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Cannabis is big business.

Wholesalers, retail, ancillary businesses, ecommerce, advertising, PR and more… cannabis businesses in states where the substance is legalized are flourishing. Legal cannabis is generating serious profits for business owners and shareholders. As cannabis becomes more mainstream and more players enter the growing market, competition is increasing. With a limited number of consumers and, in some cases, low barriers to entry, the need for competitive messaging and marketing is prudent to the cannabis industry.

Platforms like Facebook, Youtube and Google prohibit the marketing of cannabis due to the current discrepancy between federal and state laws. With the major platforms that most businesses use to market their business, cannabis brands are faced with challenges on how to reach new customers online.

So how do cannabis brands drive their demand and market share?

Below are a few solutions available to cannabis advertisers today across a myriad of price points and strategies.

Outdoor Advertising:

Driving through California or Colorado you may see billboards along the interstates and highways for local brands or national services. Companies like Weedmaps reach new users through this medium. The goal for many of these advertisers is to reach new eyeballs or folks who are not overly familiar with the major brands within the cannabis industry. This medium is potentially great, yet expensive, making it more of a challenge for local/small businesses.

Influencer Marketing

This channel is becoming popular as of late across all industries. Brands can potentially connect with those who have a large social media presence through a large following and significant engagement, and offer them money for sponsored posts. These arrangements can be done on an affiliate basis where the influencers receives a portion of sales their post generates. Influencers with larger audiences can charge a flat fee based on the amount of traffic they generate per post. However, marketing through this channel can be difficult because most influencers are active on platforms that don’t support cannabis advertising.

Cannabis Site Advertising 

Want to get in front of a hard core cannabis audience? There are a few ways you can place your ads on popular sites like High Times or The Cannabist. These deals are done either directly through the publisher’s sales team (reach them through their “contact us” page) or through a cannabis specific CPC ad network. If you offer products geared toward advanced users, this would be a great avenue to market your business.

Cannabis Traditional Publisher Advertising

This is a continuation of cannabis site advertising. Print media can reach a wide array of readers based on the publisher and where they make their print available for purchase. This is typically done with cannabis specific publishers, however, traditional publishers are beginning to accept these types of advertisements.

Programmatic Cross-Device Advertising with Safe-Reach.com

Want to reach adults in legal markets as they engage with non-canna online sites? Safe-Reach has collected publishers from many verticals that are comfortable with compliant cannabis ads being served to adult visitors on their site. Some caveats exist with the type of content you can serve through this channel, but it’s the best way to reach more novice or less-informed adult consumers online.

The future  

As more states legalize cannabis and the federal government is pressured to take a formal stance on legalization, there will be advancements in the channels brands use to communicate with adult consumers. Interesting times are ahead, as competition within retailers, wholesalers and brands increases and the ability to get in front of consumers becomes more and more prudent!