Cannabis is currently legal for recreational use in 11 states and for medicinal use in 33 states. With cannabis laws becoming less hardline, and generalized use being more popularized, the market has exploded in both value and competition.
When California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, followed by Colorado and Washington becoming the first two states to legalize recreational use in 2012, the tracks for a blossoming industry began.
Federal law still lists cannabis as a Schedule I drug, and remains illegal for use in the eyes of the federal government. This translates to strict advertising rules on the largest advertising platforms like Google and Facebook. We’ve written a couple of blogs on the marketing regulations (link) and PPC guidelines (link) surrounding cannabis advertising, but our thinktank experts have compiled a few helpful workarounds to possibly beating these strict rules.
Being Creative Can Pay Dividends
Paid media remains largely untouchable for cannabis companies as the aforementioned platforms have strict regulations against the promotion of recreational drugs and related paraphernalia. However, the scanning algorithm of Google, Facebook, and the likes is trained to pick up on flagged keywords and phrasing that might hint at the advertising of controlled substances. Additionally, any imagery that shows or implicates drug use will also be dinged by AI technology.
While we don’t necessarily recommend this method, it can be successful if done right. Creative copywriting that promotes your company’s good or service, without doing so in a way that actually says what you sell or provide can enable paid ads to sneak by. An example of a cannabis cultivation company might look something like: “Need to increase your organic plant growth? Contact us to learn more about our all-in-one lighting and cooling system that improves cultivation conditions.”
More often than not, these types of ads serve as brand awareness and probably won’t convert the best due to the lack of concrete information that most ad placements need to reel in leads. The downside to this is that if your copywriting or imagery is not vague enough, your ads will be taken down, your account can be disabled or banned on some platforms. Also if your company name is something like, CannabisXYZ, you’re not going to be able to get your ads approved even with the best copywriter.
Unfortunately, this is about the only way to eek past the security wall of Google and Facebook, however, other dedicated cannabis marketing platforms exist because of this roadblock. MANTIS and Traffic Roots are just two companies that have developed dashboards dedicated to paid cannabis advertising. The short on these platforms is that they help connect companies with websites that will allow the ad placement of cannabis products and services.
Alternative Options to Paid Campaigns
The beauty of marketing is that paid media isn’t the only option, and certainly not the only successful method of connecting with customers. The current cannabis industry standard is putting all efforts into organic advertising. Little regulation surrounds this form of marketing and capitalizes on the increasing momentum of cannabis search interest.
The success found in the cannabis industry doesn’t center around one specific organic marketing strategy but has in fact seen multiple areas generate great website traffic. From social media to email marketing to blogging, the right organic tactic exists for your company and your target audience.
Check out our 6 tips for marketing cannabis on social media (link) and our blog for 6 SEO tips to boost cannabis website rankings (link) for a full guide on how to build your organic marketing plan.
Need Help Advertising Your CBD Products Online?
Elevato Marketing is a full-service digital agency specializing in cannabis advertising. With a team of experienced professionals, we are ready to help connect your products with the right clients. Contact us to see how together we can benefit your business!