There is no question about it – cannabis has hit the mainstream. Therefore, the need for dispensaries to employ cannabis market strategies has become more important than ever.
As of this writing, cannabis is legal for recreational purposes in 19 states and Washington, D.C. Another 19 states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes.
This is turning the cannabis industry into a multi-billion dollar one, meaning that cannabis-related businesses have the chance to make serious money.
However, that is not without challenges for cannabis businesses: As the cannabis field becomes more crowded, businesses have to do more to stand out better within their specific niche of the industry.
Here are eight cannabis marketing strategies to better advertise your business in 2023 - click to skip ahead:
- Conduct a market analysis
- Examine user experience (UX)
- Conduct a competitor analysis
- Perform customer surveys
- Emphasize credibility
- Cross promotions
- Don't neglect the basics
- Lean on social media
A market analysis with a third party is critical to the success of any business's marketing strategy, and the cannabis industry is no exception.
With 44% of Americans now having access to legal recreational cannabis, it is important to better understand your target consumer's buying habits, preferences, and interests.
Consider conducting a formal marketing analysis of cannabis users in a given area to get their perspective on a variety of issues, including:
- Awareness of your brand and their buying behaviors.
- Factors determining where they will purchase cannabis (such as price, preferred strains, or membership perks).
- How pricing influences buying behaviors.
- Demographic information about likely buyers.
- Key information about competitors in your area such as revenue.
It is something our market research company has accomplished in recent years. For more insight, read our post: How to Conduct Market Research with Cannabis Users.
💡 The Key Takeaway: A market analysis is an effective cannabis marketing strategy because it provides key demographic information about target audiences and competitors. With insight into buyer habits and preferences, dispensaries and cannabis brands can better market their products.
Marijuana-related products obviously can't yet be sold on the internet, but CBD can and internet-based CBD sales have become increasingly popular.
In fact, the most common outlets for purchasing CBD are specialty shops (48%) and online (41%).
Any website's eCommerce user experience is critical to any internet-based buying experience. As such, it is unquestionably worth conducting an in-depth examination of how the average user experiences your website.
There are many models for improving the user experience for your website, but when purchasing an item like CBD, findability, credibility, and ease of use are critical.
In addition to conducting your informal analysis, you can pay a firm to conduct surveys and make improvements.
You can also conduct website intercept surveys with buyers on your website, asking them what their experience was like and if they have any specific suggestions for improvements.
💡 The Key Takeaway: With the growth of online CBD sales, a smart cannabis marketing strategy for 2023 is to invest in user experience market research. Learn what barriers prevent users from buying and how to improve website traffic.
The cannabis industry is booming, and your competition is fierce. As such, you must ask yourself...
What is your competition doing well?
What are you doing better?
And where can you make improvements?
The benefit of conducting market research on your competitors is that it allows you to identify weaknesses in your business model and opportunities for improvements or to increase your market share.
Therefore, a successful competitor analysis of cannabis dispensaries should:
- Examine your competition's various services and products, allowing you to compare price points, value-added benefits, and marketing strategies.
- Give you a chance to see where a competitor is doing better than you and areas where you may want to consider adding products or services.
- Allow you to analyze customer reviews, helping you determine what your competitor's customers like - and what they don't like.
You can also fold a competitor analysis into a robust customer survey. This leads us to our next recommended cannabis marketing strategy for 2023.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Learn from what your competitors are doing well and where they are falling short. A competitor assessment is a great tool for getting an inside look into their operations, marketing, and sales strategies.
Customer surveys can be vital tools to help you determine both customer satisfaction and where you may be able to adjust your marketing strategy to pull in more repeat business.
The premise is simple: You get the contact information of someone who purchases your establishment.
Sometime after, you survey them, asking if they were happy with the product, if they'd buy it again and what specific feedback they have from you.
This can give you systemic feedback about how good of a job you are doing, your churn rate, and how likely you are to earn a customer's repeat business. It can also help you identify specific pain points and areas for improvement within your business.
Watch our video to learn example customer survey questions recommended by Drive Research.
💡 The Key Takeaway: A customer survey is a unique cannabis marketing strategy. It provides insights into paths to purchase, sources of awareness, consumption preferences, and more to better understand target consumers.
There's an ugly truth within the cannabis world: Many users are simply too afraid to use cannabis because of the industry's less-than-stellar reputation.
Even in places where cannabis products are legal, bad actors pollute the industry by failing to adhere to local regulations and lying to customers properly.
For instance, multiple studies, including one from earlier this year, show that CBD vendors have a bad tendency to mislabel their goods.
Of the CBD products tested, 18% contained less CBD than advertised, while 58% contained more CBD than advertised. Only 24% were accurately labeled.
This can leave customers in the dark about what they are consuming. As a result, it not only hurts individual businesses but also damages the industry's credibility.
What does this mean? You have an opportunity to appeal to a segment of the cannabis world that may be curious about products but concerned about long-term impacts.
As such, there may be a lane for your business in which you emphasize rigorous lab testing, adherence to government regulations, and commitment to consumer safety.
Marijuana is highly regulated in all states in which it is legal, but the same cannot be said about products such as:
It is a great anecdote to keep in mind for your 2023 cannabis market strategies.
Your business may be able to stand out from the rest by advertising third-party testing and being as transparent as possible about what is in your product.
Remember that credibly marketing your cannabis products means you have to market your products within the guidelines set by the government.
For example, the FDA has issued strict guidance against marketing CBD as having any medical benefits, which they argue have yet to be proven.
They've gone as far as to send warning letters to companies that have violated these guidelines. As such, you must ensure that any cannabis marketing strategies you engage in are done within the confines of the law.
💡 The Key Takeaway: There are many rules and regulations in place when it comes to marketing cannabis and CBD. Do not fall victim to false advertising like so many other dispensaries do.
Cannabis products are relatively new to the legal marketplace.
As such, an under-explored area for overlap may be cross-promotions with other products or advertising a series of cannabis products together.
Depending on your audience, you may be able to promote your cannabis-related products with:
- Other cannabis products like promoting different methods of CBD ingestion together. This can be done in a unified package, like selling multiple forms of CBD for their potential stress-relief benefits.
- Selling cannabis products with the means to ingest them.
- Cannabis with certain food or drinks as part of a cannabis-cooking package.
💡 The Key Takeaway: There are many ways to consume cannabis. Showcase the additional or unknown benefits of smoking or ingesting cannabis in your marketing campaigns.
While cannabis is a unique market and one that comes with plenty of opportunities for innovation, that doesn't mean that you should concentrate only on more advanced marketing techniques.
In fact, over 70% of people prefer marketing promotions to arrive via email.
What does this mean? Don't forget the basics:
- Ensure that your website is optimized for critical keywords and has all the latest SEO tools installed.
- Collect the contact information for your customers so you can market to them later.
- Collect Email addresses and run periodic eBlasts.
- Have eye-catching signs and graphics.
Indeed, the basic building blocks of marketing unquestionably apply to cannabis-related businesses.
💡 The Key Takeaway: When trying to think of the best cannabis marketing strategies, remember not to neglect the basic forms of advertising. While there are new and innovative ways to market your product, strategies such as email marketing and SEO are still extremely effective.
There is no question that there is ample overlap between social media platforms and cannabis-driven marketing. Your content should be fresh and value-added.
Best practices for social media use involve promoting your products and using social media to discuss tips and tricks and give useful information about your product.
In the realm of cannabis, there are ample opportunities for excellent content.
Types of content to share on cannabis social media pages include:
- Information on how individuals can use cannabis safely.
- Differences in strains, products, and ingestion methods.
- Market surveys or scientific information on cannabis products, including the benefits of the products you sell.
Remember that social media use and cannabis can be a challenge: Many social media networks have specific rules concerning the marketing of cannabis products.
This may make it difficult to create certain kinds of content, and it will certainly make it difficult to create any paid ads. As such, pay close attention to each network's rules.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Although social media platforms regulate cannabis-related content, it doesn't mean social media should not be a cannabis marketing strategy you utilize in 2023. It is a great channel for connecting with local consumers and showing your brand's personality.
As you know, the cannabis industry is growing, presenting you and your business with fantastic opportunities. However, you can only fully take advantage of those opportunities if you market your business appropriately.
Start by utilizing cannabis market research. And we can help with that!
Drive Research is a full-service market research company located in New York. We've conducted various studies with cannabis users to provide the insights needed to help their businesses grow.
To learn more about how we can help provide data to fuel your 2023 marketing strategy, contact us today.
- Message us on our website
- Email us at [email protected]
- Call us at 888-725-DATA
- Text us at 315-303-2040
A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Manager. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.
Learn more about Emily, here.