The average annual growth rate for the vape business is 23.8%, which means that the industry is expected to grow despite the economic turmoil that we are presently facing. The vaping industry is still in its infancy, so the companies involved are learning quite a bit from their experiences and forecasts.
Stringent government regulations, along with some strict marketing guidelines, make vape business marketing difficult. To top it all off, even social media platforms have their fair share of regulations to control vape advertising.
So when it comes to digital marketing, all the major channels to attract paid traffic are effectively closed. Vaping brands wonder if there are enough opportunities for them online. Our extensive experience working globally with a number of vape brands has identified the following opportunities for our clients.
#1 Influencer Marketing for vape brands
Influencer marketing for vape brands is a controversial topic following some vape brands getting influencer marketing really wrong… no names! However, there are a number of approaches and strategies that can ensure any vape related content on influencer channels is only targeting those of a legal age. Simple example of a tactic we use extensively is age-gating on platforms such as Instagram and YouTube.
The next million dollar question is that does influencer marketing actually do? The short answer is that when executed correctly influencer marketing can support any KPI within the marketing funnel. The design and strategy of the campaign coupled with the channel and type of influencer engaged will determine the success of the campaign reaching (but in our case surpassing) the goal.
There is then UGC content. We are BIG fans of this. Not all influencer marketing campaigns have to include the Kardashian/Jenner family. Micro and nano influencers will have much much more engaged communities that will share similar interests to them. We have seen a lot of success engaging these types of influencers, at scale, to deliver on more acquisition based goals.
Finally, with both UGC and influencer content you’ll want to really consider the platform you’re engaging. TikTok is a platform that has very strong community safety rules making it more difficult for vape brands to be active on there. As mentioned, unlike Instagram and TikTok this platform doesn’t have any age gating capabilities yet. However, the misconception that only under 18s are on the platform really is, well, just a misconception. The fastest growing audiences for this platforms are over 18s. You may also be able to take advantage of the interest based algorithm where, regardless of who you follow, will show you content that you’re interested in. Could this be used to safeguard over 18s content? That is yet to be determined.
Instagram however does offer the ability to to “gate” content, both for posts and stories. This age restriction can be modified for each territory – for example 18 in the UK and 21 in the USA.
#2 SEO for vape brands
The first and most important aspect of vape marketing is the face value of your business. In the digital world, it is your website. Not your vape store or going through retail stores. Your website is the home of your brand, so whilst you want to optimise to drive relevant search traffic to your site you don’t want to do so at the expense of your brand experience.
Search Engine Optimisation, aka SEO, is a powerful tool for websites that cannot advertise such as alcohol for example. SEO for vape companies can be quite exciting purely because of the amount of Google’s features that can be used to amplify the business for free. If you have stores you can make use of Google Maps, you can enable Google Shopping to amplify direct website sales, you can deliver content marketing for targeted search queries and even engage with video SEO on YouTube to really own the Search Engine Result Page (SEPR).
Content is where a lot of vape businesses that we work with struggle to deliver… until they met Monumental! That being said, with content marketing for vape brands the opportunity is around education. The UK government sees switching to vaping from smoking as “quitting smoking” and therefore there are countless searches every month around this topic. Anything from which device is right for me to which flavours I should avoid and so on. If in doubt try and think like a customer. Where would you go? What would you ask? What information is different from cigarettes?
Let us warn you now, SEO is not a quick win and the results may take 3 to 6 months to make a real impact on the bottom line. That being said, this is free marketing – no ads, no influencers and no race to whomever spends the most.
When SEO has started, some advice from us is don’t neglect your user experience! If there are content pages or even product pages with traffic but no conversions this is where we get creative. Again, think of the user, what would be the most natural next step in their journey.
In your case, your next step from this article might be to discuss enquire for a complimentary SEO audit from Monumental… yes, we’re shameless.
#3 Email Marketing for vape companies
Email Marketing is here to stay and even more so if you are in the vaping industry. Relying on organic growth for acquisition efforts does mean that your own data and existing customers are even more valuable.
Successful email marketing for vape brands must go further than just the odd discount. 10% off for Black Friday is not groundbreaking, and it’s not marketing.
The filter for email marketing should be exactly the same as any other marketing channel, the simple question is does it engage or educate my audience? If the answer is yes then you’re winning, if the answer is no then please do not press the send button.
This is your community, a chance to engage them in your brand story and purpose. Sales can happen if this is done correctly. Again, what do your customers actually want? Apart from discounts! Email marketing can be used similarly to Social Media. This is a community of people who “follow you” and are keen to engage with you… don’t let them down. Get creative and offer value in your communications.
#4 Social Media Marketing for vape companies
First things first, age-restrict your account. This may impact discoverability but not doing it will impact your engagement massively. A shadow-banned life can be avoided!
Once that’s done, social media for vape companies can be really fun. We like to think way further than just showcasing products and flavours. It’s a real opportunity to communicate your own brand story and values whilst showcasing how your community fits into them.
Simple tip is to not get hung up on just posting. Vaping on social media is so much more than that, it’s a movement with high levels of competition. This is why it’s so important to really think about everything outside of the image you will post. Things such as your tone of voice, your positioning, your values, your live content, your collaboration opportunities etc. However the most important thing is engagement. It’s not a one way conversation, it should be a real dialog. Engage with your audience and they’ll tell you what they want and need which can be used to scale your impact on the channel.
Our final bit of advice is to not ignore your brand story and your values. What does your brand care about? What communities do you support? In our opinion it’s better to be the everything to a few communities than the “if it’s cheaper I’ll get it”. Own your purpose and your story – interweave it in any of the channels we mentioned in this article and you’ll be set up for success.