How To Design, Market,

and Sell Your Pre-Rolls

Part 2: Develop Pre-Roll Marketing Materials

You know how to design your custom pre-roll experience from part one of this series. Now, let’s talk about how to get people’s attention on it.

You can pick and choose pieces of this part depending on how highly your brand intends to rank pre-rolls in its overall product lineup. For example, if your brand’s biggest focus is selling whole flower and pre-rolls are just where you send harvest overflow, your pre-roll marketing budget likely isn’t as much as your flower marketing budget. Just take what you need from here.

If your whole brand image is pre-rolls, we suggest exploring the full gambit of materials here. Each piece of marketing collateral meets your customer in a different place and serves a different purpose.

You can’t truly determine if a product is a dud or a success until you’ve put it in front of enough people. Don’t tap out from a simple lack of product awareness.


We touched on pre-roll packing as a part of your custom pre-roll in part one of this series. Packaging is obviously a huge deal, and we don’t just mean legally speaking. It’s often the first impression a product makes on a customer, and it can easily make or break a sale. (If you’re among the nearly 85% of people who’ve purchased a bottle of wine based solely on the label, you get it.)

But there’s one other part of this first impression that should be considered—your display materials. Not every dispensary will allow you room for display materials, but if they do, here are some items to consider. Keep them in mind even if pre-rolls aren’t your brand’s main inventory.


Think of display boxes as an extension of your packaging, not a reiteration. If you put the same branding/information on your display box as you do on your packaging, you’ve wasted time, space, and money with redundancy. Instead, direct the customer’s eye and use the display box to point to the packaging.

For example, if you chose hemp paper for your pre-roll, your display box could have a catchy blurb about why it’s the most natural or eco-friendly choice. Meanwhile, your pre-roll packaging could just say “hemp paper pre-roll.” Further explanation isn’t needed because your display box offered the information.

If you still want to add further information to the packaging, you can always include a QR code. We’ll go over those in a few.

Collabs. Remember the collab ideas we mentioned in part one? The artists/brands you collaborate with are going to need info about you to share with their loyal customers. Their audience might not know your brand or products at this point. An info card/flyer is a great way to direct them on how to find more of what you have to offer.

You can also use the content from these flyers to inform social media posts and/or email campaigns about your product.


Info cards and flyers can serve a similar purpose while providing even more room for details on your pre-roll. You may need a few different iterations of an informational card/flyer so you can serve your brand and audience in different places. Some of these places include:

In-store purchases. If they’ll allow it, ask the dispensaries that sell your pre-roll(s) to drop a little info card into each customer’s bag that purchases your product. If not, see if they’ll allow you to place the cards next to the product’s display.

Pop-up events. Pop-up events are an ideal place to share info cards/flyers on your products. For your pre-rolls, consider passing the info card out with a freebie like a roach clip or reusable doob tube.


QR codes can be a part of any of your display materials, including your packaging. Before you decide to put them anywhere, first consider if it’s necessary. Yes, it’s important to provide information about your product to your customers, but remember that they don’t need or care to know every tiny detail. You don’t want to bore or overwhelm them.

QR codes ask a lot of your customers:

They have to find their phone. It might be in their hand already. It might be at the bottom of an overflowing purse.
They then have to open their camera app. This sounds simple, but it’s not simple for everyone. Millennials and Gen Z aren’t the only folks lightin’ up.
They have to tap the link to open the website. Not only can this be difficult for someone who’s not particularly tech-savvy, but it can also require your customer to be patient while the web page loads.
They have to read. Make sure it’s worth their time!

You’ll want to monitor metrics like:

when and how often the code is scanned
how long people stay on the web page once it opened
how many people clicked on each particular link featured on the web page

If all of your QR codes lead to the same place, it can be helpful to create separate QR codes for each marketing piece so you can monitor which pieces are being scanned and which aren’t. This can inform if you need to adjust the content on your landing page(s) or rearrange where your QR codes appear on your materials.

Some worthwhile places your QR code could send your shopper include:

A landing page for them to sign up for your brand/product’s loyalty program
More details about the specific product’s effects, including strain and concentrate information, terpene details, etc. This could also include a link to the product’s COA.

A landing page that explains why your pre-roll is the best option i.e. it’s rolled instead of stuffed, it features sustainable packaging/materials, a portion of its sales go to a good cause, etc. ← We always encourage our customers to create a page like this around their pre-roll(s). Many customers don’t know the advantages of a rolled pre-roll versus a stuffed one. It’s important they understand the differences and benefits a rolled pre-roll offers.




At some dispensaries, you can purchase digital display space on their TV screens.

This can be an effective outlet for brands that might not prioritize pre-rolls but are recognizable for other types of products. Use this space to feature something your customers will immediately recognize, like your logo or an influencer you may use to promote your brand. You want your loyal customers to see it, know it’s you, and walk over to your display because it’s you. The same concept applies if your brand is all pre-rolls and you’ve built a loyal following.

If you’re a newer brand and not super recognizable yet, use this space to catch the eye of customers walking in. A logo is one option, but if you have the space and capability, consider trying something that’ll stand out in a room full of TV screens with logos on them, like a catchy call to action, a video loop, or a short commercial.

Bonus: You can repurpose videos you create for your website and social channels too!

Printed Marketing Collateral

Printed marketing collateral includes the info cards/flyers we mentioned above, but those speak to your target audience on the consumer side. You also need printed materials that speak to businesses i.e. the dispensaries you want to sell your product to.

Dispensary buyers need to know why they should carry your pre-roll over the hundreds of other options available to them, and budtenders need to know how to sell your product. Your printed pieces should showcase why your pre-roll is different with details like:

How it’s made. This is particularly impactful if you’re rolling with the BlackBird. Most pre-rolls they’re going to come across are stuffed cones. If yours are rolled, that’s a positive differentiator.

What it’s made of. Explain the flower and concentrate choices you’ve made for your pre-roll, and offer insight into your grow/manufacturing process. Touch on paper and crutch/tip materials as well.

What it does. Dive into the effects of the pre-roll so budtenders know when they should mention it and when they shouldn’t. You don’t want them selling an energy-boosting pre-roll to a customer looking for something to help them relax. That customer isn’t going to enjoy the experience and may lose interest in your brand altogether.


This is all about your product’s web presence.


Wherever customers can find your pre-roll(s) online, you should have proper messaging. Do not disregard menus found on sites like Leafly, WeedMaps, Jane, or others. These are very popular sites with consumers and a simple way to promote your pre-roll and your brand.

Most importantly, make sure your website is up to date with your pre-roll info. Dispensaries will undoubtedly look up your website before agreeing to move forward with a retail agreement. Budtenders will also check out your site to see what details they can use to promote your pre-roll(s). And of course, customers are going to search for your brand and product online. Make sure what they’re looking for is easy to find, easy to comprehend, consistent across all channels, and genuinely informative.


This one is tricky for cannabis brands and products, but it can still be an effective and valuable marketing outlet. We’re not going to dive too far into it since cannabis social media warrants its own series, but we did want to touch on one thing—hashtags.

Promoting a specific hashtag around your pre-roll(s) is an easy way to track if people are talking about your product online. You can also use it as a way to track contests and build engagement.

For example, you could run a contest that encourages folks to post a picture of their favorite place to smoke your pre-roll with its corresponding hashtag. The winner could receive some branded merch or accessories to accompany them on their next pre-roll smoke sesh. Their post promotes your pre-roll, and the winner will be sporting new merch to promote your brand.


Email and SMS aren’t necessarily parts of your pre-roll’s web presence, but they do help to promote your pre-roll’s web presence.

Use them to announce a new pre-roll launch, invigorate a pre-roll with stagnant sales, or promote other campaigns you have going on around your pre-rolls, like the social media contest we mentioned earlier.


We’re going to touch specifically on paid digital ads over paid print ads, as they’re the more effective option for pre-rolls, and they can provide you with data to inform future ads and products.

Your pre-roll packaging is your customer’s first impression of your product. This is another crucial point where knowing your target audience is key.

Digital Ad Placements

Digital ad placements are available on sites like Weedmaps, Leafly, Jane, and other consumer-facing cannabis outlets. These are the digital ad banners you might see on the top of a web page or to the side of an article. They can also be the ads you see within an email blast.

These ads can be valuable and effective because the audience these outlets target has something in common with your product’s audience—they smoke weed. There’s no worry about your marketing dollars going to waste by putting your ad in front of people uninterested in what you’re offering. You can also use them to track where your consumer spends their time. For example, if you’re getting more clicks on your Weedmaps ad than your Leafly ad, adjust your ad spend to prioritize Weedmaps.

Dispensary Menu Features

Sites like Jane offer another type of digital promotion. They often host dispensaries’ online menus. If one of your retail outlets uses Jane, you can pay to have your pre-roll “featured” on their online menu. This puts your pre-roll front and center when a customer lands on that page as opposed to relying on them to filter through the menu and stumble onto your product.

Programmatic Ads

Programmatic ads are the reason that the pair of shoes you looked at on Amazon yesterday is being advertised to you while you’re reading an article on The Washington Post today. They’re effective, automatic (once they’re set up, of course), and most importantly, they’re available to cannabis businesses.

Mainstream sites like HuffPost, Newsweek, USA Today, Politico, and ESPN accept cannabis programmatic ads and can be a great place to feature your pre-roll(s) if your target audience spends time on those sites.

Pay attention to the analytics that come back from your programmatic ads. Who is clicking on your ads? Where are they located? This can help you refine your target audience, and it can also help to inform potential future expansions. If your pre-roll is only for sale in Massachusetts, but you’re getting a lot of traffic from Rhode Island, perhaps that’s the next state to expand your brand.


As it was when it came to designing your custom joint, consistency is the key to marketing it.

Your messaging should be clear, concise, and consistent whether it’s a blurb on an informational flyer or a caption on a social media post. Your marketing efforts should also be consistent, meaning you should continue to push and market your pre-roll well after its launch.

Don’t stop at one email campaign or social media contest. Don’t stop after one pop-up event or collaboration. And don’t stop getting to know your budtenders at your retailers. If they like you and your product, they can push your pre-roll farther than any marketing campaign.

Stay tuned for more on the power of budtenders in the final part of this series!