Advertising Online For Cannabis Businesses: Tips And Tricks

You have a brilliant cannabis business idea. You’ve come up with a product or service that can help a bunch of people and potentially make you a lot of money. The logical next step in your marketing strategy should be to promote this product, right? And how hard can that be?

Based on our experience, this can be pretty difficult. One of the toughest parts of owning a cannabis-based business is jumping through legal hoops while trying to promote your product or service. With varying local, state, and national laws, advertising for marijuana products can be almost impossible to navigate. Laws often conflict with each other, change rapidly, and can be difficult to understand. On top of that, you have to play by each advertisers’ rule set, which tends to side with the national laws.

Despite all of these restrictions, we’ve found a few ways to get campaigns running for our marijuana clients while still playing by the rules. Since we get a number of questions about advertising from our prospective cannabis clients, we decided to share some of our tips and tricks to running digital advertising campaigns for marijuana.

Advertising Online For Cannabis: FAQ’s

Which Platforms Allow Cannabis Ads?

If we’re looking at advertising policies, the answer is no one. Google, Facebook, and most other large advertising platforms align with federal law, which states that cannabis is illegal and cannot be advertised for. Because of this, the main strategy we employ is, “How can we stretch these policies to our advantage?” If you’re trying to sell flower, concentrates, edibles, etc. online, you’re likely not going to find any wiggle room in these policies. However, if you sell accounting services, growing supplements, extraction equipment, for example, there’s some opportunity for us.

For our clients that sell ancillary services and products for cannabis, we’ve found some interesting opportunities. Because these products are not illegal according to federal law, they are often able to run ads on the platform. A best practice is to avoid outwardly using “cannabis” or “marijuana” in your ad copy or landing page, but policies are loosening every day. Part of running a successful cannabis advertising campaign is testing the limits and seeing what you can get away with.


Can My Cannabis Business Advertise?

The short answer is, maybe. When a potential client comes to us asking about advertising, we ask four questions that usually tell us what’s a possibility for them.

  • What is your product?
  • What is your brand name?
  • What is your URL?
  • What is your budget?

We ask these questions for a number of reasons. Mostly, we know which clients have successfully gotten past advertising policies and which have not, so we can use those experiences to tell you if your business might be able to run.

Your product and brand name can make a big difference when it comes to your eligibility. For example, if you are a cannabis consultant, you might be able to run on Google or Facebook without issue. However, if your name is “Cannabis Consultant,” you’ve suddenly restricted your options simply because your name would get flagged. Similarly, if you sell THC hand cream, you wouldn’t normally be able to advertise. However, if your name is something generic like “Holistic Solutions,” you might be able to slip past most of the automated systems that would flag your product normally.

Your URL also helps your eligibility. More often than not, a digital ad that you’re running will direct to your website. Automated systems for Google, Facebook, and more will look at both your ad copy and your landing pages. If your landing page is for example, you’ll likely get flagged by those systems. Having a generic URL like can help get past those systems.

Our last question about budget mostly tells us what other options are available to you. MMG leverages partners for some of our clients that allow cannabis ads to run on cannabis-friendly networks. While these networks provide a great alternative for our clients, they do not come cheap. Most partners require at least a $2500 monthly ad spend before you can run, which makes it not the right channel for everyone.

How Does CBD and the Farm Bill Play Into This?

To be honest, we don’t know how the passing of the Farm Bill will fully affect our clients’ ability to run online advertising. While the bill was passed officially in December and made CBD federally legal, advertisers rarely update their policies quick enough for us to have an official answer. As of posting, Facebook and Google have not updated their policies to allow the advertising of CBD specifically on their platforms.

Does this mean they would reject ads for CBD on their sites? Unfortunately, you don’t know until you try. Sometimes CBD ads are able to run without issues. Sometimes ads are caught immediately. Most of the time, campaigns end up somewhere in the middle, facing some issues but able to run for a period of time.


My Cannabis Ads Got Shut Down. Now What?

Well, that all depends on where you had issue. Google, Facebook, and other platforms have varying levels of shutting down that they employ. Google will often flag ads before shutting down an account, giving you the opportunity to change your messaging and try again. Facebook, on the other hand, may shut down your account without warning, meaning you do not have the opportunity to try different things on the platform. The worst-case scenario for Facebook is that they shut down your Facebook or Instagram page, so you have to rebuild your following from scratch. When debating whether to try advertising your cannabis product, the risks need to be weighed. There will almost always be risks in trying this channel for promotion.



Advertising for cannabis still falls in a gray area. Google, Facebook, and other advertising platforms do not allow the advertising of the cannabis plant, but some leeway has been found for advertising ancillary products. In our experience, most clients need to try multiple channels to know where they are able to run and see success. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution for cannabis clients.

Still feeling overwhelmed about what to do? Schedule a complimentary audit with one of our Analysts and see what Marijuana Marketing Gurus can do for your business.

Cannabis Marketing and Packaging in Canada

Since the passage of the Cannabis Act in October of 2018, which officially legalized marijuana in all Canadian territories, there has been a lot of important news to keep up with for folks in the cannabis industry. For marijuana growers, producers and entrepreneurs, the Cannabis Act has brought along with it all of the usual red tape and legal bureaucracy that is expected to come along with a groundbreaking piece of regulation. This includes the ongoing battle over how cannabis can be advertised and marketed to customers in Canada, as well as all of the normal guidelines that need to be established regarding how exactly cannabis can be bought and sold. Even for companies that are based in the United States, there has been a lot to keep up with. As the world moves closer to a global cannabis marketplace, the variety of laws and regulations that are being debated and implemented in Canada are bound to effect a much larger marketplace. For MMG and our clients, one piece of recent news is of particular importance.

Shortly before the start of the New Year, Health Canada launched a “public consultation on draft regulations” for a whole host of cannabis products. In layman’s terms, this means that Health Canada, which is the equivalent of the United States Department of Health, is reaching out to the scientific and business communities to find the best ways to introduce cannabis products to the market in ways that are safe and healthy.  This new fact-finding mission is particularly concerned with edibles and extracts, as well as creams and ointments. In the case of edibles, Health Canada is suggesting that products be limited to 10 milligrams of active THC per serving. For creams and topical applications, the suggested upper limit is 1,000 milligrams. As more research is done, these suggested dosages could change.

In addition to trying to establish reasonable limits on the strength of cannabis products, the main concern of Health Canada’s program is to introduce marijuana in ways that ensure deterrence for children and young adults. The Canadian Minister of Health was quoted as saying “These proposed regulations under the Cannabis Act support our overarching goal of keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and protecting public health and safety.” This goal is clearly tied in to much of the advertising legislation that Canada has put in place for the cannabis industry, which prohibits the use of cartoons and celebrity endorsements to sell products. For edibles and creams, the Canadian government is hoping to ensure that companies are using plain, child-resistant packaging so that children do not inadvertently come into contact with cannabis products. We ensure that our clients’ products are packaged in accordance with their use as health products, and are designed to not attract curious hands. It makes sense that Canada would want to steer the future of cannabis advertising away from many of the mistakes that have been made in the past with alcohol and tobacco. Looking back in time, there is no way that Joe Camel was really a good idea.

We’re constantly watching legal progress and more information from the Canadian government in the coming years, as well forward movement from many US states that are likely to follow suit with legalization. In the meantime, there is plenty of positive news for the cannabis industry to hang its hat on. Results of a University of Michigan study were recently published concerning the relationship between the use of medical marijuana against other prescription drugs. 2.1 million Americans currently hold medical marijuana prescriptions, and among those sampled for the study, 42 percent reported quitting another prescription drug in favor of medical cannabis. Another 38 percent of surveyed patients reported decreasing their dosage of another prescription drug. Results from studies such as these continue to pour into the consciousness of everyday people who have for years been misled regarding the medical applications of cannabis. The results continue to affirm what we at MMG and so many other people have known for years, that cannabis offers effective treatment for inflammation, joint deterioration, muscle aches, anxiety and a whole host of other maladies.

Studies such as these are likely to continue shedding light on the uses of marijuana. Thirty percent of participants in the Michigan University survey noted they have not told their primary care physicians that they are using medical cannabis as a treatment. This also fails to take into account the hundreds of thousands or millions of people across the United States who use cannabis for medical applications without legal permission. As we move toward a more open dialogue with the medical community, benefits will continue to come to light.

Advertising In The New Great White North


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.



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!



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.



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.

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.

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.

Is Tapping into the CBD Market for You?

The marijuana market is getting more and more attention. Broad recreational use laws have been passed in seven states and the District of Columbia, making it legal to own and sell in these areas. Additionally, 29 states, including those with recreational use, have approved broad-use medical marijuana. This more accepting culture and the shift in regulations has also brought CBD oil into the forefront. As a non-psychoactive substance, CBD oil is often advertised as legal to sell in all 50 states. It’s also experiencing rapid growth in the marketplace, making it an area that is ripe for investment as long as you understand the challenges ahead of time.

The Health Benefits of CBD

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, has been the subject of several recent peer-reviewed studies. Combined with tons of anecdotal evidence, the overwhelming impression is that CBD can offer significant health benefits. The fact that marijuana has been approved for medical use in more than half the country helps lend credence to the belief that CBD also has medical uses. Given that CBD is derived from the industrial hemp plant and does not have any psychoactive components, CBD oil can be used for patients that are otherwise not good candidates for marijuana.

The Dark Side of CBD Sales

With this sudden expansion in the CBD market and availability of high-quality hemp plants to extract the oil, the market has exploded. Like any sudden growth industry, new entries will face their share of challenges. The biggest challenge you will face is your supply line. Becoming a CBD retailer is fairly straightforward, but obtaining quality product can be a challenge. CBD oil is only legal in all states when it comes from industrial hemp plants, but these plants contain less CBD than marijuana plants. Industrial hemp plants naturally contain no more than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Marijuana plants often contain more than 10 percent. The distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana plants is what allows retailers to sell hemp oil products. A significant market segment wants to be sure that their CBD oil is completely THC-free, so knowing where the oil comes from and where it is legal to sell is important.

Growth Projections

Even with the sometimes hazy legality and difficulty obtaining pure products with a clear production line, CBD represents a large market with explosive growth potential. Some projections expect the market to grow by 700 percent in less than three years. With that kind of potential return, CBD might be exactly the invest you’ve been looking for.
Already in the market?  Let the gurus help grow your business and brand awareness.  Contact one of our experts today!