We are drawing up a plan for a Marijuana business in Washington and wondering how to best market it. Some mainstream channels will not accept our ads (because according to Federal laws, it is still illegal)
Indeed, breaking through the
mainstream advertising space for ‘potpreneurs’ remains a challenging ordeal as
the drug is not yet federally legal and major advertising platforms are either
unwilling or reluctant to do business or be associated with a marijuana
startup. Startups in the marijuana business face barriers to entry and it calls
for innovative options to tackle the barriers head on.
With the current legal status of cannabis still murky, many pot
startups are finding it increasingly difficult to ascend the steep gradient of
advertising restrictions that state and federal legislation have placed on new
entrepreneurs.What then are your available marketing
Some of the most viable marketing
options that you may have to leverage your disadvantaged position include:
Traditional marketing outlets such as newspapers, magazines,
radio, and TV remain an option to market a new startup. However, they may be a
little bit limiting due to cannabis’ strict marketing limitations and
restrictions placed by the state. Once in a while, you will find talk shows on
local radio and TV about your niche and volunteering to participate in the shows
may give you the much needed head start to introduce your brand to the masses.
Another great way to introduce your brand is through compelling
and captivating radio content which on the flip-side, might be hard to judge its
success rate. You may want to lower costs through publishing on podcasts and
internet radio shows which have lesser rigid structures compared to corporate
With a bit of finesse and a right approach, some marijuana
startups have successfully advertised on web-based video channels such as YouTube, which remains one of the most readily available free options to
broadcast content to a larger audience.
Social media marketing
more people going online than ever before, social media and digital marketing
are becoming more appealing and mainstream mode of advertising and you need to
look keenly into emerging platforms that are cheaper to engage your audiences
on. YouTube as I already mentioned above, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. Email
marketing and search engine optimization is another way to circumvent
mainstream advertising restrictions placed by advertising agencies. You might
want to watch out for advertising spaces in blogs dedicated to marijuana
especially those with a huge following.
Watch out for
advertising opportunities in industry-specific periodicals and magazines
Such magazines have a potential bonus, in that they are available in dispensary waiting rooms and readership is higher than the copies in circulation as more people may read one magazine and advertising lasts the lifetime of the print.
A more traditional approch is to print
your message and communicate your brand on t-shirts, caps and hoodies which you
can distribute in events targeting your niche and local concerts as long as it
Attend local events and workshops on
marijuana and whenever possible offer to do guest speaking if you are extremely
knowledgeable in the field to establish yourself as a market leader in the
the problem with most of the ideas above is that by Federal Law marijuana is still illegal in the US. Attorney Jeff Sessions has said that the government can choose to apply federal law in state cases and so most media outlets are going to think twice about accepting maryJ ads because of KYC (Know Your Customer) laws:
A couple ideas worth trying:
They accept any kind of ad and the clicks are dirt cheap. Check out the Juicy ads platform. While the conversion rates are low you might be able to make it work.
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I've seen this work for a vaping & ecigarette company and they face the same challenges as Marijuana.