I think you’ll agree with me when I say digital marketing — and all its sub-categories, including SEO, social media, content creation, email, and more — is critical for any cannabis or CBD company’s growth in 2019.
With over four billion internet users globally, and more than 3.4 billion active social media users, it stands to reason digital marketing is vital for reaching a larger audience than you could through traditional methods alone… even for our industry.
Plus, digital marketing can help you better engage prospects, turn prospects into leads, and ultimately convert leads into loyal, delighted customers.
However, embarking on a digital marketing journey, particularly as a start-up or smaller company with limited online presence, can be both overwhelming and frustrating at times.
After 10 years of marketing in this space, I’ve compiled my top 12 list of digital marketing tips…
- Know your customer.
- Match your content to every stage of a buyer’s journey.
- Don’t just write about your products or services.
- Focus on the long-term.
- Incorporate SEO into your overall content strategy.
- Understand the big picture when analyzing an advertisement’s performance.
- Remain flexible as audience preferences shift.
- Remain consistent in design when launching a campaign.
- Become a growth leader for your company.
- Personalize your content.
- Try new things.
- Don’t underestimate backlinks.
Let’s break it down:
1. Know your customer.
Keep on top of the pulse of the customer and hold yourself accountable to it. Schedule monthly time to shadow your support team and your sales team. Your best content ideas will come straight from the source — your customers.
2. Match your content to every stage of a buyer’s journey.
Personally, I think a big ‘Ah-ha’ moment for customers when talking about ads strategy is when we tell them they need to match their content offer to a moment in the buyer’s journey. It doesn’t make sense to target an ad for a sales demo at someone in the awareness stage. It also doesn’t make sense to target an awareness stage offer, like a recommended blog post, at someone who is ready to buy.
3. Don’t just write about your products or services.
That can immediately alienate anyone who isn’t already close to purchasing. Instead, invest the time in learning about what your target audience is interested in, and develop content that aligns these interests with what your cannabis or CBD brand can offer. For example, if you’re selling CBD gel caps, you might create a blog series that looks at different ways to improve your daily health and wellness levels.
4. Focus on the long-term.
I’m a marketer, and I understand the pressure to deliver leads to sales each month. But employing short-sighted tactics that generate some attention and may result in a momentary spike ultimately won’t set you, or your customers, up for success in the long-term. As marketers, we should focus on generating demand through helpful and customer-centric campaigns.
5. Incorporate SEO into your overall content strategy.
While positioning a blog as a pure thought leadership publication has its merits, incorporating an SEO strategy into your topic selection and blog writing is the best way for long-term traffic growth.
6. Understand the big picture when analyzing an advertisement’s performance.
A good approach to take when you see bad ads is to understand the big picture. What is the overall journey someone is taking to get to the point where they see your ad?
If your ad isn’t performing well, don’t just look at the messaging itself, but see if there’s a mismatch between what someone is searching for, the messaging you are showing them, and the landing page on which they end up. With that bigger picture in mind, when you see a ‘bad’ ad, look at all the different pieces of your campaign to determine what needs optimization.
7. Remain flexible as cannabis and cbd audiences preferences shift.
The world of digital marketing is ever-changing — businesses constantly need to ensure their digital strategy remains relevant to their target audience. This is especially true in our industry. For instance, if you’re targeting a group who’s primarily active on Instagram, focus on that platform and consider using your resources to create engaging Instagram Stories, instead of spending too much time making YouTube videos. However, pay attention to if, and when, your audiences’ preferences shift.
8. Remain consistent in design when launching a campaign.
When launching an integrated campaign on multiple channels for your cannabis or CBD brand, make sure you tie together your creative design and messaging so there is a red thread throughout the campaign.
9. Become a growth leader for your company.
Marketers have never had a better opportunity to be growth leaders than in this exploding space. Marketing has historically been responsible for attracting new leads and then passing them off to Sales. Today, in a world where customer experience has to come first, marketers have an opportunity to architect the path to growth through sales and services as well.
Instead of solely thinking about how you can bring in new customers, start to ask yourself, and your colleagues around you, what happens when this lead is passed over to sales? and, what happens when sales pass them to services as a customer? It’s likely you’ll find opportunities for advocacy and marketing embedded in those moments that will help you grow better.
10. Personalize your content.
Personalize your content to differentiate your business from competitors and create a unique customer experience. More than 40% of customers switch brands dues to poor online personalization.”
11. Try new things
If you see that something could be working better, go back to the drawing board and try something new. This can apply to internal processes within your team or with your digital marketing efforts. For example, if you’re experiencing low engagement with your marketing emails, test out creative subject lines to boost your open rates. Or release a series of themed content that keeps your audience coming back for more. Small changes can have big results.
12. Don’t underestimate backlinks.
Marketers are increasingly shifting their SEO strategies from keywords to topics. In other words, the more keywords you target that all belong to a similar topic, the more expertise you’ll demonstrate, and the better you can perform for each individual keyword. But expertise and organic traffic don’t happen at the same time. While topics are important to building your reputation, you still need the backlinks — a major ranking factor for Google — to back it up. While you create content on each topic, share this content in as many ways as you can. By networking with people in your industry and tracking how many other publishers are linking back to your content, you can get a better sense of how quickly your content will perform the way you want it to.
Well, that’s it. That’s my 12. Hope this helps in marketing your cannabis, CBD or hemp products!