12 Ways to Market for 4/20 During the COVID-19 Pandemic

4/20 is the single biggest sales day in cannabis every year. With the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers are canceling their events, and the tradition seems to be postponed.

This is a golden opportunity for you to separate yourself from the competition.

We’re seeing changes to our yearly tradition. But more people are buying cannabis to cope with their quarantine.

Here are 12 ways to come out on-top for 4/20 during the pandemic.

1. Online Ordering

Setting up online ordering is easy.

Not only will you help your current customers, but you’ll become available to new customers you didn’t have before.

Sure, everyone loves to go in and smell the flowers before purchasing. But during a global pandemic, people will take safety and convenience over a traditional buying process.

Here are 4 ways you can set it up for your shop.

WeedMaps

WeedMaps offers an online ordering solution that’s easy for customers.

A customer can go directly to your shop page and order your products for pick-up.

Or they can go to the general online ordering page and type in their address. They’ll find shops close to them that offer online ordering.

PlantMed, a wonderful shop in Oklahoma City, is close to my location.

I simply select a product…

I choose the quantity I want and add the flower to the cart.

You’ll receive the order and notification on your side.

When they arrive, check their ID and medical info (if applicable) and proceed with the transaction as usual.

You can sign-up here.

Leafly

Leafly offers a similar process.

The most significant difference between Leafly and WeedMaps is the demographic.

WeedMaps is better in medical states, and has visitors who want to buy.

Leafly has a broader range of readers. Most people visit their site for information.

But certain groups prefer to find their products through Leafly.

You should sign-up for one of these, but you most likely don’t need to be on both. Do your research before you make a decision!

You can sign-up here.

Dutchie

Dutchie is a platform like WeedMaps and Leafly, except they only offer online ordering.

We’ve seen more dispensaries choose Dutchie over WeedMaps and Leafly for several reasons.

They have excellent User-Interface design, and as a patient, it’s a breeze to find your medicine and make the purchase.

As a dispensary, it’s easy to get set-up.

It’s also much less competitive on this platform. You’re more likely to stand out in the crowded marketplace.

You can sign-up here.

Create Your Own Online Ordering Platform

The first 3 options are with other companies. But it’s always best to own your processes.

If your website is built on WordPress (and as a cannabis company, it should be,) some plugins allow you to build your online ordering directly into your website.

Local Pickup Plus is a plugin that allows you to take orders for pick-up.

People can place their orders and pay when they arrive at the shop.
It takes some effort to set-up, but once it’s ready, you’ll be glad you did it.

Click here if you need help setting up Local Pickup on your WordPress website.

2. Curbside Pick-Up

Curbside pick-up goes hand-in-hand with online ordering.

If your state allows it, you MUST offer curbside pick-up.

It’s convenient and it keeps the virus outside of your shop.

To make this happen you need either:

  • An online ordering system
  • Phone Ordering

You don’t need to have online ordering to make this work.

Instead, you can take orders by phone.

There are a few ways you can do this, but the process breaks down to:

  • Take their order
  • Give them a time when the order will be ready
  • Get the make and model of their car
  • Take down their phone number
  • Check their ID & medical info when they arrive
  • Take the payment
  • Give them their product

It’s a little extra work on your part.  But it brings your patients peace of mind and creates a more convenient experience.

3. Deals, Deals, Deals

Everyone wants to buy weed for 4/20. Your competitors want to sell weed for 4/20.

Everyone is running a promotion, and you should be too.

You’ll make up the margin in the volume you sell and the new customers you earn.

Promote your promotion throughout the month to build anticipation for 4/20 at your shop.

More on this later.

You can’t run just any promotion. A good 4/20 promotion covers 3 points.

Time Sensitive

You can only get this deal during the 4/20 rush. Create a sense of urgency and drive people into your shop.

Targeted

Make a deal that speaks to your customers specifically. If your shop has above average vape and edible sales, don’t run a deal on concentrates. 

The more you know about your customers, the better you can tailor a deal.

An Offer You Can't Resist

Every one of your competitors will be running a deal on 4/20. Yours has to stand out.

Get creative and offer something that can’t be found elsewhere.

Here are some promo ideas. Make sure they work with your margins.

4/20 Promo Ideas

  • Buy 1 Get 1 for $0.01
  • COVID – $19 1/8ths
  • $99 Ounce
  • $4.20 Pre-rolls
  • Free delivery on orders over $42.0
  • First-timers get a free pre-roll pack
  • Gift bags with purchase all week

4. Start Promoting Now

This is the first time in 100 years that the entire month of April is 4/20.

And cannabis users aren’t able to celebrate how they wanted to.

The tactics outlined in this post are more effective the longer you implement them.

If you use the next two weeks to promote for 4/20, you’ll see a surge the day of.

Tease your promotions often on social media and keep the spirit up the entire month.

Start your promotion a week before 4/20 to give your patients time to load up before 4/20.

The weed holiday falls on a Monday this year, so there will be a portion of the market looking to celebrate the weekend before.

Most people won’t want to be in the shop on a busy day. But they’ll want cannabis for 4/20. Starting your promotion early keeps people safe, and helps you get a leg up on the competition. It also creates a more convenient experience for your patients.

5. Social Media

Social media is the most efficient way to engage potential customers during the quarantine.

You will still have your steady stream of referrals coming in.

But by utilizing social media, specifically Instagram, you can directly get people into your store.

Social media deserves a more extended breakdown, so I’ll give you the abridged version.

A typical Instagram strategy covers 2 main things:

  1. Content
  2. Engagement

You Need Quality Content

Use this time to capture some photos of your products, store, and staff.

You should also hire a graphic designer to help you create consistent content to supplement your feed.

Create both Instagram feed posts and stories.

Your feed posts give the first impression of your brand to new people who have never heard of you.

Your stories give people daily engagement. You should post stories every day, the more often, the better. Make sure they are interesting, quality is more important than quantity.

Here are a few content ideas for you:

  • Your sanitation processes
  • New products available for 4/20
  • The history of 4/20
  • A highlight of important cannabis icons

Get creative. The more unique your content, the better it will be received.

You Need to Directly Engage Your Audience

Instagram is the best social media platform for engagement, and that’s why we recommend it over the other channels.

It’s so easy.

If you have an established follower base, go to the profiles of your followers.

If you’re just getting started, go to one of the popular dispensaries or brands in your area and look at their followers.

From there, look at who they’re following and who follows them. Frequently you’ll find people with shared interests that have no idea who you are.

Next, like a few of their photos, leave comments, and follow them. Feel free to send them a message to compliment them on their Instagram profile.

People want to feel seen. 

So when a cannabis company, which is a cool business, notices them, they will feel cool too.

They will associate that feeling of personal fulfillment with your company, and you now have an intrigued new follower.

Do this consistently, and you’ll see a gradual increase in your following.

A portion of people interested in you will seek out your shop or products.

6. Make Your 4/20 Event Digital

You might not be able to bring the people to your party, but 4/20 isn’t canceled.

Go on Instagram and Facebook live and bring the party to your people.

You still have the opportunity to make things special for your customers and patients.

This gives you a chance to get creative and create a deeper connection with the people who regularly purchase your products.

In the past few weeks, we’ve seen the rise of virtual concerts, rap battles, and talk shows.

Even HighTimes is taking its Oklahoma cannabis cup to the virtual world.

You should follow this trend.

Here are a few tips for a successful 4/20 live:

  • Promote it early and promote it often
  • Have a theme for your live
  • Make the area that will be on camera aesthetically pleasing
  • Have fun with it

You can go live for as long or as short as you like.

You can host a Q&A session, a smoke sesh, or host a musical act.

There are no rules, just have fun.

Here are a few themes and concepts:

  • Go live at 4:20 PM and interview someone in the industry
  • Host a show where you go live with your patients one-by-one for a few minutes and smoke with them
  • Teach viewers how to roll better joints
  • Have an expert joint roller create something magical
A Joint Dragon

7. Collect Data

With everything going digital, you’re entering a realm where gathering data on your customers is straightforward.

There are a few free and easy things you can implement today to start collecting data.

Instagram Questions

If you have a social media following, you can use Instagram questions to get some key insights from your followers.

Your sales numbers will tell you a story about what your customers like the most.
But their direct responses to questions will tell you something you may not have known.

You can ask questions as often as you want. We recommend no more than 3 questions a day.

Ask anything that you can use to improve your business. Ask your customers their favorite features of your shop, or what new products they would like to see in your store.

Use the information you collect to make improvements across the board.

Your followers will love the engagement.

E-mail Sign-Ups

For this to work, you need to give your audience a reason to give you their email addresses.

You can offer a 5% discount or even a free joint.

One of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to collect emails is to create a simple quiz with Tryinteract.

Make your quiz 5-10 questions about something related to cannabis. In the past, we successfully created a quiz that tells you which strain is best for you.

We asked 5 questions relating to your lifestyle. Based on those answers, we were able to tell you which of our strains fit you the best.

Before we gave the answer, we required an email submission.

It’s a win-win, we collect the email, they figure out what strain fits their lifestyle best.

TryInteract integrates with MailChimp and other email software to automatically update your email list with every submission.

We used this method to collect 100 emails during a 1-day trade show event.

8. Catch Fire With a Giveaway

A giveaway is a great way to spread awareness of your business by offering something for free in exchange for a valuable action.

There are 2 main types of giveaways.

The Data Collector

This style of giveaway requires all contestants to fill out a form to enter. First, you create a page on your website with a form that has all the information you want to collect. It can be as little as an email and name, or as much as a phone number, zip code, and favorite cannabis product.

Then you promote the giveaway across social media, and in-store.

People will funnel to your form and fill it out for a chance to win the giveaway.

You get to collect valuable information, and your customers get a chance to win a prize.

The information you collect is only as valuable as you make it. Use the emails to send newsletters. Upload the phone numbers into your SMS marketing software and reach out to your customers daily.

The Social Wildfire

This is the most useful giveaway to build your social presence and spread awareness like wildfire. This method is also much easier to implement. You don’t need to create a specific page, because this entire giveaway lives on social media.

Here’s how to do it.

First, create an image that draws attention to your giveaway.

When you post it, make sure your caption calls for the readers to do the following:

  • Follow Your Page
  • Like The Image
  • Tag 2+ friends in the comments

If you have the right offer, your offer will spread to people all over your local area and the country.

You’ll develop a large follower base.

And you’ll have their attention during the entirety of the giveaway.

Use their attention to promote your business and 4/20 deals on your Instagram stories.

The tradeoff is you don’t collect data directly from this giveaway. But you can use your new base of followers to learn more about your market.

You can’t directly give away cannabis online. It’s illegal in most states, and it’s a quick way to get shut down by Instagram.

Here are a few alternative giveaway ideas.

  • Gift cards to local business
  • Smoke Accessories
  • At home grocery delivery
  • Merchandise & Swag
  • Hand sanitizer

Like your sales promotion, this should be targeted to the interests of your customers. The sweeter your giveaway, the more entries you’ll receive.

9. Instagram Cannabis Journal

These templates are short, engaging, and they spread quickly.

When you create one of these, make sure it’s:

  • Relevant to cannabis
  • Branded for your dispensary
  • Encourages people to tag your profile

If you do this right, your followers will share this with their followers.

Thus, expanding your reach, and reaching new people you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to reach before.

Worst case scenario, you make a graphic and get views from your followers.

Best case scenario, the graphic gains traction and spreads throughout the cannabis community, reaching tens of thousands of people.

Low risk, high reward.

10. Work On Your Weaknesses

Sales may be up, but your day-to-day might feel slow without your usual rushes.

Use this time and extra cash to develop what you’ve been lacking.

Freshen up your shop, change your layout, or start working on that new website you’ve been putting off.

Your business can use a little spring cleaning.

And when quarantine finally ends, your loyal customers will be greeted with a pleasant surprise.

11. SMS Text Message Marketing

Your curbside orders and online orders create a stream of phone numbers you can use for future marketing.

Software programs like EZ Texting make it easy for you to automatically text a list of phone numbers.

As you collect phone numbers, add them to your EZ Texting list and start sending out mass texts.  For now, you should be using your texts to promote your 4/20 deals, and other promotions you’re running.

Once 4/20 is over, you can use this system to send out daily updates, graphics, events, and much more.

Here is a list of themed days you can broadcast through text:

  • Overweight Wednesdays – 5G eighths all-day
  • Shatterday – 10% off full grams of concentrates
  • Munchie Monday – A free edible on purchases over $50

Make sure to check the legality of automated text marketing in your state.

12. Create a Branded Playlist

Cannabis helps create immersive experiences. It makes food taste better, it makes jokes funnier, and it makes music sound amazing.

Create a playlist with some smoke tunes that your customers will like.

There are a few legendary cannabis artists that make up the basis of any good smoke playlist.

  • Snoop Dogg
  • Cypress Hill
  • Bob Marley
  • Sublime
  • Wiz Khalifa
  • Pink Floyd
  • The Beatles

You can’t go wrong starting with one of these artists and curating a playlist that sets the mood for any solo smoke session.

It’s easy to create and share playlists.

  • Create an account with Spotify
  • Create a playlist
  • Add songs that fit the 4/20 mood
  • Share it with your followers and customers

The playlists are free to make, and you can let your most artistic employee create the playlist for you.

Crush COVID-19

COVID-19 is rule changing and deadly. 4/20 may not be what we expected it to be, but we’re not giving up on it yet.

You can make a statement this 4/20.

The best companies innovate during these times of uncertainty and use the chaos to pull ahead. Use this time to try something new and set yourself apart. Doing the same things that have worked in the past won’t work now.

Two words describe the future of cannabis.

Digital Convenience.

Use this time to get caught up digitally, and surpass your competition.

If you’re wondering how to do that, click here to learn more.

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