It's no secret. Cannabis companies are having a really tough time when it comes to advertising. Cannabis and CBD are legal in many markets, but Google and Facebook are still blocking any company that mentions cannabis or CBD on their site. Even if they're advertising a legal product in a legal market.
Reaching your target audience is insanely important if you want to grow your cannabis brand. How does legal marijuana advertising work if you're blocked from running ads online?
You have to get creative. Here's an effective strategy we've created that is helping cannabis companies grow, without the dependence on ads.
1. Find your audience on Instagram
You might not be able to put marijuana ads in front of your audience, but you can interact with them on Instagram. It's not hard to find your audience either. Here are some places you can find the right people on Instagram:
- Look at your competitors followers
- Look at the people who follow other popular cannabis accounts (there are tons on @weedmaps and @hightimesmagazine if you need a place to start)
- Search hashtags that are relevant to cannabis or cbd
- Look at the people who have recently liked photos relevant to cannabis or cbd
You'll quickly find that your audience is already on Instagram. You just have to turn them into followers and customers.
2. Get your target audience to follow you by engaging with them
Now that you've found potential customers on Instagram, you need them to turn into your followers, website visitors, and customers. Good relationships start small and get bigger over time. You want to start with getting your prospective customers to follow you. It's much easier to get followers than sales. If you can get followers, you can market and sell to your followers and turn them into visits and sales over time.
How do you get strangers on Instagram to follow you? You give first!
Follow relevant users, and like a few of their posts. Next time they sign in they'll get notifications about the likes and follow you gave them. Chances are, they'll check out your page when they see this and (hopefully) follow you back.
You can always unfollow later on to keep your followers to followings ratio good (which is important to get follow backs!) We recommend unfollowing after 48-72 hours. Especially if the user hasn't followed you back yet.
You can also comment on really popular posts that have to do with cannabis or cbd. People typically skim through comments on posts that they like, and having your name there is a chance to get more profile visits and follows.
3. Convert followers into website visits and sales
Now that you're growing your account with real followers who are interested in cannabis, it's time to convert those followers into website visits and sales (or new patient applications, event attendees, or whatever!) You need the right content strategy to do this effectively.
Post at least 1 post a week to your feed. Use photos that are visually stunning. We've found that the photos themselves are the most important part to an Instagram post.
Imagine that you are scrolling through your Instagram feed. If you saw the photo, would you stop scrolling? If not, people won't either. They definitely won't stop to read the caption that you wrote either. Make sure your photo really stands out. We see way too many cannabis and CBD businesses posting to Instagram with a long well-written caption, but a cruddy photo that won't get people to read it. Don't have great content to use? Consider using a repost strategy. We wrote this post about how you can use a repost strategy to have incredible content on your Instagram account.
Stories are another very effective way to turn followers into visits and sales. It's getting more difficult for your posts to be shown to your followers due to changes Instagram has made to the feed. It's much easier to get high levels on engagement on Instagram stories since they're videos (Instagram is trying to get video to be a bigger part of their platform).
Follow these best practices to make stories that grow traffic and sales:
- Make sure that your video is 15 seconds or shorter
- Keep your message short and concise
- Keep messaging focused on the customers wants. Avoid talking too much about your brand or product. For example, if you're a cbd company, talk more about how great customers will feel after using your products, and less about why your CBD is highest quality.
- Give a clear call to action at the end.
Post a story at least twice a week to maximize traffic from Instagram. You don't have to make a new story each time, you can record a good video once and post it over and over again. We recommend reusing any videos that get good engagement. It always makes sense to repeat what is working.
Your cannabis brand might be blocked from advertising online, but you can still grow your audience and online sales by using the strategy above. The best part? You capture every single interested person at the start, as opposed to ads where you only get 2-7% of website visitors to convert into an email or sale. This legal marijuana advertising strategy builds over time. In 2-3 months you should see a big boost in traffic and online sales coming from Instagram.
Need help? Our team can do this strategy for you and help your cannabis brand grow without all the time and hard work. Check out our plans and pricing here and get growing today! Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We're happy to help you learn more before getting started.