Marketing CBD Products

CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from cannabis plants and diluting it with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or hemp seed oil.  CBD has become a trending product in the health and wellness space, with scientific studies showing it has the natural ability to aid a variety of ailments.  CBD oil is used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and acne. It may also reduce and alleviate some cancer related symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and pain.  CBD oil has even been used to help treat people with neurological disorders such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

Even though there are more and more studies each day showing the positive impact of CBD oil as a natural wellness product, there is a lot of controversy surrounding its use, sale, and advertising, due to the fact that it comes from cannabis.

Why Advertising CBD/Cannabis Products is Difficult

The CBD market has been explosive, hitting 57% growth in 2018 with market potential in the billions of dollars.  Even with such growth, marketing hemp based products remains a challenge. While the U.S legalized the production of industrial hemp, different states and different advertising networks have their own regulations and restrictions with regard to CBD advertising.  This presents a major hurdle for large companies and e-commerce retailers to market their products online, leaving the market fragmented. This results in mom and pop shops often overtaking sales in their local area, beating out the ‘big box’ competition.  

Regulations and Restrictions Limit Online Marketing Potential 

Regulations and terms of use are always evolving and changing, especially with regard to hemp based products.  Marketing strategies needs to constantly be updated to adjust to new standards of compliance, while still creating sustainable and scalable growth for the business.  

Many popular online advertising platforms are turning away from advertising hemp based products.  Google and Facebook are leading advertising platforms that allow businesses to connect with a seemingly limitless audience.  Unfortunately, these platforms will not feature any ads for “dangerous products”, greatly limiting the digital advertising potential of CBD companies.  For online businesses, paid social and search ads are a crucial marketing strategy to gain online traffic to their site. Eliminating this makes it extremely challenging to grow an online business.  

Organic Marketing Strategies Are Not Enough

If left with organic marketing efforts only, online CBD retailers will not be able to flourish in an industry that is currently growing exponentially.  Organic marketing by nature, is unpredictable. There’s no control over visibility and you aren’t able to target specific audiences. Organic marketing will not allow you to easily scale your business the way controlled sponsored marketing can.  If left with these efforts alone, it will be very difficult for your business to attain sustainable, predictable growth.

Find an Agency to Help Navigate Regulations and Limit Liability 

It is essential that CBD companies find ways around online advertising limitations and restrictions so they can promote their sites and products.  Even though both Facebook and Google state that they do not allow promotion of CBD, there are a few loopholes. Instead of directly advertising CBD products, find ways to hint at what the product is.  Walking this fine line between abiding by and violating terms of use requires the guidance and skill of an experienced agency. This investment will be the difference between successfully utilizing Facebook and Google ads and either having your ads shut down or account suspended entirely, neither of which are worth the risk.

Twitter and Instagram Sponsored Advertising 

Twitter and Instagram are two other social platforms that also have restrictions and limitations with regard to advertising, but they are still less strict, so easier to navigate and capitalize on overall.  These sites still do not allow you to make any health claims in your ads and you also have to beware of stating that the product is a supplement. You can utilize Twitter to build a community around your brand, post about specials and new products, and relevant community news.  Instagram allows you to post images that evoke your brand, post CBD facts and general information, provide followers with a link to your site, and appeal to your market segment. However, you still cannot claim that your product does anything specific (treats pain, etc).  

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly and seriously regulates what benefits your brand can claim CBD affords and how you phrase these benefits publicly.  Being ignorant of these regulations will put you at high risk for major liabilities. Hiring an experienced agency will ensure compliance with all laws and regulations, keeping liabilities to a minimum.  

Amazon Sales and Marketing

Amazon is one of the biggest online retailers around, known by the entire world.  Fortunately, they do accept the sale of CBD products (emphasis on hemp) through their website. Selling your product through this platform creates a major opportunity for marketing and advertising your product to both audiences who are already interested and prospective audiences.  That being said, you will still have to worry about complying with all FDA regulations.

Since CBD is a major topic of conversation these days, its industry is in constant flux.  With one side of the debate pushing for full allowance of all CBD products across the board, others are resistant to this “dangerous product” that comes from cannabis.  We are still learning and discovering new information regarding health benefits and side effects of use, which means that terms of use and regulations are constantly changing.  It can be difficult for business owners to keep and ensure full compliance is maintained through daily operations. This is where the help of an agency experienced in the marketing of CBD products becomes beneficial.  Your agency will work with you to ensure compliance is maintained and all advertising is sustainable and scalable while keeping your liabilities to a minimum.  

How to Navigate Regulations and Create Sustainable, Scalable Advertising

As we have explored, it can be challenging to properly advertise your CBD business with so much regulation and restriction from some of the biggest online advertising platforms.  

Sponsored Ads

Since Amazon allows the sale of CBD products, your business can use this to its advantage.  Utilize their platform’s PPC (price per click) also known as sponsored ads. This is where you can bid on specific keywords or phrases to gain visibility, both to shoppers looking for related products and prospective customers.  This on average, can give you a 2-5x return. Another great way to advertise is through Snapchat ads. Snapchat does prohibit ads for CBD products in some places, it does allow these ads to run in places that have legalized the use of cannabis, such as Canada.  As long as you are an online retailer, you can take advantage of the ability to target these markets.  

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is an explosive and impactful industry.  Social media influencers who have built their brand have access to extensive followings who trust in the products and services they use and sponsor.  This is a great way to get user generated content in front of trusted and loyal audiences. It also helps that people are influenced by other people they aspire to be.  You can approach influencers in the 10-50k follower niche, who would likely endorse your brand for lesser fees, affiliate marketing deals, or even product exchange. If you are a bigger brand with a larger budget, you can approach influencers with access to 50k+ followers.  These influencers can not only help you gain visibility, but it helps create user reviews that others are able to access. 

Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Snapchat Paid Acquisition and Email Marketing

Google AdWords is a great place to start a funnel due to low CPC (cost per click) which you can use for retargeting.  We can help get you started on Google AdWords to create some effective campaigns that will provide you with insight regarding your customer base.  From there, we can create a customized strategy for navigating all obstacles keeping your CBD business from scaling.

As earlier touched upon, Google Adwords and other platforms have various regulations against advertising CBD products.  A great way to combat this is to avoid direct discussion in your ads of the CBD product, but hint at what the product is, and encourage those interested to click away to your website.  This can help you create an email list of interested prospective clients, who you can them market directly via email. While you may not be able to utilize the platforms outright, you can collect information from the interested parties and reach out directly, which may generate a greater return. 

Our agency represents a wide range of CBD product carrying companies, from fast growing bootstrapped brands to venture backed businesses to some of the largest public companies.  We are a team of trained specialists that can navigate all obstacles a CBD carrying company may encounter and we guarantee limited liability.  

What’s Our Process? 

We will do a deep dive audit of your website and layout and make necessary adjustments to optimize conversions.  We will then install in depth pixels and analytics to track customer patterns and create an effective marketing strategy targeting these customers.  We will then create a compliant landing page, optimized for the best conversion results. After this, we will create a customized 4 stage sustainable and scalable ad funnel across all platforms and utilize A/B split tests with design and copy to monitor conversions and optimize based on reporting.  We go above and beyond for our clients to ensure they are seeing the best possible results. That’s why we create 10-15 ad graphics per month to split test, each time collecting data and optimizing further. We will take full ownership for your ads. There’s no need to worry about content/creatives or liability.  We will make sure you are in accordance with all compliance measures and getting the best results through having the best content.

In-case this article wasn’t clear, you can learn more about some of our CBD services here.

So let's talk growth for your CBD brand.

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