How To Grow Your CBD Business Through Digital Marketing
CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Cannabis industry. Not to be mistaken to the active ingredient of the plant THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) that gives off the “high” sensation, CBD is used for legal medical marijuana to treat symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and many types of chronic pain. With the recent FDA’s approval on CBD in certain states, more pharmaceutical companies are storming into the CBD market with clinical trials and medical research to solidify CBD’s positive effects for health reasons. According to Statista.com, the total U.S. consumer sales of CBD from 2014-2016 in creased from $108.1 million to $262.2 million and is estimated to reach around $1.8 billion USD by 2022. Along with the total legal cannabis market in the US, the Cannabis industry is projected to be a $23 billion dollar business by 2025.
With emerging new competition trying to grab a piece of the market, how does your CBD brand stand out among the rest? In this article we will break down how to market your CBD business through online strategies to drive organic customers to your website and effectively market your CBD product.
1. Identify Your Target Audience
As always, before diving into any marketing plan, it is crucial to identify clearly who your most profitable customers/personas are. By streamlining different cannabis consumer segments, you can strategically create content towards specific products that is most relatable to your target audience. Find your niche market!
A breakdown of your target markets:
- People who want to enhance their workout with CBD
- People who want to relieve sore muscles post workout
- People who like to use CBD balms/lotions
- People who are into CBD beauty/skincare
- People who want relief from anxiety, headaches, insomnia, etc
- People who want to use CBD products for their pets
- People who only want edibles
2. Memorable and SEO-Friendly Website
In marketing, a brand’s website is its digital headquarters. Investing in a clean and secure website with the latest on-Page SEO techniques will optimize your brand to rank higher in Google and generate organic traffic to your website. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to establish a clear messaging and showcase a consistent brand identity throughout your entire digital marketing campaign. Your target market will be searching for information on CBD oil and compare different brands, so if you want your content to pop up when they search for terms that are CBD-related, your website content and coding needs to be optimized with a comprehensive SEO and keyword strategy. It is also important to run SEO analytics to measure traffic and evaluate regularly the overall health of your CBD website to assess what can be done to improve search engine rankings and increase organic traffic. A strong website (frontend and on the backend) will establish trust among consumers and retail partners to further communicate how your brand is different from the rest. Some of our favorite CBD branding/websites include Select CBD, Populum, Standard Dose, Rooted Apothecary, Dope Dog, etc
3. CBD Content Marketing Using CBD Focused Blogs
Content marketing is a great tactic to spread brand awareness and provide information about CBD to those who are actively searching online for health benefits of CBD oil, different types of CBD oils, and information about CBD products in general. The more comprehensive and transparent your brand is able communicate about the product, how it’s made, the more credibility your brand will have, resulting in consumer purchase and loyalty. Brands who can tell the most relatable personal stories to normalize the product and sharing educational marketing will build trust and confidence in your potential clients.
Even though hemp is now legal, the two largest platforms – Facebook and Google – still do not allow CBD advertising. However, publishing SEO optimized blog articles with industry key words on your website will help create more traffic from organic search results on Google, drive prospective CBD customers to your website, and increase online visibility of your CBD brand without spending money on paid ads campaigns.
4. Social Media Content Marketing
Establishing a consistent look and feel, tone of voice, and sharing valuable content on your social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, Pinterest, etc) are critical to your business. Your profile should contain a description of your CBD business, link to your website, showcase your brand image, and use relative hashtags for every post.
When it comes to growing traffic to your website, the key is to create and share new, creative, and engaging content on your social media whether it be graphics, blogposts, guides, infographics, videos, or podcasts. Utilize tools like tag product links to shop directly from instagram, amp up your stories updates, and stay active when it comes to customer service. Repost authentic user-generated content from giveaways that encourage users to share your brand with their respective audience. Being present at Cannabis shows and events and showcasing that on social media is also another great way to promote your CBD brand to your target audiences and position your brand as an expertise in the industry.
5. Influencer Marketing/Brand Partnerships
While you can’t officially advertise CBD through Facebook’s ad platform, you can still post about it to attract potential partnerships with brands or micro influencers. When it comes to influencer marketing, there is no better platform than Instagram and YouTube for brands and influencers to collaborate. In order to find success in promoting your brand through influencers, the first thing to keep in mind is that you need find the right type of influencers who aligns with your CBD brand. If you are just starting up and don’t have enough budget for macro influencers, reach out to micro CBD influencers who genuinely take liking to your brand. Offer different options for different levels of influencers and brand ambassadors. Instagram influencers in the thousands followers range may agree to branded posts in exchange for products or promotions while more recognizable influencers (10k+ followers) most likely will require a monetary fee.
Aside from Instagram influencers, there are also many CBD related, health & wellness related bloggers online who may be a fit to promote your CBD brand. One way is to hire them to write content for your blog, or have them publish a sponsored post on their site to increase your brand awareness on reputable sites. Some popular CBD review sites include CBD ReVu, Shopping CBD, CBD Hacker, CBD Oil Users, etc.
6. Email Marketing
Next to Instagram, the email inbox is still one of the most frequent platforms that people check in daily on their phones or desktop. Anyone that encounters your website should get a discount code by entering their email address. Once all the emails are within your data, email marketing is one the easiest ways to directly reach your target audience on mobile devices. Implement a CBD education or news focused email newsletter with a relevant blog post, product reviews, new product announcements to drive CBD curious consumers to your website. When it comes to driving revenue, the ROI of a typical email program is 73$, so don’t underestimate the power of email-marketing!
7. PR Strategy
Due to the limitations of paid media at the moment, brands must rely heavily on earned channels, such as Public Relations. Earned media is where companies can separate from the pack and become category leaders. When you have compelling content and deliver it in a creative way, press can be more powerful than advertising. Consumers want to know that what goes into their body is safe, especially with the wide variety of different brands promoting health benefits with “natural” ingredients. It is important to do homework on these companies to fully understand how their products are made, where they source their ingredients, etc. With news coverage, especially in credible publications, will do that homework for consumers and act as a seal of approval for your product to reach audiences who are currently hard to reach by advertising.
Over the next two to three years, the constant change in the hemp market will go through twists and turns with new regulations, so be sure you stay in the know regarding the rules of the game. Even though social media advertising is off limits to many cannabis companies at the moment, there are still plenty of organic strategies to get ahead of the competition. CBD is an exciting promise land if you can differentiate your brand from the rest. Outline your brand message, invest in owned and earned channels such as your website, email marketing, influencer marketing and PR. Succeeding in any industry can be a challenge – so do your research, find your place in the market, get to know your core customer, and develop a well-rounded digital marketing strategy in order to stand out in this cannabis crowd.
On another note, Ben and Jerry’s is launching their CBD ice cream soon…