How to Grow a New Cannabis Business Amid a Pandemic
Covid-19 has ground the world to a halt and there are few industries going unaffected by the global health crisis. Fledgling companies will be deeply impacted because, despite the government announcing rescue packages, not all start-ups will be eligible for help.
Cannabis businesses are no stranger to operating in a challenging and consistently changing landscape. CBD firms are currently rushing to apply for a novel food status before the cut off of point on March 31, 2021. No extension to the deadline has been announced despite the additional pressures brought on by the pandemic. In terms of the medical cannabis industry, current government restrictions are still making it difficult for firms to gain licenses to grow cannabis and a lack of training is preventing medical professionals from prescribing cannabis medicines. Covid-19 is now throwing up further challenges for the sector, as supply chains are disrupted and social distancing measures impact consultations and treatment schedules.
The pandemic has changed our lives beyond recognition, but it doesn’t have to spell the end of your business. Here are some tactics which can be taken to help your cannabis business to be successful and sustainable during these unforeseen times.
Use resources wisely
During times of adversity, firms should always give resource to products and ideas which have already proven successful. Pumping money and resource into new products and ideas is always a risk, but given the current uncertainties faced, such risks are less justifiable. Avoid spreading your resources too thin by avoiding new projects with an element of risk and focusing instead on what is familiar and attainable. Think cash flow, not profit!
Give focus to content marketing
With social distancing measures likely to continue to some degree for the foreseeable future, the online realm is becoming increasingly important. Good content marketing, executed with a business’ long-term goals in mind, can help to create a strong brand image with a consistent online presence, in turn increasing traffic to owned channels and eventually sales.
With Covid-19 changing every aspect of our daily lives, a firm’s content marketing should be finely tuned to the new and unique set of circumstances we are all living in. This might look like an adapted social media strategy, spanning platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Written content such as blog posts are also a great way to demonstrate your brand’s expertise and opinions. This content can be shared on your firm’s website and promoted through other channels such as social too. Ultimately, firms should be using this time to solidify their brand and to increase their content output to reach new audiences.
Email marketing allows you to connect with both existing customers and prospective new ones. With social distancing measures taking face to face meetings off the table, firms should give resource to the reassessment of their email marketing strategies. Firms should update their customers on how they are being impacted by Covid-19 in a transparent manner, but should also be reassuring about the measures being taken in response to this. To keep email subscribers engaged, be mindful that everyone’s inboxes will be full of emails from other companies trying to sell their products and services too. Home in on your USPs and try to build your messaging around the need or role that your product can fulfil. For CBD firms, use your email marketing to update existing customers on any changes to your service such as product availability and delivery times, and try to encourage customers through trials, offers and deals if possible. Medical cannabis businesses should focus on keeping existing and potential customers updated on how the industry is adapting to the crisis and how patients can continue to access their medication.
With everybody spending more time online, social media use is on the rise. Now is a great time for CBD companies to invest in influencer marketing, as a reliable way to increase brand visibility and reach potential new customers in a targeted manner. Collaborating with influencers on either a gifting or paid-for basis will mean your brand appears in a potential customer’s feed as they interact with their favourite accounts, and your brand message will fit seamlessly into this person’s social media experience. If done correctly, influencer marketing can be a very effective way of cultivating a grassroots network of brand advocates.
Don’t neglect LinkedIn
With the UK cannabis industry being relatively young, there is a close-knit business community which both start-up and established businesses should endeavour to be a part of. With social distancing measures in place, it’s unlikely networking and trade events will be happening for the foreseeable future. Firms should investigate as to whether any of these events are adapting to be held virtually and also use LinkedIn to connect with other companies and business people during this time.
Not only is LinkedIn a powerful tool for expanding your professional network, it has the dual benefit of being an additional content marketing platform for you to build your brand on. Use your company LinkedIn page to share your news and content such as blogs and thought leadership to firmly establish your tone of voice. Business leaders and experts connected to your firm should also ensure they are set up on LinkedIn, to raise their own profiles and to share content from the brand page to achieve additional reach.
There’s no denying this is an incredibly challenging time to be a business owner, especially for those in CBD or medical cannabis. More people are online than ever, so use this time to perfect your online marketing strategies to solidify your brand image, build your professional network and ultimately boost traffic to your site. If you can achieve this, you will be helping to keep your business to keep on an upward trajectory through the most difficult of times.