If you’ve ever wondered how to market a CBD brand, you’re not alone. In this article, we’ll show you everything you need to know about CBD advertising, from social media to the actionable marketing strategies you can use to make your business stand out from the crowd. We’ll also take you through CBD advertising laws in the UK, US, and Canada, as well as examining the challenges of the market and how you can answer them in your marketing strategy.
CBD has been on everyone’s lips (and under everyone’s tongue) as the latest must-have wellness supplement. The global CBD industry is rapidly growing, expected to rise to $3.5 billion by the end of 2021, and is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of over 20% in the next decade.
These numbers reflect what many have noticed already: everyone (and even their dog) is interested in CBD products – whether it’s oils, gummies, fizzy drinks, or skincare. If you’re a new CBD brand wondering how to stand out from the thousands of new small CBD businesses, we’re here to help. The key? A good CBD marketing strategy. But it’s more than simple marketing – your business also has to comply with cannabis-related laws where you live, among other things. At Alphagreen, we’re here to make things simple for you. We’ll take you through:
- Why consumers are interested in cannabidiol (CBD), and how you can use this to your advantage while marketing a CBD brand.
- What makes CBD advertising hard, including the large market, overwhelming ranges of products, consumer confusion, and more.
- We will then take you through the basics of establishing a CBD brand, zeroing in on what makes your brand irresistible to CBD lovers and newbies alike.
- Afterwards, we’ll have a brief look at CBD advertising laws, what you can’t say in your CBD marketing campaigns before launching into the ins and outs of advertising your CBD on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Finally, we’ll tell you about all the best ways to spread the word about your CBD brand, from email marketing to how to encourage good word of mouth throughout your customer base.
What is CBD?
As a CBD brand, you probably already know CBD as a cannabis-derived wellness supplement. Still, it’s worth going over the basics and consumer expectations of what exactly CBD can do. Most CBD products come from industrial hemp and only have trace amounts of the psychoactive compound THC (under 0.3% per product).
Consumers see CBD as a way to supplement common conditions such as:
- A whole host of other symptoms!
As consumers rely on your business for a portion of their healthy lifestyle, it falls to you to create a trustworthy, well-informed image. As you develop your CBD marketing strategy, keep in mind the reasons why many people are interested in cannabidiol to begin with:
- Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t come with psychoactive effects, but it just might enhance your health.
- While it does come from the cannabis plant, CBD supplements are legal in an increasing number of countries around the globe.
- Influencers, and the internet at large, love CBD. Many people are learning about their cannabis options simply by scrolling through their social media feed, which is providing an increasing awareness about the benefits of CBD.
What Makes CBD Marketing Hard?
Before we launch how to market your CBD brand, we must first understand the issues and problems you’re likely to face throughout any CBD marketing campaign.
While the rapid growth of the CBD market is positive in terms of spreading awareness about CBD to a more general audience, it also means that there are thousands of CBD businesses, corporations and franchises all vying for attention. In the United States alone, the collective market for CBD sales will exceed $20 billion by 2024.
In a smaller market, it might be enough to simply set up a website, pay for targeted advertisements via social media, and commission a sleek-looking logo. However, this is only the baseline for marketing a CBD brand.
Have you ever looked for a white t-shirt in a store, and been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice? While all the t-shirts you look at are the same style, the same colour, every brand wants to sell you the same thing with a different label. It’s very much the same with CBD branding, if you’re not careful.
Many customers won’t differentiate one 5% CBD oil from another, with small details like bottle and label design often being the only deciding factor between initial purchases.
As a result, CBD brands have to go the extra mile to stand out with a range of unique products, or by investing in a smaller range of premium quality products. This can include working with industry experts, an experienced CBD formulator, and an expert marketing team.
Large Customer Base
Before you commission a line of every CBD product under the sun, you have to ask yourself: who will my brand appeal to? When you know who you’re selling to, branding becomes simple: figure out what they want to buy, and provide that.
For instance, if your ideal customer lives with chronic pain as a result of constant exercising, you may wish to bring out lines of exercise-related CBD products like protein powder and muscle-cooling balm.
Alternatively, suppose your consumer base works stressful office jobs. In that case, you may want to bank more on ‘calming’ products for anxiety like CBD vapes, edibles, and other inconspicuous, easy-to-use products.
When deciding on a consumer base, consider variables like the age, gender, background, hobbies and interests of your ‘ideal’ customer. In trying to appeal to this imaginary person, you wind up attracting real people with the same issues and backgrounds.
Lack of Consumer Education and Understanding
Despite the growing market and increasing awareness as CBD products go ‘viral’ across the internet, many consumers don’t know what CBD is, or worse- they associate it with illegal cannabis and don’t think it can be legally sold.
Others are worried about the side effects of CBD or don’t know if they can use it alongside medications or alcohol.
Some even worry using CBD could lead to substance abuse, and view it as a ‘gateway drug’. The lack of awareness about the truth and science of CBD can make things difficult when it comes to marketing and establishing your CBD business, since you can never be sure of a consumer’s background awareness before they first see your advertisement.
Establishing a CBD Brand
Your CBD brand is the foundation from which you build any marketing strategy. By establishing your brand early on, you decide:
- Who your target audience is (who buys your products, their age, where they live, etc.)
- Where you will sell your products and what the CBD advertising laws are like there (while the majority of sales come from online, you may also wish to open a physical store)
- What problems they wish to solve with CBD (arthritis, anxiety, exercise pains, etc.)
- Are you targeting CBD veterans or people who are newer to the market?
- What are the unique things about your brand and products that make you stand out from the rest of the industry?
Having answers to these questions stops you from spending valuable money on ineffective CBD marketing strategies. Just like you wouldn’t market dog food to cat owners, your ads should focus on where the attention of your audience is, and you can only know who your audience is by building a solid brand identity before you start marketing.
The three essential parts of branding (from a marketing perspective) include:
- Brand positioning (who you are, what you sell, and why you sell it)
- Brand assets (colours, designs, and fonts associated with your brand, as well as more physical things like business cards, internal templates, and internal procedures the customer likely isn’t aware of)
- Brand promises (what you pledge to do for your customers)
Before spending a penny on anything marketing-related (aside from a good team), you can begin creating social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (as well as anywhere else on the internet frequented by your target audience). We’ll talk about CBD advertising laws more in-depth soon. However, for now, just know it’s a good idea to choose two social media platforms for your brand to begin organic (non-paid) marketing.
Another thing that can help you establish a brand is to examine your competitors. These will be other CBD businesses in your niche, selling similar products with similar brand positioning and promises. Studying how they market themselves, what strategies they use, who their customers are, their strengths and weaknesses and unique selling points can all help you discover your own distinct brand.
Why is Marketing Your CBD Brand Important?
We know that there’s a market for CBD products everywhere, with more companies springing up all over the world every day. Learning how to stand out from the crowd is only possible with an excellent marketing strategy.
How to Market a CBD Brand
Focus on your niche – survey your audience to figure out what your niche is, and continue narrowing from there until you have a good baseline of your audience’s needs, what problems they have that you can solve, etc.
Educate your audience – not only on CBD as a topic, but why your products specifically can solve their problems.
Build brand awareness– this comes naturally with any good marketing strategy, but there are little things you can do to improve brand awareness yourself, such as interacting with your audience on social media, affiliate marketing (usually only for more prominent brands), including your logo and slogan on every post (where appropriate), etc.
Bring your customer’s voices to the forefront of everything you do– this means paying attention to feedback on your products and social media, including featuring customer testimonials on your website and posts. As long as what the customer says complies with CBD advertising laws, this should boost your reputation and encourage both new and repeat purchases.
Interact with your audience constantly– through newsletters, exclusive discounts (for loyalists and subscribers, of course), and incentivise them to grow your customer base via rewards for referrals, etc. This combined with surveys across your social media channels will ensure you’re aware of customer desires and needs, keeping your brand’s finger on the pulse of where it needs to be in order to provide the best customer support even when your customers are off-site.
Common Problems for CBD Brands
Is CBD Legal?
One common question many brands find themselves answering over and over concerns the legality of CBD. While we know CBD brands know their stuff, it is still worth refreshing our memory on the essential legalities of CBD (and what our customers need to know) before we examine the more complex side of CBD advertising laws.
Is CBD Legal in the UK?
As long as CBD doesn’t contain THC (or only contains it in trace amounts, such as 0.2%), a CBD product is legal.
Is CBD Legal in the EU?
While laws are subject to variation from country-to-country in the EU, as a general rule of thumb, CBD products are legal as long as they only contain trace amounts of THC and are derived from industrial hemp.
Is CBD Legal in the US?
In the United States, CBD oil is generally legal as long as it contains 0.3% THC or less. While laws vary from state-to-state, it’s essential to keep yourself up-to-date as they are in a constant state of flux as attitudes towards cannabis as a whole begin to relax.
Many places distinguish between medical and recreational marijuana, with attitudes toward medical cannabis generally being more relaxed. It is always worth researching and informing your consumers about the laws where you are for the sake of trust and transparency.
CBD Advertising Laws in the UK
Influenced partly by former US President Donald Trump’s 2018 Farm Bill, cannabidiol has been a rapidly-changing market on both sides of the Atlantic. Many US businesses are looking to begin selling in the UK- creating much confusion about how CBD should be marketed within the bounds of UK cannabis laws.
Saying the wrong thing in your marketing material can have severe consequences – even criminal sanctions against your business.
While the law around CBD advertising in any given country is constantly changing and complex (and you should definitely involve a lawyer or other expert in any advertising decisions, overseas or otherwise), we can still take you through the basics:
- CBD in the UK, for the most part, is classed as a novel food, meaning that CBD products can’t be marketed in the UK without prior permission from the European Union (though in the aftermath of Brexit this may be subject to change).
- All CBD products must come from approved plant types (such as hemp), and contain 0.2% THC within the raw plant content (meaning regulated CBD products should generally contain under 0.2% THC).
- All the normal laws surrounding consumer protection and advertising should be followed- meaning no misleading claims about CBD can be made in any promotional materials.
- In addition, the type of CBD product you’re selling will also have an impact on the advertising laws surrounding it, as there are different sector-specific rules for food, supplements, cosmetics, vape fluid, etc.
- Advertisements should also be socially responsible – don’t associate your brand with illegal drugs, including links to cannabis
- When making claims about what CBD (or medical cannabis) can do for your health (or any specific conditions) your brand should tread lightly. Any health claims you make should be within MHRA guidelines. If the product includes more than trace amounts of THC, you may need to seek additional licenses.
- If you’re a CBD cosmetics brand, ensure you have a valid Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR).
What Can’t You Say in CBD Advertising?
Okay, by now we know that you can’t make ‘claims’ when you market your CBD brand. What does this mean, exactly?
As a general rule, hailing CBD as a miracle compound that can cure all your ills (including severe conditions like cancer and Alzheimers) is more than a fast way to sound like a snake-oil salesman. It can also find your CBD marketing campaign cancelled by legal authorities, and your business in trouble. Likewise, ‘deceptive marketing’ is disliked by the FDA and UK authorities.
Claiming that CBD can ‘treat’ or ‘cure’ medical conditions like epilepsy, arthritis, chronic pain, insomnia, depression, or anxiety is not a good way to win over consumers, either. You want to give them realistic product expectations, not pipe dreams. The fact is, while research for CBD looks promising in many of these areas, there can be no 100% guarantee until further research is conducted. Until then, treat CBD as a supplement or health food, rather than a medical tool. Any wellness claims you do make about CBD must be backed up with relevant studies.
Rather than claim CBD can treat your consumer’s medical condition, you can advise them on the best ways to include CBD in their wellness, exercise, or self-care routine (this is where knowing the interests and hobbies of your consumer base comes in handy).
Social Media Advertising & Cannabis Brands
Unless you’ve been living under a rock since Facebook’s launch in 2004, you know the importance of using social media to market your CBD brand. However, thanks to CBD’s association with restricted substances like illegal cannabis, many websites have a strict policy regarding advertising CBD products.
If your CBD product is hemp-derived, there’s a chance Facebook will let it fly. Where the platform originally banned CBD products outright, in 2019, they relaxed their policy to allow CBD topical products to be advertised. Ads can also redirect to landing pages featuring certain hemp products, but CBD ingestibles (like oil and edibles) can’t directly appear in the ads themselves.
Like most US-based companies, Google prohibits advertising CBD. Even after the 2018 Farm Bill relaxed cannabis laws in the United States, cannabis has not been made universally legal across the country and Google can’t advertise CBD as a result. While there are some ways for creative brands to sidestep Google’s policies, this can do more harm than good – it’s often best to find another way to advertise on a different site without misleading your consumers with ‘clever’ tactics.
Instagram users are less likely to be penalised than advertisers on other social media. However, if your advertisement is found to be in violation of Instagram’s guidelines, your account can be permanently deleted. One valid way around this is to advertise your brand’s CBD blog, sharing educational content about CBD (without mentioning your products or making health claims) and other between-the-lines posts that solidify your brand’s presence on the app without seeming like you’re trying to overtly sell something.
Your brand profile and story posts can include links to your store – as long as you are not using the paid advertisements feature, it is unlikely the app will penalise your account.
As with most other social media, Twitter doesn’t allow for advertisements of illicit substances or even herbal drugs, so CBD advertisers are unable to participate in paid advertising. However, you can still maintain a brand account and post information about your latest products (with links back to your website).
No matter which social media you decide to use to further your brand’s identity, keep these basic tips in mind:
- Post frequently
- Like and reply to all comments
- Keep your posts informative – your goal is not just to sell a product; you also want to enlighten your audience.
- Social media is a place to show off how your brand differs from the rest and give your products a ‘personality’ that your target audience will find magnetic.
- Don’t make any health claims about CBD that could get you on the wrong side of the MHRA, FSA or FDA.
- Personalise your brand within your posts – a team photo or happy customer’s face will provide more social proof than many more ‘official’ looking paid advertisements.
Marketing Strategies & Tips for CBD Brands
Okay, so social media is mostly off the cards (for now- attitudes do seem to be relaxing over time). How else can you market your CBD brand?
The industry is still nascent, so you’ll need to use a combination of off and online marketing techniques to build your brand recognition, educate your consumers, and keep your finger on the pulse of your niche. Without further ado, here are nine ways you can market your CBD brand.
1. Make Your Brand Stand Out
While there is an argument to be made to specifically look into brands that are similar to yours, studying how they market their products (and how you can use their knowledge to your brand’s advantage) at the end of the day, you have to be your own brand. There are three things most premium CBD brands have in common:
- A third party lab-tested product, backed by science (and accompanying certificates of analysis for each product).
- A lean away from the ‘cannabis can only get you high’ reputation of the original plant – most legitimate CBD brands are very vocal about the low, legal THC content of their products. Any claims brands make are supported by scientific evidence, and are usually directly linked to so that the customer can fact-check for themselves.
- A simple goal for their customers to relate to.
You can help yourself stand out by making claims – not illegal medical claims, but unique, substantiated claims about what your product can do. For instance, if you sell CBD vapes, you can say your product is one of the fastest ways to feel the benefits of CBD (as vaping has the best bioavailability rate of any other method of taking CBD).
It’s a good idea to have a diverse product range once you’ve solidified your place in the market. If you’re successful enough as a brand, you may even expand into selling clothing or accessories that allow your consumers to show their love out on the high street.
Some brands even perform a gap analysis or clinical trial upon their product to further set them apart from brands who rely on more general studies done on ‘CBD topicals’ or ‘CBD oil’ as a substance, rather than a refined product. Being able to make distinctive claims about your product is one thing, but having a specialised study around it puts you a step ahead of the competition.
Outside of the product, there are a host of other factors that can make you stand out as a CBD business, such as free shipping or amazing customer service.
2. Know your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
Similar to making your brand stand out as a whole, your UVP is a way of broadcasting to the consumer why they should choose your product over all the similar CBD products on the market. Of course, it needs to be something that sets you apart from the competition.
Consider your ideal customer’s problems, hobbies, and interests, and how your product can help them achieve their goals.
Your UVP should be simple, believable, meaningful to your audience, and – of course – unique. Once you have a solution to your customer’s problems, CBD marketing becomes a whole lot easier. Advertisements can centre your brand with your UVP in mind, creating something compelling for consumers to crave.
Consider where your CBD is grown (many brands consider Swiss-grown hemp a secret weapon in their marketing arsenal), unique manufacturing or farming quirks your brand uses, or even the stellar quality of your customer service. Any one of these can contribute to a compelling UVP, as long as you have evidence to back yourself up. Customer testimonials about a specific product, lab reports, etc, can all help to establish public confidence in your UVP.
Test your UVP once you’ve decided what it is. Try using different languages across different ads on different platforms, targeting a range of keywords, and see what performs better ( by comparing click-through rates). This is known as A/B testing, and it makes deciding on a final UVP (or changing an existing one) simple as A-B-C!
3. Build a Website
Having an online presence as a brand is as important as building one to start with. The beating heart of your online presence should be a beautiful, easy-to-navigate website. Everything from the product to the colours and font should be catered to your audience.
In the culinary world, they say ‘the first bite is with the eyes’ – well, the same is true in web design. Visuals should be clear and attractive, it should be easy to navigate from page to page on your website, and category/content titles should be enticing, making your audience want to stay longer.
Keep in mind that many people still doubt CBD’s legitimacy and legality, so your business should present itself in an elegant and professional manner. No matter how iconic you think the marijuana leaf is, plastering it everywhere will do little to increase consumer confidence. If possible, your landing page (where a customer lands first after clicking on your website) should soothe any concerns they might have about CBD’s benefits, side effects, and validity.
Many brands prefer to have a dedicated FAQ page all about CBD. Other sections of your website should include:
- A store (with optional category pages)
- An ‘About Us‘, ‘What We Do’, or ‘Meet the Team’ page (with contact information for business and customer enquiries)
- A blog (your posts should aim to answer common FAQs more in-depth than your FAQ page)
- Product reviews (this could be a footer across all pages of your website, or a dedicated page all of its own, but customers should see themselves reflected somewhere in your website)
To further personalise your customer’s experience, you might even use a chatbot or live customer service to directly engage with digital visitors on an individual level.
‘Should I use SEO?’ isn’t even a question for most CBD brands, or businesses as a whole. Search Engine Optimisation allows you to not only elaborate on why your products are worth someone’s hard-earned cash, but they also allow your brand to become a hub on information about CBD, building consumer confidence and trust within your business. Some examples of how you might use SEO include:
- Blog posts (guides to the basics of CBD, how-to guides, etc)
- Videos (an excellent way to build a parasocial bond with your audience)
- Podcasts (some sites, such as WordPress, even offer you the opportunity to turn your blog posts into podcast episodes directly. In a world where 76% of UK podcast listeners have made purchases based on an advertisement or sponsorship, it’s worth the investment.)
- Customer surveys
- Social media (yes, this falls under SEO too)
The majority of CBD brands will use blogs to inform and engage their target audience, and a massive part of building a successful blog is having good SEO practices. There’s no need to dive into things blindly – you can hire an SEO expert to help you out and ensure you’re spending your SEO budget wisely.
While you still can’t make any medical claims about CBD, you can still provide customers with in-depth ideas on how to incorporate your products into their daily lives and routines, as well as give them realistic expectations on how your CBD can solve their problems. SEO can empower your brand to become a trusted leader, bringing scientific literacy to your audience, and bringing your audience to your website.
Remember, your content should always focus on what the reader wants to know, such as:
- Information about CBD (the science of it, and why it can be trusted)
- The benefits of CBD
- Information about the different ways to take CBD
- Where they can buy the best CBD products
Here are a few SEO tips we can give you for free:
- Do your keyword research. Tools like Google Analytics and Ahrefs can help you figure out what topics are worth focusing on in your content. What questions is your audience searching? Which keywords come up more often than others? What do the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) look like for your chosen keywords, and how can you emulate that content in your own style, adding to it?
- Focus on a small amount of high-volume keywords that are relevant to your products, and make sure your articles, social media, and blog posts use them. This will signpost to Google that your website is a ‘content hub’ for these phrases, where searchers can find a lot of helpful information about those keywords (for example, ‘CBD oil’).
- Make sure your blog posts and videos are what your audience wants to see. For example, don’t write about the benefits of CBD denture cream if you’re targeting 21-30 year-olds.
- Outsource content writing and creation to the experts. This can save your team time and energy while also being an investment in the long-term success of your SEO strategy.
- Post consistently (once or twice a week) to enhance your online presence and build a long-term readership. Not only this, but update your older posts with the most recent discoveries and data, so that new readers will always find the most relevant information on your page.
- Make sure you have your own internal SEO experts to review your strategy and flag any issues where they appear within your strategy. They can also help you with link building, backlinking, reviewing content, and more complex SEO tactics.
Software like SEMrush, Kissmetrics, or Optimizely can help you examine how any CBD marketing strategy is going in real-time. Not only this, but you can monitor which content topics your readers like most, and write more about them, resulting in more views, website clicks, and (eventually) sales!
If you’re not keeping an eye on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and other relevant analytics in real-time, you don’t stand a chance against more observant competitors. There should be a payoff for any marketing expense, and if there isn’t, this needs to be examined.
An essential part of any CBD marketing campaign is setting realistic goals, as these will give you something to compare your analytics against in real-time. If something isn’t working, adapt your plan until it does, or scrap the idea. Marketing is about one thing: achieving your goals in order to sell products. If your current marketing campaign isn’t doing that, then it needs to change.
You know how we said social media advertising can be challenging for CBD brands? Well, influencer marketing is one way around that. Influencers are masters of incorporating your products into their lifestyles in a way that resonates with their audience, and that in turn can increase awareness and drive more conversions than paid advertisements. Many companies even allocate the majority of their marketing budget towards influencers.
Whether you start off with a mega-influencer, a micro-influencer, an athlete or a self-care guru, the options are endless (much like the potential payoff from influencer advertising). CBD oils and cosmetics tend to do best from this kind of marketing, but don’t count yourself out of the running if your brand doesn’t fall into the most popular categories.
People are more likely to engage with influencer posts than traditional ads (which you can’t run on social media anyway), as well as providing your CBD brand with a better Return on Investment (ROI).
Influencers come with an in-built audience with which your brand can connect (if you choose the right person). They know how to post within the guidelines of your chosen social media platform, and likely have their own network of people who would love to advocate for your brand – not to mention the fact that good word-of-mouth from an influencer can also result in more followers for your brand’s page. Don’t believe us? Check out these statistics:
- 74% of people overall use social media to guide their purchasing choices
- 62% of millennials are likely to be loyal to brands that frequently engage with consumers online
- 86% of women are more likely to make a purchase after engaging with your brand on social media, and 53% choose to purchase directly because of influencer posts.
Sure, you can apply most of these statistics to your brand’s own social media page, but influencers are the peak of what social media is about: they know how to grow an audience and hold a massive amount of attention, driving 49% of consumers. To put this in context, about 56% of people rely on the opinion of their close friends to make a purchase. Who wouldn’t want to invest in a good influencer marketing strategy?
Here are our top tips for working with influencers:
- Make sure they understand and follow any guidelines regarding CBD advertising laws and claims (most influencers you work with will already have some knowledge of this, especially if they have marketed CBD before. However, it’s always best to be sure).
- Use influencers to promote coupons and promotional codes for your website. This one’s pretty self-explanatory – everyone loves a sale, and the more people who know about your brand’s sale, the more products you’ll sell.
- Choose an influencer who isn’t a stranger to the market. There are thousands of influencers out there who have an audience of CBD users – that means they can do their job well for your company, and that their personal brand is more likely to mesh with yours.
7. Email Marketing
You might be thinking, ‘Email marketing? Didn’t that die out in the 2010s?’ Well, actually, it is alive and well, and it’s stuck around for a good reason. It allows you to build on your existing customer base and keep brand loyalists up to date with the latest sales and CBD discount codes your brand has to offer.
A weekly or monthly newsletter can serve a similar function to a social media account, in that it allows you to foster a feeling of community between your brand and your subscribers. With a friendly newsletter, you can draw customers in and let them know about the latest products, blog posts, and anything else your business is up to. Some might consider this just a part of customer services, but email marketing is equally a part of… well, marketing!
While you can have a simple pop-up on your website that allows a reader to sign up to your newsletter, many brands are offering an extra incentive in the form of a ‘lead magnet‘. For instance, by providing a free pdf about the benefits of CBD oil in return for an email address, or giving away a coupon code in return for a subscription.
As for the emails themselves, these can easily be both automated and personalised to what your customer actually wants to see in their inbox at 9 AM on a Monday. Scheduling software makes it even easier to send emails to your mailing list ahead of big events like sales or live video interviews.
Welcome emails after a customer signs up are fast becoming industry standard, and some brands are taking things a step further, having customers complete quizzes and surveys so that they can be emailed the most relevant items for all their CBD needs, meaning there’s no need to annoy potential consumers with irrelevant emails or ‘spam’. Not to mention, if they leave an item in their cart, you can email them and let them know, resulting in no forgotten purchases!
There are a few different kinds of emails you might wish to send your mailing list:
- Engagement emails – these are for the sake of your brand, letting people know about your latest content, as well as building a relationship with the customer.
- Event emails – after all the effort you put in to have an audience for your brand, you want to be able to inform them about branded events, too! Whether it’s a live Q&A session on Twitter or Youtube, a convention appearance, etc, you can let brand loyalists know via a curated email.
- Educational emails – these should aim to close the knowledge gap between brand and consumer, filled with the latest scientific research, brought down to earth so the customer can understand it, giving them confidence in their next purchase.
- Cross/Up-sell emails and recommendations – if a customer buys a CBD bath bomb, why not email them recommendations for other products that might go well with that, such as a CBD lotion or body scrub? Likewise, you can also recommend a product based on past purchases, what’s in their kart right now, or their browsing history?. The more personalised a customer’s experience, the more likely they are to buy your product.
- Re-engagement emails – if you’ve noticed a former customer hasn’t purchased anything in a while, why not send them a follow-up email with the latest products similar to their last purchase, or let them know about the latest sales and discount codes you’re offering?
8. Word of Mouth Marketing
Even older than email marketing, older than the internet itself (was there ever such a time?) is word-of-mouth marketing. It’s as reliable as it is ancient, and there are a thousand ways you can encourage it within your CBD marketing agenda:
Customer service – training an excellent customer relations team is more than worth the investment in the ever-shifting CBD landscape. While no representative of your brand can make health claims about what CBD can or can’t do for a person’s health conditions (mental or otherwise) if your employees can add individual care and value to the consumer experience, this will result in better reviews and customer retention.
Trade shows – going to industry trade shows means you can meet with other brands for partnerships (or to get a feel for the competition), to demonstrate what your brand is all about and spread awareness on a personal level, and even attract a fresh audience and new attention to your brand; not to mention the possibility of captivating potential investors.
Cross-industry affiliations – it’s a fact that not everyone is trusting of CBD brands. The market has a reputation for being poorly regulated in the best of times, and it’s up to premium CBD sellers to earn that trust back. Part of this strategy could be partnering with brands beyond the cannabis industry, such as businesses within the fitness or beauty sector, to come up with unique products consumers can more easily trust.
Affiliate marketing – 81% of brands use affiliate marketing, meaning it’s probably worth building at least a small affiliate network of people who truly believe in your product and are willing to sell it to more people. Networks like Clickbank, CannAffiliate, and ShareASale are all trusted places to go to get a head start in this kind of advertising.
Public Relations (PR) – the right PR strategy can result in better brand awareness and engagement. It is how the public story of your brand is revealed to your audience, and determines how well it resonates with them. If you can be featured within relevant outlets (magazines, newspapers, websites, etc) that your target audience already knows and trusts, you’re well on your way to solidifying yourself as a CBD leader to the public.
Get creative with your sales channels– if your CBD brand banks on the ‘calming’ properties of CBD and comes with a host of aromatic terpenes, why not partner with a local yoga school or meditation/wellness centre to sell your products? A local gym might be very interested in selling a soothing CBD muscle balm, while a salon might love the appeal of a CBD shampoo. There are endless options to partner with local businesses as a CBD brand, all while enhancing your own business!
9. Programmatic and Native Advertising
Native advertising – while traditional ads can make people feel like they’re ‘being sold to’, a native ad places your brand in the context of everyday life. Rather than unnaturally disrupting the flow of a video or webpage, your brand/product is seamlessly integrated into the content. This means a native advertisement is generally better received than any other kind of CBD marketing. As a CBD brand, it can be hard to find a way to place a native ad on traditional platforms like Google or Instagram. However, many websites are more relaxed and will allow for paid ads for CBD products (within reason and in compliance with the law). Many CBD advertising agencies exist that can help you navigate the often-murky waters of paid CBD advertisements.
Programmatic advertising – this involves an automation tool that can optimise your ROI via real-time bidding (RTB). Essentially, once you know where you can place paid ads, programmatic advertising decides which ads to post, when to post them, and how much you should pay in order to achieve the best results. This essentially ensures your CBD marketing strategy only targets the correct people at the best times.
No matter how you market your brand, you’ll need a fantastic team of sales representatives to manage your customer service and brand relations. These are the trusted people you can send to trade shows and local businesses, who can speak with utter confidence on behalf of your brand and make the personal connections that truly make or break a business.
Be Wary of The Ever-Changing Industry Landscape
In the United States, local, federal, and state laws around cannabis are constantly shifting- creating a knock-on effect for the CBD industry. As a result, it’s essential to stay ever-aware of the legality of CBD advertising laws where you live and where your business is registered. While we’ve done our best to be as thorough as possible at the time of this article’s writing, there is no way to predict how the CBD industry will adapt to the ever-revolving door of legality in many parts of the world.
The best way to be sure you’re on the right side of the law is to work with experienced marketers and industry experts. As a business owner, you should also stay highly attuned to incoming news within the industry.
Here at Alphagreen, we offer an abundance of digital marketing services for CBD brands, including:
- SEO expert services (and content creation)
- Email marketing
- Influencer marketing
- PPC advertising
- Other creative services (such as product photography)
If you’re a CBD brand trying to get your foot in the door of the industry, we’d love to hear from you! At NuOptima, we’ve had the privilege of working with some of the largest CBD brands in Europe. Our creative SEO content team is full of talented writers who can adapt to any tone your brand adopts, no matter how precise or unique.
Verified by a health professional
Anastasiia Myronenko is a Medical Physicist actively practicing in one of the leading cancer centers in Kyiv, Ukraine. She received her master’s degree in Medical Physics at Karazin Kharkiv National University and completed Biological Physics internship at GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Germany. Anastasiia Myronenko specializes in radiation therapy and is a fellow of Ukrainian Association of Medical Physicists.