What you can do when you're out of marijuana to sellCannabis shortage? What you can do to grow your business in the meantime.

Just because you’re out of product doesn’t mean you’re out of business. Now is a great time to focus on marketing and connecting with current and future customers. Here are some things you can do while you’re waiting to stock your shelves.

1. Build an email list

Don’t turn customers away without asking them to join your email list. Direct them to your website, write addresses on paper, carve them into the wall, memorize them, whatever you have to do. (Don’t have a website? We strongly recommend you build one. See our tips below.)

Whatever the case, make sure you capture emails so you can alert customers when you’re restocked. You can even put those who sign up onto a priority list and set product aside for them so they won’t be disappointed a second time. They’ll likely appreciate the consideration and you may gain a valuable repeat customer.

Why else collect email addresses? Every one you gather is potential future revenue. We’ve seen email addresses worth as much as $15 per year in direct revenue. But the real lasting benefit is that it creates an easy and consistently way to connect with customers. This will separate you from competitors. And once the product availability issues are resolved, which they surely will be, then you’ll be ahead of the game.

There are good, inexpensive tools to help with storing addresses and sending emails. If you have a website, try Mailchimp.com. It’s quick and easy to set up, and it’s free if you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers. All you do is add an email sign up box to your site. Be sure to put it in a prominent location.

If you don’t have a website, buy a GoDaddy domain for less than $10 and set up a landing page to capture email addresses. Don’t have the skills to do that? Use LaunchRock to create a free landing page in minutes. Other useful resources include Unbounce and LeadPages. If you have questions about setting up your domain (web address), give us a call. Many cannabusinesses don’t have sites yet. Build one and set yourself apart.

2. Get social

Set up Twitter and Facebook business pages. We recommend both, but if you have to settle for one, choose Facebook. Suggest that your customers follow and like your page, and be sure to keep them informed on new offerings, trends, and other news. Keep them informed and entertained and they will visit often — and tell their friends.

If you’re growing product, show them pictures. If you’re a retailer, give them reasons to visit your store. Do whatever you can do to keep the conversation going. If you’re lucky, you may be able to boost your announcements to your followers by leaving out the specific details. Consider announcing in a simple code like “the eagle has landed” or “the mother ship has spoken.” Facebook is restrictive about advertisements, but we’ve seen boosted ads get by quite a few times. Facebook’s D+T advertising restrictions state: “Ads may not promote or facilitate the sale or consumption of illegal or recreational drugs, tobacco products, or drug or tobacco paraphernalia.”

3. Set up local listing pages

You want to be in all local listings. This is bare minimum marketing, but it shouldn’t be underestimated either. First and foremost is Google My Business. If you’re not already on there, do it today. Seriously. This free tools adds you to Google maps where local customers can find you with the fewest number of clicks. It also leads people to your phone number and address faster than any other tool.

There are also specialty locator sites such as Leafly and Weedmaps where you should add your profile. Moz local is helpful for organizing your business listings. These locator sites are useful tools, but only a small part of a coordinated online marketing plan.

4. Build your marketing!

You should always be doing this, but a product drought provides a perfect excuse. Use the time to build that website. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, but it’s a huge advantage that will more than pay for itself in a short time.

Start an SEO campaign, get active on social media, study and learn from analytics, and create quality content your customers will appreciate (and hopefully share). Start these things now and invest in your cannabusiness’s future. Then, when the shelves are stocked again, you’ll be ready to turn customers into repeat business.

Need more tips? Get in touch. We’d love to help.

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