Cannabis News

Can Influencer Marketing Work for the Cannabis Industry?

Can Influencer Marketing Work for the Cannabis Industry?

Can Influencer Marketing Work for the Cannabis Industry? 2560 1437 Herban Creative

For the cannabis industry, digital marketing can come with a few hurdles. With strict restrictions from major online advertising, such as Google and Facebook, marketers have to call on their creative side to help cannabis businesses reach their audience.[1] By utilizing social media influencers, brands can create personal connections to their audience, building trust and loyalty. Let’s take a look at some highlights of influencer marketing.[2]

  • In 2019, the influencer marketing industry was worth $8 billion and is expected to grow up to $15 billion by 2020
  • 79% of brands choose Instagram for their influencer campaigns, followed by Facebook at 46%, YouTube at 36%, Twitter at 24%, and LinkedIn at 12%
  • Brands prioritize long-term partnerships with a smaller pool of influencers

Since cannabis companies can’t rely on ad spend on social media platforms, influencers are the next best thing. With incredibly large followings, your brand is going to get directly in front of your target audience. Keep reading to discover our best tips on running a successful cannabis influencer marketing campaign!

Tips for Cannabis Companies Conducting Influencer Marketing 

  1. Find a small group of influencersthat work for your brand. Having a long-term relationship with a few key personnel will create a trusted voice and face for your brand and products. Ensure they completely align with your brand’s image, including personality type, focus in a genre, their niche presence, covered topics, and kind of reach they will produce.
  2. Stay away from branded content and encourageyour influencers to create imagery for the social post. Branded content is more likely to be picked up and flagged by Instagram’s algorithm than user-generated content. Influencer generated imagery is also great to repurpose in other campaigns you may run.
  3. Use your influencer’s unique voice to reach their audience. After all, they know their followers the best. By working with your influencer to create copy, it will instill confidence, trust, and authenticity in the post and in your brand. Allow them to create promotional content that feels natural for them while still being aligned with how your brand wants to be seen.
  4. To avoid being shut down,don’t advertise prices or promotional discounts, or provide any direct link for users to order your products. While Instagram may be unspecific in its guidelines, follow all rules and regulations as carefully as possible. Always be sure to include disclaimers, such as age 21+, specified for medical or recreational use, and, of course, when an influencer’s post is sponsored.

With the right help, social media for cannabis brands doesn’t have to be so tricky. Herban Creative specializes in digital marketing for the cannabis industry and knows just how to get those high engagement and conversion rates. Discover the world of social media and influencers with our expert team! Reach out to us today!

[1] “Facebook and Other Marketing Platforms Continue to Stifle Cannabis Ads.” High Times, 10 Sep. 2019, https://hightimes.com/business/facebook-other-marketing-platforms-continue-stifle-cannabis-ads/

[2] “Influencer Marketing: State of the social media influencer market in 2020.” Business Insider, 17 Dec. 2019, https://www.businessinsider.com/influencer-marketing-report

Google Digital Marketing and The Cannabis Industry

Google Digital Marketing and The Cannabis Industry

Google Digital Marketing and The Cannabis Industry 2560 1707 Herban Creative

Is There a Way to Promote My Services Through Google Digital Marketing?

The world of cannabis business is always changing, with new laws and different levels of legalization sweeping the country. However, one thing that unfortunately hasn’t changed yet is the difficulty of cannabis advertising. Many platforms have restrictions on advertising cannabis products, and some have banned it altogether.[1] Because Google is the largest and most popular search engine, accounting for nearly 88% of all search engine traffic, it’s important to understand the possibilities it holds for cannabis advertising. If you’ve ever wondered about Google’s rules and regulations, here’s the scoop on Google digital marketing and the cannabis industry.

Does Google allow cannabis marketing?

The short answer is no, although the full story is a little more complicated. According to Google’s policy page, they do not allow advertising for any kind of recreational drug or “legal high”.[2] The ban extends to tobacco, marijuana, other cannabis products, and all sites sharing information about or directly encouraging the use of these substances. These restrictions are enumerated in Google’s “Dangerous Products or Services” policy, alongside prohibitions on guns, explosives, and other weapons. While filtering inappropriate and violent content from ads is beneficial to everybody, this policy shows how behind the times Google digital marketing is when it comes to cannabis. Although many states have legalized recreational marijuana and a 2018 bill legalized hemp on a federal level, Google will not advertise these legalized products.[3] This is in part because cannabis remains illegal on a federal level, and in part because Google doesn’t want to encourage what they view as “drug use”—hence the ban on tobacco products as well.

However, although Google is very clear about banning cannabis products in their advertising policy, the reality of the situation is a little different. Cannabis ads have actually been found on Google services, and some can remain live for weeks or months before being flagged and taken down. Because Google is so large, it’s almost impossible for their advertising control teams to catch and prevent every instance of cannabis advertising, particularly if an ad doesn’t use traditional cannabis keywords. While many cannabis ads are rejected, a few can get approved and go live. Because of these instances and the amount of traffic Google ads can generate, some may be tempted to try to advertise using Google digital marketing, despite their policy against it.

Keep in mind this can carry significant risks. Because marketing this content is against Google’s policy, if you are repeatedly caught advertising cannabis products, you could face serious consequences. If your ad violates the policy against cannabis products, it can be disapproved to run. If you have a very serious violation or rack up several smaller violations, your account can even be suspended, which means you can no longer advertise on Google.[4]

Our recommendation? Look elsewhere. Google digital marketing does not allow cannabis advertising, and while you may still be able to get your ads to go live, you can face sanctions for the policy infraction. It’s probably not worth the risk of getting banned from the largest search engine on the internet. Instead, focus on other ways to advertise your products. Optimize your SEO to drive organic traffic to your site, and then use cookies and retargeting practices to advertise to those who visited your site but didn’t make a conversion. Use email lists, social media, and podcasts to get the word out about your business, or try an influencer or ambassador. You can also attend specialized cannabis events to network with other businesses and industry professionals. Although it’s less straightforward than advertising on Google, they’re still great ways to grow your audience—without running the risk.

 

Want to grow your cannabis marketing, without the risk? Let Herban Creative take care of all your marketing needs, so you can smoke the competition.


[1] “Facebook and Other Marketing Platforms Continue to Stifle Cannabis Ads.” High Times, 10 Sep. 2019, https://hightimes.com/business/facebook-other-marketing-platforms-continue-stifle-cannabis-ads/

[2] “Dangerous Products or Services.” Google, https://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/6014299?hl=en

[3] “The Farm Bill, Hemp Legalization and the Status of CBD: An Explainer.” Brookings, 14 Dec, 2018, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/12/14/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/

[4] “What happens if you violate our policies.” Google, https://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/7187501

Customer Loyalty Is Essential for Cannabis Business Reputation Building

Customer Loyalty Is Essential for Cannabis Business Reputation Building

Customer Loyalty Is Essential for Cannabis Business Reputation Building 2560 1707 Herban Creative

5 Ways to Earn Customer Loyalty for Your Cannabis Business

In a constantly evolving market, it can be easy for your business to get lost in the shuffle. This is especially true of cannabis businesses because of the difficulty of advertising on most major platforms, which only exacerbates the problem.[1] On top of it all, because of the growing cannabis trend across the country, there are already a high number of cannabis products saturating stores.

With all these factors, what’s the best way to become a market mainstay? The answer is customer loyalty. Satisfied and loyal customers help build a strong reputation for your business, which in turn drives sales. With consistent consumers who not only swear by your business but recommend it to others, you’re guaranteed to find success despite the difficulties. Here are our top tips to build customer loyalty to grow your cannabis business.

Consistent Quality

The first step to building customer loyalty is having a great product—nobody will make a repeat purchase if your product is low quality, ineffective, or has unintended side effects. With many shoddy cannabis products on the market trying to capitalize on the cannabis craze, having a strong product will set your business apart. Make sure your product is made with high quality ingredients, has consistent results, and is clearly labeled and packaged. Consider extending a satisfaction guarantee and include contact information on the product packaging so customers can call in with questions or comments. Transparency is key to a quality product: only make promises you can deliver on and be clear about what goes into your product. Building customer trust is the first step to building customer loyalty. Ultimately, quality and transparency are prerequisites to creating a following for your business.

Strong Socials

Another important ingredient in customer loyalty is a strong social media presence. Customers who love your brand are customers who will return again and again. Use your social platforms to help bring your branding to life and keep customers engaged. Your accounts can focus on humor, art, education, or lifestyle posts to show what your business is all about and give it some personality. Social media doubles as an advertising opportunity, and your accounts can give brand fans a place to connect over shared love for your products. It also creates a space for user generated content like testimonials and reviews, which help drive sales and create social media buzz. Customer loyalty is all about believing in your company and connecting with your brand. Sharing instagrammable moments from your business or posting a clever tweet about current events encourages engagement from your followers—and if you’re lucky, you could even go viral.

No News is Bad News

To really build customer loyalty and set yourself apart from other brands, you have to offer customers extra value beyond your product line. A great way to do this is through a weekly or monthly newsletter. Particularly in the cannabis industry, with its ever-evolving trends and changing legislation, it’s important to stay on top of all the latest news. Sending a newsletter out to your email list helps your customers stay connected with your brand and current with all the newest in the cannabis industry. It establishes your business as a trusted source of information and helps create a reputation of expertise that your brand will definitely benefit from over time. Providing this extra value makes customers loyal to your business and makes switching to another cannabis competitor without these benefits difficult. Overall, combining education and regular contact with your customers through periodic newsletters is a great way to build—or boost—your customer loyalty.

Sharing is Caring

One way to help your brand stand out is to involve it in something bigger than itself. Donating a percentage of sales to a good cause or charity makes your product stand for more than just your brand. For example, many consumers today are increasingly conscious of the disastrous effects of climate change. Using eco-friendly packaging and sponsoring a charity that helps plant trees or protect rainforests is a great way to appeal to those eco-conscious consumers and connect them to your brand. The charities you donate to can be anything from animal conservation to female empowerment to assistance for rural farmers—as long as it’s a reputable charity and something your brand believes in, it’s a great idea to sponsor. Not only does this do good in the world but it also attracts loyal consumers who love what your brand supports and the work it does. If customers believe in your cause, they’ll believe in your product too and stay loyal to your brand.

Keep the Coupons Coming

It’s no secret that everyone loves a good sale. Giving a discount is actually a great way to increase your profits, because it convinces more people to buy. Having your product regularly go on some kind of special sale not only helps attract new customers but builds brand loyalty for repeat shoppers. Why switch to a competitor if their product is more expensive? Reasonable prices and regular sales will help create customer loyalty like almost nothing else. Another strategy is to offer special coupons only to previous customers. These customer-only coupons encourage consumers to purchase your product again, remind them of your newest offerings, and make them feel valued. Driving repeat sales is both less expensive than creating new conversions and helps build loyalty—two birds with one stone!

With the saturated market and difficult advertising restrictions, the key to success for any cannabis business is to build customer loyalty. Offering some kind of value to your customers–whether it be through social media, a newsletter, charitable giving, or just a good sale—is the best way to keep customers returning to your brand again and again. By offering a quality product and following these tips, your business can boost its customer loyalty to increase its reputation and help drive sales.

 

Want a cannabis brand customers will stay loyal to? Contact Herban Creative today for all your cannabis marketing needs, from planning to project completion.


[1] “Facebook and Other Marketing Platforms Continue to Stifle Cannabis Ads.” High Times, 10 Sep. 2019, https://hightimes.com/business/facebook-other-marketing-platforms-continue-stifle-cannabis-ads/

Branding Tips for Your CBD Business: Stand Out Among Competitors

Branding Tips for Your CBD Business: Stand Out Among Competitors

Branding Tips for Your CBD Business: Stand Out Among Competitors 2560 1707 Herban Creative

Unique Branding Tips for Your CBD Business

The CBD industry is both popular and rapidly changing; combined with still-prevalent misconceptions, these factors can create unique marketing challenges for cannabis businesses. With legalization of CBD still evolving across the country and heavy restrictions on advertising, strong CBD product branding can be the best way to attract consumers. In an industry that is quickly becoming saturated, here are some CBD branding tips to help your business stand out from the rest.

Find your niche

An essential part of branding is understanding your audience and your niche. In the CBD industry, the largest market is actually millennial women, with many women-led CBD businesses taking center stage.[1] However, branded CBD products can also be marketed specifically to men, older generations, and even pets. Furthermore, with its myriad of uses, your business can focus on using CBD for pain relief, beauty products, treating anxiety, or more. Honing in on what your business offers and its target audience is essential to finding your niche in the CBD industry, the first step to making sure your branding stands out.

Emphasize Education

As the CBD craze is growing, more and more people are learning about its benefits, but many still have questions. Being a consistently reliable and educative source will give your business a sense of authority and trustworthiness to consumers. Especially given the changing legal status of CBD across the country, many people may have concerns or misconceptions about CBD and its effects. Explaining that CBD is non-psychotropic and highlighting some of the science around how it works will give your business a transparency that consumers feel they can trust. Furthermore, an emphasis on education in your branding also attracts new potential customers who are simply researching more about what CBD is.

Quality Control

In the US, there are over 1000 different CBD brands; in a 2017 study, researchers found that over 70% of the CBD products they analyzed were mislabeled.[2] In a market that is quickly becoming saturated with cheap, low quality products, having a consistent, quality product that is accurately labeled will make you stand out as a mainstay in the industry, rather than a passing fad. Simple quality and transparency can do wonders for your brand and generate the kind of word-of-mouth that CBD products thrive on.

Content Creation

Because advertising on different platforms can be tricky, with many platforms outright banning CBD advertising, organic website growth through SEO is a surefire way to attract attention to your brand.[3] Consistent content creation will help drive organic traffic to your website and can also be shared on social media, as it isn’t direct advertising. This will help raise engagement with your followers while also directing them to your website. Creating engaging content on a blog or social media platform is a great way to magnify your brand and your values to your audience.

Ad placement

Influencers and podcast plugs can help broadcast your product to the right audience. Even though traditional advertising on social media platforms may be off the table, finding alternative ways to spread awareness is a must. Finding the right podcast or influencer for your business can help promote the lifestyle that your brand promises. This kind of advertising reinforces the values and aesthetics of your brand and broadcasts it directly to an audience with demonstrated interest, potentially creating a high conversion rate. Not just the substance but also the style and placement of your advertising can be used to speak to your business’s unique brand.

Keep it green

With increasing awareness of the disaster of climate change, many consumers are looking to support eco-friendly businesses that work to reduce their harmful impact on the earth. Using green packaging, such as recycled or biodegradable materials, is a great way to show brand commitment to value-driven leadership. It’s an opportunity to show that your brand is more than just talk—it takes action to follow its values and to be a responsible and sustainable business. Using eco-friendly packaging and business practices is also a great way to advertise your product and brand and to reach out to those environmentally conscious consumers.

Is your branding working for you? If it’s time for a redesign, new strategy, or anything else, let the team at Herban Creative take care of all your CBD marketing needs.


[1] “A Budding Industry: CBD Statistics & Trends.” USACBD Expo, 20 Nov. 2019, https://usacbdexpo.com/blogs/cbd-blogs-news/2019/11/a-budding-industry-cbd-statistics-amp-trends-infographic

[2] Mole, Beth. “Study: Nearly 70% of online CBD marijuana extracts are mislabeled.” Ars Technica, 07 Nov. 2017,

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/11/study-nearly-70-of-online-cbd-marijuana-extracts-tested-were-mislabeled/

[3] Rose, Bethan. “CBD Advertising Restrictions in 2019.” BigCommerce.com, https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/cbd-marketing/#cbd-advertising-restrictions-in-2019

Stand Out with Unique Distillery & Brewery Marketing

Stand Out with Unique Distillery & Brewery Marketing

Stand Out with Unique Distillery & Brewery Marketing 1920 1280 Herban Creative

6 Clever Distillery & Brewery Marketing Tactics

Smaller breweries and distilleries (and sometimes, combinations of the two) are uniquely positioned in that they craft commonly-consumed products in uncommon packages. The quality of the drinks themselves are typically higher and less prevalent than those from major beer and liquor brands. They also have some amount of leverage in the market, in that their products are more specialized. But these smaller brands also may have trouble expanding and marketing their products to larger markets.

So, here are six distillery or brewery marketing tactics to help set your brand apart.

Establish Your Brand Culture

What complements your boozy beverages best? Food? Music? Social events? Sports? A great way to expand your products’ relevance is to associate the culture of your brand with another popular subculture. For example, the popular Blue Moon Brewing Company has an entire section of their website dedicated to food recipes that both utilize and pair well with Blue Moon beers.  Consumers who feel that they identify with the culture of your brand are not only more likely to buy your products, but are also more likely to become loyal regulars. The key to this and all the rest of these marketing tips is creating a brand that is one-of-a-kind.

Build a Website, Boast a Blog

A fresh, vibrant website that matches the culture and identity of your brand will be a place for your customers to land, exploring your offerings and having something to share with their friends as they reference that great beer of yours. One thing that consumers also appreciate is content that they can learn from and share. Give this to them by creating a blog and keeping it updated with both interesting and educational stories. Through your blog, you can share more information about your brand, give backstories to your products and team, update your customer base on industry trends, and more. A great website and consistent blog are essential for digital visibility and search engine optimization (SEO), which are key to marketing your brewery or distillery online.

Do Social the Right Way

Everyone knows social media is the place to be as a business, but not all businesses do it well. We’ve got a few tips for running your beverage brand’s social pages. Grow your online following by linking to your social channels everywhere—on your website, in blog posts, on your product packaging/labels, in emails, and anywhere else you can fit. Pick a memorable, versatile hashtag, and then encourage your followers to use it when sharing photos of your products, events, or locations. You can encourage hashtag use through contests and giveaways, planned campaigns, social influencers, and more. Social is also another space where you can further establish your brand identity and culture—make sure you are posting appropriate things and tracking the analytics to see how things are performing.

Social media prompts constant word-of-mouth expansion if utilized well. If this sounds like a lot to take on, then consider a marketing agency like Herban Creative.

Think Local

If you’re a smaller brand, then you shouldn’t ignore the small steps in your marketing strategy either. Holding events in your local community, partnering with local stores and restaurants to distribute your products, and becoming a household name in every household within five miles of you should be a priority. This can involve anything from local SEO tactics to spiffing up your location so that people want to come in for tours and snag awesome tasting deals and experiences. Start local so your hometown friends can take you farther.

Use Guerilla Tactics

Guerilla marketing involves marketing tactics that don’t initially appear to be marketing. For example, if you table at a local street fair, you can give out free merchandise like custom t-shirts or koozies that your fans will carry with them to become walking billboards or brand ambassadors.

Communicate with Your Regulars

An area of marketing that refuses to die is email, which is still heavily used and effective, even today. For your existing fans, especially those who may be regular buyers, be sure to offer an email newsletter to keep them updated on new products, events, and offers. In these emails, you can keep your customers loyal, engaged, and sharing with retargeting, discounts, and social media integration.

Running a brewery or distillery takes a lot of sustained effort, and so does marketing it. If you want help on the marketing side, Herban Creative has the expertise to help on all of these fronts so that you can continue doing what you love: brewing the best beers and distilling the best spirits. Contact our team today about how we can help with web design, branding, and integrated digital marketing.

Common Email Marketing Challenges for Cannabis Businesses

Common Email Marketing Challenges for Cannabis Businesses

Common Email Marketing Challenges for Cannabis Businesses 2560 1707 Herban Creative

Be Aware of These Email Marketing Challenges in the Cannabis Industry

Email marketing is a tried-and-true tactic and is considered one of the most effective methods in the marketing toolbox. In the cannabis industry, email marketing is particularly essential because of restrictions on cannabis advertising for many online platforms. However, email marketing may not be as simple as it seems; on top of traditional concerns like increasing subscribers and improving email open rates, there are additional challenges associated with cannabis businesses.

Here are some common email marketing challenges to be aware of in the cannabis industry:

Stay on top

The cannabis market is constantly evolving, as are the laws regulating it. CBD alone is estimated to earn $16.32 billion in the United States by 2026.[1] As the industry grows, laws will continue to change as acceptance of cannabis products becomes more widespread. This means that the cannabis industry is almost guaranteed to continue to grow and change shape as new innovations and marketing opportunities become available. To avoid getting smoked out by the competition, you have to stay on top of market trends and innovations, which can be a particular challenge in the ever-changing world of cannabis products. Make sure your emails stay relevant with all the latest in cannabis products to show that you can be a leader and trendsetter, even in a rapidly changing market.

Follow the law

It’s also important to remember that the legality of cannabis products varies in different states and territories, and that cannabis remains illegal at the federal level.[2] Furthermore, even for products like CBD that have been removed from the Controlled Substances Act, businesses are still federally regulated as to what they can (and can’t) say about their product.[3] It’s essential to keep abreast of all legal changes that may impact how and where you can market cannabis products. Always checking to ensure your email marketing complies with local laws is one of the unusual but unfortunately necessary email marketing challenges for cannabis businesses.

Cite your sources

Another common email marketing challenge for cannabis businesses is that you must back up all cannabis-related claims you make with reputable sources and citations. This includes consumer reviews, testimonials, social media posts—anything a potential consumer could see to convince them to purchase your product. Particularly avoid making disease or health claims; as the FDA states, it may cause some consumers not to access appropriate medical treatment for serious or even fatal diseases.[4] It can be tricky to inform consumers of the many potential benefits of cannabis products without making direct claims that must be backed by evidence, but it’s best to avoid the lawsuit. Make sure to read and reference scientific studies of cannabis to support your product, and to discuss potential benefits instead of promising direct health or wellness effects.

Getting the word out

One of the biggest challenges in any kind of email marketing is growing your subscriber list, but it can be particularly difficult for cannabis businesses. Social and advertising platforms such as Facebook and Google AdWords have historically prohibited CBD advertising.[5] This is why email marketing can be so vital, but also so difficult. Without paid advertising, it’s hard to get the word out about your business: email marketing can be the answer. But how do you grow your email list without being able to advertise? This is probably the most difficult of the email marketing challenges unique to cannabis products. To overcome it, use SEO, content creation, and influencer product placement to help drive organic traffic to your website even without the paid advertising aspect. Then, consumers can sign up for your email list and be informed directly of all the exciting developments in your business.

Want to give your cannabis email marketing a boost but don’t know where to start? For email and all your cannabis marketing needs, reach out to our team at Herban Creative for help with everything from packaging to web design for your cannabis business.


[1] “Cannabidiol (CBD) Market to Reach USD 16.32 Billion By 2026.” Globalnewswire.org, 6 May 2019, https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/05/06/1817668/0/en/Cannabidiol-CBD-Market-To-Reach-USD-16-32-Billion-By-2026-Reports-And-Data.html.

[2] Berke, Jeremy, and Skye Gould. “Legal marijuana just went on sale in Illinois. Here are all the states where cannabis is legal.” BusinessInsider.com, 1 Jan. 2020, https://www.businessinsider.com/legal-marijuana-states-2018-1

[3] “Statement from FDA Commissioner.” FDA, 20 Dec. 2018, https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/statement-fda-commissioner-scott-gottlieb-md-signing-agriculture-improvement-act-and-agencys

[4] “Statement from FDA Commissioner.” FDA, 20 Dec. 2018, https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/statement-fda-commissioner-scott-gottlieb-md-signing-agriculture-improvement-act-and-agencys

[5] Rose, Bethan. “CBD Advertising Restrictions in 2019.” BigCommerce.com, https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/cbd-marketing/#cbd-advertising-restrictions-in-2019

2020 Trends: Expected Changes Coming to the Cannabis Industry in 2020

2020 Trends: Expected Changes Coming to the Cannabis Industry in 2020

2020 Trends: Expected Changes Coming to the Cannabis Industry in 2020 1920 1280 Herban Creative

What We Expect to See Out of 2020 Trends in the Cannabis Industry

It’s a major election year, and with it, another year for the cannabis industry to continue to grow­—in size, in revenue, and in public appeal. By 2023, the cannabis industry is estimated to be worth between $25 and $30.4 billion.[1] For cannabis brands, old and new, it’s vital to stay updated on the 2020 trends affecting the industry. Let’s discuss a few of them here.

Consumption Levels Rising

More people are (openly) using cannabis than ever, and this includes certain demographics in particular. From 2009 to 2016, the growth rate of cannabis users in the United States was 38%, and the number of female users grew 46%. Another area where use greatly increased was full-time employees, where the growth rate for this time period was 53%.[2]

Educate and Inform

Due to the increase in accessibility of cannabis, consumers are becoming better informed about cannabis itself.[3] For example, one contributor to the increase of usage by women is that more women are using it to manage things like menstruation, menopause, and other related issues that follow those circumstances.[4] Other products, like the MyDx handheld chemical analyzer, are being employed to discover the true chemical profile of the cannabis being consumed by average users and phase out counterfeit cannabis products.[5] Consumers expect to not only know more details about the cannabis products they are searching for, but they hope to continue to be educated by cannabis brands as well.

Health & Wellness Still Growing

After the legalization of hemp—a strain of the cannabis sativa plant that has no psychoactive effects with 0.3% THC content or less—the CBD industry is booming, with consumers jumping on new health and wellness products that utilize the ingredient. The CBD industry is expected to rise to $20 billion by 2022, and it is being used in everything from skin creams to FDA-approved seizure medications for rare forms of epilepsy.[6]

Political Change

As we already mentioned, the majority of U.S. states have legalized medical marijuana, with a third of those states legalizing recreational, too. This year, six other states have the chance to legalize recreational, or full adult-use, cannabis—Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, New Jersey, and South Dakota. New Jersey, for example, is planning a referendum for the 2020 presidential election ballot, leaving the decision to fully legalize recreational cannabis to the voters.[7] Two-thirds of Americans support the legalization of cannabis.[8] The tide on legal cannabis is turning, and lawmakers are declaring their recognition.

Cannabis Marketing

As legal cannabis still faces heavy regulation, especially in terms of advertising, brands are testing various tactics to get the word about their brand out to the public. Many brands are finding success in curating lifestyle content, including Buzzfeed-style quizzes, powerful storytelling that humanizes cannabis users, and education about cannabis. While traditional advertising is still off-limits in many aspects, partnerships with local media and publishers within the cannabis space, email marketing campaigns, large-scale digital campaigns, and word-of-mouth tactics like referral rewards and loyalty programs are on the uptake.[9] The most critical point for marketing cannabis brands is staying up-to-date with the current regulations around cannabis marketing, which are constantly changing and often complex to navigate. Many brands are turning to specialized marketing agencies to stay on top of the changes and produce quality content for marketing.

One of the best tactics for marketing your cannabis brand in 2020 is teaming up with a specialized marketing agency who understands the changing trends and regulations of legal cannabis. If your brand is in need of marketing help—whether its branding, web design, or integrated digital marketingHerban Creative is the agency that knows the rules and has the skilled team to work safely and effectively within them. Contact our team today to get things rolling.


[1] Haynie, Shana. “Cannabis Advertising Trends for 2020.” Hearst Bay Area, Hearst Communications, Inc, 4 Nov. 2019, marketing.sfgate.com/blog/cannabis-advertising-trends.

[2] McCoy, J.J. “The Future of Cannabis: Trends to Watch Out For.” High Times, 12 May 2019, hightimes.com/business/the-future-cannabis-trends-watch-out-for/.

[3] Williams, Sean. “6 States Trying to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in 2020.” The Motley Fool, The Motley Fool, 17 Nov. 2019, www.fool.com/investing/2019/11/17/6-states-trying-to-legalize-recreational-marijuana.aspx.

[4] McCoy, J.J. “The Future of Cannabis: Trends to Watch Out For.” High Times, 12 May 2019, hightimes.com/business/the-future-cannabis-trends-watch-out-for/.

[5] MyDx, Inc. “The Biggest Lie In Cannabis.” PR Newswire: Press Release Distribution, Targeting, Monitoring and Marketing, 27 June 2018, www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-biggest-lie-in-cannabis-300606896.html.

 

[6] Carpenter, David. “Legal Hemp In 2019 May Be A Boon For Stressed Out American Farmers.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 21 Dec. 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/davidcarpenter/2018/12/20/legal-hemp-in-2019-may-be-a-boon-for-stressed-out-american-farmers/#67dbe4098f3b.

[7] Sutton, Sam. “New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Bill Dead; Lawmakers Will Let Voters Decide.” Politico PRO, 19 Nov. 2019, www.politico.com/states/new-jersey/story/2019/11/18/new-jersey-marijuana-legalization-bill-dead-lawmakers-will-let-voters-decide-1227894.

[8] Daniller, Andrew. “Two-Thirds of Americans Support Marijuana Legalization.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 14 Nov. 2019, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/11/14/americans-support-marijuana-legalization/.

[9] Haynie, Shana. “Cannabis Advertising Trends for 2020.” Hearst Bay Area, 4 Nov. 2019, marketing.sfgate.com/blog/cannabis-advertising-trends.

Sustainable Packaging Options for Your Cannabis Business

Sustainable Packaging Options for Your Cannabis Business 1920 1080 Herban Creative

Alternative Materials to Incorporate Sustainable Packaging in Your Cannabis Business

As climate change continues to be a looming driver of industrial change, product packaging has come under the microscope as one area for potential improvement. This is no different for products in the cannabis industry. Consumers are demanding that companies produce their items more sustainably, with 42 percent of consumers saying that packaging made from recycled and/or sustainable materials are something they look for in their daily shopping.1 Over the last seven years, the percentage of consumers who admit they are willing to pay more for this eco-friendly packaging has grown from 47 percent to 59 percent. Another recent survey showed that over 80% felt that it was “important or extremely important” for companies to make eco-friendly products.2

For cannabis companies, this means that the search for alternative packaging materials is vital to the success of your business—and, obviously, for the health of the planet. Besides, cannabis comes from the earth, so why shouldn’t your packaging be kind to it and follow its lead? A recent study estimated that the cannabis packaging industry will be worth $5.2 billion by 2026.3

There are a variety of options for more sustainable packaging for cannabis products that are both FDA-compliant for consumable products and versatile in terms of design options. Before we discuss some of the options, it’s important to consider some of the qualities that contribute to the sustainability of cannabis packaging. Whichever material you choose should be FDA-approved for food contact (which means it should be BPA-free, among other requirements) and should be either recyclable, reusable for a long period of time (long life cycle), or biodegradable.4

To further define what it means to make sustainable packaging, we can look to the criteria established by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition:

  • Is beneficial, safe & healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle
  • Meets market criteria for performance and cost
  • Is sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy
  • Optimizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials
  • Is manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices
  • Is made from materials healthy throughout the life cycle
  • Is physically designed to optimize materials and energy
  • Is effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial closed loop cycles

Now that we’ve established the criteria, let’s look at some of the options:

Sugarcane-based Polyethylene Plastic (Bioresin)

If you’re looking for plastic bottles as your container, try using a bioresin like polyethylene plastic, which is produced from ethanol coming from sustainable sources like sugarcane. Sugarcane as the basis for polyethylene is sustainable because it means the container is recyclable (though not biodegradable) and sugarcane is a plant that contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.5 Bioplastics like this are becoming more popular for sustainable packaging because they replace fossil-fuel-based plastics that are more harmful to the environment.

PET (Recycled Material Resin)

PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate, and this refers to a resin that is entirely sourced from recycled post-consumer materials. PET containers have already been established as not needing further FDA review for food-contact assurance, so this is a safe bet for cannabis products.6

Hemp (Bioplastic)

Hemp is derived from the cannabis sativa plant, but has an insignificant amount of THC, leading it to being federally legalized in 2018 as part of the Farm Bill.7 Polymers made from hemp are biodegradable and strong, while coming from a plant that is renewable and eco-friendly. However, hemp is still heavily regulated, being only recently legalized, so using it in your packaging may take some difficult maneuvering and research.

Metal Cans (N2 Packaging)

A packaging company known as Nitrogen Cannabis Packaging, or N2 Packaging for short, produces recyclable metal cans similar to those containing sardines.8 These are hermetically sealed and keep products fresh. They also can be reused after first use. Because these are recyclable metals, they are more sustainable and a potential option for your cannabis products. However, because these are typically made from aluminum, production of this metal does emit greenhouse gases affecting climate change.9

Recycled Resin from Milk Jugs (Higher Standard Packaging)

A cannabis packaging company called Higher Standard Packaging produces a resin container made from recycled milk jugs they call R2 Container. This material is FDA-compliant, uses 90 percent less energy during production, and emits 78 percent less greenhouse gases than other plastic resins.10

These are just a few of the options out there for packaging your cannabis products more sustainably. Remember to be stringent in your review of the legal regulations and science on what makes packaging materials both safe and sustainable. Your consumers and the planet will be grateful for your efforts, and it will likely give a boost to your bottom line at the end of the day.

 

Need help creating an appealing package design? For that and more of your cannabis brand’s marketing needs, ask Herban Creative’s experienced team for help with web design, branding, and integrated digital marketing services. Contact us today to get started.

Marijuana Legalization Comes to the Ballot in the NJ 2020 Election

Marijuana Legalization Comes to the Ballot in the NJ 2020 Election 1920 1280 Herban Creative

What the 2020 Election Will Mean for the NJ Marijuana Industry

2019 has been a back-and-forth push over legalization of recreational marijuana in New Jersey, but that push is ending in favor of a voter referendum during the November 2020 presidential election.1

In March, state Senators failed to pass legislation to make cannabis legal for free use by adults 21 years of age and older, according to the Asbury Park Press.2 Legalization supporters found hope once again in October, when Senate President Steve Sweeney announced a second attempt at a vote during the lame duck session that concludes in January.3 This announcement was retracted in November, with Sweeney saying the legalization decision would be left to New Jersey voters as a ballot question in the 2020 election.

The ballot question will read as follows, according to NJ.com:

“Do you approve amending the Constitution to legalize a controlled form of marijuana called ‘cannabis’? Only adults at least 21 years of age could use cannabis. The State commission created to oversee the State’s medical cannabis program would also oversee the new, personal use cannabis market. Retail sales of cannabis products in this new market would be subject to the State’s sales tax, and no other form of tax.”4

The last sentence of the question is making headlines, as it reveals New Jersey lawmakers’ plans to boost the state’s cannabis industry sales with low tax rates, only requiring the New Jersey state sales tax and no excise tax. According to the Asbury Park Press, the state sales tax sits at 6.625 percent and state municipalities would only be allowed to add a “transfer tax” of up to 2 percent, meaning that New Jersey’s highest possible cannabis tax rate of 8.625 percent would be the lowest in the nation.5 This low tax rate may not stay so low for long, as lawmakers could include additional taxes in legislation after the ballot vote, but it’s certainly a positive starting point for legalization supporters and lawmakers wanting to combat the black market.

If the referendum is passed by voters in late 2020, it will still take weeks or even months for the recreational program to be set up under the state’s medical marijuana program, leading to an early 2021 start date being likely for recreational sales. Across the U.S., support for legal marijuana is strong, with a steady majority of 66 percent favoring legal marijuana in polls over the last two years.6

Though Governor Phil Murphy, who campaigned heavily on marijuana legalization, and other supporters in the state government have decided to leave the decision on recreational use up to voters, they have openly prioritized their push for legislation to expunge marijuana-related criminal records and expand medical marijuana availability. According to FBI data referenced by NJ.com, New Jersey police arrested more people for cannabis crimes than every other state aside from Texas and New York in 2017.7

Until the referendum, municipalities and state lawmakers have more time to study other states with legalized cannabis and consider new regulations and programs for ensuring a smooth transition into a New Jersey with legal recreational use. If passed by voters, there will be a rush for the industry to move to iron out the details of regulation and start competing with black market dealers.

Want more cannabis news? The Herban Creative blog will keep you updated on the latest news from the world of cannabis. Want help marketing your cannabis brand? Ask Herban Creative’s experienced team for help with web design, branding, and integrated digital marketing services. Contact us today to get started.

How Can You Incorporate Video Marketing Into Your Cannabis Business?

How Can You Incorporate Video Marketing Into Your Cannabis Business? 1707 2560 Herban Creative

7 Ways You Can Use Video Marketing to Boost Your Cannabis Business

Video content is king. It owns the majority of web traffic, according to Wordstream, as 69 percent of global consumer internet traffic in 2017 was dedicated to video and 80 percent was predicted for 2019.1 As of May 2019, YouTube garnered two billion logged-in, monthly viewers.2 People are continuing to favor user-generated content (UGC) over traditional advertising, with a report from Olapic citing 76 percent of consumers saying that this kind of content is more honest than brand ads.3 More than one in five (23 percent) global consumers seek inspiration from UGC before making a purchase.4 Long story short: Online consumers love video content and watch it consistently, while also using it to inform their buying decisions. Therefore, video marketing is a must.

Video content clearly has a strong ROI potential for any industry—in fact, 52 percent of marketing professionals say video content has the best ROI5—but cannabis companies are still catching up as they get off the ground and accomplish their other priorities first, like dealing with legal issues in advertising. Video marketing offers cannabis companies the opportunity to become more personable with their customers, educate them on and make them feel more comfortable about the products, and amp up their reach when other advertising media are more difficult to implement due to red tape.

Here are some tips for setting up a video marketing strategy for your cannabis business to start building trust, comfort, and excitement:

1. Show Your Spaces and Your Faces

If you’re a dispensary for medical or recreational cannabis, giving potential customers a peek into your space may help them be more comfortable visiting in-person later. Provide a virtual tour with a Google My Business account and its 360-degree photo and video support. Publish a series of videos that introduce your team members to make customers acquainted with them and their skills. All of this helps to connect your business with potential customers in a more visual way.

2. Teach to Expand Your Reach

Educational video content is powerful in the cannabis industry, where many consumers lack knowledge of the various products in your catalog and are looking for more information to buy the right product for their needs. Content that educates and informs consumers about the cannabis industry, cannabis products, how the products are made, and other useful topics will strengthen your brand’s credibility and bring in both novice and experienced customers.

3. Give Access to Events

Does your company attend industry events and expos? Do you host public events? Anytime you’re involved in events like these, have your video team on-hand to get some footage and showcase your brand among other big names in the industry. If it’s a public event, videos could entice consumers to come out to the next iteration. These events also add to your credibility as an involved member of the cannabis and local communities.

4. Trustworthy Testimonials

As already mentioned, people trust other people over ads from the brands themselves. Getting testimonials from satisfied customers or other business leaders who work with you is a great tactic to build trust in your prospective customers and create a visual portfolio of your impact.

5. Produce Regularly and Consistently

Keep your audience coming back by producing video series and other regular content. Be sure to keep it consistent in its quality, branding, and release timing so that it’s recognizable as your content and visible to consumers at regular intervals.

6. Choose Your Channels

Where are you going to put your video content? YouTube, social media, and email newsletters are your best three options, in addition to your own website. Your YouTube channel should get all of your content, because the monetization options are there and the user base of the site is noteworthy. Shorter content and live videos can land on social channels like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Video on social gets 12 times more shares than text and images combined.6 For your customers who subscribe to your email list, exclusive video content and other deeper cuts like your educational videos could be highly appealing.

7. Consider Captions

A 2019 report from Verizon and Publicis Media found that 92 percent of U.S. consumers view videos on mobile without sound and 80 percent are more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available.7 Captions are important for video content now because so many people watch video content without sound, often due to being in public places. Make your videos accessible with captions wherever your viewers are, especially because consumers of cannabis products tend to value their privacy.

These tips should help you get your video marketing strategy started. Producing great video content, like showroom tours, educational tutorials, testimonials, and more, is a strong method for increasing your SEO rankings, website traffic, and conversions. With email, social media, and sites like YouTube, you can reach millions of consumers easily and directly from your own accounts.

Need an effective digital marketing plan or a fresh, new website on which to display your video content? Herban Creative’s experienced team can help grow your cannabis business. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.