The Cowboy Cup is Oklahoma’s most honest cannabis championship. They double as an art and harvest festival with live music over the first Friday and Saturday in December every year. This wasn’t like any project, however, Daniel (THCeo) reached out to us under special circumstances.
They needed help promoting their cannabis event in the quickly developing Oklahoma Market. The problem was, they approached us during the height of the pandemic in early 2020. Governments were shutting down, music festivals were canceling, and celebrities were posting awkward covers of “Imagine” by John Lennon on Twitter.
There was no predicting what could happen over the next few months or if the event would even happen. We decided to help The Cowboy Cup create a website and promote the event online, taking the risk of knowing that the event may never happen.
The Cowboy Cup had two different audiences to focus on:
1. Businesses to sponsor the event and compete in the championship
2. Attendees interested in experiencing a midwestern cannabis event like no other
Oklahoma cannabis events are unique, and The Cowboy Cup is the king of them all. In Oklahoma, you can buy alcohol and beer at events. It’s completely legal. You won’t find that anywhere else in the entire world.
For this giant of a task, we needed an efficient strategy. We didn’t have much additional budget to spend on advertising, but we had tickets. We decided to take a Guerilla approach to email and social media to keep our costs down and maximize our brand awareness.
Selling Out All Vendor
We dedicated our workforce to creating engaging content, announcing new sponsors to create some FOMO (fear of missing out), and directly outreaching potentially interested cannabis businesses.
This approach netted us sponsors and entries in every category offered. Two notable companies that sponsored and entered The Cowboy Cup are Cicada Labs and Red Sky. Cicada Labs entered the cup and won 4 awards, and Red Sky bought a Silver sponsorship and a booth for the event.
We sold out of vendor booths months before the event.
From September to October, we marketed to brands to enter the competition. Across all categories, we had over 200 entrants, with indoor flower alone seeing over 70 entries.
From October to the event in December, we focused on ticket sales.
Guerrilla Social Media Tactics
Our social media attack was our special sauce to doubling our audience. We took a guerrilla approach and used free tickets and discount codes to spread the word.
We ran weekly ticket giveaways during November and used the entrant and sponsoring brands to help spread the word. We used entry rules that created a SPIKE in traffic:
- Follow Cowboy Cup
- Tag 2 Friends
- Sharing The Post on Your Story and Tagging more friends earned extra entries
This helped us gain thousands of followers and tens of thousands of impressions.
We traded weekend tickets with influencers in the Oklahoma community to help promote the event.
We did this on Facebook and Instagram to maximize our results.
We also used Facebook groups to promote the giveaways and events further. The group admins were very excited to help.
Select influencers we deemed “Friends of The Cup” got their own 10% off coupon codes.
doubling event attendance
during A pandemic
The Cowboy Cup was wildly successful. We doubled the event turnout, and we did it safely during the height of the pandemic. We put COVID safety precautions in place and monitored the new cases for the following two weeks. We avoided a major spike and had a ton of safe fun.
We had 2,500 attendees show up. We netted the Cowboy Cup an 809.6%+ Return on Investment through certified website sales ALONE. That doesn’t include the thousands of day-of tickets we sold, easily breaking 2000% ROI on their project with us.
The Cowboy Cup had a website, but they were overdue for an upgrade. They used Wix to create a basic drag and drop site. It was enough to give the public information for the first year, but they were ready for the next step. Their new website needed payment functionality, ticketing, and data capture.
We were able to give them everything they needed in a little over six weeks.
You can view the website here; please note, they’ve since taken control, so there may have been changes we are not responsible for.
The Cowboy Cup had an attendance of 1,100 during their first year.
With our help with Digital Marketing, Digital Sales, Influencer Strategy, Social Media, Strategy, and Web Design, The Cowboy Cup had over 2,500 attendees on year two.
A 127.3% growth during the pandemic.
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