Marketing in the cannabis industry comes with a long list of challenges. With restrictions on social media advertising, pay-per-click advertising, and more, many affordable and effective go-to B2B marketing tactics aren’t available to businesses operating in the cannabis industry, or the limitations imposed on businesses operating in and with the cannabis industry make them poor investment choices.
The good news is there are B2B marketing tactics that you can use to promote your brand to cannabis businesses. Yes, many of these tactics require hiring or contracting with the right people to get the expertise needed to be successful, and some are best used for long-term strategies. However, if you’re willing to work with the right talent and be patient, the five B2B marketing tactics introduced below are proven to work in the cannabis industry.
1. Blogging and Content Marketing
Your company’s blog is the foundation of your content marketing strategy. I can’t stress strongly enough the importance of writing high quality, informative content and publishing it on your blog on a consistent basis.
Think of it this way. Every time you publish a new high-quality blog post, you create another entry point to your website for search engines to find. How do people find companies and products today? The answer is Google (or their preferred search engine). That means every blog post you publish provides another way for Google (and the people who conduct searches related to your business) to find you.
The best part is blogging creates a domino effect as you share your content via social media, email marketing, and more. As more people see your content, there is a greater possibility that they’ll share your posts, which puts your content in front of even larger audiences without any additional time or investment on your part.
Moreover, you can repurpose your blog content to extend your marketing reach even further by turning blog posts into email marketing messages, visual assets for social media posts, ebooks, and so much more.
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing tactics today, and for B2B cannabis industry marketing, it’s absolutely essential. The key is to build a targeted opt-in list of email addresses for people who are likely to be interested in your products or services.
There are multiple ways to build opt-in email lists. For example, you can offer a free ebook, worksheet, or checklist and promote it on your social media channels and through advertising. In order to get the freebie, people need to give you their email address. With that said, it’s important that the free item attracts your target audience and they perceive it as valuable enough to trade for their email addresses.
When you build an email marketing list, you’re in control. You don’t have to worry about social media sites changing their rules or Facebook shutting your business Page down. Instead, you control the communications, and if you’re using a robust email marketing tool, you can track each of your contacts’ behaviors and nurture them into hot leads more effectively.
3. Online Activity and Social Media
Do a Google search on your company and/or brand name. What comes up in the first page or two of results? Are those results what you want prospective customers to see?
Your online footprint is critical to establish trust in your brand and your business. The first thing most people do after discovering a new company or brand is to Google that company or brand. They visit the company’s website and social media profiles and take a look around asking questions like: Is this company real? Is this company trustworthy? Who is behind this company?
If you don’t have an online presence that accurately tells your brand story and instantly instills a sense of trust, then you need to start building a more effective digital footprint immediately.
Not only does your digital footprint matter for first impressions, but it’s also essential to keep your brand actively on people’s radar. Your online communications and activity can lead to inquiries, word-of-mouth marketing, and sales. With that said, be active on social media, join relevant LinkedIn Groups and participate in conversations, and answer relevant questions that your target audience members ask on sites like Quora.
4. Third Party Events
The cannabis industry has grown exponentially in recent years, but it’s still a tight-knit community in many ways. One of the best ways to generate leads and sales is still in-person events, including trade shows and conferences.
Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person events came to a grinding halt in 2020, but there is hope that they’ll make a comeback in late 2021. When that happens, your business should have a presence at all relevant events. Invest in booth space at events that allow exhibitors as well as in high quality materials and displays, and be prepared to talk to people and follow-up after each event.
In the meantime, virtual events are also important to raise brand awareness and keep your brand top-of-mind among prospects who are already familiar with your company, products, and services. Bottom-line, your company and brand must be highly visible in the cannabis industry in order to truly move the sales needle.
5. Your Own Events
Many companies that sell to cannabis businesses have success hosting their own events. Depending on the type of product or service you sell, hosting in-person and online events could help you generate, nurture, and convert leads as well.
For example, companies that sell software, soil, packaging, and more have been very successful hosting webinars, networking events, and educational events. The key is to avoid making your events sales-oriented. No one wants to attend an event that’s just a sales pitch.
Key Takeaways about B2B Marketing Tactics in the Cannabis Industry
B2B marketing in the cannabis industry is unique simply because marketers don’t have access to many of the tools we’d typically use or recommend. However, with the right people and investments – and a commitment to building a long-term strategy that drives sustainable results – there are many marketing tactics that are perfect for connecting with cannabis businesses.
Effective tactics to start with right now include blogging, content marketing, email marketing, online activity, social media, third party events, and your own events.