Since the 2018 US Farm Bill legalized the production and sale of hemp and hemp-driven products, there has been an outburst of numerous brands selling CBD and hemp oil products. The global CBD market size was estimated at USD 2.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 3.5 billion in 2021, owing to the growing adoption of CBD products due to their various medical benefits.
According to a 2020 study, 40% of US consumers aged 21 and above said that they have considered trying CBD. From the marketing perspective, that is a huge pool of customers that you can introduce your brand and products.
However, even though the sale of CBD products is federally legal, merchants and e-commerce marketing professionals face many limitations in marketing them. This article serves as a comprehensive CBD digital marketing guide to walk you through the possible hurdles that you might encounter, and the best strategies to compete with the other brands in the business.
Easier said than done.
The Challenges Of Marketing CBD brands
One of the basic challenges that CBD faces is the fact that it is not universally embraced. With such an ambiguous political and legal environment, it becomes hard to market CBD products openly.
No Health Claims
Cannabis or CBD brands are not allowed to claim any health benefits on the packaging of their products. Since CBD is lauded for its medicinal effects, it becomes difficult to label and differentiate one product from another or to openly express its purpose.
Advertising using traditional forms like radio, TV, newspapers have their own limitations. For instance, broadcasting on television in California demands that the targeted audience consists of 71% adults, and billboards cannot be placed on interstate or state highways.
The Internet is thought of as an open market with no strings attached where anyone can market their products freely. Not anymore. Major platforms like Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Instagram comply with the federal law which expressively bans the promotion of illicit substances. That eliminates any chance to buy out regular ad spots altogether.
Lack Of Awareness
Starting from the initial stages of the marketing funnel, the lack of awareness is a crucial factor that CBD brands have to come to head with. How can customers buy from you if they are not aware that you exist and what product you are selling or what it actually does?
You might wonder how then the CBD industry has managed to thrive among all the red lights with brands fiercely competing against one and other. Given the challenges and competition, you need a CBD marketing strategy that is flawless, tried, and tested. Here are some key tactics:
Website Optimization For Search Engines
Where CBD products have restrictions on Google ads, there are absolutely no advertising restrictions when it comes to SEO. Building your site with SEO in mind will help you get high positions in organic search. In addition, it will be more cost-effective than regularly paying for ads.
Your website is the best asset you have to bring in organic traffic if you do things the right way. With various onsite SEO practices, you can optimize your website to gain more exposure. Creating CBD keywords that are in the most popular searches and optimizing your website’s content around them greatly improves the search engine ranking.
Other practices to improve CBD SEO include onsite optimization, website speed optimization, SEO-friendly URLs, guest posts, optimized blog posts, links and so much more.
From the very start, influencers have played a vital role in the surge of the CBD industry as they have a strong online presence that can be leveraged to influence the masses exponentially. Influencers can be bloggers, journalists, authors, consultants, analysts, etc and even micro-influencers can prove to be beneficial to the success of a CBD campaign without costing much.
For one, influencers are able to circumvent many advertising restrictions and are able to communicate your message effectively to potential customers. Their creativity and sense of storytelling are an added plus, which allows the customers to connect with your brand and products in a consistent and reliable way.
In addition, influencers are also able to combat misinformation and provide serious education to curious, would-be consumers. With CBD’s history of propaganda and political ambiguity, people trust influencers to cut through the noise with honesty and openness.
Run Native Ads
Native ads are paid adverts that go perfectly with the feel, function, and form of the website or social media page it appears on. For promoting a CBD business, you have to be both creative and cautious, to avoid entering the bad books. Native ads allow you to advertise your products to the people who already consume CBD products and are browsing for more discoveries.
Instead of irritating users or upsetting the user experience, native advertising captures the attention of an engaged audience by showing them ads while they are still on the site. Native advertising platforms like Outbrain and Taboola are great ways to increase your customer reach with sophisticated campaigns and strategies specifically for CBD businesses.
Email Marketing And Automation
Email marketing may seem like ‘old-school’ but there is no doubt about the approach’s effectiveness to generate brand awareness and sales. As compared to other marketing channels, email marketing outreaches your customers in a much more personal manner and engages your customers to keep coming back to you.
In order to reach out to a large audience, however, you first need a lot of visitor/customer data. You can place different signup forms on your website to collect user data. Do not be shy of adding additional fields to collect extra information, like a visitor’s phone number.
You can roll out a sequence of emails to re-engage your community or to reach out to frequent customers who have not bought anything for a while. It mostly depends on the buying cycle or newsletter frequency. You can also offer incentives like free shipping or discounts for customers to take more interest in your brand.
Extensive Content Marketing
A CBD content marketing strategy is important for the success of your overall marketing plan. Content marketing is the creation of educational and relevant information for your audience, which can include articles, blog posts, social media posts, pictures, and videos.
Your content is a source of customer retention and acquisition and should have a real look and value, giving as much relevant information about CBD as possible. Articles and blog posts that have keywords ensure steady organic traffic to the website. And gated content helps you collect data for email marketing. Moreover, content that is original and educational and does not promote your business or products directly will be able to provide your customers with more value and keep them around for longer.
Alright, you are now armed with several marketing tactics to promote your CBD business and become a part of this dynamic industry which is expected to continue growing. The competition is bound to become stiffer as more players will join the fray. Only by having a robust CBD marketing strategy can give your business longevity and scalability.
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