Today when people think about mobile marketing, many peoples’ first thought are apps displayed on a mobile device. There’s an app for everything – from passing the time away playing games to social media sharing to utility apps that can turn any mobile device into a virtual assistant. There’s no one way to use a mobile device that makes life easier for everyone. 2016 was identified as the “year of mobile” by giant corporations like Google, Apple and Facebook; today, mobile marketing has never been easier. These companies have adopted a mobile first strategy, and position mobile campaigns ahead of internet or traditional marketing such as TV or radio.
Now is the time for forward thinking cannabis business owners to position themselves with these tech giants and promote themselves via mobile. Apps are not the only method to market to mobile to get results. There are a variety of ways to use mobile marketing for any cannabis business.
A well rounded strategy includes a mobile friendly site and the use of a customized mobile campaign should be part of any cannabis business mobile marketing strategy. Let’s look at the basics for cannabis businesses and what can be achieved by using mobile marketing.
A stand alone app can be costly. It takes time to develop and maintain and most cannabis businesses right now are more focused on regulations then on app development. Once a stand alone app is built, there’s being approved by Apple for App Store inclusion. Right now, Apple doesn’t allow the sale of cannabis products via an app, and they have a “suspend first, figure it out later” policy that some in the business have already experienced. Key takeaways from using mobile apps as a marketing option:
-high development costs
-no guarantee of approval by App Store
-low install rate – people don’t download that many stand alone apps
-associated maintenance costs
Mobile Friendly Websites
Most searches (>85% currently) come from mobile devices. Google ranks mobile friendly sites more favorably than those which are not. Since most search is limited to organic results only, you should have a solid domain that works well with SEO results. Here are a few items to consider when creating a cannabis site that is mobile friendly:
-Responsive pages that resize to fit any size screen
-Clear outbound links to other pages such as your social media accounts
-An easy to use menu structure
-Easy to use forms that enable mobile users to “fill in the blanks” from a smaller screen
These are part of a mobile friendly approach that Google weighs with their algorithm for their search results. Google has a page on their site that can be used to test your website pages for mobile friendliness.
Mobile Ad Campaigns
Many cannabis businesses find using a mobile ad platform to be an effective way to educate, inform and promote directly to their target audience via mobile. A mobile wallet wallet advertising campaign utilizes Apple Wallet (iPhone) or a generic third-party app (Android). It costs less to use and easier to set up, since the wallet handles all of the tech aspects of the delivery. These customized mobile campaigns work with all types of cannabis businesses from dispensaries to advocates. Leveraging the same Apple features as an app, mobile wallet campaigns employ lock screen notifications and reminders, which are sent directly to the phone screen.
Mobile wallet campaigns also integrate with any installed apps on the users phone – social media, video, Maps, phone, email, etc – creating solid Call to Action links that require a single tap to use. A mobile wallet campaign:
– is customized to your business
-provides notifications seen on the lock screen
-enables outbound links to sites, social media profiles
-utilizes built in share features
-offers Call to Action links for email, calls or app launching
-is easily set up
-is normally subscription based
-can be used to manage a loyalty or rewards program
-should contain location or proximity elements to help business owners comply with local advertising laws
Since paid search and social media advertising restrictions limit the way cannabis businesses can market themselves, mobile marketing is a very favorable option. It takes a cohesive approach for any cannabis business when thinking of a mobile marketing strategy. These above options, apps, passes and a sites all have a common factor – they are designed for mobile delivery. Every cannabis business should think with a mobile culture in mind as it is the most effective way to promote, educate and inform.