Building an Effective CBD Digital Marketing Strategy
A few years ago, CBD was considered by many to be another pseudo-scientific fad that millennials were adopting. Here it was, this bizarre cannabinoid, touted to help promote health and wellness in so many ways- from curbing insomnia to improving appetite.
Today, less than 5 years later, the CBD market has exploded, reaching heights no one thought it would. According to one Gallup poll, 64% of adults in America reported that they were familiar with CBD. Another survey conducted by SingleCare in 2021 found that more than 30% of Americans have used CBD in one form or another.
These statistics point to one thing: CBD is rapidly becoming more popular, and is fast becoming a common sight in many people’s kitchen cabinets. And, according to new information, the market is only getting bigger. The CBD industry, which is projected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 51% between 2021 and 2030, is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Overcoming the Problem of Competition in the CBD Industry
CBD can be consumed in a variety of ways: edible gummies, pastries, and teas; high-concentration flowers; tinctures, and, most common, CBD oil. Since industrial hemp became legal across most American states, the number of businesses selling CBD in its many different forms continues to rise.
This implies that the competition in this industry is quite stiff. If you’re looking to push your products, reach potential customers, and compete favorably, you’ll need to implement a creative and effective marketing strategy.
What are the Benefits of an Effective Marketing Strategy?
Although many people are opening up to CBD and the many benefits it offers, just as many people continue to regard it with skepticism. To continue attracting and retaining new customers, you will have to rely on much more than simply manufacturing top-notch CBD products.
For one, you’ll need to ensure your brand and products are constantly and consistently seen by your potential customers. You may also need to communicate with existing customers to find out which aspects of your business they like, and what they would like improved, if any.
A proper, planned-out, and effective CBD marketing strategy will allow you to push your brand’s products more deliberately and thoughtfully. Such a strategy also allows you to control the way your brand communicates its message and choose the narrative that best tells your story.
The Challenges of Marketing Your CBD Business
The CBD industry is still relatively young. Different states have different laws regarding the sale of this compound, including how you should (and shouldn’t) advertise CBD-derived products. Marketing your brand may therefore feel quite confusing and frustrating, especially if you operate in different states.
One of the biggest challenges facing the industry today is government restrictions and regulations. To make it worse, CBD is still considered a ‘vice’ by many media outlets and social media platforms, including Google and Facebook. This makes it difficult to plan and implement a successful social media campaign. Many U.S banks have also blacklisted the CBD industry, making it hard for business owners to access loan facilities or simply deposit business funds.
Another challenge that the CBD industry faces regarding marketing is the sheer number of businesses in this space. With thousands of companies selling CBD-related products, it may be quite difficult to establish yourself and set your brand apart from others. What is the best way, therefore, to market your products and build a loyal customer base?
Creating an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy
Like other industries, the strategy you use to promote and advertise your products will make or break your business. Changing your focus could be a good place to start; whereas many of your competitors will focus only on advertising their products, you could choose instead to provide customers with valuable and informative content about CBD. This will help add value and educate your customers while pushing your products in front of them.
In the following section, we break down how to create such a strategy for your own business in 8 steps. What should you consider and keep in mind?
Conduct Market Research
Market research refers to the never-ending process of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data about the market a company operates in. This process looks at various market facets, including the consumers and past, present, and potential competitors. It unravels the different decisions consumers and other businesses continue to make regarding a particular product or service. Market research often also analyzes past and current trends in that space to anticipate future trends.
Conducting thorough and consistent market research will provide lots of insight into the CBD market. Understanding your competitors and the consumers will allow you to take a more informed and deliberate approach when marketing your products and communicating your business’ vision.
By analyzing how your competition communicates with their target audience, for example, you may be able to figure out what they’re missing out on; this will guide you as you take up a different, more unique angle. Here are a few reasons why market research is important, especially in the competitive CBD industry.
- It helps price your products fittingly and accurately
- Provides insight into who your target is and the best way to communicate with them.
- Increased outreach and, ultimately, sales
- Improved customer management: allows you to assess the needs of your customer and figure out how to address them.
- It helps you choose the best media to advertise your brand.
- Simpler decision-making: since you’ll be basing your actions on data analysis and interpretation rather than your own judgment, you’ll be able to make quicker and better business decisions.
These are just a few of the numerous advantages that market research offers. There are many different tools and software that have been designed to collect business data. You could also resort to simpler means, like questionnaires and social media polls. This will enable you to find out what your customers need right from the horse’s mouth.
Define Your Goals
Every business needs to set goals, regardless of size or how long it’s been in operation. Business goals give employees direction and motivation. Rather than simply asking your workforce to ‘work hard,’ for example, well-defined goals give them something to work towards. This helps them work strategically, which significantly increases your chances of succeeding, growing, and expanding.
A good goal is SMART, that is; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant to the larger picture, and Time-bound. When setting goals, you should:
Define measurable goals
What are you trying to achieve, and within which timeframe? Go for clear goals that work towards the larger picture. Be specific, as this will make it easier to determine whether you’ve reached your target.
Set specific goals
Good business goals are specific. Telling your employees something like “Let’s try to make more sales” is too vague. Instead, figure out the exact volume of sales you’re going for, and provide a clear roadmap to it. This way, your team will be able to achieve it and more.
Commit fully to the end result, and the process
Once you’ve laid out your goals, commit to them to the very end. Don’t second-guess yourself or procrastinate, as this will likely demotivate you and leave you feeling less confident.
Share your goals with others
Making your business goals public in one way or another is a highly effective motivating factor. When you share your business plans with other people, you’ll have someone to hold you accountable and keep you working towards the goal.
As we’ve mentioned above, a good goal is time-bound. Deadlines indicate a complete commitment to your plans and help give them context. Remember to choose a reasonable deadline so as not to put undue pressure on yourself.
Check in with yourself and your team
Once your goal is in motion, and you’re actively walking towards achieving it, you should check in regularly with your team. Go over your progress, rewarding yourselves for what you’ve already accomplished. Assess what you need to keep doing to succeed in the long term. Doing so will ensure you remain motivated while keeping your eye on the prize.
Research on the Marketing Options Available to You
We’re living in the digital age where every business has some kind of online presence. Most businesses are today turning to social media to communicate with and advertise to their potential customers. When planning out an effective marketing strategy, it’s important to figure out the best-suited medium to use.
For example, whereas companies that sell fly-off-the-shelf commodities like detergent, liquor, and deodorant may opt for TV ads, supercar brands like Lamborghini wouldn’t. This is because they’ve studied their target consumer, thus know they don’t spend much time watching TV. As we’ve said before, it all boils down to market research!
Digital market vs. traditional marketing: which is better?
Digital marketing utilizes channels such as social media and websites to communicate a brand’s message to its audience. Traditional marketing, on the other hand, involves all media that was present before the internet- billboards, broadcast radio and TV, direct mail, and other ‘traditional’ channels.
Digital and traditional marketing are both important in their own right. However, knowing your target consumers’ age bracket, lifestyle, and habits will help you figure out the best way to reach out to them.
What Digital Assets are Available?
Digital assets are valuable resources in the world of digital marketing. They help make marketing more effective, thus have found a permanent spot in most businesses’ marketing strategies. The most common digital marketing assets include social media profiles, company websites, blogs, and original audio-visual content. Let’s take a look at some of these assets.
Social media pages:
A strong social media presence provides great potential for your company from a marketing and customer outreach standpoint. Posting consistently on social media allows you to cultivate a following of people who are invested in the CBD world and naturally looking to try new products or simply gain more knowledge. Building such a following makes it easier and more effective to send out promotional content and ultimately get more conversions.
This may be the most important digital asset of all. Websites give you a medium through which you can send out interesting content that will attract traffic, which you can then advertise your products to. It will also provide a platform for customers to see your catalog, make purchases, and leave feedback. This makes it an invaluable tool in your digital marketing strategy.
A good website will also showcase your company’s mission, vision, and even staff members. This helps give your brand a face and story that new customers can connect to.
Data is another important resource in the world of digital marketing. You’ve probably heard about the numerous companies that buy data from third-party sources just to gain better insight into their consumers’ needs. While this may be necessary under some circumstances, you’re better off collecting business data yourself.
For one, this allows you to collect only the information that’s relevant to you, your consumers, and your competitors. As we’ve mentioned above, analyzing the decisions your competitors make will help influence your own decisions, making sure you don’t miss the mark.
5. Building an Engaging Website
94% of users will fail to return to a website simply because they were unimpressed by the site’s design. Therefore, having a well-designed website is very important; it will help generate and retain customer traffic and lead to more conversions. For this reason, you should go about building your website in a deliberate and thought-out way.
Here are a few things to remember when setting up a website for your business:
- Keep the layout simple.
- Ensure the site is easy to navigate.
- Use a simple, easy-to-read typeface.
- Incorporate high-quality original images and video.
- Choose colors that are eye-catching without seeming to try too hard.
- Use a clear call-to-action (CTA)
That said, a well-designed website goes beyond how it looks. Your website should also be user-friendly and easy to navigate. You can achieve this in the following ways:
i) Make it mobile-friendly
More than 65% of all web traffic streams in from a mobile device. You should therefore ensure your new visitors have a positive experience while navigating through your website on their phone. Make sure all the widgets are spaced out perfectly and that all unnecessary elements are done away with.
ii) Make your navigation more streamlined
People shouldn’t have to dig through pages of content to find what they’re looking for. Use menus and tags that make it easy for customers to find specific stuff.
iii) Use call-to-actions
Call-to-actions prompt users to commit. If you’re looking to drive sales, for example, you could include a “Go to Store” call to action that directs them right to your products page. Doing so will prevent your new customers from spending too much time searching for your products, which can be very frustrating.
iv) Make it easier for people to search your website
This is where many businesses go wrong. Your website should have a good search and filter function. This will make it even easier for your customers to quickly find what they need, which will shorten the path to the purchase.
v) Break up content into headers and subheaders
If you post a lot of written content on your blog or website, you will need to break it down into headers and subheaders. Long chunky blocks of text are difficult to read; this may make your content less effective. Headers and subheaders, aside from making the page look neat overall, make it easier for people to skim through an article when they’re looking for specific information.
6. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is the process of consistently using your company’s social media presence to advertise and promote, build your brand, direct traffic to your website, communicate with your target audience, and drive sales. Social media marketing is a long-winded process that involves publishing quality, informative content, engaging your audience, and buying social media ads.
According to these statistics, the average internet user spends 145 minutes each day on social media as of 2020. This means that for 145 minutes each day, you have access to your target audience. To gain their attention, you’ll have to share interesting content that will keep them hooked.
An effective social media marketing campaign has 5 key pillars:
- Engaging with consumers
- Looking at analytics
Social media could be a great space for you to put your products in context and show different ways they can be used. This would be more useful to your customers than posting, say, some really good B-roll.
Here are a couple of pointers to ensure you remain on point with your social media marketing campaign:
- Ensure your brand image and voice remains consistent across networks.
- Promote your website and blog content on social media.
- Link to high-value external (and even internal!) content.
- Monitor the strategic decisions your competitors are making in regards to their own social media marketing.
- Engage with your customers regularly.
- Create ads that are tailored for that specific platform; for example, carousels and reels for Instagram, stories for Snapchat, etc.
7. Leverage Search Engine Optimization
Do the work so Google can do the work for you! Search engine optimization refers to the process of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic your website receives through organic search engine results.
SEO makes it easier for you to attract only the customers that are genuinely interested in the products you offer. For example, by using the keyword ‘where to buy CBD online,’ you reach customers who’ve organically typed this into their search engines, making them more likely to click on your page.
Incorporating SEO into your digital marketing strategy will ensure you’re not throwing darts in the dark with your content. Use free and paid resources to conduct keyword research and see what people are organically searching for. You can then implement these keywords in your content.
When optimizing your content and website for search engines, remember to:
- Link to other blog pages on your website.
- Link to high authority external sources.
- Link to your products.
- Use the keywords organically. No stuffing!
- Do away with anything that makes the site slower.
- Use alt-text.
When users search for products online, they’re likely to go for the first 5 suggestions that pop up on their search engine. Making sure that your content is valuable, informative, and high-ranking will make it easier for Google’s algorithms to select it as useful to users online.
8. Seek Professional Opinion
When it comes to the world of digital marketing, it’s important to understand your strengths and limitations. Digital marketing is inherently tied to the success of your business, and as you continue operating, the data you collect becomes heftier. Ideally, you also get more customers that you will need to keep engaging with consistently.
Building an effective digital marketing strategy, especially in-house, will require lots of time, talent, direction, and supervision. You will also need to analyze the data to see how effective the campaign has been. Although there’s a lot that you and your team could do, it would be a good idea to seek a professional’s services.
Outsourcing to a digital marketing agency will clear up a lot of time on your part, which will allow you to focus on running your CBD business. The data you collect during your market research is only valuable if you use it to guide your decision-making process. Hiring an outside team will ensure you and your team have the time and energy to complement their strategy in a way that will boost sales and customer loyalty.
Here are a few more reasons you should hire a consultant:
- Allows you to work with experts in the field, increasing the chances of your campaign succeeding.
- They have high-quality tools for conducting market research.
- They offer quantifiable results.
- They offer high-quality advertising and storytelling.
- Gives you more time to work on managing your business.
- They are often scaleable; that is, they can match your business’ growth.
9. Incorporate Digital Technologies
It’s 2021; technology is more advanced today than it’s ever been. It has permeated into virtually every aspect of life, from news and entertainment to health and commerce, making it a major facet of the modern human lifestyle. You should, therefore, strive to incorporate new technology into your marketing strategy.
Technology makes it easier to collect, analyze, interpret, and store business data for decision-making purposes. New digital technology, such as virtual reality, makes it possible for customers to experience different products before they buy them, which helps them commit to the purchase. You could also use email bots to respond to your customers’ questions or send thank you messages after each purchase.
Businesses in different industries are bound to use technology in different ways. The size of your business may also determine the extent to which you use technology. That said, you should be creative and figure out a way to use digital technology in the way that suits your business best. Here are a few examples of digital technologies that are at your disposal:
- Direct email marketing:- ethically collect your consumer’s emails, then send them newsletters and general emails informing them of new offers, discounts, etc.
- Paid advertisements and placements
- Affiliate marketing:- advertising your products on other brands’ websites and social media platforms
- Cloud computing:- back all your business data up in the cloud so you and other members of your team can access it from wherever they are in the world. This saves you from having to maintain your own servers.
10. Measure Your Marketing Results
This is perhaps the most crucial part of your digital marketing strategy. A marketing campaign is only as effective as the results it brings. To know that your strategy is working, you will need to measure and analyze the results.
If your focus has been on creating content for your website to promote your products, for example, investigate whether you’ve accomplished this goal. How many people has this content reached? How many people have come into your online store via a link you placed in a blog article? This will help gauge whether the strategy you’ve adopted is working and what you need to do to make sure it accomplishes even more.
Marketing is a costly undertaking; for you to be able to justify spending more money and time on a campaign, it needs to be bringing in a significant return on investment. Another way to measure your marketing results is by looking at your conversion rate; if say, 1000 visitors have crawled onto your site because of a specific campaign, and 100 of them made a purchase, that campaign would be said to have a 10% conversion rate.
One More Thing, Before You Leave…
Although your creativity and imagination are the only limits to how many businesses market their products, the CBD industry doesn’t quite have that luxury. As we’ve mentioned before, the CBD industry still faces many regulations and restrictions, especially on how products are advertised and sold.
It makes all the sense in the world, though. There isn’t enough scientific information available to ascertain whether the benefits associated with CBD are real or not. As preliminary studies continue, the reigning philosophy is that we’re better safe than sorry. With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful to mention everything you aren’t allowed to say as you market your CBD oil and other CBD-related products.
- You mustn’t make any health or medical claims: for example, CBD helps with cancer.
- You shouldn’t make assumptions based on claims that haven’t been tested yet.
- The FDA hasn’t approved most CBD-related medication. It would be wrong to claim otherwise.
- You must have age restrictions on your website based on what these ages are in your state of operation.
As you embark on a journey of crafting a digital marketing strategy for your CBD oil, we hope this comprehensive guide will help. If you accomplish your goals after following this guide, feel free to share your story in the comments. Similarly, if you have tips that have been useful to you yet are missing from this guide, don’t hesitate to mention them in the comments!