As anyone who’s plunged into the marijuana arena knows, MMJ marketing isn’t as simple as sticking the word “medical” in front of “cannabis” and calling it a day. Reaching consumers interested in medical marijuana requires a considered approach that’s in many ways distinct from trying to connect with adult-use consumers. It’s crucial to build trust with MMJ consumers by demonstrating that you understand their needs and concerns, and then share actionable information and content that telegraph your ability to meet those specific needs.
There are many strategies for marketing to the MMJ community, but today we’re going to focus on four key ones:
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing
Ready? Let’s jump right in!
In the formal sense, branding—in terms of designing signage, a logo, and font face—is typically something you tackle long before you begin MMJ marketing. But in a very real sense, branding applies to everything you share with potential customers: Your tone of voice when communicating with consumers, your choice of the live events you choose to sponsor and host, and the selection of content you choose to share (more on that in a moment).
One hurdle facing all cannabis brands is a large number of local regulations on cannabis advertising. Because brands are typically prohibited from making any health claims about the products they sell, it can feel like an extreme challenge to market anything about their brand.
One way medical cannabis brands can circumvent this is by employing clever branding that focuses less—or not at all!—on the products they sell, but on the healthy, active and engaged lifestyles they want to be associated with.
We’ve written about dispensary branding before here at Foottraffik, and you can expect us to continue. It’s a vitally important part of your business, and even if you’re not ready to dive into a full-scale rebranding conversation, you can focus on aligning all of your outreach to reflect your central brand identity.
Okay, people, this one is big. We spend a lot of time crafting content marketing strategies for dispensaries at Foottraffik, and nowhere is this more important than in the medical cannabis realm. Compared with the adult-use sphere, medical marijuana consumers are more likely to make a considered decision as opposed to an impulse buy. This means they’re more likely to be swayed by authoritative, evidence-based content rather than a flashy or alluring offer.
We invite you to put serious thought into how you present your content, whatever form it comes in. Is your tone welcoming and inclusive (but not overly chummy or casual)? Are you sharing content that actually speaks to real-life consumers’ concerns, needs and goals? And are any claims you make about the healing potential of MMJ backed up by links to peer-reviewed clinical studies and authoritative medical information?
One tactic we make good use of is reading actual customer reviews of cannabis products, brands, and publications. Spend a little time surfing the web and pretty soon, you’ll find the MMJ community is using these spaces to literally tell you what they want more of, everywhere there’s a forum to share their thoughts and questions about medical marijuana. That means in the “Reviews” section of GMB profiles, the web pages dedicated to specific medical cannabis products, and booksellers such as Amazon.com.
What form should your content marketing efforts take? Here are a few idea-starters:
- Blog Posts: Use these medium-length articles to dive into single topics, like “Best Edibles for Chronic Pain.”
- E-Books and Guides: These longer-length compilations are great giveaways for new customers, or to help seed your marketing funnel. Typically, they address larger topics, such as “The Science Behind CBD and Anxiety.”
- Videos: You may think that producing videos is out of your budget, but with the cost of entry continually falling—and with some sources estimating that by 2022 digital videos will account for the vast majority of all internet traffic—you may want to reconsider your stance. In addition to making great social media shares (more on this in a moment too!), these videos are great additions to a well-designed dispensary website, offering curious consumers an introduction to your brand and a virtual tour of your facility.
As we hinted earlier, this is a big topic. Familiarize yourself with the basics with our Introduction to Content Marketing.
You’ll note that the title of this article includes the phrase “patient-friendly.” And while the point of the content marketing we just described is to provide value to those seeking support from MMJ, the third type of marketing we’re sharing today—SEO marketing—is just as important, even if the way it works may not immediately be obvious.
You’re likely familiar with SEO—short for “search engine optimization”—the practice of using carefully selected keywords to signal to search engines your relevance to individual consumers’ searches. Optimizing a given website’s SEO presence is one of the things we focus much of our efforts on here at Foottraffik, as it goes hand in hand with creating stunning dispensary websites designed for maximum impact and high conversion rates.
But good SEO is patient-friendly SEO, too. Because as important as telling the Search Engine Gods such as Google and Bing what your website is about, it’s just as crucial that you’re giving real-life MMJ patients what they need: Access to the kind of valid and authoritative content we described earlier.
The ins and outs of SEO are complex, ever-changing, and potentially bewildering. But you can get yourself up to speed with our Introduction to Search Engine Optimization. And above all, make sure your efforts serve the people who most need your services: The MMJ community.
Social Media Marketing
If we were being strict about it, “social media marketing” would be a subset of “content marketing.” After all, what do you share on platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat but, well…content? But we believe we’re breaking out social media on its own for good reason: The types of content you share here are likely to be shorter, more concise, and generally tailored towards creating engagement as opposed to offering educational or informational resources. After all, that’s the “social” part of the “social media” equation: Demonstrating an interest in being part of a community than trying to sell a specific product.
That’s certainly not to imply that all social media shares are the same. Smart marketers tailor their content to specific platforms based on their demographics and interface. Beyond looking at Instagram as an image-driven platform or Twitter as a place to share short, sharp bits of content, it means doing some research to determine who you’re best-positioned to reach on each one.
Like the broader topic of content marketing, learning the ins and outs of social media takes time. Start your journey with our introduction to Social Media Marketing for Dispensaries. You’ll find information on navigating different platforms, valuable tips, and best practices, and resources to help you quantify and analyze your campaigns so as to deliver maximum value. And at the end of the day, delivering “maximum value” is the name of the game, both for those consumers seeking support around using MMJ, and for you.
Of course, these aren’t the only MMJ marketing strategies available to medical dispensaries. Depending on where you’re located, you can use Google Ads and Display Ads to reach even more new customers. Contact us to learn more.