Archive for category marketing

Mainstream Marketing Technology for the Legal Cannabis Industry

legal cannabis marketingFrom start-up companies to big investors, there are things you need to know about this “budding” industry. It’s hard to get the metrics for funding and it’s difficult to grow and expand a business without available reports and statistics to help brand and market your product. Maybe this article will help.

A Short History of Legalized Cannabis in the United States

In 2012, legal medicinal cannabis was finally realized and it should be one step closer to mainstream in 2018 as adults in California, Massachusetts, and Maine marketplaces pick up the pace for normalization of recreational use in America.

More medical marijuana is sold in California than anywhere else in the United States and the addition of legal recreational use is expected to grow the state’s already exploding market to $7 billion a year, according to the Associated Press. They are followed by continually increasing consumer markets in both Colorado and Washington, according to a report from Boulder-based BDS Analytics.

Recreational customers in both Washington state and Colorado increased cannabis product spending a combined 66% since 2015 to reach over $1.5 billion in 2016, and early projections showed yet another huge increase for 2017.

Aside from revenue, legal cannabis will also bring millions of dollars in investments and thousands of new jobs to these states. More than 10,000 people have already been employed in Washington’s legal cannabis economy. [1]

Marketing and Advertising Technology Is Critical to Business

Unlike traditional businesses, legal cannabis faces a unique dilemma. In the last few years, entrepreneurs, executives, and investors had almost no solid information to base business decisions on and had to rely mostly on instinct. “They didn’t have the types of financial information, benchmark data and in-depth market insight necessary to assess the competition, target investments and tackle new opportunities.” [2] But now it’s possible to hire the right marketing and advertising expert to find and filter this data and design, brand, and provide content that is compliant.

This gets around the following issues:

  • The federal government currently doesn’t track the industry and detailed demographic information on jobs, the number of companies or taxes paid is not readily available.
  • Each state approaches the cannabis industry differently. Some provide in-depth data; tax revenue generated, the names of licensed companies, and monthly or annual retail sales, but most states don’t.
  • Entrepreneurs and investors usually find information on their markets by searching for filings and financial statements of publicly-traded companies. The cannabis industry reports that are publicly available are generally unaudited and only represent a small portion of the marketplace.
  • Medical dispensaries are required to operate as non-profit, but their tax returns are not formally recognized by the IRS and are not publicly available.

The Marijuana Business Daily Factbook 2017 conducted a survey showing “investors who have already pumped money into the cannabis industry are planning on putting capital into nearly as many marijuana businesses in 2017 as they have in all previous years combined,” and “investors plan to invest half a million dollars on average in marijuana businesses this year alone.”

A huge number of new businesses entering the cannabis space has raised the level of competition and start-up costs are rising making it even more important to know how to approach the industry, a specific niche or market segment.

Enter Tetrah Marketing

Despite challenges, the industry still requires many of the same goods and services as mainstream companies. A huge number of secondary companies – businesses like Tetra Marketing – have sprung up offering traditional services in line with federal and government regulations and guidelines. Some cater to the cannabis industry exclusively; some serve multiple markets. Tetrah has a separate company for its traditional customers that has served many businesses in both the private and public sectors, including government and military contracts, since 2010. They have access to in-depth information that some of their competitors don’t which gives their clients an edge in their marketplaces.

If you are one of the forward-thinking owners of a cannabis start-up or are an existing company looking to differentiate yourself as you expand locally or across state borders, you will need to navigate an industry that has complex rules to marketing and advertising as well as marketplace data that is hard to find. Investors want to back initiatives using solid financial numbers and information along with an analysis of existing competitors. An analysis of the competition is just one of Tetrah Marketing’s vast array of services for a non-traditional industry; a one-stop shop for all things marketing in the world of marijuana.

  • legal cannabis marketingWeb Design
  • Branding
  • SEO
  • Content Marketing
  • Print Collateral
  • Compliance
  • Workforce Management
  • Insurance

If you are serious about your cannabis business or just want to say hello and ask some questions, fill out a service questionnaire, call Don Klos at 704-491-9504, or email at him at hello@tetrahmarketing.com.

[1] Black, L., 2017. Next Year Will Be Huge for Legal Weed, http://www.thestranger.com/weed/2017/10/11/25458111/next-year-will-be-huge-for-legal-weed?utm_content=buffer9d111&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

[2] Marijuana Business Factbook 2017: Executive Summary © Copyright 2017, Marijuana Business Daily, a division of Anne Holland Ventures Inc. Marijuana Business Daily, https://mjbizdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Factbook2017ExecutiveSummary.pdf

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The Secret for a Successful Life and Business in 2017

personal and business developmentWe live in an age that loves the peculiar and the original evidenced by reality shows, presidential elections, and entrepreneurial creativity. If ever there was a time to let your unique personality gleam, it is 2017. Your business image can be carried through your exclusive life story to connect with the public on a whole new level of rationale.

Your business identity is securely connected to characteristics of your personality. Think about how you arrived at your current profession and where your passion first derived. Start with the details of what you do and why it is important to your clients.

What led you to develop your expertise and share it with your clients?

What makes you remarkable?

The answers will lead you to the niche that takes the most advantage of your unique personality traits, skills, and innate abilities. Act on this.

Believing in Success

Your customers know why they chose you and you need to listen to the positive comments and feedback as you discuss business. Believe in the image you project to them and repeat it to new clients with confidence. This is how others feel about you and it may be more accurate than your internal view which you have carried with you for most of your life and likely needs an overhaul.

Talk about what you have learned and know about your industry. Make a list of your successes, awards, and achievements and prepare to be amazed. Convey your passion to the media by taking advantage of opportunities to share your story. Thank people who share your praise with friends, co-workers, and clients by maintaining relationships and returning the favor.

Strengthen your story by revisiting it weekly or monthly and watch it evolve with new perceptions as you fine-tune your vision of your business acumen and character. A fresh look keeps it compelling.

Disregard the notion of stepping out of your comfort zone and embrace what comes naturally. Whether attending events, networking in-person, or using social media. Make sure you are relaxed in your environment so others feel at ease with you. Choose the venues that make the most sense and that you are familiar with, using them as often as possible. People simply need to know where to find you. Your social networks are necessary, but you don’t need all of them if you are consistently present and focused in one business initiative at a time.

Everyone is capable of following a pattern, trend, or recipe for success. Dare to determine your own personal direction and see where it takes you. There is an element of fear for many of us in exposing who we are and making changes. Many times, we know what to do but don’t act on it. A new year brings us opportunities to evaluate the best way to make decisions in our life and business image. Take you first step by taking inventory of your special talents, dig deep, and share them with others. There is no one else who can do exactly what you can do…believe it.

happiness in life and business

 

Sources:

Zetlin, M., 2016. 9 Surprising Ways Just Being Yourself Can Make You Remarkably Successful, http://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/9-surprising-ways-just-being-yourself-can-make-you-remarkably-successful.html

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Best Ways to Differentiate Yourself Online

individualityDifferentiating yourself from others inspires confidence in those around you.  It shows that you are comfortable trying new things and incorporating what is unique and distinctively valuable instead of relying on established and often dated perceptions. This personal sense of self carries over to relationships we create and business concepts we generate. The thing that motivates us to take pride in our moral compass and exclusive talents can be what makes our business stand out from the rest.

Deconstruct Your Mental Process

Your business is built by you and contains your personalized fingerprint. Examine your original thought process for beginning your company to find the basis for why you felt your business would be better than your competitors. Don’t underestimate your ideas because they are usually better than you realize and only you can adequately explain why. This means that only you can clarify what sets your product or service apart from the rest. You are not just selling this concept; you are representing an idea or situation that your audience will want to gravitate toward.

Practice Empathy

When you are focusing on the customer solution, step into their shoes and show them that it’s not just your materials and features that will improve their lives, but your vision of how a company should operate and appreciate its customers. There are plenty of products and services out there, but you’ll treat them with respect and make it a fun experience. They will choose your environment.

The Right Combination of Push and Pull

Customers often ready themselves to make purchases by having a set of expectations based on past experience. Take them in a less predictable direction by highlighting the emotional investment, value of accessible information, a simple process, and a new way of thinking. Let them come to you when they have finished evaluating your offer and determined a need. If they believe in you and your process, they will return prepared to purchase and share their discovery with others.

Know What Works

Your online presence should reflect your thinking with the latest tools and strategies that make you searchable across several platforms and devices with updated ideas and fresh presentations. Don’t exaggerate what your company offers; keep it simple and honest. You know you have great content if it gets their attention in 30 seconds, makes them want to sign up for a free offer, engage with comments, or download free webinars. Monitor reactions and note best times of day for responses, the demographics being used, and the trends that led you to your targeted audience. Be approachable and consistently available to solve the consumer’s problem. social media tools

Advice

Remember that your competition is no longer local. Online industries are worldwide. Know your goals, messages, and advantages that separate you from others and result in a lifestyle improvement and better customer relationships. Remove any clutter from your websites and social sites so you are easy to identify and find when visitors need you. Embrace technology and change, bolstering positive reactions and flexibility to stay sharp. Creativity within your niche is paramount. Hire an agency to work with you if that is what it takes to get you there.

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Landing Pages and Microsites

landing pages, micrositesLanding pages and microsites steer consumers to information regarding your business and opportunities to take action.  You need to know what your goal is in order to develop a path that leads your visitors to the specific material they need. Knowing the difference between landing pages and microsites can help you target the right visitors and guide them to the appropriate advertising campaigns.

What are Landing Pages?

Landing pages are connected from a social media post or an email capture page and filter out the rest of the website in order to reinforce a specific campaign message. They get your visitor to react with a particular action, to download, sign up, or make a purchase.

  • They are very direct; eliminating opportunities for distraction, while optimizing all aspects from headlines, text, button colors, and placement.

landing pages

  • Their goal is maintaining consistency of brand and design to the main website. It is easy to test other versions of landing pages because they have few elements involved and there is a distinct gauge to find which one is working.

However, if viewed at the wrong buying stage, you might risk losing that viewer’s engagement. Also, the simplicity that makes the design consistent can also restrict content and tone.

What are Microsites?

Microsites are not a summarized version of your website. They are small sites with a few pages built around a focused message and a variety of content serving one exact area of your business. The microsite can be dedicated to an academic program, a special offer, or another campaign.

  • They are less driven for immediate action and more toward comprehensive exploration of a product or service without navigating the bulk of your website.

 

  • Their goal is creative and flexible design and content structure, further occasions to engage, and testing new ideas before going site-wide.

micosites

However, they require very specific content and can weaken brand identity, have a vague call to action, and pose challenges involving administration of that particular site.

How to Use Them

Many people aren’t making near the progress they could by being unaware that a major goal for online marketing is taking the consumer to a specific page of your website with a single purpose. A dedicated email signup page is a great example. Landing pages get the consumer decision right away, and microsites give customers reasons to keep coming back to get to know your brand and decide if they see value and relevance for what you’re offering.

 

Advice to Business Owners

Technology can force your hand on whether to use microsites or landing pages.  Your content management system may not be able to integrate third-party forms and it’s easier to create pages. Consider the cost of creating dedicated content and hiring an agency to build a microsite. It can be overwhelming to do one on your own. Your content management system should allow you to share all content materials across microsites even if the design and content are altered.

References

Kilfeather, K., 2013. Landing Pages or Microsites? The Debate Rages On. https://www.percussion.com/blog/2013/December/landing-pages-or-microsites-the-debate-rages-on

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Visual Storytelling with New Video and Display Technology

multi mediaVisual storytelling depends on talented use of graphic designs, photos, infographics, and video. While great content is extremely significant, adding something visual enhances it, making it more aesthetically pleasing and meaningful to your viewers. It needs to catch the consumers’ interest and make a quick, positive impression in a micro-moment. We use YouTube for tutorials, Facebook Video for breaking news, and Instagram and Periscope for behind-the-scenes clips and events starring our favorite brands.  Video consumption is increasing rapidly across all devices for its ability to tell stories to create brand awareness.
What is It?

Your business website and social media platforms are likely using a combination of images, designs, and video to communicate with customers but you need to expand its potential. Studies have confirmed that posts with pictures get more likes and shares. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter all use visual content along with great headlines to draw more people. A website should show your sense of style. If you’re not able to tweak it yourself, have someone help you to optimize your site with your specific audience in mind. It’s all about creating your brand story through quick splashes of expression with visual intrigue. New technology is about to make video a better, more interactive, marketing venue.

Who Needs It?

All types and sizes of businesses will be able to grow the use of video in the next few years with technology that has better quality and quantity of display. Its use is expected to rise quickly over the next 5 years altering the way we take this information in and relate with it. 80% of the world’s Internet traffic is predicted to entertain, promote, and inform us with video content by 2019.

 

Bigger businesses have already begun researching new platforms and interconnect options as well as industry standards for digital display technology. Video is allowing customers to relate to large corporations through the character of the company instead of a faceless brand. Businesses with larger audiences have many websites with several landing pages, and microsites. Video and display experts have more tools and flexibility to create visuals for numerous applications, platforms, and markets.

 

technology ideasAdvice for business owners

Investing in video content, marketing, and advertising should be at the very top of every brand’s digital marketing strategy. Be aware that video is not after the immediate response, but engagement and branding through customer testimonials and inspiring passionate connections between consumers and brands.

Create interactive videos and let customers decide what part of your advertisement relates specifically to them, rather than controlling the experience.  Empowered customers will stay engaged and interested.

Create customer testimonial videos. Let customers get behind the camera and talk about your brand giving them a chance to have their voice heard and a sense that their opinions count.

References

Grayson, S., 2014. What You Need to Know About the State of Online Video Display Advertising, http://www.b2bnn.com/2014/11/need-know-state-online-video-display-advertising/

Source: Video Marketing Strategy: 17 Tips to Win Video in 2015 http://www.reelseo.com/resources/video-marketing-strategy-guide/#ixzz3uKvQIz6l

Source: Spincreativegroup.com, 2015. http://spincreativegroup.com/building-consumer-trust-through-video-marketing-by-spin-creative-a-creative-agency-video-production-company-seattle-san-francisco/

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How to Turn Writing into a Career

the content writers toolsI just read an article posted in Forbes Magazine by author, Kevin Kruse that cracked me up. As a writer, I can totally appreciate his list of recommendations to budding authors. Most of what I publish for myself and others is online, small writing projects, not actual books or novels. I’ve gone through several phases of learning while writing to be able to work for several hours at a stretch, recognize my avoidance tactics and disable them, and research material and images effectively. While Kruse directs his piece toward authors attempting to write books, this article is aimed more at today’s freelance writer segment and per-job contracts that are increasingly available due to the explosion of social media visibility.

What Makes a Good Writer

It is true that now is the best time to decide to be an author. Freelance writing is going through the roof. Many jobs being offered require no experience. Technology features can do basic editing for spelling and grammar if that is not your strong suit. There is more to copyediting than that, of course, but it is a start. You need to have an idea of what you would like to write about or, at least, an insatiable urge to write for your own entertainment or knowledge.

Kevin talks about how giving advice, teaching someone a task, or relating an event that happened to others, are tools for determining whether you can write. I wholeheartedly agree. If you can say it with authority and hold a person’s attention while painting a mental image of what to do, how to do it, and deliver a result or message, you just wrote something. You do need to know how to read and write, but your skill level will determine how much editing will be necessary when you are done.

Getting Started

There are online opportunities to write articles for websites and blogs, descriptions, profiles, and short stories. It does require some research to look for writing prospects, but a quick start for me was using content writing services like Textbroker and WriterAccess wordpress logo.pixabay free imageto get your feet wet and build a portfolio and skills. Once you feel confident, remove the training wheels by having your own website, blogging about different aspects of writing and working online to share your experiences and let potential clients find you directly. This is not your main source for new clients…read further.

Finding Clients

The way I personally get new clients is with face-to-face networking with people in business. These people need writers for websites, documents, emails, articles, and subject matter research, in all industries. No business is exempt from an online presence if they want to exist and grow in the next few years. Despite the social media marketing takeover, when people and businesses want to hire a creative person, they want to meet them for coffee, check out their personality, and get a feel for what a writer does. Your website comes in handy for specifics.

private business consultationKnow your intended audience to whom your words are directed. Imagine their likes, dislikes, needs, wants, and personality. You will have to keep your client in mind and their target customer as well, but you will learn to make effective suggestions. Your personal style will likely reflect the type of reading you enjoy, but don’t be afraid to dabble as you talk to your prospective clients and other writers with different styles and talent. Be the sponge that absorbs new techniques and ideas within your peer group. Challenge yourself through your work.

Your Online Portfolio

Be prepared for people to ask to see your work, explain the circumstances of the assignment and whether you prepare text only as opposed to having other online computer skills in SEO, keyword or link use, design and coding, creating or curating images, and embedding video. I recommend starting with text only at least in the beginning. Pricing can get more complicated and the more you offer, the longer it takes to complete the project. Have a list of other people you know who have these related skills you can recommend that don’t conflict with what your writing business offers.

Your Purpose

Published writing, no matter what form, is the gift of legacy. You are forever documented in hard copy or digital print. The story of “you” as you write can be found and referenced forever. This should sound exciting, not daunting. The purpose of writing is not perfection, but creativity that inspires emotion and understanding. Throw your “stories” out there and wait for feedback, both good and bad. You will learn every time. Learning is growth and that is exciting. Eventually, you will write about who you are and what you have learned with real enthusiasm.

key to success is your keyboardBe warned that you will often read more than you actually write. Good writing ideas come from reading and researching about everything related to your intended text. This ensures details will be authentic in both fiction and non-fiction writing. You need to love what you do for a living and the passion for doing it will come. “Life is about making an impact, not an income. And writers who know what they’re doing make both,” explains Kruse.

The following is a list of writing advice and tips from Kruse:

  • Have a great title to grab curiosity immediately
  • Create a wonderful cover or header image for visual interest
  • Generate and share a large number of positive reviews online through various media platforms
  • The description of your article, especially larger projects is critical and the first step in engaging your reader for longer than the quick title and cover ‘scan’.
  • Your front matter or first few lines of the first chapter are the clip of text or ‘quick view’ in searches
  • Focus on the quality of your writing, always improving and learning
  • Your larger works will publish with at least one typo regardless of the number of times it is copyedited
  • Writer’s block is laziness and avoidance
  • One book Kevin recommends on writing is “On Writing”, by Stephen King
  • Keep writing

Using Social Media

Interestingly enough, social media is not the best way to find readers, but it is a good way to keep current fans of your work connected as you publish more new material. It is also a good place to connect with peers and influencers in the writing community. 20-social-media-icons

On your professional writing website (the one you put together with your portfolio and blog roll as you were writing for a service or broker), you have activity dashboards displaying the sites analytics on the site or through Google. Take a look at the numbers of visitors, likes, shares, and comments to the blog articles you’ve been posting and boost your day. Your talent is valuable. Many people are amazed to know someone can write for a living. You have a skill they don’t have. Make sure your ‘About’ page tells who you are and how your passion for writing developed. Give visitors a day in your life as a writer.

Making a Living

While making a living full-time writing a book is difficult, it is much easier to write for several small clients and evolve into a niche that you find you are specifically drawn to and skilled at over time. Your income will start out small, but if you continue toward your goal, it will steadily increase until you wake up one day and realize you have the ultimate job for mobility and flexibility in a time where our experience in life and work are quickly going global.

In the beginning, you may need to supplement your income with other small income streams. Take a look at these flexible options than can be done from home, online, and only requiring a laptop or smartphone: Gig and Share Economy Opportunities, Direct Selling Opportunities.

If you are a budding writer or just curious about additional part time income, contact me at ScribeSyndicate@gmail.com and I will help you get started. Visit my website at ScribeSyndicate.com for a simple example of what a writing website might look like and the content it provides.

sharing economy image  direct sales image  Mini scribe logo

Resource:

Kruse, K., 2016, 50 Writing Tips From My 15 Years As An Author, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2016/03/22/50-writing-tips-from-my-15-years-as-an-author/#332d51613904

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The Shift to Mobile Devices and Design

LinkedIn_background_04We are all familiar with the difference between using a desktop and a mobile device. Both display digital media on the internet, enabling us to view email, interact with social media, search for websites, listen to the radio, and watch television. As Wi-Fi became more accessible in public and more compact laptops, tablets, and smartphones made access to the internet more portable; we began using these devices throughout the day and from many locations. Smaller devices have increased the need for scalable design. What works great on a 17” screen with a keyboard or mouse, loses effectiveness on an often smaller, touchscreen device.

Size Matters

Design needs to work within a defined space by being easily navigated through swipes, pinches, zooms, and clicks. This intimately touchable area may only be 4” and needs to react to brief and deliberate fingertip contact to grab viewers’ emotions and awareness in a minuscule time frame. If a touchscreen requires multiple attempts to change pages or views, the visitor is frustrated and moves on to a more friendly design. The correct reaction slows the consumer down to focus on getting to know your site better. Mobile design is like a series of blind dates and the one with the best first impression wins every time.  speedox.computer.cellphoneimage.

What are Micro-Moments?

In the last few years, the sheer volume of online content has caused consumers to resort to scanning the bulk of this media looking for something to almost leap off the page and grab their attention. A new term has been coined in the industry to describe the intense moment of sudden interest: Micro-moments. These tiny moments of time are almost a subconscious reflex reaction. They are happening most often throughout the day on convenient, handheld smartphones. Customers are searching the web while standing in line at the store, stuck in traffic, or walking the dog. Their attention is already divided and you have to reach out and snag it.

How to Master the Moments

What are the ingredients to the perfect micro-moment? You have about one minute to get it right. Know your users intent and be in the right place at the most opportune time.  This requires an extremely focused campaign, PPC advertising, and paid social media posts to find your target audience. Then you’ll need the perfect image, call to action, and placement on the page. Continue to test and review results because they are ever evolving. When it comes to video, micro-moments can last as long as four minutes. Your goal is to connect in the briefest time possible but still evoke that emotional reflexive response.

Advice to Business Owners

It is important to have a team, whether internal or external, with a plan to test and monitor results to optimize your websites, user experience, and ads. If not, you risk losing traffic and customers. Always be up to date on your business, marketing, mobile design and technology.     speed image

References

Solis, B., 2015. The New Moment of Truth: Google’s Micro-Moments Reshape the Marketing Funnel, Best Practices: 10 Ways Marketers Can Compete for Micro-Moments

http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/practices-cmos-advantage-micro-moments/298855/

Scheimer, M. 2015. Marketing, social media, and startups on a budget, digital marketing 2016: Five Areas of Focus, http://www.myfrugalbusiness.com/2015/11/digital-marketing-2016-mike-schiemer.html

Think with Google, 2015. An Introduction to Micro-Moments: What We’ve Learned, https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/collections/micromoments.html

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