Maintaining Consumer Engagement During a Pandemic
Marketing in the cannabis industry has changed throughout the pandemic. Some states declaring cannabis businesses essential was a major pivot in how cannabis is perceived in this country. Adding to the complexity of navigating a business through a pandemic, maintaining consumer engagement has also been challenging for some businesses. The way we have been marketing and engaging with our consumers largely has changed – events are cancelled, dispensaries have limits on capacity etc. The pandemic has effectively changed the way we live our daily lives forever, or for the foreseeable future. Most people are still apprehensive about putting themselves in situations where other groups of people congregate – shopping malls, family or friends parties, restaurants, bars etc.
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Assume you have been a good marketer and have been amassing an email list of your customers and prospects. Perhaps you have been a rockstar and segmented the lists based on different purchase habits.
Email is not dead. In fact, email generates $38 for every dollar spent, which is a 3,800% ROI, which is mind boggling. (Source: Hubspot). The biggest reason is because it doesn’t cost much to create and deploy emails. Email is not only alive, but the audience is still actively engaged. Per Hubspot, millennials overwhelmingly prefer communications from businesses come via email.
Consider keeping your loyal customers actively informed of your dispensary, farm, bakery, etc. What new products are coming out? Could there be an exclusive release for high valued customers? What makes an email campaign successful is developing an evergreen content plan. Look at your marketing calendar and map out what do you want to say and where and to who and about what and how will it be successful.
Don’t Ignore Blogs
One of the first “social media” tactics was blogging. There is still considerable value in blogging – from getting your idea out more meaningful to SEO benefits. Let’s break down those 2.
Getting your ideas out more meaningful: Suppose you have a product that you want to provide the consumers more information on – say it’s a topical CBD cream or new baked product. You may want to demonstrate to your customers the product benefits, application opportunities, treatment regiments etc. Similar to edible companies – there are ways you can bring the consumers into the infusion of your products and pairing with other products. The cannabis industry is still so new to everyone that there are still education opportunities. It seems like almost everyday there are new consumers coming into the cannabis industry and with that they have an appetite for more education.
SEO Benefits: There are a few ways Google ranks websites that appear within Google’s first page, but one major trigger is based on how relatable the content on your website is to the user’s search query. The more content you have on your website, the more likely your website will fit the searchers needs. Using the aforementioned example, your CBD company is competing for a share of voice in the space that’s already crowded and growing. If someone searches “how to use CBD cream” – you will need to have content related to that query.
There are other factors that go into SEO rankings, such as link building, site speed, legibility of content, meta data, and the list goes on. In the SEO world, content is king and the best place to start to get your website ranked within the top 10 is with publishing more content.
Increase the Quantity and Quality Social Media Presence
Your customers are already on social media and likely checking in multiple times a day. Not only increasing your social media presence is enough, producing engaging content is the key. You’re competing for a share of voice. Posting random pictures of random experiences or things around your farm or dispensary is meaningless. “Hey check this out…we’re open everyday”. That’s not content. It’s just noise. Social media is the watercooler, magazine, tv, park bench, community meeting, and any other gathering place all in one. You wouldn’t put some grainy pixelated picture as a billboard, then don’t do the same with your social media.
Putting the quality aside, you should be harnessing the power of social media to boost your awareness and drive consumer engagement. Building authentic and authoritative content will ultimately lead to higher ROI. Not every message needs to be a pushy sales message, cannabis marketers need to focus on building content to nurture relationships. If you’re a local dispensary, try using YouTube or IGTV to “unbox” and review new products being featured at your store.
The pandemic has forced marketers to pivot dramatically. People are spending more time online consuming content. Online video consumption saw a 60% spike. Live streaming saw 70% increase. Twitter is seeing double digit growth. All of this consumption presents an opportunity for cannabis marketers to reach an engaged audience. The question is no longer how, but rather who are we reaching and what are we going to say to them.
MMH is a full-service digital marketing agency built for the cannabis industry. We have expertise in SEO, Content Development, Social Media, and Paid Media. Over the last 15+ years, our founders have created award-winning work for some of the biggest global brands. We are cannabis advocates that approach every project with passion and drive to build compelling brand experiences that drive action.