As the entire world shifts to living in a virtual world, cannabis businesses have unique marketing challenges. The realm of digital marketing can be a harrowing experience. Up until 2020, only 64% of small businesses owned a website, but as the bustling streets become still, business owners need to reach their customers virtually. Just like the cannabis plant, business owners need to adapt to our changing environment to survive.
By 2026, experts anticipate the cannabis industry to bloom to $97 billion. With traditional sectors, such as financial, retail, and advertising, still holding traditional policies, the cannabis industry faces greater hurdles online than most industries.
Growing Online: Start with the Correct Medium
Choosing your medium, whether soil or coco coir, is a fun and essential step to any growing experience. Likewise, website “mediums,” or platforms, have excellent growing properties, but they also have limitations. There are two popular medium choices; content management systems (CMS) and development agencies. It is recommended you choose your platform based on your time available, budget, audience location, and requirements.
Startups, small and medium-sized businesses should choose a CMS for the same reasons a grower might choose soil; it can save time, cost, and it is easy to use. Continuing the metaphor, just as soil can come pre-mixed, you can buy premade website templates. These templates can be edited with content to start growing your online business in only a few clicks! However, it is important to note, third party platforms are notoriously unsupportive, so when you encounter a website deficiency, such as slow loading times, security, and financial threats, it can become difficult to fix. To limit these deficiencies, avoid using free/undermaintained plugins unless recommended with the theme.
Development agencies typically require more upfront costs and time requirements, but they can be more cost-effective in the long term. Agencies custom build the website to your needs and, more importantly, your audience requirements. This customization delivers your customers a better user experience while providing brand authority and increasing the likelihood of returning customers.
Top Tip: When choosing your website platform, you will also need to pick a hosting provider. Choose a hosting provider with a server in your audience’s location. This reduces the load time for your user to return the website from your server. This is the equivalent of having your humidifier in your growing tent/room rather than in the next room.
Shining a Light onto Your Budding Business
When growing cannabis, there is no substitute for light. When growing online, there is no substitute for engagement. Without engagement, your business, website, and social media accounts can become stunted. Engagement should increase and be finely tuned to your business. Just as veg and bloom have different lighting requirements, your business requires separate engagement readings based on the volume of content, the volume of traffic, and domain authority.
To improve engagement, you need to understand your target audience thoroughly. Just as you can position & distance your light to improve coverage, you can place your content in front of your desired audience. To know your customer, ask yourself; where do they live? What age are they? What are their hobbies and interests? And what is their daily routine? Once you have your target customer in mind, create each piece of content to benefit the user. Whether it’s a video, social media post, email, or even your own website ‘About us’ page, it needs to be written for the user.
When you have the user in mind and produce useful content, your engagement will grow naturally, and your users will take action, whether it’s reading the content, making a purchase, commenting, or sharing your content.
Adding SEO, Nutrients for Online Marketing
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through search engines such as Google and Bing. You can think of SEO as a growth-boosting additive in your plant’s growing cycle, they are both a force multiplier!
Like growing cannabis, you have invested time and revenue into your online marketing, and you want to ensure you get the maximum return yield. Using SEO for your website allows your business to flourish and reach the target audience, searching for your products and services. Having a website does not guarantee that your business will rank on a search engine. As online competition becomes steeper, ranking online will become more difficult. You want to start growing your SEO as soon as possible.
For the cannabis industry, SEO is the marketer’s best friend. It’s cost-effective and has no limitations for cannabis businesses. It is one of the best alternatives to pay per click and other advertising forms.