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!

Ideas for Your Editorial Calendar

Everyone knows content is king, but many marketers struggle to keep it organized. After all, you need content for everything from your blog to social media accounts. If you constantly have new content ideas popping up, it’s time to stop scribbling them on scraps of paper and start using an editorial calendar instead. This handy marketing tool is a great place to keep a list of any content you want to publish so you know exactly when you plan to post it. This way, you see any gaps in your upcoming content schedule, at which point you can plan to create or curate more content. As you set up your editorial calendar, here’s the type of content it should include.

Emails

Email marketing requires you to strategize so you’re not randomly sending emails, and an editorial calendar can help. For example, if you need to send emails one week before launching a new product or service, you can add that content to your schedule so it goes out on time.

Business Blog Posts

Having a blog for your business helps you get found by both search engines and consumers. That’s because blog posts provide the perfect opportunity to update your site frequently, which search engine crawlers reward. Plus, high-quality blog posts can get the attention of consumers looking to be entertained or learn something new, which increases the odds they’ll be back. But to get these results, you need to post consistently, and an editorial calendar will make it easy for you to ensure that you have content ready on a regular basis.

Social Media Content

Once you update your blog, it’s time to promote your latest post through social media. If you want a simple way to post a link to your updated blog, strategically schedule social media posts using your editorial calendar. So, if you write a blog post on Monday morning, your calendar will note that you need to add a post on social media to promote it the same day. This functionality is important when you have several social media accounts to keep track of.

Additional Types of Content

Email, blogs, and social media may be the main types of content most businesses use, but your editorial calendar doesn’t have to stop there. You can also use it to keep track of any other content you produce, including white papers, case studies, e-books, and webinars.

Basically, your editorial calendar should include anything you need to post regularly for your business. If you have any questions about managing your calendar or content marketing in general, contact a local marketing agency to make sure you’re on the right track.

Why Content is Still King for Cannabis Companies

Marijuana marketing is filled with fads. Remember when every brand needed to be on Vine? Remember when memes seemed like the next great idea? Fads come and go, but core marketing principles tend to stand the test of time.

For instance, one marketing idea that still holds true today is the mantra, “Content is King.” It’s easy to see why.

Last year, 73% of B2B marketers reported satisfactory results from their content marketing. Whether or not your marijuana business should be using content marketing isn’t really a question anymore. The real question is how do you create marijuana content marketing that actually works?

Why Does Content Marketing Work?

To truly understand why content marketing works, it’s important to understand why other digital marketing trends fail.

Back to memes for a second. When an obscure or narrow brand creates a meme to promote their business, they think they are joining a conversation and getting in on a joke with potential customers. At best, this kind of messaging ends up being ignored. At worst, it is mocked on websites like Reddit.
It’s not just that these efforts are corny. They fail to address a need, a question, or a worthwhile benefit to using your brand. Effective content marketing does all of that and more.

Content provides consumers with substance, something they can take home with them and associate with your product or service. It educates, inspires, motivates, and converts by creating and expanding on a prospect’s genuine interest.

Using Content to Get Ahead in 2017

The beauty of content marketing is that it’s never too late to get started. Everyday, millions of people go online to look for new information. Are you getting your share of this massive pie? There are several ways to do this, but below are the most effective methods.

Awareness Stage

One of the most common content marketing errors is mistaking prospects for leads. Don’t jump the gun and tell someone to buy your product before they even know they need it! The following styles of content are ideal for creating awareness and opening the door for new clients.

  • Blogs: Today, and in the future, a blog is an essential asset for any brand looking to do business online. Not only are they a must for SEO, a well-populated blog gives both your sales team and customers a library of helpful information. It creates opportunities to answer consumer questions while guiding them directly back to your product or service.
  • Infographics and Visuals: Informative blog content is a key asset for reaching awareness-level prospects. Without the right visuals, however, it just might fall by the wayside. Colored visuals increase willingness to read your messaging by 80%. Content with relevant imagery gets viewed 94% more often than content without it. Infographics get shared 3x more often than any other type of content. If you expect your long-form content to find life on social media, you’ll need distinctive imagery to help your brand cut through the clutter.
  • Video Content: It’s official: people love video. In fact, it’s anticipated that 74% of all web traffic in 2017 will be from video. Taking a blog or an infographic and repurposing it for a short newsfeed video is a fantastic way to get your audience’s attention and drive them towards your brand.

Lead Generation

Just because a consumer is aware of their problem doesn’t mean they’re ready for the hard sell. First, use informational content that speaks more directly to the potential relationship between you and the consumer, and then let them decide for themselves.

  • Case Studies: Few things sell your brand better than a good success story. A well-composed and strategically-delivered case study positions your service as the solution to the customer’s problem and can have leads knocking on your door instead of the other way around.
  • eBooks: What if you could generate a list of qualified leads AND make a preliminary sales pitch all in one go, without having to make a single cold call? Writing a short eBook gives prospects a no-obligation incentive for giving you their email address, and warms them up to your service or solution in the time between the download and future communication.
  • White Papers: Even though its audience is more narrow, a quality white paper can illustrate expertise, thought leadership, and brand superiority in a way simple ads and blogs might not. Incorporate these into your email marketing strategy and into your social channels to reach both industry influencers and potential customers.

Creating Content That Stands Out

In a sense, anyone can create content. But effective content requires a strategic approach. It takes more than just knowing your business and your clientele: it requires marketing expertise, creative ability, and a team of like-minded people to make your message stand out.

At Marijuana Marketing Gurus, we make it a point to know your business inside and out before we start creating. With an emphasis on strategy, design, and engagement, we create content that informs, delights, and converts leads into customers. Ready to see what effective content marketing can do for your business? Let’s get in touch.

4 Key Strategies To Bring Your Business To The Next Level

Over the past few years, the cannabis industry has grown exponentially. At the end of 2016, California – along with Maine, Nevada, and Massachusetts- joined the ranks of other progressive sites and legalized the recreational use of cannabis. This move by California is projected to increase the value of the cannabis market to $20 billion in the next 4 years.  In the next decade, it is estimated that the cannabis industry will be worth an astounding $50 billion, that is more than 8 times its current size!

The cannabis industry has come a long way from the days of homemade baked goods and nameless products on the shelf. As the experts in cannabis marketing and advertising, Marijuana Marketing Gurus can help you seize every opportunity this growing industry has to offer. In today’s market, it is becoming increasingly important to create a brand that engages with its community and maintains a strong presence in the marketplace. Below we have identified 4 key strategies you must invest in order to smoke the competition.

1. Invest in Innovative, Engaging & Educational Content Creation For Your Brand

From dispensaries to gourmet cannabis baked goods, the cannabis marketplace offers a vast array of choices for consumers. Because consumers have so much choice when it comes to cannabis products it becomes imperative for businesses to embrace the 4 elements of content marketing: email, social media, blogging, and video. These 4 elements help you create a community around your brand by engaging with your current and potential customers all at once. Not only do these elements add value to your brand, but they can provide you with valuable insight into who your audience is and what they want.

2. Invest in Photography

We have all heard the phrase a picture is worth a thousand words. Whether they are surfing the web or shopping the aisles of the local market, people see thousands of images a day. Which is why it is vital that the images you use in your branding catch the eye of every potential customer from the get-go.

Stock Photos Vs. Professional Photography

While there is a breadth of stock photo libraries out there, the images are often generic and do not reflect who you are as a business or the products you sell. By hiring a professional photographer to shoot photos of your team, your operation and your products you can show your customers exactly who you are.

3. Create Packaging That Is Both Aesthetically Pleasing & Meets Regulations.

For today’s savvy consumer the design of the packaging has as much to do with their purchasing decision as the quality of the actual product. In fact, 70% of all purchasing decisions happen at checkout. So it becomes essential for cannabis business to create packaging that appeals to consumers and easily distinguishes their brand from the competition. In addition, cannabis packing does come with all kinds of regulations you must adhere to, so it is vital to work with a designer who is well versed in the rules of cannabis packaging.

4. Always Keep Track of Your Analytics & Metrics

The number one mistake that any novice marketer will make is to set and forget their strategy. Without regularly checking in on your progress, there is no way to see if your strategy is working. It is vital to utilize tools like Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Facebook and Twitter publishing tools to track growth and analyze your audience’s response. It’s not enough simply to set and forget a marketing strategy without regularly checking in on your progress. Data is gold to marketers and can help you make informed decisions when developing your marketing strategy.

One of the biggest mistakes cannabis businesses make is not bringing on professionals to implement the strategies discussed above. At Marijuana Marketing Gurus, our experts will help you build your brand. Let our experts take your business to the next level. Call us today to speak to one of our consultants.

 

 

3 Digital Marketing Trends Making a Difference in 2017

Do you want to make a difference in 2017 with your digital marketing strategies? If so, you must be able to anticipate changes and jump on the latest trends. We have made that a little easier for you by scouring the internet for the biggest trends in digital marketing for 2017.

#1 There Will Be a Transformation in Email Marketing

Email marketing is constantly evolving as technology changes. This year, we will see quite a few changes in email marketing. Here are a few of the biggest ones:

No More Newsletters

For several years, email newsletters have been losing momentum. Many people simply opt out of them or delete them without opening. Email content will be geared more towards the individual and will be more entertaining and visual.

Optimized for Mobile

With the significant shift towards mobile content, it is important to optimize your emails for mobile.

Fewer Emails

Most people’s inboxes are overflowing with emails. Many get deleted without ever being read. For 2017, the focus will be on making a difference with fewer, yet more quality emails. Emails should be engaging and relevant to your customers.

#2 Search Engine Optimization Will Evolve

There have been numerous changes in search engine optimization or SEO over the past year. Expect it to continue to grow in 2017. There will be significant shifts in the way that people search for information and SEO must evolve to account for those changes.

Voice Search Will Dominate

Voice search has become more popular than ever. Thanks to new technology, it has become much more user-friendly. Voice search is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing search options available. We can understand the appeal. Who doesn’t want a hands-free and easy way to find information? Marketers must optimize content for voice search.

SEO Will Move Beyond Keywords

Today’s consumers know what they are searching for when they turn to the internet for information. Search engines are beginning to focus more on user intent rather than on keywords. Consumers can enter entire phrases in search engines and get better results than just entering keywords. Therefore, businesses will need to optimize their content for user intent rather than for keywords. You will need to find out what brings users to your page and optimize based on their intent.

#3 There Will Be Big Changes in Social Media Marketing 

It is clear that social media is here to stay. Therefore, marketers must keep up with shifts in these platforms and adjust marketing strategies accordingly. For 2017, the following trends in social media marketing will be huge:

  • Live video
  • Customer service chat bots
  • Shoppable video ads

Since new technology, trends and tools emerge all the time; you must keep up with the latest advancements and trends in the industry if you want to capture your customers’ attention. Knowing the above three trends in digital marketing will help your company stay relevant in 2017.

 

Move The Needle: 4 Best Practices For Digital Advertising

Business owners and marketers in today’s fast-paced digital world face a huge challenge—grabbing customers attention with their digital advertising. Americans see thousands of advertisements a day, and they have gotten used to ignoring digital advertising. So, how can you engage potential customers and get them to pay attention to your advertising?  Here are four simple digital marketing best practices that will help ensure that potential clients see and pay attention to your digital ads.

Focus on Emotion

One way to capture your client’s attention is by creating a strong emotional bond through your digital advertising. Emotion makes people act, whether that emotion is sadness, happiness or anger. In fact, many research studies have indicated that emotion moves people to buy things. Not only that, but strong feelings cause social influencers to talk about your product or brand, and social influencers do help sell products. Studies show that people are more likely to buy a product or brand that has been recommended by their favorite YouTuber. So, every time you release a new advertisement, ask yourself “how did this make me feel?” If you can’t answer that question or answer with a “nothing”, then something is wrong. Go back, and think about how you can move your audience by eliciting a strong emotional response through your ads.

Don’t Pay So Much Attention to Clicks 

People are exposed to lots of digital information each day. Many people click on advertisements without ever buying anything. Rather than focusing on reaching as many individuals as possible, try to pay more attention to how you can reach the right person at the right time. Google Adwords or similar services are great forms of digital advertising because they allow customers to see your digital advertisements at the same time that they are searching for products or services that you sell. Targeted digital ads allow you to reach customers who are looking to buy what you offer at the time that they want to buy it.

Make Sure Your Digital Ads Are Mobile-Friendly 

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring how important mobile-friendly advertising has become. Mobile content is clearly the future. According to Google, as of 2015, more internet searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in the United States. You are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to engage customers if you are not catering your advertisements, content, and website towards mobile users. All of your advertising should be mobile-friendly for various devices.

Collaborate Across Teams

A good digital advertising campaign requires several different teams within your company to work together. For instance, your content team should work closely with your marketing team to develop your digital advertising strategies simultaneously.