I love commercials. I love it when entertainment I pay for is interrupted by ads I don’t care about.
Yeah, good luck trying to find a consumer who actually feels that way.
People have become so sick of pushy advertising and in-your-face sales tactics. To be sure, these tactics are considered sleazy, scammy, low-value, and nothing special.
Certainly, these tactics make brands feel exactly the same. Good luck trying to stand out from the crowd and boost website traffic.
Of course, there probably are other factors at play. Chiefly, the still-growing popularity of social media and the Internet. These channels make it easier for consumers to decide which products they want to purchase, and from which brands.
Generally, consumers are going to purchase products from a brand they recognize, know, and trust. For example, Chris’ friend posted a picture of the latest marijuana strain he picked up. The strain was pretty, and his friend said it was really potent. He was sure to “get totally baked”, his friend claimed.
His friend saw it on a Facebook post from his local dispensary and decided to try it. It’s a new favorite now. Chris is going to ask his friend which dispensary that came from, and he’s very likely going to pick some up for himself.
While social proof definitely matters, consumers don’t base their purchases on popularity and price as much as they do authenticity, helpfulness / value, brand transparency, and relatability. It’s not that the strain or dispensary Chris’ friend went to was hugely popular, but rather the fact the product has earned the recommendation of someone of whom Chris thinks highly.
If his friend trusts it, Chris trusts it. That goes for the product and the dispensary.
And guess what?
Their friends will be interested as well.
However, If you come across as too promotional, then people are going to be far more likely to ignore your ads or content.
Because of this shift, content marketers have learned how to approach the consumer differently than before. It won’t work to just dust off some of the old ads for your brand and expect them to have the same success as before.
Instead, you content marketers need to show the value of the brand they are creating content for. If you want consumers to care, you have to show them your product, service, or content will enrich their life in one way or another.
Expert content marketers focus on building relationships, engagement, and community within their audience(s). They create content that is written for humans, not just search engines. They offer content that is focused on the consumer, not on the brand. And, they remember the importance of personalization.
And, it absolutely works.
We’re going to examine the ways by which investing in content marketing will grow your brand and help your business get more sales. And that’s from both existing and new customers.
Let’s take a look:
What is Content Marketing?
First of all, let’s go over what content marketing is. Which, at the most basic level, is the creation and distribution of relevant and valuable information, from which both your brand and target audience benefit.
Just as with most things, there are several different kinds of content marketing. That being said, the main thing that differentiates content marketing from traditional marketing is in how the information is presented.
Content marketing generates interest in your brand, your dispensary, and the products that dispensary offers. In contrast, traditional marketing focuses direct and strong promotion of specific products your dispensary is trying to push.
It’s like the difference between warming, cozy sunshine spread around you, and direct sunlight beaming into your eyes. Obviously, content marketing is the warm and cozy sunshine.
Because the pushy, in-your-face advertising has been going on for such a long time (about 155 years, to be exact), people have started to become desensitized to them. They’ve generally started avoiding the ads or skipping past them altogether, depending on the medium.
For instance, think about how many times you eagerly wait, mouse-clicking finger at the ready, for the five seconds to be up on a YouTube ad? Or how many times are you annoyed or bored by those ads that don’t let viewers skip after the required five seconds.
That’s what’s happening to the traditional ads you put out there. While it’s not a dead channel, focusing your traditional marketing efforts to also include content marketing would be one of the absolute smartest marketing decisions you could possibly as a dispensary owner.
To that end, it’s time to start asking yourself how you should go about starting with content marketing and how your content marketing efforts will further your business objectives and grow your brand.
Four Main Content Marketing Strategies
There are numerous ways brands can get their content in front of people who are actually interested in what they had to say. In order to maximize your potential research, brands should employ several different content marketing strategies.
While there are multiple methods, the following four are just some of the more common strategies.
1. Blog Posts
If you are a serious brand, you should have a blog on your website. It’s just that simple.
Given that a blog offers a digital space for presenting your business, positioning your brand, and for regularly posting value-driven articles that are relevant to your target audience’s interests and needs. Doing so will increase the visibility of your brand and therefore attract the attention of your target consumers.
Creating interesting, compelling articles and posting them to your business website’s blog is also one of the best ways to leverage social media in order to grow your business. Without a doubt, having a blog will help grow your brand.
2. Social Media Updates
Sharing is everything in the world of social media. From Facebook to Snapchat, consumers are constantly sending friends and family memes, links to articles and blog posts, pictures, video, and other media relevant to their interests. The higher in quality your brand’s content is, the greater interest in will stir. As a result, you’ll have much greater chances of it “going viral,” which means millions of people will end up seeing it in a short amount of time. Having a social media strategy is a huge part of sharing your content, and making sure it reaches your target audience.
It is, however, important to understand it’s not easy to “go viral,” and views should not be mistaken for engagement. An expert content marketer creates content that generates both.
In addition to creating content specifically for social media, it’s also important to share the links of blog posts on your website through each of the social media channels that are the best fit.
To that end, keep in mind there will be a percentage of people who click out of your posts without navigating to other parts of your website. However, some of them will become interested in your brand what you have to offer. These are the website visitors that become leads or customers by interacting with your brand - usually to ask about your products or services or just by making a purchase right away.
There are numerous strategies you can use on social media. With this in mind, it’s recommended brands avoid using what everyone else does. Get creative with your marketing, creating content that sells and thinking outside the box. Stay on top of the current social media marketing trends, so as to stay ahead of the competition.
3. Creating and Posting Video Content
Content marketing is constantly changing, and blogging isn’t even the only solution. As an illustration, let’s take another look at YouTube. Creating videos is another form of content marketing. Video is a powerful content marketing strategy because it holds more of the viewer’s attention than words and text.
In fact, HubSpot published a blog post that stated 51.9% of all marketing professionals listed video as being the type of content with the highest return on investment.
4. Publish an E-Book to Offer Industry Authority
If you’re an expert on a subject related to your business and brand, you may want to consider publishing an e-book on the topic. It needs to contain content your target audience will find interesting and relevant, and also to engage their audience for longer than a few-minute-long video or short blog post that is easy to skim. Your content can also be used as a “bonus freebie” people can download when they sign up for your newsletter.
In other words, E-book content allows your brand to bridge the gap between traditional your methods of email marketing with your updated content marketing efforts.
Do you want to use content marketing to grow your business?
4 Ways Content Marketing Will Grow Your Business
1. Demonstrating Value Increases Consumer-Brand Trust
First thing to remember is that consumers purchase products from the brands they know and trust. Expert content marketing further establishes that consumer-brand trust by showing potential customers that you care about them, their problems, and their needs. It can also show them you care about them as people, as opposed to just customers.
By publishing content that is directly relevant and of interest to your target audience, you are proving your dispensary is committed to helping people solve their problems or answer their questions. It could even be something as simple as a blog post about the differences between indica and sativa.
In fact, branded content keeps your brand in the forefront of your existing customers’ minds. Because of this, your customers are more likely to visit your dispensary than any other when it’s time to purchase more products.
So, how can you create content that maximizes the value of your product offerings for your existing and new customers?
Maybe you could highlight a new product or provide tutorials about things like taking dabs and using glass blunts. The main objective is to take your branded content out of a transactional existence and into a customer-focused one that offers real, measurable value for your readers.
For example: The Tacoma dispensary World of Weed passes this test with flying colors. While it can be confusing for new customers to figure out which products to try, this dispensary’s blog content persuasively explains different marijuana strains and products, while also providing information about everything from proper cannabis storage to common marijuana myths. The tone is informative and helpful, but also compelling and entertaining. Most importantly, the content is unique to this dispensary and highlights products right from the store shelves.
2. Raise Your Visibility
Content marketing gets your dispensary name and branding in front of thousands more people. Better still, it positions your brand in a positive light rather than intrusive ad they can’t choose to see. This boost in visibility will inevitable generate more website traffic, followers, and highly targeted leads for your dispensary’s brand. To that end, keep re-purposing and sharing popular, older content to breathe new life into it and get it in front of new readers.
3. Build Your Brand Identity
In addition to the other three reasons to invest in content marketing, it also builds your dispensary’s brand identity and brand positioning.
Ask yourself: Can your content pass the “no logo test”?
This logo test, inspired by a Content Marketing Institute article, is an excellent way to find direction in your digital strategy, particularly when your dispensary is struggling with its content marketing.
Take key pieces of your brand’s content and digital marketing collateral.
Look at them. If there were no logos or names, how easy would it be to pick out your content from your competition's content? In order to stand out from the rest of the cannabis industry content out there, your content needs to have a distinct voice and tone that is unique to your brand, and your brand alone. If your content looks like everything else, it's going to go ignored by your target audience.
With that in mind, your content marketer should be focused on creating content that breathes life into your brand. With over 1 billion websites on the Internet, content is what is going to set yours apart. In fact, content that maintains a clear, distinctly-yours viewpoint, tone, and overall branding, will gain far more views and engagements.
It was only recently (within the last five years) that branded content rose to become the king of digital marketing. For customers, reading branded content is going to be way more entertaining and relevant to their needs or interests than a generic marketing ad that interrupts what they’re doing.
Branded content positions your dispensary as a resource, encourages engagement, and entertains your readers. In other words, your website should only produce value-driven content.
It’s this content that gets picked up on social media, reaching a significantly larger audience than originally intended. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how social media helps content marketers distribute their content in a more affordable and effective way than with standard marketing strategies.
And, it will help you just the same way.
Just as the name would suggest, “branded content” is content that is grounded in your dispensary’s brand identity. If your content isn’t able to pass the “logo test”, then you’ll just end up with another generic piece of content being shoved in the face of your target audience each day.
The content your website publishes should align with the mission, goals, and core values of your dispensary. And, it should align with the needs, values, and interests of your customers.
To that end, every bit of branded content distributed by your brand should be created with your customer in mind, and use that to apply your dispensary’s unique atmosphere, perspective, and expertise in order to offer the solutions and products they need.
For instance, your content should provide cannabis users with the information, recommendations, and insights they need in order to make their purchases. Topics could range from product highlights to updates about Washington marijuana laws - - whatever resonates most with your target audience.
All in all, every piece of content your dispensary website publishes should be dedicated to advancing the vision of your brand and the needs / interests of your customers.
4. Boost Search Engine Rankings
Your customers aren’t the only members of your audience. No, you have to impress the search engine “bots” and “spiders” as well. For the most part, this is done by creating content that follows the best search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
SEO is a powerful digital marketing tool that is used by pretty much every company that’s doing even slightly well. By and large, SEO remains a highly effective tool by which your website can generate website traffic and leads, as well as re-engage existing or past customers. Because of this, the value that has been placed on SEO will only increase.
As has been noted, Google’s latest algorithm changes have made valuable content even more essential to the ranking of your dispensary website’s pages ranking highly for targeted keywords your brand uses to generate qualified traffic.
Given that, your website pages will rank better in search engine results if visitors spend more time reading your content. If your website is stuffed to the brim with keywords and generic blog posts, people are going to leave your site the moment they see your content. Which, being that a high bounce rate and lack of returning visitors significantly hurt your SEO, is something dispensary owners should be trying to avoid.
However, a regularly updated blog that publishes 16+ posts per month generates an average of 3.5 times more website traffic than a blog that only publishes 1-4 blog posts per month. Certainly, a blog that never updates - or doesn’t exist - is missing out on valuable opportunities to grow their brand.
That being said, quality means significantly more than quantity. In view of that, the above reasons are exactly why investing in expert content marketing is one of the most utilized digital marketing strategies available.
There are other methods of online reach, such as paid search marketing, display and banner ads, sponsored video ads, and online PR. While this may produce some results, dispensaries that aren’t fully taking advantage of all that content marketing has to offer.
Essentially, their marketing efforts are about as effective as emptying a bucket of water with a spoon. Sure, you can get some of the water out. However, it also costs more for you to use the spoon than if you just dumped the bucket upside down or poked holes in the sides.
Those that are not leveraging their content to their dispensary’s advantage will continue to fall short of their brand’s fullest marketing potential. That is, unless they create an effective content marketing strategy that is unique to their dispensary brand and business.
Sharing various forms of content is only going to become more important to your marketing as time goes on. After years of having advertisement after advertisement shoved in their faces, customers just aren’t buying them anymore.
When it comes to increasing consumer-brand trust, improving brand visibility, building identity, and boosting SEO, content marketing has become an absolute necessity.
If you want to increase your dispensary’s sales and your brand’s value for your target audience, a strong content marketing strategy is exactly what you need to grow your business.
Content marketing is a great way to grow your business!
Grow Your Business With Content Marketing
Content marketing obviously reigns supreme, though relevancy, context, and quality of your content are key. Dispensaries need to create their content marketing strategy with the right message, one that truly resonates with your target audience.
As a Tacoma business writer, I create a content marketing strategy that will grow your brand, generate website traffic, and increase sales. Indeed, I help small to medium businesses, including dispensaries and dispensary owners, grow their brands through content marketing, social media management, and more. If you want to raise your brand as high as your customers, get in touch with me today.