Cannabidiol or CBD is loved by many due to its perceived health benefits. The passage of the US Farm 2018 Bill has led to increased acceptance of hemp and cannabis derivatives. People from different races, religions, and countries turn to CBD oil and other non-intoxicating CBD products to help manage various health issues.
As expected, as consumers continue to accept CBD products, many entrepreneurs have jumped into this growing market. As such, the CBD market has become very competitive.
To get your share of this market, you need to derive a well-thought CBD marketing strategy to set your brand away from the competition. The challenge, however, is that the CBD industry is unique when it comes to advertising CBD products.
The CBD industry is highly regulated, meaning CBD marketers need to be extra careful when advertising CBD products to evade the confusion around the marketing of CBD products. Luckily, you have come to this post. Here we look at the complete guide to marketing CBD products effectively. Continue reading to learn more.
Understanding CBD Market Size
The last decade has experienced numerous changes in marijuana legalization. With different states legalizing CBD, the cannabis industry has experienced unprecedented growth. The CBD oil segment, a subset of the cannabis industry, is estimated to be valued at $20 billion by 2024. Some excerpts suggest that the CBD consumer market will be valued at $16.32 billion in the United States by 2026.
As more states continue to review cannabis laws and research on the safety and benefits of CBD continues, CBD consumer demand is expected to rise. Unlike in the past, when marijuana research focused only on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the psychoactive cannabis compound, today more research is on the non-psychoactive chemical compound CBD.
An increased number of people are turning to CBD to manage various health issues, including anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, acid reflux, etc. However, despite increased CBD popularity and ongoing legalization efforts, you still need to be careful when setting up and marketing CBD products.
Why is the CBD Industry Unique?
The growing CBD market and popularity is mainly due to the ongoing legalization efforts. However, although the 2018 US Farm Bill legalized hemp, it didn’t legalize CBD. Instead, it moved its regulation to the FDA away from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The FDA is yet to issue conclusive CBD regulations, meaning marketing teams need to comply with the current standards.
When asked whether it is legal to sell CBD products, the FDA says it depends on the intended product use, how it is labeled and marketed, among other things. As such, the success of your CBD marketing strategy will depend on “what you say,” “how you say it,” among other things.
Another thing that makes the CBD industry unique is the unending changes surrounding cannabis legislation. Although hemp-derived CBD is legal at the federal level, the CBD laws vary from state to state. This is especially the case when it comes to ingestible products like CBD-infused foods and beverages. In other words, CBD brands need to be extra careful when marketing CBD gummies, tinctures, sublingual strips as they undergo intense scrutiny before they are approved.
The challenges with Marketing CBD Products
CBD marketers face many challenges when advertising CBD products despite the CBD legalization efforts and increased consumer demand. The following are some challenges you’ll face when marketing your CBD products:
Conflicting Cannabis Laws
Perhaps the largest challenge that CBD advertisers face is stringent CBD marketing laws. For starters, the CBD laws at the federal, state, and local levels are confusing and conflicting. Despite the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the laws governing the sale and marketing of CBD products vary from state to state and at the local level. Without the proper knowledge, it is hard to work with ad agencies and other potential partners who perceive the CBD industry as a high-risk business.
Stigma Due to Inadequate Education
Although more and more people are embracing CBD, a significant percentage of people have little-to-no information about CBD. Hemp CBD with less than 0.3% THC is legal under federal law and is believed to be an effective alternative treatment for various health issues. However, since CBD oil is related to marijuana, it still suffers stigma, so some people are reluctant to embrace it.
The confusion around cannabis legislation makes most payment processors categorize CBD products in high-risk categories. That means most banks and even online payment platforms such as PayPal might be reluctant to work with you if you market CBD products.
Unclear Target Market
To get the most out of your CBD marketing strategy, you need to define your target audience. However, since people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and age groups consume CBD, targeting the right audience with your CBD marketing efforts can be challenging.
The easiest way to avoid this is to define your target audience from the start. Some of the questions you can ask yourself include:
- Who is your typical customer?
- Which age group are you targeting?
- What conditions do you want to help your audience alleviate?
Once you define your target audience, it becomes easier to target them with the right marketing strategy.
Recent legalization efforts and increased CBD popularity have led many investors into the CBD industry. That means the sector faces stiff competition due to the many CBD brands being set up.
To compete effectively, CBD brands need to be strategic in how they make their products and how they market them. You need to be creative in branding, product placement, and creating an effective CBD marketing strategy to succeed in this competitive market.
The Complete Guide to Marketing CBD Products
Given the growing competition in the CBD market, you need a winning marketing strategy to get off the ground. Without a successful CBD marketing strategy, you won’t attract customers to your products, and no one will be interested in your brand. That said, here are the components of an effective 2021 CBD marketing strategy:
The first step towards building an effective CBD marketing strategy is knowing your target audience. Are you targeting specific age groups? What gender are you targeting? Why do these people need CBD?
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), about 62% of cannabis users consume it to treat various medical issues, including pain, anxiety, and depression. Among these consumers, some prefer inhalation CBD products, others oral (gummies), others sublingual (CBD oil), and the rest topical CBD products such as shampoos, creams, lotions, etc.
Consider these and other factors when researching your audience.
Competitive research is an excellent way to identify trends in the marketplace and gaps in your marketing strategy. Competitive research helps identify your competitors, their strengths, and their weaknesses. In this case, it involves researching other CBD marketers and how they are marketing their products. More specifically, competitor research helps you to:
- Understand your market
- Identify market gaps
- Improve your marketing
- Plan for the future
Competitor research could help position your business uniquely to reach more customers looking for better products or services when done right. When conducting competitor research for your CBD business, consider these questions:
- Who are their ideal customers?
- Is their CBD marketing strategy effective?
- What is their selling point?
- What areas need improvement in their CBD marketing?
The answers you get to these questions will help you craft a winning CBD marketing plan.
Create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) or Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is a statement that defines your product selling points to your customers. In other words, USP is a solid and specific statement that convinces a customer to buy a particular product from you and not your competitors.
Having a unique and appealing USP is good for your CBD marketing as it will determine how potential customers view your brand.
The first step to creating a unique USP is to define your audience. You need to be as specific as possible in this step. Ask yourself: Who are you targeting with your CBD products? How can your products solve the customer’s pain points? Once you connect these things, it becomes easier to get a clear proposition. That said, here are the qualities of an effective USP:
- Easy to understand
- Relatable to your audience
The benefits of having a clear proposition cannot be overstated. Apart from being a crucial part of an effective CBD marketing strategy, it provides a better way to communicate with consumers.
The catch is to look at something that differentiates your brand from your competitors and focus on it. However, ensure to provide evidence to back claims in your value proposition. For instance, provide customer testimonials if you claim that your CBD product can help with anxiety.
Also, you need to test your USP before settling on it—experiment with different keywords and email subject lines to know what has more potential.
Create an Engaging CBD Website
You cannot overstate the importance of having a unique and engaging CBD website. While designing your CBD website might be time-consuming, it forms the foundation for your brand. Your website is the face of your business online—it says much about your mission, products, services, and personality.
Having a unique CBD website will help keep your customers engaged and allow them to interact with your products. That said, here are crucial things to remember when designing your CBD website:
E-commerce capacity is crucial for your CBD business. For starters, e-commerce capacity helps communicate your brand values and offers a platform for your customers to buy your products. Your website needs to have easy layouts with attractive designs that give customers a personalized shopping experience.
Your landing page is the face of your website. A well-thought landing page helps make a lasting landing page about your brand and encourages users to explore your website further. Design your landing page with your customer’s in mind to boost conversions.
An increasing number of people spend more time on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones than desktops. According to Google, there are 27.8 billion more mobile search queries than desktop.
As such, make sure that your website is easily accessible on any device, including mobile devices. Having a mobile-responsive website will not only enhance the functionality of your website but also improve the user experience.
Invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an excellent marketing strategy to include in CBD marketing. When done right, SEO will help grow your search rankings and increase your conversions. In general, SEO is based on three pillars, including:
Technical SEO – this includes crawlability, indexation, broken links, duplicate metadata, etc.
On-page SEO – involves keyword research, SEO writing, keyword optimization, image optimization, etc.
Off-page SEO – this involves SEO activities that occur outside of your website, including link building, good old public relations (PR), social media marketing, etc.
These aspects of SEO can feel overwhelming if you lack basic SEO skills. That’s why we recommend partnering with a reputable CBD SEO marketing agency to help build an effective SEO strategy for your CBD brand.
As earlier stated, the CBD industry undergoes many marketing restrictions when it comes to sponsored ads. CBD brands can benefit a lot from SEO to appear on top of search engine results pages (SERPs). That said, an effective CBD SEO strategy must include mobile and local SEO.
Google announced in November 2017 that they would henceforth give preference to the mobile version of your website before the desktop version. This applies to your CBD website as well. Google crawlers will index your mobile SEO first before they index your desktop version, meaning you’ll miss out on ranking benefits if your pages are not mobile-friendly.
To get a smooth mobile experience, you need to eliminate any elements that could slow down your page loading speed, like large images, animations, and other unnecessary media.
Optimizing your CBD brand for local SEO is crucial, especially if you have a brick-and-mortar retail location. Investing in local SEO ensures that your customers find your business when they search for CBD products in your location. More specifically, local SEO helps improve your site’s visibility in search results to attract in-person customers.
One way to improve your local SEO is to list your business on Google My Business. An optimized Google My Business page means that your CBD business will appear on top of local search-related queries.
Invest in CBD Content Marketing
Content is everything when it comes to CBD marketing. However, creating unique and informative content is only the first step—you need to ensure that your audience sees your content.
One way to achieve this is by posting your content on high-authority websites with huge traffic. Doing this will help improve your SEO and spread information about your CBD products and CBD in general. However, remember to use relevant keywords when creating your content to stay on top of search results when people search for CBD.
One more thing, don’t focus only on blog posts, articles, and emails. Create other formats of content such as podcasts and videos. After all, having content in different formats increases your engagements and buzz for your CBD brand.
Take Advantage of Social Media Marketing
Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, etc., have changed how businesses interact with customers. While many social media platforms don’t allow cannabis advertising, it pays to maintain a social media presence.
The catch is to learn what to say and not to say when posting CBD-related content on these platforms. For example, you can advertise topical CBD products such as hand creams, bath bombs, and face washes on Facebook and Instagram. However, your ad won’t run if you link it to your main product with other non-tropical lines.
To avoid page ban, consider creating a separate landing page for topical CBD products on your website. Ideally, you need to be innovative and stay up-to-to-date with CBD advertising policies on different advertising platforms.
Create a Unique Email Marketing Strategy
Despite how you look at it, email marketing remains an effective marketing strategy. This is especially so when you think about the many restrictions on advertising opportunities for cannabis and cannabis-related brands. Still, the CBD industry faces marketing and credibility challenges that you must overcome to have a successful email marketing campaign.
When done right, email marketing can be the foundation of your CBD digital strategy. Emails provide an excellent way to interact with both new and long-term customers. That said, here are basic strategies to include in your CBD email marketing campaigns:
Sending email newsletters allows you to highlight the important aspects of your business. This can be a variety of topics that your audience can relate with, or industry articles, trends, or new product announcements. The keyword here is audience relevance.
Sending helpful tips to your audience is a great way to build brand credibility. These types of emails aim to educate the audience more than make sales. When your audience views you as a credible source of cannabis information, it becomes easier to market your products to them.
Sending a welcome email to your customers is a great marketing strategy. The idea here is to make your customer feel appreciated and help them on their way. The best part is that welcome emails have an open rate of over 90%.
Sales and Promotions
As the name suggests, sales and promotional emails tell your subscribers about special deals or offer coupons. You may want to send these types of emails if you aim to achieve more conversions.
To get the most out of your CBD email marketing efforts, ensure that your email has a single focus, is personalized, and meets your audience’s pain points.
Craft a Winning Public relations (PR) Strategy
A powerful digital PR strategy is key to the success of your CBD marketing strategy. It offers an excellent way to educate, boost engagement, and promote your brand. However, to get the most of your PR strategy, you must remember the following:
Know your audience – knowing your audience will help tailor your PR message to their needs. Research your audience and align your message to your brand story.
Craft relevant and high-quality content – create content related to CBD marketing to add value to your readers. Since the CBD industry is in the early stages, consider creating informational content on CBD marketing strategy. This type of content will educate your audience on the things they are more interested in.
Consider your audience when choosing your PR outlets – your audience will be interested in your content if it’s published on the sites they trust. Think about high-quality blogs, industry thought leaders or influencers, press release sites, and other outlets that will get more people to see your PR message and talk about your CBD brand.
Take Advantage of Affiliate and Influencer Marketing
Your CBD marketing strategy will not be complete without affiliate marketing and influencer marketing. Partnering with affiliate marketers offers an excellent way to pass messages about your CBD products. In turn, this will lead to more sales and conversions.
Another great strategy to include in CBD marketing is influencer marketing. When done right, influencer marketing will improve your chances of attracting your target market and get a better return on investment (ROI) from CBD marketing.
Measure Your CBD Marketing Results
After taking the above steps, you need to make sure that your strategies are working. What better way to know this than by analyzing your marketing results? Luckily, web analytic tools such as Google Analytics, HubSpot, SEMrush, etc., will help measure your CBD marketing results.
The best way to know whether your marketing strategies are working is to analyze the quality and quantity of your site traffic. If you see an increase in traffic volume after implementing these CBD marketing strategies, it means your efforts are bearing fruits.
On the other hand, if you notice unpleasant results, it means you need to improve your strategies. However, measure only the metrics that align with your marketing goals, such as ROI conversion rates, engagement rates, page in time, etc.
We Can Help
As the CBD industry continues to grow, more and more players are joining the bandwagon. Statistics show that the CBD market will be valued at US$ 23 billion by 2025. As such, only CBD brands that market their products effectively will stay ahead of the competition.
However, marketing CBD products is not as easy as it seems. Without the right marketing partner on your side, you are likely to face many restrictions when marketing CBD products. Luckily, we are here to help.
Our team of SEOs and content marketers understand the FDA guidelines regarding CBD marketing and will be happy to help pass your message to your audience.
The FDA has only approved Epidiolex (a CBD-based drug) to treat rare forms of epilepsy. Any CBD marketer using the term “drug” when describing CBD products is violating the FDA guidelines. The FDA is also against the use of the term “dietary supplement” when describing CBD products.
Given these restrictions, it is crucial to have a mix of legal and marketing teams who understand CBD marketing regulations to hold your hand.
Marketing CBD products effectively goes beyond learning the terminologies and terms to use to avoid the flagging of your ad. It requires a well-thought plan that involves various digital marketing strategies such as keyword research, content marketing, SEO, and good digital PR, among other things. Fortunately, our CBD marketing team can help in keyword research, creating a CBD marketing strategy, content marketing, link building, and analytics. Ready to get started? Get in touch today by filling the contact form below.