How we bypassed social media and Google censorship to start a viral marketing campaign for a dispensary in Toronto
The MJJ business is lucrative, but a hard business to get into.
There are many hoops you have to jump through to get a license. As of 2020 you must have at least $250,000 in the bank, and you must be prepared to lease a store for 6 months before you open. And in fact, there is no guarantee that you will get the license. In those 6 months, you have to be prepared to pass several inspections, hire staff, have your store ready for business and be able to start, with a minimum first order of $150,000.
We came on board Good Cookie when it was already launched. We had to learn the process of opening a store and had to go through our Cann Sell training. I think it is also wise to go through management training which teaches you how to operate the store. Though that was on our task list our first priority was Marketing.
Cannsell is really valuable because it outlines the advertising restrictions for dispensaries put in place by the government. It emphasizes the minimum 19 years of age policy, the limitations budtenders have in talking about dispensaries and it clearly outlines the penalties which can range from steep fines to suspended license to outright cancellation.
Cansell provides excellent training and guidelines that all marketing should follow. The use of mascots and the product are prohibited as are names that allude to or promote smoking MJJ.
Starting up a MJJ Business
We had to figure out how to get around the laws, government restrictions as well as social media policies so as not to trigger them and risk being banned.
We determined that the best marketing strategy is to educate the community and that is where the “We Are Not a Bakery” slogan originated.
I call it the trigger word.
Anyone reading the trigger asks questions, thus buying the ad more time in the consumer’s mind.
The second educational piece elaborates on the trigger, “You Must Be 19 to Visit.” The combination of perfect trigger words will encourage the person to click and find out more. It’s like a teaser trailer for a movie.
“Of course, we’re not a bakery, we’re a… and of course, you must be 19 to visit a dispensary”
Keyword Adaptive Advertising Strategy
The internet is a visual experience but under the hood, it is made up of codes and keywords that are perfectly crafted to try and reach number 1 when you Google it
- We researched the psychology of Rouge Valley and by finding 10 keywords people search for.
- We took the time to understand that the community includes the University of Toronto and York University and a diverse demographic with many pockets of immigrants.
Keyword Research (online ads)
The keywords below are based on Google Trends. This is what people are looking for when it comes to Rouge Valley and surrounding areas. These words can be used in Facebook ads, Instagram Ads, on YouTube, and in our content strategy to rank on Google search.
- Scarborough (news)
- Rouge Hill
- University of Toronto Scarborough
- Scarborough bluffs Toronto
- Toronto Zoo
- Dispensary near me
- Weed dispensary Toronto
- Weed maps Toronto
- Weed delivery Toronto same day
- Same day weed delivery Toronto
- Home Depot Morningside
- CIBC Morningside
We created multiple psychological profiles to target multiple demographics on Facebook and Instagram. The goal is to invest a little in all of them, see which ones are performing best, and then reallocate the money into profiles that work.
The psychological profiles we targeted were people who are interested in Black Lives Matter because it was a trending topic and University Students.
We launched an ad that redirects viewers to a landing page (nicknamed, the Dwarf).
- The website is very basic, it features a form to register for the campaign, directions to the store and a link back to the dispensary’s main website (nicknamed, Snowhite)
Below are the results
- We spent $1,420 on advertisement in September
- We reached 116,993.00 views on Facebook
- About 23,847 daily views
- 5,597 users clicked through on both Snowhite and the Dwarf websites
- That’s .01 cent per view
- An average of 111 daily users
- About 10 to 15 cents per click
- The daily visitors went up from 68 daily users to 198 when we launched the Pnk Ksh
- When we added links for users to go back from Dwarf to Snowwhite that number went from 198 to 415 daily views
- Recorded an increase in foot traffic of 59.90%
- We collected about 6.13 Emails per day
- That number went up to 9.29 per day when we launched the Pnk Ksh campaign
- Increased in-store visits from 84 to 146 people per day