Marketing is a significant issue that you need to tackle when building a cannabis business. What can you use to engage customers more often or stay connected to them and create loyalty? You have to know the regulations around it and implement strategies that are allowed in your state. Join your host Tony Frischknecht as he discusses marketing techniques for cannabis. Figure out how you can build connections with your customers and grow your cannabis business. If you’re new to cannabis and you’re just opening your store in a new state or county, or you want to grow your business, this episode is for you.
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Cannabis Marketing Strategies: Creating Customer Engagement Beyond Big Social Media Platforms
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Getting to this episode, I’m going to touch on something I discussed a little bit in the past, not a ton but a little bit. I’m going to focus on some marketing techniques for cannabis. Specifically, two of them. Marketing can be a major issue in cannabis. What are you guys doing for marketing? It’s different everywhere and that’s due to regulations, whether it be in your state or your county sometimes.
I’ve started to see some billboards not in Denver, Colorado but around some of the outskirts, which is pretty incredible because there hasn’t been any way to advertise outside of your store, aside from maybe a storefront banner that says who you are and potentially a special that you have going on. What are you using to figure this out? What I mean by figure this out is what are you using to find new customers and staying connected with your current customers.
I’m going to touch on two things that most producers are underutilizing, only because most of the shops that I go to and support locally, I don’t see them doing this. I see a couple of them doing it but there are only a few. If you’re new to cannabis and you’re just opening your store in a new state. The great thing about a new state is you usually have a demand that way exceeds supply right now. This is the first time it’s opened up to your area, so the demand is high.The cannabis industry is different everywhere due to regulations, whether it be in your state or your county sometimes. Click To Tweet
The first six months or a year is pretty incredible because you’ll sell everything. It doesn’t matter how. If anybody that smokes and knows what’s going on in the state, they’re going to stop. The newcomers are not quite going to come yet. We can talk about that some other time. When you have these newcomers coming in, what can you use to engage them more often or stay connected to them? The first thing we’re going to talk about is texting or SMS messages. There are some systems out there that are pretty inexpensive that might cost you somewhere between $40 and $60 a month.
Here are some statistics that I’m going to share with you. People always have their phones on them which if they’re getting a text, at least I am more prone to respond to a text or at least read it because it’s not going into my emails. It’s not overwhelmed with emails. It’s like, “It’s a text.” One of the big things is 90% of cell phones in the US have unlimited texting, so it’s very simple to connect there.
Another thing I found out is the SCC has strict regulations on text spam so this creates less competition if you are utilizing this platform, which is awesome. You’re not going to be battling against a bunch of people. I look back to when we opened our stores and we were so busy that we didn’t take the time to do this. If you are opening a store, please look into these SMS texting programs. I don’t have anyone in particular that I’m going to push you guys towards, but do some research on it and figure out what best fits you. The cost is in the range between depending on how many messages you want to send out, 1,000 or 2,000 a month and then they go higher. To start out with a simple system of 1,000 to 2,000 messages a month is a great way to go.
This is a missed opportunity that I know we didn’t take advantage of at the beginning. We started using it after a while after we started playing catch up. Doing this at the beginning would have been extremely helpful, especially because of your first impression of a place. In any retail, if you can get that connection and keep that connection, it’s much easier to keep a customer than it is to find a new one.
As opposed to looking for the masses, start creating some loyalty. This creates that. It also creates this platform that not only you can send out specials, but you can also send out for events. The people that are using you constantly, give them the opportunity to opt-out of it. This is something simple that you can start in the beginning. I highly suggest you look into some type of text marketing program that you can start. This is something one person can handle. You can send out these mass texts. Look into that.
This is a new one that is being looked over and I don’t think most people know this is out there. I’ve come across this one. Everybody right now is involved in social media. There are drawbacks to cannabis in social media. Most of us are blocked. That sucks because you guys have spent years creating these followings. Many people, even in 2011, 2012, were creating followings and the platforms were knocking them off. They’d start a new one and they’d knocked them off. It gets extremely frustrating. Not only because of all the time you put into creating it but there’s a lot of money lost.
You’ve got these big highs and lows that are happening in your social media. This has been the problem with social media. It’s awesome while it’s happening and you get it going but then the platforms have control over anything. They can shut you down, kick you off, block you from ever opening an account again. One thing that I’ve come across is creating your own social network. How do you do this? I’m going to tell you. Let’s go on to the drawbacks of not being able to control your social media and control your message. The drawback is you can’t say anything about cannabis or they’ll kick you off.
If you were to create your own social network, you can control the message. Nobody can sensor you. That’s the incredible part about this. How do I do that? I’ve got everybody on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. How do I create bringing people over? I’m not going to get into that, but there are ways to do that. That’s not an issue but understanding that you can build your own community, take it off of the platforms, and move it over to you is a huge part of this.
The social networks don’t have any control because you’re creating your own little internal network and then you’re building that community. This is something that is going to take time, just like it did when you first started doing Facebook or any of the others. I’m referring to Facebook because that’s the most well-known. Start to build your community. Building that community will eventually give you the opportunity to put some of your AdWords out there, your advertising. They can be specials or events. It’s similar to what texting is but this is more visual.Do some research on the cannabis market and figure out what best fits you. Click To Tweet
You can also take these platforms and build subgroups just like you can on Facebook. You can take online courses if you want to teach new people how to take edibles safely. We used to preach it with our budtenders, telling them how to do this. With everybody purchasing out edibles, you need to do this. You can create a small video that could go on your social networks and send this out to everybody. You know your community is up-to-date. You’re putting out something that tells the client or customer that you care about. I’m like, “Do this to be safe,” just creating a positive message.
When you come out with something that you want to share with people, they are like, “I’m going to come by the store and get this 50% off because it’s buy one, get one, 50% off.” You start creating something like that. What’s cool is you are creating your own Facebook per se. What Facebook does with a lot of these is they’re watching what’s going on. We know they are. We do it anyway because we enjoy it. We enjoy connecting with all these people, but they’re watching and reviewing different texts of what people are talking about.
When we create these subgroups, these people that want to talk about more things in-depth are great places to set up for subgroups. These subgroups get into more detail about something. Maybe one of them only wants to talk medical, so you have that subgroup. You’ve got another one that wants to talk about edibles. You have another one that wants to talk about flowers and so on. You can start creating these groups.
Once you create these groups, you can charge a monthly fee. It’s like a service fee. There are guys out there that charge $5 a month just to be a part of this because they know they’re in a safe space. They can say whatever they want. When I say anything they want, you can set guidelines like all the rest of what the social networks do, but that’s your choice. That’s how you want to set it.
One place that I’ve seen has done a good job on this is this company called Mighty Networks. They are helping people like you and me create these platforms. They’ve got tons of videos on YouTube about them. If you want to take a deeper dive into this and understand what they are and how they work, go to YouTube and check them out. This networking system allows you to create that around your whole business, which is incredible. I don’t think they had something like this back when we had our stores. Had they had though, this is the first thing I would have jumped on 100%.
I’m not seeing any of this happening right now, at least from the Colorado perspective. You guys in other states, there might be some people doing this. I’m not seeing it because it takes some time. Going back and creating this connection from the beginning can save you so much time. It allows you to have all the control and it takes it away from the social media that is out there already and gives you the control. It also creates an environment for your patients and customers to feel safe and talk about anything they want, and not worry about other governmental entities looking to see what they’re doing. The big social networks taking and stealing their personal data and all that stuff is why this makes so much sense.
To get this up and running and going, you’re looking at somewhere around six months. I mean in six months is learning all the ups and downs, getting your people set on it and then starting to create a following. You should have some good momentum around six months time period and then you’re adding people. You can also advertise this in your store, which makes it easy for people to connect because then they can stay connected like they do their Facebook feed, their Instagram feed, and how that pops up and they get automation of people talking. This can be the exact same thing for you.
If you’re not doing either of these, you need to be at least taking advantage of one of these. At the very least, the texting. That one takes a little bit of effort, not very much, but I would institute that first and then I would start working on creating my social network. Guys, if there is something that you would like me to go more in-depth on, I can do that digging for you. I just need to hear from you. Check us out at PlantProblem.com. Let me know if there’s something in this show or another episode that I can talk about and share more with you. I’d love to do that for you.
I owe that to the cannabis community. I try to take anything that is valuable and bring it to the forefront for you, guys. If it’s in-depth, great. If it’s a touch on it, just to let you know that it’s out there, something like the social network build, I hope it’s a great one for you to take and use, but please let me know if there’s anything I can do on that front. I love looking at this stuff. I love investigating it and figuring it out for you, but this is a great one. I look forward to bringing you so much more. Thanks so much for reading. I hope you are having a great day. I will see you next time.
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