CBD Marketing: Unraveling the Mystery
With 4 Can’t-Miss Tips
With major national retailers like Vitamin Shoppe and GNC now carrying the products, CBD has become completely legitimized as a supplement and as a product for mainstream consumers. Despite that fact, it remains frustratingly difficult to market a CBD brand online. The major advertisers like Google AdWords and Facebook won’t accept ads from CBD companies. Even PayPal won’t process payments for CBD brands. Are you banging your head against a wall trying to figure out what you can do to start bringing some traffic to your CBD brand’s website?
This article is here to help.
How do you market your CBD brand in a completely unfair competitive environment? You’re about to find out. Let’s dig in.
In the CBD Industry, Your Website Is Your Most Important Marketing Tool
As a CBD brand, your website – more specifically, the content on your website – is the most important marketing tool that you have. If you can’t pay Google for search engine exposure, then your only alternative is to create content that’s good enough to show up in Google’s organic search results. In other words, you need to start a blog and write content that CBD buyers want to read. Ideally, you should write content focusing on keywords that people who are potentially interested in buying CBD will likely search for before they buy.
Of course, that’s much easier said than done, which is why it can be incredibly helpful to have an experienced CBD SEO service producing that content for you.
When you’re planning your blog content strategy, it’s probably wise to stay away from topics including the keyword phrase “CBD for (medical condition).” Whether it’s “CBD for anxiety,” “CBD for pain” or any other health condition, every other CBD brand on the planet has already covered the topic, and your article isn’t likely to earn a high ranking on Google regardless of how well researched it is. Such articles often also come dangerously close to making unapproved medical claims, which can potentially get you into trouble with the FDA.
Find a Way to Differentiate a Product That’s Fundamentally the Same
As much as CBD brands would like consumers to believe otherwise, almost every company in the industry is selling virtually the same thing. Are you growing your own strain of hemp on your own farm? Are you performing your own extraction, winterization and fractional distillation in your own facility? Chances are that the answer to all of those questions is “no.” More likely, what you’re actually doing is buying a finished product from a hemp processor and putting your label on it – and your competitors are doing the same thing.
There’s nothing fundamentally different about your product. Therefore the key to differentiating your product is creating a brand image that stands out.
Unless you happen to have a distribution deal with Vitamin Shoppe, you can probably forget about positioning your brand as the go-to CBD company for everyone. You can always retool your brand image for more universal appeal later once your sales numbers increase and your marketing budget begins to grow. For a new CBD brand, though, it’s much more effective to begin with the persona of a single type of target customer. Come up with the lifestyle and health images that are likely to appeal to your target customer persona, and your brand’s overall image will form naturally from there.
Utilize Social Media – But Don’t Follow the Crowd
Effective social media marketing can benefit any company in any industry. As a CBD brand, though, you should be careful about the amount of money that you spend on producing social media content. Since social media companies earn their income from businesses that pay to promote their content, social networks intentionally limit companies’ ability to reach their followers. That’s a catch-22 situation for a CBD brand since the social networks won’t allow you to pay for increased exposure.
In short, most of the content that you post on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks will only reach a small portion of your followers. To get a significant response to anything that you post, you’ll need to have a very, very large number of followers – and the time spent acquiring those followers is almost always better spent producing great content for your own website.
One of the things that CBD brands often do is seek out influencers on networks like Instagram and pay those people to promote their products. Influencer marketing still works in 2020 when it’s done well, but it’s much less effective than it used to be because consumers are becoming blind to that form of advertising.
Don’t follow the crowd. If you’re going to market your CBD brand on social media, you’ll need to be creative if you really want your efforts to benefit your bottom line. Building a CBD-related community – as long as it doesn’t exist solely to promote your brand – might be an effective way to begin.
Pay for Advertising Space on Thoroughly Vetted Industry Websites
While you can’t pay for advertising on general-audience sites like Google and Facebook, you can advertise on sites in the CBD industry. After all, they’re in the same boat as you; they can’t earn money from displaying AdSense ads and need to attract advertisers.
Before you begin throwing your advertising budget around, though, it’s important to vet any potential advertising channels thoroughly to ensure that you’re actually likely to earn a return on your investment. A popular CBD forum, for example – or a trade publication – are both potentially profitable advertising venues.
You should be very careful about advertising your CBD brand on CBD blogs and CBD review websites. Many of those sites earn the majority of their income from recommending brands with whom they have affiliate relationships. For those sites, advertising revenue is an afterthought. You wouldn’t want to pay to advertise on a website that’s doing everything possible to steer readers toward another brand.
It’s also very wise to closely examine the outbound linking habits of any website on which you’re considering purchasing an ad placement. Many CBD brands operate their own “CBD review” websites that exist for no purpose except to link to those brands.