For decades activists were outspoken about the health benefits of hemp-based products in their various forms, while a skeptical government prevented research and usage. But over time, public pressure slowly eroded laws preventing the use of CBD (cannabidiol) and other aspects of cannabis plants, and certain products were able to sneak through into public usage.
CBD quickly caught on with those looking for pain relief, inflammation relief, or appetite issues and who wished to avoid standard over the counter pills and medicines. This growth continued and once legalization at the state level began to occur, the industry exploded.
Recent estimates say that the CBD market is expected to reach upwards of $20 Billion by 2024, making it a ripe target for thousands of young and inspired entrepreneurs.
Today the battles are on to be the CBD brands that capture the hearts and minds of their targeted market segments. Deals, discounts, and new business methods are in the air as thousands of small start-ups seek to be the next big global player.
This renaissance of competition for the CBD industry, cannabis, and other related products has resulted in new lessons being learned and new methods being utilized by marketers.
It has become apparent that certain methods and strategies are necessary for business success in the industry, while others will most probably waste money trying to attract customers. In this article, we will explore the basics of CBD marketing and what every business in this industry needs to understand to succeed today.
Understanding the CBD Market: Major Issues and Solutions
While there are currently tremendous opportunities to succeed in the CBD business, as CBD products and CBD oil are only getting more popular, there is also a chance for you to lose a great deal of mis-invested money.
Roughly eight in ten online stores will fail within the first two years across all industries, and these failures are often derived from these same mistakes.
To avoid the biggest pitfalls and maximize your investment return, you need to build a CBD marketing strategy. And to build a good strategy, you need to understand the market you are seeking to enter.
The CDB Industry is Crowded, So Pick a Target Market
Brands need to market now to ensure their business is well-positioned for the changes ahead. The industry has already risen from non-existent to billions of dollars in less than a decade. Those who can get their names and brands out front of the competition now can better ride the wave of the future; those that are lost in the noise are doomed to sink even deeper as time goes on.
One way to overcome this issue is to focus on a specific section of the market. This can be explained by using the example of Unilever soap.
Unilever is a parent company that owns many soap brands; since they are so large, they found it was actually more effective to sell their soap to specific markets through smaller brand names and campaigns. So Axe Body Spray, which is all about smelling good for the ladies, and Dove Soap, which advertises female empowerment, are both simply Unilever soap companies built to market to different target demographics.
Without being too cynical, you can better market your CBD oils and products when you focus on a specific target profile and demographic (for example, athletes who need pain relief) rather than trying to capture everyone at once.
Questions to ask that will help you find your target market
It is not always as easy to find your key target demographic as you may think. The following questions will help you narrow your options down.
What is the problem that your product is solving? a specific target profile and demographic
The first step is to figure out what your target audience is looking for and why. Are people looking for topical skin creams, pain relief, THC-based products or simply novel hemp products? Mood control, sleep control, athletic recovery, etc. – there are tons of reasons you may get a new customer.
Once you can find out which market segment is most in tune with your brand, you can begin to focus on their needs and concerns.
What factors are common to your buyers?
This should overlap a bit with the first question. You need to figure out the general type of buyer interested in your product. Are they female in their early twenties, or men around forty, or something in between? The answer will greatly change everything from what you say about your product, to the font you should use when you do so.
Think about their daily lives, goals and concerns. Children? Long commute? Acute pain? Ask these questions. Many businesses will seek to put together small focus groups to begin to accurately get some of these answers.
What are the demographics of your target audience?
Once you are able to find their shopping commonalities, you can begin to identify the more specific characteristics like age or gender that define your main customer base. This will also typically include occupation, education level, and location.
What are the interests and desires of your customers?
With the demographics understood, you can then begin to delve into the psychographics – a look into what makes them tick, like interests, desires, behaviors, and long term goals.
Once these questions have been asked, and answered, you should have a good idea of a specific type of person you will be using your marketing on. This will help your marketing endeavors better capture this audience and take their attention away from the more generic ads of your competitors.
The Major Selling points for CBD
Understanding the industry, and your target market’s desire for it, is best done by figuring out exactly why they want the product in the first place. When you sell CBD oils, you need to focus on the positive aspects that most speak to your consumers. These are the most common selling points touted by CBD purchasers:
CBD oil helps with pain
Studies have shown that CBD dosages can provide relief to those suffering from chronic pain. In fact, roughly 60% of those who take CBD do so to help them deal with some form of pain, muscle spasms, or joint soreness.
CBD oil helps with cancer management
CBD has shown potential for both alleviating pain, and boosting the appetite of those suffering from forms of cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. These same benefits are sought after by those outside of a cancer treatment setting as well.
CBD may help with mood
CBD has been shown to boost hormones such as serotonin, which can help you feel happier. A balancing of these hormones has been shown to help one avoid depression and sadness.
CBD helps those with epileptic issues
CBD products have begun to be used as medicine to help those with chronic seizures, as well as rare and severe forms of epilepsy.
CBD may help one avoid more harmful treatments
Opioid addiction is one of the biggest addiction issues in the United States right now. CBD is often considered to be effective in pain management and has helped many avoid the need for opioid usage.
What Can’t You Say When Performing CBD Advertising?
While many of the major selling points for CBD revolve around health and medical claims, promotion for unproven health treatments is heavily frowned upon by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and advertising commissions.
You must have solid and reputable sources for all claims you make. All pieces put out by your company, including social media posts, must be “substantiated, credible, and authentic.” They must avoid making specific health claims or direct statements on health benefits.
With the current legal status, cannabinoids cannot be sold as dietary supplements or added to FDA-approved ingredients and sold.
Some Issues Facing the CBD Industry
With competition heating up, we are starting to see examples of where companies go wrong, or where consumers are confused about the product in general. On top of a general lack of education about CBD, there are millions of half-truths and unsubstantiated claims about it floating around online.
Add on top of the conflicting information a whole pile of contradictory laws on the state and federal levels. This all can make for a confused understanding for many of your target customers. In many cases, you will need to make an effort to explain CBD, why it is useful, and why it is a good choice for someone to use it even before you begin to sell them on your specific variation.
In time, as public awareness grows and our laws evolve, this will all change – but for those looking to get in early, these are the unique hurdles they must overcome.
Major Methods of Promotion for CBD Oil
Learning how to promote CBD oil isn’t much different from learning to market any other product. Once you understand who you are talking to, and why they would want your CBD product, the rest should begin to write itself.
Picture situations CBD consumers may be in when a need for CBD will arise and start to speak to them from this perspective.
The following are some basic marketing strategies you could employ for your CBD business:
Influencers are a Great Way to Reach a Specific Demographic
Advertising with CBD influencers is also a great way to reach different markets. For example, UFC athletes casually using CBD for pain relief during post-fight interviews caused a massive upswing of awareness and discussion of the product amongst young males.
If you are having a branding issue or cannot find a way to reach a particular market, influencers can be your key to that demographic.
Many social media influencers work as discount variations of celebrity endorsements, and often have a bigger outreach. Instagram, Snapchat, and whatever other apps your target audience is using is where you should be seeking out possible influencers. Some influencers like Sunnny.daze already specialize in hemp-based products and have a ready audience waiting.
How influencer marketing can boost CBD companies:
1. Known personalities can quickly build trust, overcoming one of the major hurdles (new product with unknown risks).
2. Influencers will also quickly build brand awareness by quickly putting your product in front of an engaged audience.
3. Influencers can reach specific markets that can be otherwise hard to reach.
Content creation has quickly become a major aspect of the marketing world. It also has heavy overlap with social media marketing and includes media like YouTube videos, Instagram stories, as well as blogs, books, quizzes, and more.
Good content marketing will utilize SEO and social media marketing in tandem with quality content.
Use various formats and mediums to build an audience. Talk about CBD benefits, usage, and lifestyle.
Looking at what major influencers in the industry are putting out, and what gets the most views would be a quick way to see what your market is into and watching.
One of the best ways to get people on your page and buy your product is by getting back-links. Without quality content, more people are bound to point their audience in your direction. Really spend the time to put good, sourced content that is gripping and interesting.
Using cash benefits or free handouts can quickly get many influencers to push your items simultaneously. Many CBD companies utilize affiliate marketing too quickly, typically with a small percentage kickback, to get hundreds of individuals to put out forms of promotional content for the brand. In some formats, the best part is you only have to pay out if the influencer brought you a paying customer.
Other Good CBD Marketing Methods
Search engine optimization (SEO) is necessary for all sites and campaigns. CBD brands that don’t have a big budget or don’t have access to Google paid ads (an issue with CBD products), will really need to fight for search engine space.
Email marketing is not as outdated as many believe. With a well-built email list, you can still turn a good profit and make an impact with each new product and announcement.
Take the time to capture prospective and past customers’ emails and turn them into regulars with a constant, but not spammy, email campaign.
A Brand from the Ground Up
With the explosive growth of the cannabis industry and the FDA’s admittance that removing hemp-based products was simply an impossible task, the pathway for FDA approval, federal, and global acceptance of CBD (meaning banking, stock options, and international trade) are right around the corner. This means the industry is likely to grow another order of magnitude soon.
It is a time of great import for the CBD industry, and large amounts of change and opportunity are occurring. It is now the time to either get down and dirty with a real CBD business plan template or to revise and update your past plan to better accommodate near-future changes.
A good marketing campaign aimed at the right potential customers can turn even a modest e-commerce store trying to sell CBD online into a future power player. It will take more than a few marketing tips to accomplish this, but it’s a start.