How to Market and Advertise Head Shops or Other Restricted Products Online

Tackling the World of Taboo Marketing

First let me say that this blog in no way is an endorsement of any illegal drugs or other restricted products or substances. We absolutely do not condone the use of these products or substances.

Now, with that said, there are perfectly legal products and substances that are restricted from certain advertising channels. Taboo as it may seem, these companies make up billions of dollars of revenue within our economy and pay taxes like other companies. Thus, we feel that these businesses should have the same resources and understanding of effective online promotion as non-restricted products.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that these companies should have an even playing field. But I am saying that there should be a more robust conversation as to how you market a taboo business.

Moreover, with the rapid legalization of marijuana around the United States and the rapid investment into these industries we feel it is imperative to get the conversation started on ways to promote these types of businesses now. One of the worst things to happen to new industries is misinformation and lack of education on the correct methods of effective promotion. Millions of dollars are wasted in bad marketing and advertising on infant industries during these formative years. Eventually, industries do evolve and a lot of the inefficiencies are worked out of the system but much of this could be avoided with educational information by trusted marketing agencies like us.

This articles sole purpose is to provide insights to these startups and businesses in order to show what things you can and can’t do to market and grow their businesses online. Hopefully, in the process, we can save some marketing newbies in these fields alot of unnecessary time and money that could have been better spent elsewhere.

What are legal products or services that are restricted from advertising online?

Restricted Products Include:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Guns
  3. Tobacco
  4. Head Shops/Smoke Shops
  5. Online Pharmacies
  6. Sexual and Adult Content
  7. Weight Loss Supplements
  8. e-Cigarettes

What You CAN’T Do

First, to understand how to market and advertise your restricted products or services online you must first understand all the things you can’t do. Once your understand your restraints and boundaries of the business environment you are working within you can then begin to better operate within it.

A list of things you can’t do:

  1. Advertise on search engines like Google, Bing, etc.
  2. Advertise on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon
  3. Advertise to children
  4. Advertise on websites without age screen pages
  5. Ad retargeting
  6. Design ads with people actively using these products in the advertisement

The moral of the story is – you can’t utilize mass advertising channels to advertise your products to consumers.

So What CAN You Do?

Marketing restricted products and services takes creativity and a bit of one on one interaction with individual websites and influencers. Since you can’t broadly advertise to the consumer, you will need to take a more targeted approach to your marketing efforts which should include:

Website Specific Advertising

Since you can’t just put some ads on Google or Facebook like other companies you’ll need to reach out to specific websites and influencers and ask if they are willing to promote your product. Remember, to be safe, try to only advertise on websites with age screening pages or if there are a ton of similar companies advertising on a site then you’re probably “good-to-go”.

Radio Ads

Obviously, it depends on the radio station, but radio stations will often try to find ways to work with local businesses if they feel it will mean recurring revenue for them.

Billboards and Outdoor Advertising

Old school marketing may be a better fit for restricted products then digital channels. You’d be surprised but the right outdoor advertising strategy can be very affective. You can try companies like Lamar to supply your inventory.

Organic and Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Since there are no laws against creative promotion and building word-of-mouth buzz about your company. We encourage all business to be creative online and build organic traffic to your web landing pages.

Organic and Word-of-Mouth Marketing includes:

  1. Content Marketing (infographics, blogs, articles)
  2. Search Engine Optimization
  3. Social Media Marketing (tumblr, Facebook, twitter, Pinterest)

Do you need help marketing and advertising your taboo products or services online? Contact Space Chimp and we will review your company. Only select clients will be accepted. FYI, if you think your product is too taboo for us then it probably is.

What are some other ways you can market and advertise your taboo products online? What is some other common misinformation in the marketplace?

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