Advertising In The New Great White North

CANADIAN CANNABIS HISTORY MADE

At long last, the good people of Canada have begun the worldwide charge towards a brighter future with the nationwide legalization of cannabis on October 17. With every legal milestone, of course, come more questions than answers—and the world of legal cannabis is no exception. There are the obvious concerns—what cannabis can be purchased and where? For how much? How can cannabis be grown and distributed? Many of these questions already have simple answers for producers and consumers alike, but there is one area of gray that is likely to persist—Advertising.

The good news is that Marijuana Marketing Gurus knows just how to help your company navigate the murky waters of cannabis advertising.

 

LEGAL MARIJUANA MARKETING

The landmark legalization of marijuana in Canada was, of course, a legal watershed moment, and as such brings with it a flood of lawyers and red tape. In addition to answering questions about who exactly can purchase and use cannabis, legal experts are also playing an important role in the future of cannabis marketing and advertising. Now that pot has been legalized, it will be sold by a variety of companies and brokers, big and small, with various rules governing how it can be advertised. The keys to questions about marijuana marketing all lie inside the Cannabis Act, which covers all the issues associated with Canadian legalization. This includes basic questions such as age-restrictions and cultivation guidelines. Of course, as with any legal document, it is long and convoluted. Which is why MMG read it for you!

 

CANADIAN MARIJUANA LAWS

The Cannabis Act states in no uncertain terms that “it is prohibited to promote cannabis,” despite legalization. But what does that mean? How can it be illegal to ‘promote’ something that was just made legal? As always the devil is in the details, and the Cannabis Act goes on to explain the ways in which cannabis can and cannot be marketed. Understandably, the law states that cannabis may not be sold “by doing so in a manner that it is reasonable to believe could be appealing to young persons.”

The Act goes on to say that no testimonials or endorsements may be used in the marketing of cannabis, including “by means the depiction of a person, character or animal, whether real or fictional”. Yes, it is true, for the time being, the cannabis industry will be without its own version of Tony the Tiger or Joe Camel. What the Cannabis Act will permit is an advertisement that is “informational”, and based upon “brand preference”. That is to say that cannabis companies can market their products using factual information about their goods. So what is the difference between “informational” and “testimonial”. No one quite knows yet, which is why Marijuana Marketing Gurus is here for you.

 

FUTURE OF CANNABIS MARKETING

We are all still at the very beginning of the long and winding road towards the future of cannabis sales and marijuana digital marketing. Now is the start of a long battle between government lawyers, cannabis companies and the general public over just what Canadian dispensaries and companies will be able to pursue when it comes to marketing their products. As you can see by the wording of the Cannabis Act, much of the language about what can and cannot be advertised is vague. For right now, companies will push the envelope until they receive pushback from lawsuits and from the state. Already there are plenty of cases of celebrity endorsement of the Canadian cannabis industry that would appear to violate advertising regulations. Sooner or later, these cases will wind up in court where precedents will be set, and the cannabis marketing business will move in one direction or the other. Until then, we are all living in the Wild West, but MMG is here to help lead you down the trail.

Want The Best ROI? Focus On Email Marketing

Every business wants the best ROI. Marketing practices are pretty much always about maximizing this return on investment. How can you generate the most sales leads at the lowest cost? What will make the biggest impact on potential customers without breaking the bank? Well, it’s becoming clear that email marketing produces the best ROI out of all possible marketing channels. If you want the best ROI, you need to focus on email marketing.

Does email marketing really give the best ROI?

Put simply: yes! More email marketing equals a better return on investment. According to an eMarketer study, email marketing has a median ROI of 122% – four times higher than any other digital marketing channel. The majority of marketers say that email marketing offers an excellent or good ROI. Email has consistently proven to be the best marketing channel for businesses, and 75% of online shoppers are somewhat or very likely to open brand emails. Email marketing is the most effective way to get a strong ROI.

Why else should you be doing more email marketing?

We know that email marketing produces the best ROI of all marketing channels. But, it’s important for many other reasons too. For one, email has the widest reach. It can be easy to assume that social media is bigger, but there are three times more email addresses than Facebook and Twitter accounts combined.

 

Customers also prefer to interact with brands via email, with 72% saying that email is their favorite way to receive promotional content from brands. Interacting with them in a way they enjoy is the best way to net customers and increase brand loyalty.

So how do you get email marketing right?

Email marketing is a great way to improve ROI, but not if you’re doing it the wrong way. Here are some top tips to get email marketing right for the best ROI:

  •   Get more subscribers by convincing website visitors to subscribe to your mailing list
  •   Target your emails by including the customer’s name and personalizing the email in line with their demographics (where they live, their gender, age, interests, and so on)
  •   Create professional, interesting, easily understandable emails
  •   Make sure your emails don’t end up in the Spam folder by avoiding too much capitalization or bad HTML
  •   Make your emails mobile-friendly so subscribers can read them on computers, tablets, and smartphones

You need to do more email marketing if you want to get the best ROI. If you’d like to learn more about using email marketing to improve your ROI, get in touch with MMG today.

 

Image vs Plain Text Emails: Which Method Will Work For You

Email marketing is the best way to reach your customers. 72% of consumers report that email is their favorite way to receive promotional content from brands and the reach of email marketing is wider than any other channel. However, the debate remains: are plain text emails or image-based emails better?

What’s the difference between image and plain text emails?

Image-based emails use HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and can contain, of course, images and more design elements. A plain text email, simply put, is one that just uses text without flashy design elements. Most email marketing platforms make their templates with HTML, so it isn’t difficult to create the elements for an image-based email. However, some email clients won’t accept HTML emails or automatically send them to the Spam folder.

Is plain text or image-based email better?

Did you know, 82% of marketers believe that content which contains images is more likely to be consumed? However, that doesn’t mean they’re right. Image-based, HTML-heavy emails may be more attractive but, they’re also more likely to get flagged by spam filters. Whereas, plain text emails are more likely to get in front of subscribers’ eyes because they are rarely flagged as spam.

 

HTML emails also use more bandwidth, and many email servers won’t automatically show HTML elements (images)  in emails. This means the receiver has to manually enable these elements to see them, which they may not willingly do. Meanwhile, plain text emails are likely to be opened as the subscriber can see every aspect of them right away. The best answer is to include a plain text alternative even if you’re sending HTML emails.

What about personalization?

Over 80% of marketers reported higher open rates thanks to email personalization, and 75% believe that it leads to higher click-through rates.

Personalizing your email campaigns can be incredibly helpful. It’s particularly important if you’re sending plain text emails. The more personalized your emails are, the more likely it is that receivers will engage with them, whether that means opening them, reading them, clicking through to your website, or even making a purchase.

Personalized plain text emails will generally include, at a minimum, the subscriber’s name. They can also include further personalization, based on the subscriber’s location, age, gender, occupation, previous purchases, or click-through activity. The more of these elements that you include, the more likely that subscribers will open your emails and engage with them.  

Plain text is an important complement to image-based HTML emails and they can also work well on their own. If you’d like to find out more about using image-based and plain text emails, get in touch with us at MMG  to find out more.

4 Gifts To Give The Cannabis Enthusiast In Your Life

Are you struggling with finding the perfect gift for the cannabis lover in your life. Well have no fear, the gurus are here to help. Whether you’re shopping for a birthday gift, holiday present or other celebration, these top-notch cannabis gifts qualify as a go-to.

JuJu Royal CBD Cartridges

The first quartz cartridge on the market will impress fans of CBD who thought they’d tried everything. The patent is pending on this cartridge, which is leak-free and designed to reach 400 degrees Fahrenheit in one second or less for faster vaping. The CBD itself is made of full-spectrum, solvent-free CO2 extracted oil. The formula includes Jamaican cherries, known to aid in the relief of migraines and inflammation.

QuantVapor Vaporizer

A sleek pocket vaporizer is a good gift for the hipster in your life. Designed for dry herbs but containing a compartment for concentrates, this vaporizer is battery operated with an LED display and an indicator that lets the user know when chamber is heated up. The walnut finish is classic and the vaporizer is easy to clean — a win-win.

Citizen CBD Tincture Drops

Citizen CBD has the purest CBD oil on the market in the form of a CBD tincture. This gift is versatile; the recipient can add it to almost any food or beverage. For every 100mg of CBD in the drops, the amount of trace cannabinoids and terpenes are greater than other present raw materials. In other words, this tincture has the best ratio of terpenes and cannabinoids to CBD content on the market. Each bottle contains 30 mL.

Side bonus: Citizen CBD gives 10% of their profits to the Wounded Veteran Foundation.

BioCBD Total Body Care

For the CBD lover in your life who is also on the fitness train, gift BioCBD Total Body Care capsules. Each bottle contains 30 capsules filled with water soluble hemp CBD. The pills are all natural and support overall health, making them a thoughtful offering to any friend or family member who is looking for new ways to improve overall wellness. Every active ingredient in the capsules been transformed into powerhouse micro particles using patent-pending technology and is quickly absorbed.

Finding gifts for the Cannabis user in your life is only difficult for the number of choices. From vaping supplies to tinctures, you’re bound to find a winner among top products on the market. Go ahead, treat your loved one to a sublime experience by picking up any of the products we listed above.

 

Why You Need an SSL Certificate on Your Site

If you don’t have an SSL certificate on your website yet, it’s time to start planning to get one. That’s because Google will soon begin penalizing sites that don’t have one by marking them as not secure—which will surely keep many safety-conscious customers from making purchases from your site. If you’re not up to date on the need for an SSL certificate, here’s what you need to know.

An SSL Certificate Keeps Your Customers Safe

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and it’s the best way to create an encrypted link between a server and a web browser so any information passed between the two is private. This is critical for sites that accept sensitive information from customers, such as passwords and credit card numbers. So if you run a blog, you don’t necessarily need an SSL certificate to protect customers. But if you plan to sell anything—including cannabis products—online, you need this protection.

It Can Protect Your Business

Websites that don’t have an SSL certificate are easy targets for cybercriminals, which means your site is more likely to be hacked. When you run an ecommerce site, this could spell disaster for your business. Not only could any private information on your website get out, but your company’s reputation could suffer if any customers are affected. You can avoid all this by obtaining an SSL certificate.

It Can Improve Your Customers’ Trust in Your Brand

Many people already don’t buy from websites that don’t have an SSL certificate. They can tell by checking the address bar. If it says HTTPS, it’s secure. But if it simply says HTTP, it’s not, and they often feel less confident about entering in their credit card numbers.

Recently, this became much more of an issue for website owners because once Google released Chrome v62, it became more obvious which sites have an SSL certificate—and which ones don’t. That’s because Google now marks the ones without this certificate as “not secure.” This applies to any type of website where users can provide feedback—even if it’s only through a search box—but it’s especially important for ecommerce sites to take note of this update.

If you want a simple way to protect your customers and website as a whole while also building trust in your brand, get an SSL certificate. This will allow you to compete with other marijuana brands with confidence.

If none of this makes sense to you, don’t stress. Marijuana Marketing Gurus can help get you set up with an SSL certificate so you can rest easy knowing your site and your customers are safe. Simply contact us and we’ll light the way.

 

3 Influencer Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018

As marijuana marketing picks up steam across states with newly minted legalized cannabis laws, being up to date on digital marketing trends becomes ever more vital. The use of social media influencers is one way to attract new customers that you shouldn’t ignore. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, influencer marketing grew by 28 percent. More than half of marketers have a budget for influencers — but not all of them will be up to date on these trends for 2018. If you are, you’re already ahead of the game on January 1st.

1. A Demand for Meaningful Partnerships

Social media influencers have largely been deployed as a campaign tactic. A new product comes up, the brand finds someone trusted by their audience to promote it on Instagram, and then the campaign ends at some point. In 2018, brands will be better served to build a long-lasting, authentic relationship with their influencers. Likewise, influential marketers are being contacted so often that they may demand more meaningful contracts and relationships with the brands they love.

2. More Fake Influencers

Unfortunately, a side effect of influencer popularity will likely be an increase in frauds in 2018. Users can buy a million followers to appear trusted and influential when in reality they have very little impact in your industry. When you’re choosing an influencer, it will be more important than ever to vet them for the number of interactions they earn and any articles/other sponsorships they’ve earned.

3. Integration of Multiple Influencer Strategies

Another way influencer strategies will expand in 2018 is brands will have to integrate different related tactics. In the past, a brand might get away with a single celebrity influencer. Moving forward, you will need to combine micro- and macro-influencing strategies. Different influencers for different target markets help you amplify your brand and build better relationships with consumers.

Cannabis marketing is having its moment, and you can seize it by riding current influencer trends. Marijuana advertising strategies should be integrated, authentic and partner with credible influencers if you want to make a mark. With a team of influencers on your side, you might be surprised how much your brand recognition can skyrocket overnight.

Not sure how to get influencers behind your brand? Let the experts at Marijuana Marketing Gurus help get your products in the hands of the people who can take your brand to the next level.

5 Ideas to Help You Increase Your Website’s Conversion Rates

You’ve successfully managed to get visitors to your website. Now you just need to convince them that your company has something worthwhile to offer, and turn those visits into more conversions. Following a few smart tips will help you do just that.

Keep It Simple

Few things can deter a site visitor faster than a complicated website or long-winded form field. Site visitors want a simple and straightforward online user experience. Paring your email opt-in subscription form down to the essential will make it that much easier for visitors to get on board and become subscribers. According to Inc., you should aim to make your sign-up process 30 seconds or less.

Be Actionable

With all the information on your site, it may be challenging for visitors to decipher what is or is not a call-to-action. It should be easy for visitors to figure out what they can do to engage with your product or service. Actionable verbs like “click,” “sign-up” or “visit,” gives potential clients the incentive to act. Your landing page is a great place to put a call-to-action.

State the Benefits

To you, the benefits of your product or service are clear. However, for someone new to your site, your content is the best opportunity to learn what you have to offer. Explaining the benefits of your product or service in clear and concise terms, ideally as a solution to an existing problem will help you turn a skeptic into a customer.

Use Testimonials

You could have a game-changing product or service, but if your site fails to inspire trust, no one will be willing to give it a try. Testimonials from those who have used your product can go a long way towards convincing someone who may be on the fence about making a purchase. Similarly, any association you have with well-known brands, influencers or media outlets should also be prominently showcased on your site to help establish trust.

Visuals Are Worth a Thousand Words

It’s no secret that people respond well to visual stimuli. Why try to convince someone that your product or service is worth their time and money when you could just show them? Use photos or better yet, video, to demonstrate exactly what your company can do and you’re sure to increase your sale conversion rate.

Increasing your conversion rate may seem like an uphill task. But once people are on your site, you’re already done a lot of the heavy lifting. Implementing a few additional strategies will help you improve your conversation rate and generate sustainable growth and revenue.
Stay tuned to Marijuana Marketing Gurus for more helpful insights and marketing tips.

Optimization With Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

How do you know that your online marketing efforts are going well? What areas of weakness and strength do your endeavors have? The answer lies in metrics, but some help you more than others. It’s essential to identify the right key performance indicators or KPIs.

Think in Terms of Macro Conversions

Your primary goal is to make a profit. Thus, only those metrics that directly assess revenue are key KPIs, and they’re called macro conversions. There are four: customer acquisition cost, conversion rate, revenue per visitor and lifetime value.

That’s it. All other metrics are micro conversions because their tie to revenue is indirect. For example, a business may have been putting a lot of weight on how long visitors browse its website. However, browsing alone doesn’t make the business money. In fact, it’s possible that visitors who spend more than a certain amount of minutes on the website are less likely to become customers. Similarly, a business could have been assessing click-through rates as a KPI, but where’s the money?

A Look at Each KPI

The lower your customer acquisition cost, the better. You want to keep time and expenditures low while maximizing profits. To measure this, take the money you spend on marketing for a certain period and divide it by how many customers you attracted in that time frame.

The conversion rate in many situations is the rate at which customers make purchases and for what amounts of money. It’s a critical KPI, because it shows the marketing efforts that are working best and those that may need changing.

Given marijuana laws, though, your website might not sell products. You can still measure conversion rate in other ways. For example, say you wrote two blog posts. Each offers the same coupon. At what rates did each post get customers in the store?

Revenue per visitor is how much money your business makes per website visitor. It gives a much fuller picture than other metrics such as average order value or transaction rate.

Finally, lifetime value is the estimated net profit each customer brings to your business. After all, some customers spend a lot more than others and frequent your business for longer periods of time, and it makes sense to focus on them. LTV also helps you determine how long it will take for a customer to become profitable.

Stay tuned to Marijuana Marketing Gurus for more insider tips and tricks.

How Your Cannabis Business Can Leverage SEO

Word-of-mouth recommendations can only take your cannabis business so far. You need to incorporate a range of tactics into your marijuana marketing strategy, including search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO encompasses methods that can move your website up in search results. For example, when someone searches for a marijuana dispensary on Google, the pages higher up in the listings are those that have more favorable SEO characteristics than pages on other sites.

The Benefits of SEO

Your cannabis website brings in more organic visitors when it reaches the top of the search results. These people already have some interest in the topic you cover, since they found you by searching for a related keyword or phrase. Another SEO benefit is increased brand awareness. You won’t get 100 percent of the clicks when you hit the top of the search results, but everyone will see your cannabis company’s name as they look through the list.

On-Page SEO

SEO techniques fall under two broad categories: on-page and off-site. The on-page category includes tweaks you make to your website to create an experience that’s attractive to search engines.
The ways that you can improve your on-page SEO include removing broken links, putting intuitive navigation in place, using keyword phrases in your text and creating an SEO-friendly marijuana website design.

Off-Site SEO

Off-site SEO includes optimization methods done on external channels. For example, another marijuana website linking to your site creates a backlink. Search engines like to see relevant links to your site, as these often indicate that your information is trusted in your niche. You can reach out to relevant site owners to see whether they would like to use your content as a resource, or you can pursue guest blogging opportunities.
Social networks also play a part in off-site SEO. Search engines can look at how many people follow your page and link to your content to determine your authority in the cannabis business.
Marijuana SEO might sound overwhelming at first, but your business will gain many benefits from putting it in place. Starting with the on-page elements is an easy way to begin this process. Next, you can move to off-site methods.
Posted in SEO

Content Marketing Vs. SEO: What Is the Difference?

It’s easy to confuse SEO and content marketing as people often speak about them as if they are interchangeable. While they are distinct online marketing techniques, they do complement each other. Here is how they are different and how, together, they can produce the best marketing results.

What Is SEO?

SEO means search engine optimization. It refers to the process of getting organic traffic from ranking well in the search engine results pages, or SERP. You need to optimize your content or website in a way that will make the search engines rank them well in the SERPs. The main ways to rank well in the SERPs are having a good keyword strategy and many backlinks from relevant websites.

Keywords refer to the words people type into search engines to find information on various topics. So if someone types in “medical marijuana dispensary” in the search engine, “medical marijuana dispensary” is the keyword and the sites that pop up are those that rank well for the red widget keyword.

Backlinks refer to a link to a website from another website. So Site A links to Site B, the link on Site A is a backlink for site B. The more relevant backlinks you have, the higher you will rank in the search engines. The combination of excellent keywords and relevant backlinks help websites rank high in the SERPs.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is an inbound marketing technique that involves producing content that is then distributed across the web promoting the original business to a sea of potential customers. It is one of the most effective online marketing techniques and can yield excellent results over the long term.

The content created can take on many forms. Blog posts, ebooks, infographic, videos, and whitepapers are all content types that work with content marketing. The distribution channels can be anything from social media platforms, forums, email to other blogs and websites. The more content you create, and the better you promote it, the better your results from content marketing.

How SEO and Content Marketing Work Together

SEO is the foundation for great content marketing. You don’t have to optimize the content you create for your content marketing strategy for the search engines, but the question is, why wouldn’t you? As you promote the content via various channels, organic traffic from search engines still delivers the best ROI of all traffic generators except for email marketing. Highly optimized content also performs better on social networks, as many of them act as search engines as well. The better your SEO, the more successful your content marketing efforts.