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Behind Cannabiz’s new membership model: 1,000 true fans

Armed with a highly targeted and engaged audience, Australian legal cannabis industry platform Cannabiz has launched a reader-revenue membership service, nine months after its launch.

Cannabiz, Australia’s first B2B media platform for the legal cannabis industry, was launched in July 2020 by Co-Founder and former CEO of Mumbrella Martin Lane and Klick X Founder Kim McKay. 

The B2B platform aims to educate, connect and grow businesses in Australia’s legal cannabis industry – from growers, manufacturers, distributors, pharmacists, doctors, campaigners and trade associations. 

Content is delivered through news, analysis and a podcast, and creating a membership for the industry was always part of the business plan. 

Announcing the membership launch to Cannabiz’s audience, Lane said: “There are enough sites aggregating news from around the web – we aim to add real value to the Australian cannabis community by going much deeper.

Martin Lane, Cannabiz
Martin Lane, Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer, Cannabiz.

“We are happy to invest in our journalism, confident that the business model we are building will see us rewarded for that over time…we’ll be putting that theory to the test with the launch of a membership model, where we’ll charge a small monthly fee to access in-depth analysis, exclusive news and thought leadership content.”

Australia’s legal cannabis industry is in its infancy. Lane explains that ASX-listed companies are looking for investors willing to back them, and the number of companies in the space remains relatively small. 

Nine months since launch, Lane said that Cannabiz has grown to 1,342 newsletter subscribers, and around 12,000 unique website users per month. 

“Not bad from a standing start,” said Lane. 

Cannabiz’s e-newsletters have an average open rate of 47 per cent and an average click through rate of 36 per cent, both well above the industry averages). 

Armed with a highly targeted and engaged audience, the Cannabiz membership is launching with three membership tiers: 

  • Free: with access to the newsletter, industry news and podcast
  • Premium ($149 per year): the above, plus exclusive content, market intelligence reports and analysis, industry expert Q&As, member-only video content, industry events, member discounts, community forum. 
  • By application: the above, plus exclusive industry networking and features, content marketing, bespoke events/podcasts, access to advice, research and consultancy services. 

The top tier of Cannabiz’s membership model also reflects a key challenge that Lane and McKay identified within Australia’s fledgling industry – how it is perceived by industry groups, the medical profession and consumers. 

Lane and McKay are well positioned to solve this problem with their unique set of skills in publishing, brand building, PR and marketing. 

In an interview following Cannabiz’s launch Lane and McKay told TMSN: “The point is that we have the skills and expertise that the industry, we hope, will benefit from. And that’s where we want to add value.” 

Kim McKay
JULY 25, 2019: SYDNEY, NSW. Klick X CEO Kim McKay picture at her home in Sydney, New South Wales. (Photo by John Appleyard / Newspix) Contact Email: newspix@newsltd.com.au Contact Web URL: www.newspix.com.au Contact Email: newspix@newsltd.com.au

McKay said: “From day one, we knew advertising was not our model. We just knew we were there to solve a problem; we would empower the industry to help it to grow. And to do that we need to show them all the opportunities for growth: through content, through collaborations, through helping them build a consumer audience, and through our consulting.” 

But Lane recognised that it took him a long time to have the confidence to rely on a business model that includes consultancy services, pointing to McKay’s experience in the consultancy business as getting him across the line. 

“I’m very lucky that I have a business partner who has those skills,” he said. “I think many publishers don’t have the confidence to go down this path, because they’re so used to giving their content away for free then hoping somebody else will pay for it, i.e. an advertiser. 

Read the full interview with Lane and McKay here, including their three top tips for launching and building a successful B2B digital community. 

Written by Lyndsie Clark

Targeted Media Services Network Founder and Editor Lyndsie Clark has over 12 years of niche publishing experience, working in a variety of roles spanning B2B editorial, sales, operations, events, BD, and management.

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