It all seemed to make sense: The more (relevant) content you publish, the easier it will be for customers to find you. They’ll consume all of your content, decide they absolutely MUST buy your products, and will come into your store over and over again.
Plus, the more tools there are that make it easy to create and distribute content, the more businesses can keep churning out content and publishing, publishing, publishing.
Makes sense, right?
If that’s the case, then why do so many content marketing efforts out there fail to get results - - or attract customers at all?
That’s the biggest problem: Blanket assumptions
The Danger of Blanket Assumptions in Content Marketing
First, the biggest problem is assuming all of your customers are going to do the same thing. That they will all do the same keyword search on ol’ Google, that they will all look at the products in the same way, and that they will all engage with your brand.
By this thinking, if you lay out all the features of a product and logical explanations for how that product solves the problem they are experiencing, then that person will buy the product.
Unfortunately, not everyone behaves the same way - - and not everyone feels the same.
Next, there is the assumption that consumers don’t prefer one content platform to another, or don’t discriminate between different content sources. And yet, each post your cannabis business’ blog publishes is going to enter into fierce competition with the rest of the busy market in an age of immediately available information.
Just how busy is the market? As of 2016, there were more than 966 MILLION websites. There are AT LEAST 103 retail cannabis stores within the state of Washington alone, and 261 in California.
If every store had a website that published at least one blog post per day. . . well, that’s a lot of content. This is what some content strategists refer to as “content overwhelm” or “content shock”, and it can pose a big problem for cannabis business owners trying to share their products with their target customers.
Who has time to sift through even MORE content than they already do?
Finally, there is the assumption that the people who do find your content are actually interested in your products, will read the information, and will be compelled to take some sort of action based on the content they’ve read.
In case you haven’t noticed, these are three pretty big assumptions for business owners to be making.
They’re also not correct.
There is no information about the motivation behind the readers that were drawn to the website by the content. There is no guarantee the reader will stay there and consume the information presented within the content. There’s even less information about how much interest your content is generating.
And THAT is why so many of the leads that come from merely finding and accessing the content rarely convert to paying customers.
So: What do you do?
Make Your Content Marketing Work
The first step is to challenge each of those assumptions in a technical cannabis market. So, instead of giving logical reasons to purchase a product in the content, create a content FLOW that first creates an emotion, that is then paired with a behavioral motivation to result in an action.
Next, rather than assuming you know a reader’s motivation or reason for acting, and whether or not they’ll actually consume your content, start a dialogue with them. Engage with the reader and ASK what their motivation is.
Below, I’ve shared three actionable steps you can take to free your brand’s content and get into a dialogue with your audience.
Engaging Your Audience
The most important thing to take away from this is the fact your content needs to compel your target audience to do something.
So, in order to make your content as actionable and engaging as possible, there needs to be an aspect of functionality to it. This gets your audience to start applying small - - but important - - actions to the content.
When creating the content for your cannabis business, ask yourself:
1. What specific action do you want the reader to take after they’ve consumed your content?
2. What emotion does your reader need to feel before they purchase this product? What do you need to know about your reader in order to create this emotion?
3. What series of smaller actions would the reader take before they finally purchase your product? (Or take whatever bigger action you want them to?)
By answering these questions each time your cannabis brand publishes a piece of content, you will be able to put together an effective map for creating a compelling content marketing strategy that gets the results you’re looking for.
Like more product sales.
Cannabis Content Marketing Example
Let me give you an example.
Recently, I was working with a client who wanted to bring in more website traffic consisting of technical professionals that work in cannabis production and processing.
Rather than just creating the typical blog content and using it to drive traffic, I created a question-and-answer segment for Instagram Stories that enabled the client to start a conversation with the audience.
Through this dialogue, we were able to prime the audience to be able to quantify the issue(s) they were regularly having, and then educating them (in an interesting way) on the different solutions for solving their problem(s).
Only then did we show them different products that would provide them with solutions, which led to them converting to in-store customers.
Know what’s really neat?
Roughly 85% of those who watched the Instagram Stories posts responded. Out of that 85%, however, 42% ended up purchasing the products being showcased.
Why does this type of personalized content marketing work so well? What makes it so effective?
This type of cannabis content marketing strategy is focused on your audience as people - - rather than creating for dollar signs and search engines.
People purchase solutions, not products.
With this content marketing strategy, the audience is properly reached, engaged, and educated about their own needs and solutions before they even start to think about coming into the store and buying something.
Creating for search engines, or creating for those dollar signs, does have its place. But, in the long-run, it’s not going to generate the same amount - - or quality - - of engagement as personalized content marketing.
By pairing your cannabis brand’s content with the right amount of functionality, you establish a whole new level of consumer-brand trust. You forge a new connection with your target audience, one that keeps them actively engaged with your brand, rather than just passively thinking of it whenever they happen to see your post or come across one of your bags.
Personalized content marketing engages your cannabis customer, generating far better results.