Marketing Cannabis and Hemp Products on the Web
It’s no secret that the cannabis industry is booming in Canada. Since its formal legalization in 2018, it seems that Canadian consumers have experienced a cannabis craze. In fact, the federal government reported that more than 11 million units of cannabis had been sold across Canada by March 2021.
Many cannabis companies have been able to thrive in the market that has risen over the last few years – however, there’s plenty of competition, and it’s only getting tighter.
A chart from the federal government shows 72 pages worth of license holders in the country – obviously indicating that there are plenty of cultivators, processors, and sellers in the market.
That’s why cannabis businesses need to have a concrete marketing plan, and most agree that digital is the way to go.
It’s not enough to be creative, though. Cannabis promotion is regulated very strictly in Canada – and promoters must be deliberate and thoughtful to avoid penalties.
Keeping Legal Guidelines in Mind
Cannabis was legalized in Canada through the Cannabis Act, a 2018 bill that lays out the framework for legal sale and consumption.
Subdivision A of the Cannabis Act focuses on promotion – and this section shows that there are plenty of restrictions marketers and promoters should be aware of.
For starters, the Cannabis Act has a very precise definition of what promoting cannabis actually is. To promote, the act says, is to make a ‘representation’ of a product or service that is “likely to influence and shape attitudes, beliefs and behaviours about the thing or service.”
Section 17(1) of the Cannabis Act states that, “unless otherwise authorized under the Cannabis Act, it is prohibited to promote cannabis or a cannabis accessory or any service related to cannabis.” The guidelines are particularly strict against marketing to youth – in fact, you cannot rely on visuals, activities, places, music, or symbols that are believed to target younger audiences.
So, how can companies market their cannabis products without violating these guidelines?
Creative TRND has a set of Cannabis Promotion Guidelines that it follows for the Blunt network. These guidelines are based on the rules and exceptions presented in the Cannabis Act.
Specifically, the guidelines include:
- Adding disclaimers wherever necessary.
- Taking steps to avoid promoting to youth, including putting popup messages on sites, asking for the user’s age.
- Focusing on factual information – like the ratio of CBD and THC in a product – in promotional content.
- Avoiding the urge to make health-based claims, showing visuals of people smoking, or directly encouraging use of cannabis.
Meaningful Videos Capture The Audience’s Attention
Your cannabis brand needs to resonate with users – and video marketing provides one of the smoothest ways to do it. After all, a 2013 study suggests that the human brain can process images in 13 milliseconds, making videos a great way to relay information quickly.
Not sure where to start? Creative TRND’s video team suggests the following video types:
Anytime a market explodes the way that the cannabis market has in Canada, people become curious. A strong, educational video can feed that curiosity. Explanations, fun facts, and tutorials can engage viewers and earn their trust. Plus, factual information is more likely to be accepted as fair game under the Cannabis Act’s restrictions on promoting these products.
Want to draw in customers? Tell genuine stories with real people who have used your products. Testimonials shouldn’t seem desperate or contrived – instead, let people share their authentic experiences with your brand.
Behind the Scenes
People who use cannabis and hemp want to know where their products come from. After all, products based on these substances can earn a faulty reputation without an understanding of where they come from and how they are made. Show the cultivation process and the creative moments that go into building your brand’s cannabis and hemp products.
As we’ve explained, standing out is important in the cannabis market. Your videos don’t have to come across as serious and stern – have some fun! Use video marketing to your advantage, and show your products in as many creative ways as possible. Try popular challenges, recipe videos, and anything else you can think of.
Choose Your Language Carefully
When talking about cannabis, it’s easy to fall into the trap of relying on stereotypes or slang ripped out of ‘after school specials.’ These choices won’t fare well for your brand. Instead, use language that actually resonates with the people who would use your products.
For example, you may be inclined to say that your products are CBD-infused – but the word ‘hemp’ tends to draw people’s interest more rapidly than ‘CBD.’ Technically, these terms aren’t interchangeable – CBD is found in hemp – but hemp simply functions more effectively as a keyword.
Need Help With Digital Marketing for Your Cannabis Brand?
If you found these digital marketing tips useful, but you want to make sure your cannabis brand is being promoted as effectively as possible, get in touch with us and find out how we can help.
Last Updated on July 31, 2021 by ADCANN