The increased acceptance of cannabis and marijuana products has allowed for a wider range of such goods to make their way across the country. This is especially true for CBD products because they lack the drug components that create a high while still providing some of the benefits of cannabis, such as muscle relaxation. This means more companies are getting into the business, and that means a more saturated market. In order to maintain a competitive edge in CBD marketing, companies need to ensure they’re aware of the trends in the business, both on the marketing side and the consumer end. Trusting a good digital marketing consultant to provide the best results is just one part of the entire package. First it’s important to know what CBD truly contains. InternetMarketingInc.com explains that “CBD is just one of the 85 different cannabinoids derived from the hemp plant. It does not contain any THC and does not cause any psychoactive effects (i.e., consumption of CBD will NOT get you high). CBD has many uses and benefits, including pain relief, relaxation, anxiety relief, anti-inflammation, sleep aid, etc. (Meg Adelman, February 2019). It can be consumed in many different formats – topicals, transdermal patches, oils, tinctures, gummies, pills, beverages, vape pens – and has no harmful side effects. The positive effects of CBD consumption have made the product wildly popular and it seems it’s showing up everywhere these days. From dispensaries to health food stores, drug stores, e-commerce stores, and even gas stations, consumers don’t have to look far to find and purchase CBD products. This popularity is exciting for manufacturers of CBD products, but as with any other popular or trendy product, competition is high and differentiation is paramount to creating a sustainable market presence and profitable business.”
The main downside to CBD marketing is the remaining questionable legalities of cannabis. Even though CBD doesn’t cause the same high that marijuana does, it’s close enough for federal and certain state legislations that if not blended or marketed the right way, it can still violate drug laws. This is why trying to market CBD products on social media is actually a bad idea. As InternetMarketingInc.com explains, “Facebook and Instagram seem like ideal platforms for CBD campaigns, however, their ad policies make it virtually impossible to have any type of paid ad presence. Although Facebook’s advertising policies don’t explicitly mention CBD, a spokesperson for the company confirmed that users are not allowed to post ads mentioning CBD or ingestible hemp and that paid ads promoting posts that mention those products are also not allowed (The Verge, June 2019). Many companies have other non-hemp/CBD related products that they would still like to feature on Facebook and Instagram. If you still want to have a presence on these platforms for your non-CBD products, here’s what you need to know in order to prevent getting your ads disapproved or your account shut down.”
All is not lost for social media networking, however. A good way to make use of social media marketing for CBD products is to mention “hemp products” rather than CBD specifically. More general terminology is usually allowed by social media. Linking your site, if it sells other, non CBD products, on social media can also help get the word out to potential customers. If you emphasize the lack of THC as well, that also help keep ads on the up and up, especially on Snapchat. Make sure to examine the legal side of such advertisements before committing, however. Though social media marketing is becoming increasingly common, the use of ads and marketing plans regarding search engines is also incredibly popular. Unfortunately for CBD marketing, the major search engines such as google also have rather strict guidelines on what sort of content they will allow to be advertised. Google especially is somewhat notorious for their terrible algorithm and lack of human oversight when it comes to ads. The loopholes for such sites are convoluted and too difficult to try and utilize, so it’s best not to bother.
Native and display ads are easier to include CBD marketing for, but they also have their own finagling in order to get the ads accepted and viewed. Make sure CBD marketing on landing pages or websites are not direct links to websites that actually sell the products. This will likely require an age on any site with the ad to make sure only those legally old enough to purchase the products can view them. this understandably can leave a sour taste for some advertisers, but it’s really not any different than tobacco or liquor age gates on their sites. it is, however, one more thing that has to be done to get the ads viewed. In general for CBD ads, and most cannabis ads in general, avoiding the prices of the products, imagery of people using the products, testimonials or sponsors, or extolling the health benefits of the products are all best avoided with such ads. This doesn’t leave a lot to work with, but can be done with a creative enough marketing department. While cannabis and its products are gaining ground in terms of acceptance, there are still a lot of hurtles. Understanding those issues is part of CBD marketing and why its good practice to hire a knowledgeable digital marketing consultant.
The trick for these sorts of marketing materials is to provide and educational bent to any sites the ad links to. This will allow you to include the CBD keywords and get the word out indirectly. It may not be an ideal marketing method, but it can be an effective one. HawkMedia.com also says to focus on education. According to them, “Because of the scientific nature of CBD products, it’s especially important for CBD brands to inform their audiences on how their products work and how to use them most effectively. Your brand will only succeed if your products make customers feel better. If customers aren’t using products correctly, they won’t feel the full effect, which is why it’s so important to educate your audience as much as possible.” Due to the restrictions on more traditional online advertising, it’s important to think outside of the box in order to get your products seen and purchased. HawkMedia.com notes that “CBD brands face restrictions when it comes to advertising on major digital platforms. In a way, this may be the best thing that could have happened to the CBD industry because it’s forced brands to engage with consumers through quality, organic content, rather than flooding them with paid ads. Still, it has undoubtedly made growing CBD brands substantially more difficult. Paid acquisition, even when relegated to alternative platforms, is a highly effective way for CBD brands to grow their addressable market and scale revenues; as long as they know what channels are most effective.”
Another important aspect is to make sure you know target audience and make sure you know how to build and expand that audience. This is basic marketing, but it still applies to CBD marketing. As HawkMedia.com explains, “established brands can use existing data to determine top-performing customer segments, while pre-launch brands can perform competitive analysis. This kind of data analysis can often reveal surprising insights. At Hawke Media, one of our clients was successfully marketing their products to men and women between 25 and 35, but weren’t looking at data to find promising new audiences. We discovered that website visitors aged 55+ were converting twice as efficiently, but only accounted for a fraction of the client’s overall traffic.” As they further explain, “By testing strategies crafted specifically for this new audience, the client was able to increase traffic from this promising segment and capitalize on a revenue opportunity. Sometimes brands are afraid of addressing new audiences for fear of alienating current ones. However, authenticity in messaging will only drive more adoption; identifying a key demographic and speaking to them directly won’t exclude other key demos.”
CBD marketing can be a tricky business because of the restrictions placed on it through more traditional advertising methods. Organic advertising methods, education, and careful marketing are the best strategies. Though these methods don’t provide room for a lot of specific data or more in depth advertising, like the use of sponsors or testimonials, it can still help get the word out to your audience. Most people looking to purchase CBD products are aware of the outdated restrictions placed on advertisers and the various outdated laws regarding the products in general. Building brand awareness is not easy with such restrictive marketing strategies, but it can be done with the right know how. CBD marketing can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. As CBD and other cannabis products become increasingly common and more widely used, this means marketing materials for those products are going to be increasingly accepted. Eventually, the old restrictions will give way to more forgiving ad policies. Until that happy day, CBD marketing must work within the confines of an outdated system in order to get the word out to their customers, current, future, and prospective.