Now, more than ever, consumers are blocking ads, skipping commercials, and closing pop-ups. And even internet users who aren’t taking any measures to avoid online advertisements are still developing “banner blindness” when browsing the web. That’s because the majority of ads online today aren’t viewed as valuable — they’re generally just considered obstacles standing in the way of quality content.

There are some notable exceptions, however, especially in the realm of cannabis branding. So is it possible for smaller brands to break through today’s clutter, gain consumer trust, and boost conversions? The short answer: Absolutely.

First, you must address the cannabis branding blunders that could be costing your business big-time. Read on to learn how your brand can avoid making many common cannabis branding mistakes when it comes to digital marketing in 2019.

Mistake #1: Content That’s All About You

It’s obviously OK to have measurable goals for your content that benefit your brand. The real issue is when you mistakenly believe you have to talk about your products and services in every email, blog post, and infographic to reach those goals.

How it Can Hurt:

Studies show consumers actually lose trust in a brand when the “punchline to the story is your product,” and a study by BrandSpark International showed that “7 in 10 Americans place high importance on established trust in a brand when purchasing a new product.” Yikes. Once you lose that trust, you’re in trouble.

Imagine you’re at a networking meetup. While you pretend to peruse the selection of refreshments, someone approaches you and strikes up a conversation. You excitedly share information (Yay! Successful networking!), and the next day, they text you. “Hey. It was great to meet you last night. I would love to talk to you about a great business opportunity! Let me know when you can talk!” At that point, would you be likely to text back? Probably not. Lower levels of trust equal lower levels of engagement, in real life and online.

How To Do it Better This Year:

Strive to create consumer trust and loyalty in your cannabis brand, not just “buzz,” by providing useful and generous content about the cannabis industry in general or recent research into the plant. Go a step further, and become a better listener via social feed. Find out what your customers want, and deliver content that’s more useful. Consumers will repay you in the long run.

Mistake #2: Not Engaging with Your Audience

Not responding to your audience on social media is a big no-no. Your audience has given you their attention, and they want yours in return. They expect prompt, effective customer service through social media.

How it Can Hurt:

Scheduling posts on social media is just the beginning to an effective social media strategy. When you don’t take the time to respond and engage, you miss out on a valuable opportunity to show off the exceptional cannabis products and stellar service you provide. Plus, it just looks bad, partly because everyone else is doing it. Yep. Peer pressure definitely applies here.

How To Do it Better This Year:

Take time each day to read and respond to any questions, comments, and messages you receive. Another bonus for you? You can leverage comments, tweets, and updates to know your customer on a much more personal level, get insight into their wants and needs concerning cannabis, and create products or services that serve them better than ever before. (Tip: Ask us more about one of the industry’s latest social media trends, cannabis branding and hyperlocal marketing)

Mistake #3: STILL Keyword Stuffing

While keyword best practices have changed drastically over the years, it’s still important to use relevant keywords on your website. However, the way that keywords should be incorporated has changed over the years. Keyword stuffing still occurs, unfortunately. Not only is it flagged by search engines, but it negatively affects user experience, which is becoming increasingly important. When you pack in too many keywords, web copy loses its flow and isn’t inviting to read.

How it Can Hurt:

There are two things that happen when you keyword stuff your website: You’ll rank higher in search results and your bounce rate will increase. Why? The copy on the page will be so packed with keywords that it won’t be easy for people to read and understand. As people spend less time on your page, bounce rates go up. Now, search engines will start paying attention. They’ll assume search queries that brought people to the website might not be accurate, and that the website is not relevant. You’ll drop in search rankings and could be removed from starches altogether.

How To Do it Better This Year:

Don’t get too paranoid. Just take a “quality over quantity” approach. Seek to naturally incorporate a combination of short- and long-tailed cannabis-centric keywords within your site (this is a basic cannabis SEO best practice). They should be thoroughly researched and highly relevant to the website. Keywords that have been expertly woven into a website will be more or less undetectable, useful for the reader and have a positive overall effect on the website’s search ranking position.

Stand out from the crowd by improving your cannabis branding efforts with us.


Mistake #4: Hiring Amateur Graphic Designers to Save Money

There are areas where companies can cut corners to save money, but your brand design should never be one of them. The visible aspects of your brand (cannabis logo, website, business cards, etc.) are the visual representation of your company’s purpose and values; they are often the first impression a potential client has of your company. Still, you probably have heard of a colleague or competitor who has hired an amateur or participated in an online contest, and it may have sounded like a good way to save a few bucks.

How it Can Hurt:

Hiring an amateur may sound like a great way to save a few hundred dollars — after all, your nephew just graduated from design school. What a perfect opportunity! But what a professional has (that your nephew doesn’t yet) is experience and expertise. A professional will be able to produce higher quality solutions in less time, which will save you time in the short run and will be more effective in the long run.

Design contests can seem like a great way to access the talents of many designers for a low cost. You can submit your project and see hundreds of different options from hundreds of different designers! Unfortunately, you’ll find yourself spending time wading through hundreds of mediocre concepts to find something salvageable. More importantly, the designers only know a small piece of your overall strategy. Without spending the time to learn about your company, clients, and strategic goals, it would be very difficult for them to deliver an effective solution that will move your company forward. Worst of all, there isn’t always a guarantee that you’re getting original work. You could decide on a winner, and then see your competitor with the same design.

How To Do it Better This Year:

There are situations in which hiring an amateur or participating in a design contest is appropriate. But for a company that is serious about growing and attracting quality clients, hiring a professional will save you a lot of headaches. This year, let the only headache you experience be the morning after the company holiday party.

Mistake #5: Not Retargeting Your Campaign When Data’s Available

Many companies in this industry continue to execute cannabis branding campaigns without tracking their performance. This is the number one way to waste valuable advertising dollars and man hours.

How it Can Hurt:

Without collecting and analyzing campaign performance data, you can’t know which campaigns work for your target audience — and which definitely don’t. This is crucial in order to make intelligent decisions about allocating marketing budgets and determining which digital channels are most valuable to your company.

How To Do it Better This Year:

We are lucky to live in a time when there are so many powerful (and free) analytics tools like Google Analytics at our disposal! Get 2019 off to the right start by setting up Goals in Google Analytics and tagging your marketing campaigns so you can track performance. Cannabis CRM tools are also a highly effective way to help segment your campaigns according to different target audiences.

Cannabis branding channels are only going to get more complex and diverse. By tracking your campaigns and identifying which channels and campaign types work best for your customers, you can confidently move forward into the new year knowing where to spend your marketing efforts.

Did we hit all of your marketing pet peeves? Did we miss any?

Let’s forge cannabis branding strategies that can generate measurable gains.

Read more about our cannabis branding services and get in touch with us today to learn how we can boost your brand in 2019.