at different stages of the buyer journey and marketing funnel. When you publish content, your work isn’t over. You need to promote it further to ensure people see it. In the cannabis industry, organic social media and email marketing have proven effective. In addition to sponsorships, media outreach, and influencer marketing are some of the best options to test in 2022.