Marijuana and CBD companies can’t advertise on Facebook and Google, so they’re getting creative

Marijuana and CBD companies can’t advertise on Facebook and Google, so they’re getting creative

  • CBD and marijuana companies are restricted from advertising on Google and Facebook.
  • The companies are looking to events, sponsorships and other ways to connect with customers.
  • “Facebook is not the end all, be all,” said the ZenPup’s David Bozin.

David Bozin used to get cuts and scratches on his arms when it came time to bathe his golden retriever, Jax, who rebelled against the prospect of being dunked in water.

Then he learned that dogs, like humans, respond to the properties of cannabidiol, also known as CBD, a cannabis compound that helps the body relax without producing intoxicating effects. Bozin got to work on a line of CBD-infused dog products, including a dry shampoo and puppy treats, that he calls ZenPup .

But in trying to find customers for his new company, Bozin faces a unique challenge in today’s market. He doesn’t have access to Google GOOGL , Facebook FB or Instagram (owned by Facebook), which have banned CBD and marijuana promotions. The two dominant online advertising platforms account for 57 percent of the U.S. digital ad market, according to eMarketer , and almost all emerging brands today count on Google’s search ads and Facebook’s precision targeting to efficiently get the word out.

“Facebook is not the end all, be all. Instagram is not the end all, be all,” Bozin told CNBC. “Does that mean you’re not going to see as much traffic at the get go? Sure. But at the end of the day the most important point is conversion,” or getting people to buy your products, he said.

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in


Why CBD Marketing Strategies aren’t working

Why CBD Marketing Strategies aren’t working

The CBD industry has no shortage of experts that know CBD inside and out. From distillate to terpenes and every single moving piece around the compounds of CBD. As much as I appreciate their expertise, I have found that the most difficult issue for experts is finding a way to communicate their expertise to the average person (consumer).

Marketing is communication and storytelling!

It is crucial to have a strong sense of the story in which you wish to tell, and, more importantly, how will you be telling it. This is where strategy comes in. A strategy is essential to your brand, or else you run the risk of losing sight of your story and overall mission. Putting it simply, there needs to be a direction in your marketing. Direction requires goals and metrics, and metrics are one of the main ingredients for brand success. The trick is determining which strategy works for you, and the best way to do that is to establish multiple strategies at scale.

Establish a strategy.

It may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the first steps that should be made is to develop a strategy. A solid strategy is important as it sets forth a road map of the direction you and your brand are looking to head. Of course, this does not mean that it can’t change along the way (it often does). It’s completely normal for direction to change after data has been collected, and it’s important to be flexible. At the end of the day, it is the data received which is most valuable and should be the deciding factor of any shifts in direction. Otherwise, you should always continue with your strategy in order to be able to analyze the highs and the lows. Both must be considered in order to create the best analysis possible. 

Diving deeper into the bottomless pool of various available strategies may provide some insight, but due to the varying nature of each brand’s end-goals and how every company’s goals differ, I find value in providing light to some common concerns most marketers experience.

First, many novice marketers make decisions too quickly once they have started their strategy. 


4 Marketing Strategies for Your Cannabis Brand

4 Marketing Strategies for Your Cannabis Brand


Search engine optimization (SEO) is vital to business since 80% of a website’s traffic begins with a search query. When it comes to your CBD and Cannabis marketing strategy, we have you covered. Contact us and we’ll put you in touch with our strategist to put together your plan.


Every individual page should have a single targeted keyword that you want it to rank for. The keyword should appear on the page URL, alternative text for images, tags, titles, and body copy.


Include links within your website to point to main product pages or blog posts. To keep your blog relevant and fresh for SEO, post regularly and ensure your website is mobile friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and concisely informs viewers about your business.

This will help your site with Google indexing and improve your brand visibility substantially.


2. Explore Non-traditional/Non-mainstream Advertising and Marketing for Your Cannabis Brand

Cannabis brands face many restrictions when it comes to mainstream advertising through Facebook or Google. The non-traditional alternatives cannabis businesses must go for are a little harder to find, but worth it for the sake of engaging customers.


Position your brand in front of potential clients. Meet medical doctors in person to educate them about your brand rather than an impersonal brochure. Find opportunities to be hosted on cannabis podcasts or mainstream radio shows to discuss your products or services. Take every chance you can to participate in trade shows or health and wellness fairs.”


Create, advertise, and host educational events and speaker panels that are important to the cannabis community.” Host your brand on digital ads on industry websites.


The Mobile Phone Solution


The solution to fostering customer loyalty is sending friendly updates, coupons, and product photos via text is a quick and compliant way to push content directly to your customers and stay on top in the sea of competitors. Also, using direct SMS services can record responses and re-target campaigns based on their loyal customers and unique shopping preferences.


3. Create Accurate & Compelling Content to Engage & Educate

Since there are opposing and misleading news about the cannabis industry, it is important as a brand to not only market your product, but to be a source of education to the public about cannabis. Your content and marketing is the tool that will gain the attention to your brand.


Focus on your brand, values, and your company can help transform your customers. Then make them feel it.

Some creative ways to engage include crafting a simple blog about something you are passionate about in your community, hosting a Facebook video tour of areas within your provisioning center, sharing photos of your friendly budtenders with a quick biography, or providing your own response to emerging news and research on your social media. These things that show you’re ready to work with, engage, and be a part of people’s lifestyle and that attitude can get potential customers to pay attention to your brand.


When you can project an engaging and educational image via your marketing, naysayers will be able to see that your business is legitimate and that there’s nothing nefarious going on in what you’re offering your community.


4. Innovate

When it comes to the cannabis industry, there is room to innovate. Cannabis consumers tend to also be an open-minded and creative people.


Have fun. Don’t think you have to do what everyone else is doing. Take risks. Experiment and make mistakes.


You are on the forefront of an entirely new industry and have the potential to make new trends rather than follow them.


Full circle – have a physical presence and regain their attention online. But don’t forget to give back.


So think differently. Think new. Think forward.

CBD industry will hit $22 Billion by 2022

CBD industry will hit $22 Billion by 2022

A new report from cannabis industry analysts the Brightfield Group predicts that the non- psychoactive hemp-CBD market will explode and hit $22 billion by 2022.

CBD is one of the most medicinal compounds in the cannabis plant, and has shown to help with everything from PTSD and anxiety to MS and epilepsy.

CBD products have found their way from mostly head shops to natural food stores, beauty aisles, cafes and doctors offices. So far the industry is on track to hit $591 million in 2018, which could increase 40 times in the next four years.

While the early CBD market was assumed to be businesses cashing in on a trend, an uptick of states with required cannabis testing and regulation has created an explosion in potent and effective CBD products.

CBD has gone through a surge in popularity, and people want to buy it for common things people have been using over the counter medications for- bug bites, skin care, topicals, arthritis.

Since CBD is still highly regulated, major companies and retailers have been hesitant to get in the mix. However, the Brightfield Group believes the biggest opportunity for growth is Senator Mitch McConnell’s 2018 Farm Bill which, if passed, will legalize hemp under federal law, which will allow CBD to be legally sold in all 50 states. It would also remove the only roadblock for CBD investments from major corporations. It would also allow and encourage mainstream, big-box stores to start selling CBD products.
According to Brightfield Group, there will be increases in every sector that sells CBD – from dispensaries to medical companies. Maybe the biggest push will be from big box retailers and national chains that get in on the lifestyle craze.

And while pharmaceuticals would also be a major driver of money into the industry — for example, GW Pharma’s new epilepsy drug would cost a patient $32,000 per year — that’s not the approach most CBD companies want to take.

As consumers shift away from pharmaceutical companies and look for natural remedies, CBD seems to be the drug of the future.

CBD is seen by many as a natural remedy instead of a pharmaceutical or narcotic drug, which gives the compound an additional perception of safety and medical effectiveness that traditional, THC-heavy cannabis doesn’t achieve as easily through its many decades of propaganda. This may make consumers more likely to try CBD products, especially when it starts showing up on the shelves of neighborhood groceries.

Both the House and Senate have passed the 2018 Farm Bill.


How Do I Market My  Dispensary?

How Do I Market My Dispensary?

Marketing Dispensaries continues to be a challenge for marketers in the industry. I understand how frustrating it could be to have to resort to antiquated methods like billboards and magazines.

If you place an ad in a magazine, how do you know it was seen or if the people who saw it are even anywhere near your dispensary?

Competition is rising and marketing roadblocks are not allowing dispensaries to effectively market. Ad guidelines have created limited avenues and have set restrictions on ad placements to not market to children.


Establishing a Dispensary Marketing Plan

Establishing. adispensary marketing and advertising plan can be a challenge. We will provide you with the latest marketing trends that will help you be creative and efficient about your dispensary marketing ideas. Not only will we provide you with best practices but we will toss in some bonus ideas that may just set your dispensary apart from the others. At the end of the day, marketing requires creativity in order to captivate your audience and make your dispensary stand out.

We are marketing professionals with the experience in helping businesses grow and thrive. With the right tools, you too can make your dispensary grow and thrive. In our early days, we have learned all the mistakes so you don’t have to.

The best way to learn from mistakes is to learn from somebody else’s.


Dispensary Marketing Ideas and Channels

Outdoor Advertising – I see traffic and drivers sitting in their cars!

Clearly there are dispensary marketing plans that are trending and being noticed and billboards are one of them. A lot of dispensaries are benefiting from branding their dispensary on a giant billboard.

The reason billboards have grabbed attention is because Cannabis still carries a bit of taboo and it is something that people are not seeing much of until now. That is why placing a billboard or other digital out of home ad (DOOH) for branding purposes is an effective choice if it is strategically placed

Delivery service Eaze made headlines when a bus with their advertising hit a traffic officer’s vehicle. This isn’t to say that you should put advertising on a vehicle and drive it into a squad car… I would not recommend that. But it created great exposure for the company and the placement helped drive more brand awareness and the hilarity of it definitely helped.

Another dispensary marketing idea surrounding buses is buying a bus! Ah, we kid, but highly reccommend using a service like Purple Unicorn for DOOH services.

A San Diego Dispensary Unbn Leaf decided to wrap a bus and drive it around town to pick people up and take them to their location. It does not get any more direct than that.

Picking up clients and taking them to your location is a great idea!


Email Marketing For Dispensaries

The best email campaigns are ones that offer true value and create engagement with clients. This ensures that your clients will consistently anticipate emails from you and it will make your email list a valuable tool to continuously drive business.

Some tools that will facilitate your email marketing efforts are MailChimp, Sendlane, and Constant Contact. Like usual please adhere to advertising guidelines to stay safe and just use it as a tool to drive clients to your business.


Should I Collect Emails?

Emails should be the first priority when establishing your client list. Email marketing has become a great tool for Cannabis brands. The beauty of email marketing is clients are giving you an open door to contact them.


There are a few ways to be creative and collect email addresses.


  1. Rewards program where clients must enter email to join
  2. Free wi-fi, must enter email to access Wifi
  3. Create referral programs and reward current clients for referring a friend
  4. Collect emails at events from interested attendees
  5. QR codes that clients can scan for extra rewards

My rule of thumb is never give anything away for free… giveaways are great, but at the very least you want to receive an email in exchange for a giveaway.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – How can Dispensary SEO help people find me on Google?

One great tool to ensure your business will be found on google is SEO (search engine optimization). Simply put, SEO helps your site become a trusted source for the given search options.

What SEO does it show that your site is a valuable source given the content that appears on the site. A strong dispensary SEO strategy will make your site appear in front of your ideal audience because Google believes you site would provide the best possible answer for their question.

Ex. Someone searches ‘best delivery service in California’. Google will find the page that has the  best content that will answer that question. If you have a delivery service site with strong SEO, your website will be among the top results.

It is a bit more complicated than that but if you could find yourself a strong SEO strategy it will definitely help your brand. Please be advised that this does not mean you are placing ads through Google’s network. All of this content must live on your site in order to drive visitors to your site, where you can convert them to clients.

Online Directories for Dispensary Marketing

Where do I Find Online Business Listings/Directory for Dispensaries?

Weedmaps has been the most popular trend for Cannabis brands and Dispensaries. They are a directory style network that aggregates all of the local businesses and brands on their platform and classifies them by geo-location.

This means you can enter a certain location and Weedmaps will give you the nearest location for what you desire. You can see which locations are most popular and trusted.

Another great tool is to list your business on Google Business pages. This will help people find your location when searching for it. It also allows customers to leave reviews. As of now, it seems Google has been ok with Cannabis business listings on their network.

Please be advised that listings are not ads but a valuable way to get your brand out in front of a Cannabis audience.


Print Advertising for Dispensaries

Should I use magazine ads?

Magazine ads I believe fall on the same boat as billboards. Magazines can drive awareness in your brand and help create partnerships with trusted publications.

If you are considering placing ads in magazines make sure that you have great creatives that will catch the eye of readers. It may be a good investment to get on the cover of a popular local magazine that locals will see.

It is hard to see the benefit of a national magazine ad for a local dispensary unless your dispensary has multiple locations in multiple states like MedMen.

Social Media for Dispensary Marketing

Can I create Social Media accounts for my dispensary?

You should always cover all of your basis when it comes to social media. Create accounts for all mediums; Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +. But remember that you must adhere to their content rules. So post content in accordance to their rules in order to not have your account shut down or shadowbanned.

A consistent presence on social media gives your clients the perception of trust. It creates an avenue where your clients can look at what you stand for and a place where they can safely communicate with you.

You will also find that it will be a great avenue to organically connect with new clients. If you are providing quality content, your audience will see value in your page and continue to follow and trust your dispensary.

Can I Advertise Cannabis on Facebook or Google?

When considering digital ads most people turn to Google or Facebook but unfortunately, they do not accept Cannabis advertisers. Which means that as a dispensary you sit at the top of that list of advertisers they will not accept.


Seems unfair that these platforms will not allow Cannabis companies to advertise, which is why we created Traffic Roots. We have created a network outside of Facebook and Google that allows you to place true digital ads without the fear of being shut down and banned.


It is time for your dispensary to make the shift into digital? 

The benefit that a digital presence can have for your dispensary is immense. If you are new to digital then think of as placing digital  billboards for a fraction of the price of a real billboard. Not to mention this billboard lets you know who saw it and whether they like it or not.

  • Events / Promos / Sponsorships

As we mentioned before events are a great driver for exposure and leads. If you can get involved with local events it would definitely benefit your dispensary marketing. It allows people to engage with your brand when their guard is down and they are looking to have fun.

Sponsoring events can always benefit if you can’t have someone attend the event. A lot of events have great attendance and the exposure can benefit your brand.

One great idea for event marketing is having a brand ambassador dress up in a costume and give out gifts to attendees. This will make it a memorable experience for attendees and at the same time allow you to engage attendees and collect an email.

  • Tours

Creativity does not lack in the industry and as it continues to grow, so does the curiosity. Which is why the emergence of Cannabis tours has recently grown.


A cannabis tour can be a great opportunity for you to bring in new clients to your dispensary. Once again, make it a memorable experience for attendees and delight them with amazing giveaways (never free though remember). Make sure to collect information from those who attend a tour.


One cool unique way would be to establish a QR code that attendees can scan to immediately be entered into a raffle of some sorts. People are more open to these kinds of promos when they signed up for a tour of these types.


Most importantly would be to create the partnerships with these tour companies to make sure your location is part of the tour.


Make sure that their visit to your location is better than the rest!

  • Professional Organizations

Getting involved with local organizations in your area is also a great idea to place your dispensary in the right position. Establishing strong professional relationships with local businesses and leaders can really help establish your dispensary.


One great way to do that is to attend meetings for organizations that support local businesses and quite possibly get involved with your local chamber of commerce.


Strong relationships can be incredibly valuable for your business!


  • Word of mouth

The best marketing you get will also be the cheapest!


Word of mouth is quite possibly the best marketing you can get for your dispensary. But it also requires you to encompass all of the above to truly create an experience that drives the customer to spread the word.


Customer service is paramount when it comes to word of mouth. Clients must receive the best customer services that you can provide and investing in your employees to give them the tools to provide the best service is where you should start.


You don’t want clients to walk in and not be greeted by a friendly face. A smile is always the most important part of the uniform.


Knowledge is power! The more knowledgeable your staff is about your products and how certain products can fulfill your clients needs, the happier your clients will be.


Happy clients spread the word and return for another visit!

Who doesn’t love a good sale?

Discounts and sales are a great way to grow loyalty to your dispensary.


One great idea is to create sales on specific days where you see a drop in attendance in order to create a buzz around those days. For example, a monday madness sale to get your week started right.


But don’t overlook the busy times!


Use the rush hours to have amazing giveaways that will continue to entice your clients to return.


  • Influencer Marketing and Product Reviews

Although influencer marketing is not a new concept, social media has made it a viable option for smaller businesses to reach out to micro influencers who work within their niche to promote their product.


Influencer marketing has been around for a long time, technically John Wayne smoking cigarettes was influencer marketing, he just didn’t have an Instagram page.


It can be a very valuable avenue for your dispensary marketing plan. Finding the right influencers to promote your location can drive significant foot traffic to your location. However, you must choose wisely and make sure the influencers are pushing a genuine message.


Micro-influencers are probably a better bet for a local dispensary. Find local influencer with a decent following on social media and establish the message you are looking to promote. A good influencer should understand his audience and give you insight as to what will work. If an influencer just takes your creatives and reposts them, I would seriously reconsider working with them.


Another trick you can do is, if the influencer has a significant following you can establish a deal to have them spend some time at your dispensary and promote it to their audience.


A creative choice would be to have the influencer be “Budtender for a day” and have him create content from that, that will be promoted further. This allows you not allow promote your dispensary and showcase the location but actually drive clients in while this is being recorded.


You will find that attendees will be amused and also feel the need to share on their own social media platforms, in turn giving your dispensary more exposure.

How to Market Your Dispensary Online?

Google and Facebook won’t allow you to place ads then how can you drive potential clients to your site effectively? There are other effective outlets besides the mainstream sources. Traffic Roots has established a network of sites that are accessible all through one platform. Our cannabis and CBD advertising platform has consumer data for targeting your ads to those who are most likely to engage with and buy from your brand.


This means you can effectively place digital ads on sites with valuable traffic. The platform gives you valuable data for your dispensary marketing plan. You will see where your ads appear from operating systems, devices, and location. Which means as you gather data you can optimize your ads to yield the best results.


Dispensary marketing ideas are leaning towards digital marketing since it is more cost effective and efficient when targeting an ideal audience. Society has moved away from traditional media and digital is thriving.


If you have ever wondered how Amazon has become the behemoth company that it is now, it comes from gathering data and targeting users with relevant ads. We live in the digital age and people are glued to their phones, which means it is the perfect place to target your ideal audience.


Which why programmatic advertising with Traffic Roots can be extremely effective for your dispensary if executed properly.


How can Geo-Targeted Digital Advertising help drive clients to my dispensary?

Reaching the right audience is key when marketing your dispensary and Geo-targeting (also known as Location targeting) can be a great tool to help you localize your ads and reach your immediate local audience. This allows you to place micro targeted ads and hone in to tailor the message that will really resonate with your audience.


This is done by utilizing our technology to localize your ads to specific countries, states, or counties. Our custom GeoFence tool for cannabis advertising is not to be missed. Target ads to the consumers going to your competitors and invite them in for those products the competition simply does not have. For dispensaries a valuable strategy would be to target your county along with neighboring counties to cover more ground and brand your location.


You can blanket the entire county with digital ads to drive clients to your location. The first place people go is the internet when looking for a reliable location to shop and with digital ads you can advertise to your clientele while they browse relevant content.


The key to successful campaigns does not just lie on placing ads but making sure after the ad is clicked they are sent to a page that can provide them the information about your location and draw them in effectively.


Traffic Roots is making local advertising for dispensaries simple and affordable.


Start Advertising Today.

Cannabis cleanse? Why big tech is giving pot businesses the boot

Cannabis cleanse? Why big tech is giving pot businesses the boot

Got a question about cannabis? If so, then YouTube has long been a place to go. The platform’s power was something Green Flower Media understood well. The California company, which produces cannabis content focused on health and wellness, had posted hundreds of videos with titles like “What is cannabis terroir?” and “How to use cannabis with intention”.

The videos racked up millions of views, says the company’s CEO, Max Simon. But then, a few months ago, “YouTube decided to go on a cannabis cleanse.” Simon says their channel disappeared and that they have been “provided absolutely no recourse whatsoever”. (A spokesperson for Google, which owns YouTube, said there is a way to appeal.)

Simon interprets the ban as a sign of the pervasive stigma against the drug. It probably also reflects a powerful company doing the safe thing while the technology industry faces unprecedented scrutiny surrounding privacy, free speech and other issues.

Neither Google nor Facebook, the two most important internet companies, accepts marijuana advertising and both have been known to erase cannabis-related accounts without warning. Both companies say they want to allow discussions around the drug but not facilitate commerce. While attitudes about cannabis have been changing, it remains illegal almost everywhere they reach.