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Thursday July 11, 2019

By Michael Walters

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Since its inception, the cannabis industry has seen tremendous success across the board. However, many people – especially consumers – are detached from the countless challenges that cannabis businesses face on a daily basis. Truth is, the constantly changing and shifting nature of the marijuana industry presents an exorbitant amount of headaches and red tape – specifically in the realm of marketing and advertising. On top of that, inconsistent marketing regulations have made it difficult for many businesses to get their brand out there. Luckily, there are some great ways cannabis companies can operate within the confines of the law to extend their promotional reach.

The Importance of Influencer Marketing in Cannabis

Affiliate and influencer marketing tactics are some of the most powerful tools in a cannabis brand’s arsenal as they allow business owners to attract new customers and cast their message to a wide audience. Conversely, the importance of influencer marketing has allowed everyday consumers to step into the limelight and become trusted industry resources. This emergence of affiliate and influencer marketing enables dispensaries, CBD brands and cannabis brands to incentivize publishers and influencers alike to share promotions and branding on their behalf all while earning commission on the sales they generate. It’s a marketing channel that is widespread across traditional ecommerce, but has not yet touched the cannabis industry on a wide-scale level.

Additionally, affiliate and influencer marketing can be an effective way to bypass some of the roadblocks that present themselves to cannabis businesses.

“Shadow-banning,” for example, is an all too common issue that plagues business owners in the cannabis industry. Social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and others unfortunately practice “shadow-banning,” making it extremely difficult (impossible for some) to run “boosted” posts or utilize the paid advertising options available to businesses in other more-established industries. By working with third-party publishers and content creators via an affiliate marketing service, the possibility for advertising is opened up tremendously, allowing cannabis businesses a back door into more traditional marketing practices.

Social Media
Social media channels practice "shadow-banning," making it difficult for the cannabis industry to run boosted posts. photo credit

Continuing with the impact from a social standpoint, the potential exposure a business can receive through influencer marketing is tremendous – especially if you’re working with notable public or industry figures. Not only can influencers help generate demand for a company’s products or services but they can also set trends and implement new consumer patterns. Of course, the impact of an influencer’s marketing abilities are limited to that figure’s individual reach and audience, but the right message and following can really go a long way.

Influencer Marketing Strategies for Cannabis

When building out an influencer and affiliate marketing strategy, it’s important to take a calculated approach that will generate the highest return on investment (ROI). Of course, a simple snap of the fingers can’t make this happen. Building out your marketing channels takes time, energy and a lot of hard work and careful planning. Don’t worry though, there are businesses out there that can help!

CannAffiliate, the cannabis industry’s first one-stop-shop for affiliate and influencer marketing services, is helping CBD brands, dispensaries, cannabis brands and ancillary companies (such as seed banks and online glass/head shops) reach their goals and share their message to targeted audiences. With features such as a pay-for-performance affiliate network (where you only pay commission on the sales generated for your business) and conversion tracking for both dispensaries and cannabis brands, CannAffiliate leverages large-scale publishers, content owners, influencers and all sorts of affiliates to elevate brands and ensure tangible, quality ROIs.

Conversely, CannAffiliate also provides a platform for influencers and publishers to make money by promoting cannabis brands. Simply sign up for the platform and start using your reach to help grow budding businesses.

Companies like CannAffiliate can help elevate your brand. photo credit

Working with a company like CannAffiliate can help get your brand in front of a large, yet targeted audience. Doing so can help drive clicks, conversions and brand awareness that is invaluable in the highly competitive cannabis market. Even more, using an affiliate and influencer marketing platform can put you one step ahead of the competition and take your online visibility to the next level.

The Future of Cannabis Marketing

It’s clear that there needs to be some improvement in marketing and advertising regulations when it comes to the cannabis industry. At this point in time though, the framework for a less-restrictive industry is uncertain – especially without federal legalization in the United States. Since every state with some form of legalized cannabis has their own unique set of laws and regulations, it would be extremely challenging to come together for a unified set of rules to follow. If anything, nationwide rules might make marketing and advertising for cannabis businesses even more restrictive.

Speculation aside, the fact remains that marketing and advertising laws for the cannabis industry are subject to change at a moment’s notice. This makes it increasingly important to build a strong online presence now so that your brand remains visible to your customers no matter what happens. Planning ahead in this regard can save you time, energy and dollars in the long run as you’ll be a leg up on the competition and able to adapt your operations to the changing needs of the industry. Remember, using affiliate and influencer marketing services can be the key to getting your business off the ground and into the eyes of your targeted audience!

What trends have you seen in cannabis marketing? Share them in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Muhammad Raufan Yusup (license)


Michael Walters Michael Walters

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in Writing and Rhetoric, Michael started his journey in the cannabis industry managing content, communications, and technical writing for one of Colorado's largest dispensary chains. In 2016, Michael pivoted to the ancillary sector to become PotGuide's Content Manager and was responsible for overseeing all of PotGuide’s editorial endeavors and content marketing strategies. Now, Michael is PotGuide's Director of Content & Marketing, focusing his efforts toward new educational content and exciting media endeavors.

With a life-long passion for cannabis knowledge and education, Michael devoted himself to becoming a subject matter expert on marijuana at an early age. Now, Michael has worked in the marijuana industry for over four years helping break down negative stigma and promoting safe cannabis practices. An avid consumer himself, Michael has worked tirelessly to improve content marketing strategies for cannabis businesses and is devoted to creating meaningful content that is useful to a wide variety of marijuana consumers. Follow Michael on LinkedIn and Instagram for updates and insights.

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