CBD Marketing Guide 2019
Learn how to advertise your CBD products with our list of marketing suggestions.
When is the last time you saw a CBD product? The answer is probably yesterday. Hemp-extracted CBD products are quickly flooding the market and big-name brands like Coca-Cola and CVS are jumping on the bandwagon. In Charlotte, six new CBD stores have opened up in the last year. CBD is not a typical product and neither are the marketing implementations for CBD oils, bath bombs, tinctures, salves, or topicals. With the explosion of emerging CBD brands, now seemed like the right time to offer a list of what we believe are the most effective CBD marketing tactics.
We’ll start off by saying that our list doesn’t include any paid digital advertising. Digital ads are very effective, but not for CBD products. Google, Facebook, Instagram, and the rest of the digital gang don’t like CBD promotions. Despite the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp-extracted CBD, Facebook still considers CBD a drug. Under its list of prohibited content, Facebook’s ad policy says, “Ads must not promote the sale or use of illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs.” Where you may see a grey area, Facebook does not. Ad policies for channels like Google, Instagram (owned by Facebook), and Twitter follow suit.
So paid digital advertising is out, but organic marketing is in. You might think that organic strategies don’t work as well as paid, but au contraire! Organic marketing is very powerful; over 40% of revenue is captured by organic traffic. Sure, it takes a little more elbow grease, but in a heavily regulated industry, organic marketing is your most important tool to drive web traffic, gain new customers, and grow sales.
If you’re just starting your CBD business, these are the marketing tools we recommend you use first.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. If you’re not exactly sure what all SEO entails, check out our blog on SEO. To paraphrase, an SEO strategy looks at how well you show up in search engine results based on your content, site architecture, and industry influence.
Search engines like Google and Bing are important traffic drivers—51% of website traffic comes from organic search. We also know that 71.33% of online searches result in a page one organic click, proving it really does matter where your content ranks. Since you can’t pay to put your CBD brand at the top of the results page, you have to make your way up organically. For new and existing CBD companies, an ongoing SEO strategy is essential to getting the web traffic you need to see sell your CBD products.
Even though paid posts are a no-go, organic posts are a great way to share your CBD brand and products with potential new customers. The visual platform is the ideal place to attract followers with lifestyle content, which highlights the interests of your target audience beyond your product or brand. You can do this with stylized shots of your products, engaging quotes, customer testimonials, or tutorial videos explaining the many ways to use your CBD products.
You can capitalize on influencer marketing to reach new networks of followers. In a recent Starter Story interview, cannabis company Plain Jane discussed how they used influencer marketing to grow their social media audience. (As we’re writing this blog, their Instagram has 17.5k followers.) Plain Jane’s CTO, Evan Marshall, saw the value of authentic stories from customers and the company relies heavily on sharing their user’s content to connect with their target audience. Another way to reach new followers is with a hashtag strategy. CBD products have a niche audience and hashtags are like keys to those audiences, helping you find, engage, and share content with your target customers.
Email marketing is unlike any other marketing tactic because it allows you to deliver your message to people individually. Put on your consumer hat for a moment. When you see a Facebook ad, you know thousands of others are seeing it too. But when you get a message in your inbox… well, it feels a little more personal.
With email marketing, you can nurture your subscriber list, gently leading them down the conversion funnel. And with email segmentation, you can customize your message for people at different stages of the buying journey. You can educate new subscribers about your CBD products, answering questions or misconceptions they have about hemp-extracted CBD. Or, you can reward purchasers with a special promo code to buy other products you offer.
Content is called king for a reason: A consistent and frequent content strategy will help your SEO ranking, build trust with your audience, and raise your industry expertise. Let’s face it, when it comes to CBD products there are a lot of questions, speculations, and people who are very interested in CBD’s potential. A content strategy gives you the opportunity to answer those questions, address those speculations, and develop relationships with those curious people. In addition to posting your own content, you can share content from non-competitive companies in your industry. CBD is a hot topic; there are people eagerly awaiting news about its legality at the federal and state level and if/when FDA regulations will be imposed. This curiosity works to your advantage! The interest is there, you just have to respond to it with truthful, factual, and well-informed information. Test out how frequently you need to share content and the length of content that performs best. Many CBD companies are sharing content daily. You might be able to post less. Or, you might have to post more. The key is to always prioritize quality over quantity, and in order to write good content, you need to know your stuff.
There’s a lot to be said for each of the organic tactics we’ve listed above. A lot. While we’ve outlined their basics, we’d love to discuss them in greater detail and how they can work for your CBD company or product. Drop us a line to continue the conversation!