Cannabis Content Marketing and Advertising South Africa
Now that dagga/Cannabis has been decriminalized for personal cultivation and use, and with the many pending legal Cannabis licence applications for commercial cultivation, it would appear the bandwagon has turned more into a overloaded freight train with thousands of South Africans trying to board without a ticket and the notion they are going to be printing money!
For some this dream will become a reality, but for most it’s just a hazy pipe dream. The truth is the Cannabis industry in South Africa is a tough industry which has already claimed many prisoners.
So you’re on board the inbound and Cannabis content marketing train, but you’re finding yourself struggling to try and figure out just how in the heck you’re supposed to create all of the Cannabis content you’ll need to support your campaigns! Have no fear though, since you’re not alone. This issue is one of the biggest problems small to medium-sized Cannabis businesses face when it comes to getting their inbound Cannabis content marketing campaign off the ground.
One of our many goals is to provide a Cannabis content marketing service in South Africa.
So you have a Cannabis brand or product your company wants to successfully launch into the mesosphere, but you’re struggling to source a reliable and qualified Cannabis advertising and marketing agency in South Africa. Well fear not, we’re here to help!
In order to roll out a successful marketing strategy it’s highly recommended that you make use of a professional Cannabis Consultant South Africa. Preferably someone who has a solid understanding of both the “underground markets” and the “legal” Cannabis industry as well as current and future trends including dagga terminology.
Marketing your cannabis brand can be a bit of a challenge as technically it’s still illegal to sell Cannabis products or promote brands in South Africa. In addition, restrictive social media platform guidelines like facebook are quick to ban brands associated with marketing Cannabis. Furthermore, cannabis brands are constantly having to prove their legitimacy to naysayers and overall critics of the industry. South Africa is ripe with self proclaimed “Cannabis Experts” which have all of a sudden emerged from the proverbial marijuana closet. In short, stoners with a lot of hate, who feel they’re owed something because they know everything. Medical Cannabis SA is no stranger to standing up to a big challenge, the cannabis industry itself must be innovative in its approaches so that it can responsibly market its brands to potential customers and subscribers.
Here are a few suggestion how you can creatively market your brand while overcoming some of the challenges that marketing cannabis brings with it:
Create Accurate & Compelling Content to Engage & Educate
There are so many South African website portals online now and more are popping up faster than the thousands of Cannabis seeds which have been planted in gardens across SA. One of the downsides of the South African Cannabis growing industry is that there is a lot of opposition content out there that is simply not true about the cannabis industry or even accurate about the plant itself.
Cannabis brands should not only focus on marketing their products, but also educating the public about Cannabis just as we strive to do with this website you’re reading. Your content and marketing need to prove that it’s ready to engage with people, rather than be passive about information. Some creative ways to engage include crafting a simple blog post about something you are passionate about in your community like The South African Cannabis Growers Club we created two years ago and now boasts in the region of 8500+ members who share not only their love of Cannabis, but also information and tips on subjects such as growing Cannabis and industry news.
Your content and your marketing is the tool that will gain the attention of even the person who is not ‘sold’ on what you do. 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.
Utilize Social Media Responsibly
For businesses of any size, creating audience-focused and pay-to-deliver content across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Google to generate customer leads is pretty straightforward.
At this point, even though cannabis is decriminalized, Facebook and Google et al don’t allow any paid ads or content promotion even for the most evergreen, cannabis-related business content although the BIG G does seem to turn a blind eye to the marketing of CBD even though technically it’s still a Schedule 4 substance.
Facebook and Instagram have also been particularly aggressive (and cryptic) when it comes to suspending cannabis-related social accounts without notice. Even we are not immune to this and are currently enjoying a 30 day fb ban. The risk is just too great for most businesses in this space, but it appears to have worked in our favour with about 1300 pending member requests to join our fb Growers Club. Go figure.
This will probably be an issue until prohibition disappears completely or the business really does become too large to ignore as we are striving to be.
With so many restrictions for advertising, such as where ads can be placed and what content is allowed to be displayed in ads, cannabis brands often need to turn to non-traditional advertising methods to engage their customer.
How do B2B Cannabis content marketers get around this PPC “blackout”?
It’s important to note that while social media is definitely a great marketing tool, focusing only on this may lead to a poor ROI and time. Content will always be king. Create audience-focused, journalistic content designed to convert readers into either sales leads or to encourage them to sign up to your email database. We’ve successfully built up a solid email database which we use to spread education, news and awareness on the South African Cannabis industry. You can sign up for this free newsletter here. We also run an annual Cannabis marketing survey to understand the local industry more.
So far, these tactics have been an effective way for us around paid PPC marketing, but more importantly, they represent a well-rounded, integrated marketing approach all types of companies should be re-looking into.
PPC is coming – we may have to wait until full legalization in South Africa and the “dagga” business matures – but the “Green Rush” is definitely upon us!
Study Your Performance
A big part of Cannabis content marketing is monitoring your key performance indicators (KPIs). You really have to study what works and what doesn’t if you want to be successful. Make it a goal to check your analytics daily. Look at how often people are landing on your website and which pages or posts. How much time do they tend to spend there? Which types of content are they’re consuming the most? Who’s filling out forms on your website? To sum up, what are your readers there for and why? Look at how often your content is shared across social media or how often backlinks or inbound links to your website are being clicked. Analyse every bit of user data you can so you can determine what’s working and what is not.
Become The Community Expert On Cannabis
This is easier said than done. As soon you “claim” to be an expert you invite jealousy from facebook keyboard ninjas who love to type out of their asses and/or create memes. The best way to be noticed or recognized as such is to work hard at it. Give those free radio and TV interviews, answer questions which journalists seek answers to for Cannabis articles they are writing, and try to speak to as many people in the industry as you possibly can. Essentially, strive to be the authority on Cannabis in your local community as this will not only help your brand grow, but will give the media, and other important stakeholders, a go-to on all things Cannabis giving your brand recognition as a thought leader.
When your name, and your Medical Cannabis dispensary South Africa name shows up as the continuous expert, that in itself will drive traffic to your online Cannabis store and the products you offer as people will trust your knowledge and opinion on products over your competitors.
The reality is that Cannabis is still illegal in South Africa and it’s not like it was or is possible to study or prepare for this industry. There is no substitute for experience.
Content marketing for Cannabis is rife with rings of fire and bureaucratic red tape, so the best we can do as an industry is creatively and enthusiastically push forward and shape the way for responsible content and marketing that shines Cannabis in the best light possible, GREEN!
Seek to be an honest and genuine brand which is working within an imperfect industry. Be genuine with education and show respect to solidify relationships with your customers. This will result in people speaking highly of your brand to others. Not only that, but it will build the most coveted marketing of all time, word of mouth marketing. Friends love to share great products and ideas with friends, and your Cannabis brand will be no exception.
The future of Cannabis content marketing in South Africa is now! So if you’re in the Cannabis or a Cannabis-related business, get ready to build your content and lead-generation machine just like all the other “mainstream” businesses, lifestyle media, and global corporations do. And do it well!
Cannabis entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are preparing for the business floodgates to open any day now – so you should be prepared too.