The Challenges of Marijuana Marketing in Canada 2018
Right now in March 2018, the only legal way for a customer to buy pot products is through the mail from a producer, licensed by Health Canada. Those producers will only sell to those with prescriptions.
There are approximately 90 licensed producers across Canada with many more yet to be approved by Health Canada.
The advertising rules for the sale of Cannabis products are still undefined.
Seventeen of the main licensed producers have created their own suggested guidelines which they claim are more restrictive than current Alcohol Advertising standards. See their document here
**What's currently not allowed and once the rules are established, will be restrictive
Placing ads on third-party websites to create brand awareness, generate traffic
Examples: Banner ads, video ads, interactive ads, overlays, etc.
**Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
Bidding for placement at search engines for traffic when relevant queries are performed
Examples: Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, etc.
**Social Media Advertising
Bidding for placement at social media platforms to get traffic
What's Left to market Pot online in Canada?
Social Media Marketing
Category 1 Marketing Actions - Ranked For Effectiveness and ROI
1. Email Marketing - ROI High; Effort Middle, Cost Middle
- Collect email addresses from visitors and using email messages market to them
Examples: Email newsletters, conversion-focused emails, etc.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - ROI High; Effort High, Cost Middle
- First Page rankings in results pages of search engines Google, Bing
Examples: Keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, etc.
3. Content Campaigns - ROI Middle; Effort High, Cost Middle
- The process of generating creative content that will help spread your branding/marketing message and earn traffic
Examples: Articles, Linkbait production, videos
4. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) - ROI High; Effort High, Cost Middle
- Test and Improve results from landing to purchase to get more leads/signups/customers
Examples: Split testing, click-through-rate improvements, purchase-process simplification, etc.
Category 2 Marketing Actions - For Effectiveness and ROI
5. Affiliate Marketing - ROI Middle; Effort Middle, Cost Middle
- Incentives to others to feature your product in exchange for a share of the revenue
Examples: In-house affiliate programs
Category 3 Marketing Actions - For Effectiveness and ROI
6. Online Public Relations - ROI Low; Effort Middle, Cost Middle
- Generating media coverage from outlets to get branding and traffic
Examples: PRNewswire, PRWeb, Internet media focused PR agency work, etc.
7. Social Media Marketing (SMM) - ROI Middle; Effort High, Cost High
- Using social media platforms to earn visibility and traffic
Examples: Facebook Group pages, Twitter posts, content on Reddit, etc.
Considerations to Help Choose Where to Focus First
Sales - clear market demand on the web that needs to be drawn to your site and converted into leads/sales
Brand Awareness - marketplace doesn't have much familiarity/comfort with your brand to search, visit, or purchase from you
Education - the market for your product/service needs to be created
Your Marketing Budget
Very High: in excess of $1 million
High: $100K - $1 million
Moderate: $25K - $100K
Low: $5K - $25K
Available Company Talent (or trusted providers)
Site Resources - technology staff to make changes to your site to support marketing goals
Creative Resources - writers/artists/videographers
Search Resources - search marketers, seo's
Social Resources - online networkers for Twitter-Facebook-Reddit
Where you focus your marketing team depends on the intersection of these above and any other factors, like your optimal time frame for sales results.
Based on our experience, to generate sales as fast as possible requires an investment in All the above top category marketing actions - Email, Content, SEO and Conversion Optimization.