Our cultivator customers usually start a business because they love to grow. It is the passion for cannabis that gets them started, and not necessarily an interest in business operations. But to be successful, at some point every business owner must make sure the accounting, human resources, and compliance aspects of the business are running smoothly. Marketing may seem even further removed from the business fundamentals, but many cultivators leave a lot of money and brand equity on the table if they ignore their marketing.
In particular, creating a digital marketing strategy to reach people where they are, on the internet and in their email, may seem overwhelming or daunting. It doesn’t need to be, because digital marketing is actually a fun and rewarding way to share the benefits of your cannabis product.
CUE Cannabis partners with several digital marketing agencies, who have extensive experience creating both B2B and B2C digital marketing strategies for cultivators. We’ve spoken with them and included their top tips on how to communicate with your customers and let your product and your passion shine.
What is digital marketing for cannabis cultivators?
Before creating a strategy, it is important to understand that digital marketing encompasses everything your customers might do on electronic devices or the internet, including searching, email, social media, and browsing website. If this is your first time setting up a digital marketing strategy, check out our blog for new business owners. When creating a strategy it is important to consider how your customer will engage with your brand. The tips in this article can be applied to both B2B and B2C marketing, depending on who your customers are.
Create a strong brand
With so many new businesses entering the marketing, and so many products to choose from, cannabis cultivators need to create a strong brand to differentiate their product. A good way to start thinking about what sets your brand apart is to ask yourself ‘why would somebody purchase my product over that of another business?’ This question will set you on the right track.
Digital marketing expert and CEO of 4Blooms Guru, Susan Rust, recommends asking these types of questions about their brand. “Cultivators need to think deeply about their brand,” says Rust, “who are they, why they grow and what they do to make their product special. Competition in this space is fierce and having some differentiation is key to getting top dollar and standing out in a crowd.” Rust also recommends that when building a new brand to think about who you want to align with and build your brand accordingly.
Johnathan McFarlane of Hybrid Marketing second’s Rust and gives this example about how to align your brand with your values: “If you’re a cultivator using organic and sustainable methods, then your brand should speak to that, and content on your website, social media, e-mail marketing, etc should tell that story.” McFarlane notes that when creating a new brand, brand-building can feel unnecessary, but brands that thrive have put the effort into their strategy from day one.
Get creative with your marketing
There are many ways to demonstrate the value of your product and connect with customers who love cannabis products just as much as you do. One way to do this is to be creative with the digital marketing content. Johnathan McFarlane from Hybrid explains, “People are fascinated with cannabis cultivation. They like knowing where their product comes from, how it’s grown, and who’s growing it. Use your cultivation facility as an on-going source for content! Show what it’s like behind the scenes. Especially if you’ve built a brand around the purity and quality of your products, being transparent with your operations helps to further that message. A cultivator that executes this perfectly is Phantom Farms in Oregon.” Consider ways to creatively showcase your own operation, either for B2C customers or for other business owners.
Have an inclusive marketing strategy where digital marketing is one part
Digital marketing is just one piece of your brand-promotion pie. There are many other ways to support digital content that can improve brand reputation, awareness, and sales. For cultivators who want to focus on connecting directly with their consumers, John Shute, CEO of PufCreativ, has found that “educational and influencer work is super effective for cultivators who have a brand and focus on B2C marketing.” This could be anything from having a booth or speaking at a consumer-focused event or promoting your product through online influencers.
For those cultivators looking to market towards their business peers, Shute recommends “strategic event participation and SEO [as] two ways B2B marketing can be effective for a cultivator.” There are many B2B-focused events in the cannabis space, which are a great place to connect with other business owners looking to partner or swap ideas.
Even if you are an existing business, it is never too late to put these strategies into action. There is always an opportunity to think about the brand and what it provides consumers, then consider creative ways to showcase what the operation is doing. Digital marketing is only one piece of the overall marketing strategy and spend. Maintain consistent messaging across all channels, and you’ll start to see success. If you want support setting up a digital marketing strategy, or giving your brand a re-vamp, there are many experienced digital marketing firms who can answer your questions.