Michele Ringelberg of ThrivePop – Cannabis Business Digital Marketing Expert
Meet Michele Ringelberg, CEO of ThrivePop, a digital marketing firm specializing in cannabis. Fast-growing and ambitious brands in cannabis industry work with Michelle and her team to create digital marketing strategies and digital marketing implementation.
First, a little background about Michele Ringelberg:
I have been in the marketing industry since 2000. I have seen a lot of changes in the digital marketing space and the evolution of cannabis marketing has been exciting to watch. Cannabis marketing is challenging and innovative. We have definitely made our mistakes, but have learned from them and are here to teach you what NOT to do! Let me just say, Facebook and Instagram can be unpredictable and difficult when marketing cannabis-related products.
Our team enjoys what we do and has been known to push our clients out of their comfort zone. When we are allowed to try new creative tactics, we can show our clients astounding results!
If your business is ready to grow fast and is seeking help implementing digital marketing strategies that will increase visibility, generate leads, and grow revenue, then we can help.
Let us teach you what we know and create something fabulous together!
When did you first start working in cannabis?
Do you sit on any industry boards or associations that you’d like to mention?
What lesson did you learn BEFORE cannabis that’s been most valuable in cannabis?
Do what you love and what you are naturally good at and stop trying to please every client request. When I first started we were doing a lot of online applications systems and complex web development programs for companies. My brain just doesn’t work that way. I was trying to do something that I didn’t like and it stressed me out. I am not a developer and don’t pretend to be. I am creative and love marketing, not backend web development. I had a complex project that my developers could not produce, they continued to tell me that they were almost done, but as a non-developer I couldn’t look at the code and tell if they were actually telling me the truth. I had to go to the client and let them know we just don’t have the team to complete this project and I refunded them all of their money. I felt this huge weight lifted once I told the client they would need to find another web company to perform this project. It was very difficult to do and they were not happy, however; it was the right thing to do. It was then that I focused on what I love to do and that is marketing. We chose to not take on any more complex web projects and now we focus on marketing, since doing that our company is growing significantly and I do what I love, helping companies make more money and thrive.
Is there a particular cannabis project you’d like to highlight?
The majority of our clients are B2B. Fohse lighting is one of our clients that I would like to highlight. They came to us with unrealistic goals. They wanted to double their conversions and revenue in one year. I kind of laughed and said, ok, we need to set realistic goals. our contact said, no we are serious, these are realistic goals. They were ready and motivated to grow. They said, let’s do this! They listened to us and for every new opportunity or creative idea we had; they were up for it. We doubled their monthly leads and increased their revenue by 2,332% in two years! It makes a huge difference when you have a client that actually listens to your recommendations and is open to new marketing tactics, and the entire team is on board. They have an amazing sales team that actually uses the tools we have implemented and has done an excellent job converting the leads we have been providing them. Other people in the industry see Fohse marketing and they ask them who does it, and they very willingly tell them ThrivePOP, in fact, I just recently had a prospect call me and they told me that Fohse told them we kick ass! I said, ok, great that is awesome to hear.
What’s the biggest misconception cannabis companies have about digital marketing?
That it is easy, or that it [includes only] being on social media. That is part of it, but not the whole picture.
What were you doing prior to cannabis?
We fell into cannabis. I have been doing marketing since 2000, was a marketing director at a healthcare facility and they merged with another health organization and they eliminated my job. I worked at an IT managed service company, managing the web team and doing marketing for the IT company. I started ThrivePOP in 2017. One of our clients that also serves other industries said they wanted to push their product into the cannabis industry, so that is how we started. I sent one of my employees to MJBizCon to help them with their booth, and learn. Since then, we have just been growing like crazy.
In your view, what is the biggest digital marketing challenge facing cannabis companies today?
The biggest issue regarding marketing for cannabis is social media. You spend all this time growing social profiles and FB, Instagram, etc. can take down your profile with no notification and you can’t ever talk to someone at FB or Insta to see why or get it back. So many clients come to us trying to get their accounts back and it is very difficult.
What will get easier in cannabis digital marketing? What will get harder?
I have noticed more and more competition. Everyone thinks it is an easy thing, and it is not. Just because you are in the cannabis industry doesn’t mean you are stashing money in a safe. It is tough. In our town, there are so many dispensaries popping up and I think people don’t understand how difficult it is to run a company.
Trust me, running a company is HARD, especially in the cannabis industry.
What can companies do to ease their digital marketing challenges?
Be consistent and track your results. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, which most people don’t-outsource it to someone that knows what they are doing and are an expert.
In your view, what is the most under-rated tool in the digital marketing toolbox for cannabis companies?
Industry associations. I try to get my clients to join different cannabis associations and I don’t think they really value that. I have joined a few, and it has really set us apart.
In your view, what is the most over-rated digital marketing toolbox for cannabis companies?
I don’t really think of anything that is over-rated.
What’s the BEST piece of advice you give everyone you work with?
Be consistent and listen to the data. Track your results and be open to changing your plan based on what the data is telling you. Data doesn’t lie, and you don’t want to waste your money on something that isn’t effective.
What’s your advice for people who want to get into cannabis digital marketing?
Join associations to learn about cannabis, join associations, follow people that are knowledgeable, and absorb as much knowledge as possible. Don’t just tell people you understand cannabis marketing if you don’t yet.
How can someone contact you, Michele?
Thanks for sharing your digital marketing insights with us today, Michele.