How to Successfully Introduce and Market a CBD Product
In the past 5 years, CBD has gone from virtual obscurity to news headlines and a billion-dollar global industry. Kids with epilepsy can use it as an alternative to seizure medication, while insomniacs can get a full night’s sleep using the oil. CBD is a practical miracle supplement, with only a handful of side effects compared to mainstream medication for anxiety or insomnia. You know this firsthand because you sell CBD.
Since 2016, the number of Google searches for CBD has increased exponentially. As you can see by the Google Trends chart below, people are taking an interest in this product to see how it can improve their lives and treat ongoing medical conditions.
What is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant or hemp. After the compound is ingested, it induces relaxation and calm. As an added bonus, CBD doesn’t have psychoactive risks the way THC — the compound in cannabis that induces a marijuana high — risks a person’s state of consciousness.
People love the CBD oil because of its natural (and controversial) origins and wide variety of uses. Also, it does work. CBD is no old-fashioned snake oil scam; it delivers value without needing a medical prescription or harmful side effects. Also, per the World Health Organization, CBD doesn’t show the risk of future addiction or dependency, making it suitable for consumption.
Around the world, people are using CBD to treat :
- Chronic Pain
- Sleeping Disorders
- Stomach Ailments
There are other possible treatments, but a lot of the information is anecdotal. Even so, scientists and doctors every day are conducting studies connecting CBD to its medical benefits. If you are selling based on medical benefits, all of the above conditions have medical studies asserting that CBD helps.
The CBD Market in 2019
Most commercial CBD comes from hemp, which farmers grow on private or commercial farms. Per PR Newswire, two thousand plants can generate $40 to 50 thousand USD worth of revenue for farmers, which makes hemp a veritable cash crop.
If you are in the CBD industry, you are a manufacturer, distributor or retailer. Manufacturing includes farming and processing of raw materials into products, while with distribution and retail you are getting your hemp products to customers. There are ample opportunities for newcomers to grab as they enter the industry. You can sell CBD in tinctures, as food, or for topical application.
Google search statistics predicted how CBD sales and popularity would soar. In the US, total consumer sales increased from $101.1 million to 262.2 billion USD, per Statistica.com. They estimate that sales will reach $1.15 billion USD by 2020, and Forbes says that it could reach $16 billion by 2025. That is explosive growth for a relatively new industry.
It’s no surprise, then, that many new companies are investing in CBD products. There are still some hurdles ahead. Namely, there is a legal grey area.
New Laws and Their Effect on CBD Marketing
In December 2018, the federal government legalized hemp agriculture. This means that farmers can grow hemp as a cash crop and use it to make products such as CBD. Hemp requires less maintenance than other crops and also grows quickly.
What does this mean? It means that while CBD still has some grey holes to navigate, you can sell hemp-based products more easily on a national scale. The city of New York, for example, has banned sales of CBD edibles in restaurants, but you could sell the same products in a nearby city with similar target audiences.
People will constantly seek out alternative remedies to deal with stress and constant medical conditions. You can satisfy that need; all you have to do is reach these consumers.
Take advantage of the grey area before legislators decide if they like or dislike CBD. In fact, creating valuable products that use CBD can increase awareness of its benefits and encourage distribution. Also, follow current laws regarding advertising.
CBD and CBD-Related Products
One great facet of CBD is that you can adapt it to other products for consumption. Its flexibility gives you the manufacturer or distributor more options. With the growing market, you may even find your niche with a new product not mentioned below.
Ultimately, you want to deliver CBD’s benefits, and there are multiple options. You can develop CBD to deliver these benefits in a matter of forms. This can be for internal application, or external, in food or over-the-counter medicine. The compound will remain the same, but how you deliver its benefits will influence your product choices and marketing.
You can take oil straight from the bottle as a CBD tincture. Some users prefer this method because the concentrated oil is simple, concentrated, and pure unless a manufacturer adds flavors or other ingredients. One issue is that anyone can and will make the oil, so your main competitive advantage would be flavoring, purity, or price differences.
If consumers prefer a faster-acting delivery system, handheld CBD vaporizers and inhalers also exist. Vaporizers look almost indistinguishable from e-cigarettes and only take a few minutes for the CBD to take effect. CBD inhalers look very similar to asthma inhalers, and a consumer can use them discreetly when suffering a bout of anxiety or chronic pain.
When you want edibles, there choices are endless. Gummies, lollipops, coffee, olive oil, capsules, brownies, sodas, coffee, you name it. You can also have more fun with marketing since food primarily sells on how consumers enjoy it. There is less pressure on stressing medical benefits when you can also mention taste and texture. You can focus on the novelty of the product.
Recently, CBD has even reached the world of pet products, with CBD dog treats and other similar products flooding the market.
For topical applications, CBD cream can ease muscle pain, similar to the mainstream brand Icy Hot. Many people want over-the-counter pain relief for minor aches, and you can sell your product as a natural alternative. Consumers will always want that.
How Do You Market Your CBD Products?
If you are just now selling your CBD oils, you need to figure out your late-mover advantage. A handful of other companies have sold the product first, but they may not know how to develop the best products for their target market.
First, you need to make sure your products are the highest quality possible. There are many impure or imitation CBD oil and oil-based items on the market; they can risk causing harm to consumers. Genuine CBD is your friend and will make consumers happy.
Second, you need to ensure that your products provide value. This can be medical, emotional, or even hedonistic. The more good you do with CBD, the more good you can do in the future. That translates into getting more freedom with advertising.
CBD Marketing Strategies
You’ve done the research, analyzed your target market, and have developed your product. Now what? Why you have to ensure your product sells to the target. Your audience is out there, and you need to reach out to them.
While you can do so with traditional and digital ads, having a genuine connection with your consumer can convert them, sell more products in the long run, and contribute to customer loyalty. Besides which, Facebook and Twitter do not allow for CBD ads directly, and Instagram has the same policy. You need to find an alternate route.
Essentially, pair valuable content with your valuable products. People aren’t just buying the products; they’re buying the brand, and what you can offer. It also means that when you post not-ads as posts and tweets, consumers will get value out of the self-promotion.
Refine Your SEO for CBD Products
SEO, or search engine optimization, can help consumers find you. It refers to how Google ranks web pages based on how they use keywords and provide value to people. What’s more, SEO is organic and you don’t have to pay Google directly for it. Instead, you can learn to rank higher for CBD-related keywords.
You can’t pay to have better SEO; if you want sponsored search results, you are paying for ads. What you can do is part for experts to incorporate SEO into your website and digital storefront. People entering search terms have questions, and you are promising to hold the answers. They may tune out traditional advertising, but they will pay attention to traditional content.
Especially with the amounts of various CBD products and links available, you want to make sure that your product will appear on Google. Mastering SEO means that you receive organic growth for your online presence. On-site, you will incorporate keywords at a reasonable amount into your website, while off-site you work with fellow websites, social media channels, and partners to have them reference you via backlinks.
If you rank higher, then your page appears sooner when a consumer runs a search on Google. Thus, you want to know how to implement certain keywords without overly using them. Google’s algorithm will catch over-optimizing. We can help with that, with our years of experience with SEO.
Perfect Your Branding
With the millions of CBD products available, how is yours different? You need to figure out how to stand out in a good way and connect with consumers so they buy your product. We have outlined some of the possibilities.
The best way is to decide your niche and target audience. The medicine-specific products will reach audiences that need what you have, but there are more startup costs and the need to verify safety and certification. If you want to go with something simpler like plain CBD oil, you need to figure out if you want to add flavors or other additives or sell to restaurants where they can add it as a reliable food boost. It all matters who you determine as your target audience.
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Create A Robust, Easily Navigable Website
You need an online hub that will serve as your storefront. This is where you will inform consumers who you are, what you sell, and where they can purchase. It’s also where you will post your content such as a blog so that you can provide more than a physical product and reinforce your branding.
People like websites with clear, organized information and navigation. Have a consistent, clean design for your page template. Develop a hierarchy for your content and determine what web visitors will view first. Track analytics on your pages, and redirect 404 errors.
Draft A Blog With Meaningful Content
People read blogs to learn more about a specific topic. They want to get an education that they can’t get from a classroom or a library book. You can provide that as well as information that they can’t find anywhere else.
In the case of CBD, there’s a lot that you the business owner can discuss: health benefits, recipes involving the oil, what is and isn’t safe for house pets. These are just a few examples, and imagine what value you could provide by writing several hundred words per week on relevant interests.
Invest in a Social Media Strategy
What about using social media? It’s a viable tool you should have, but it comes challenges unique to the CBD industry. We will outline them below.
What About PPC Advertising for CBD?
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have advertising restrictions on CBD, labeling it as a “drug”. This essentially means they won’t sell a product that has a negative association and history.
On Facebook, the policy specifically says,
“Ads must not promote the sale or use of illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs. Examples: Drug-related paraphernalia, such as bongs, rolling papers, and vaporized delivery devices.”
Unfortunately, CBD falls under the grounds of either medical or recreational. While you can find loopholes in promoting your product, say on the grounds of medical need, the finagling may take a lot of time. Fortunately, alternatives exist.
Organic Social Media Strategy
Organic content includes blogs, videos, photos, and other forms of creative images or text. They usually use visuals to encourage audience enjoyment. People enjoy entertainment for the Internet. We have discussed the benefits of having a blog, but you can do more with words and pictures.
Make sure all your content is high-quality and delivers value. Low-quality, irrelevant videos mean disinterested users, and the same goes for poorly written blogs, testimonials, or tutorials. You are creating it to explain to consumers why they should buy your products, and what you can offer them. Do not take that value lightly.
We will go into more detail about Instagram and how to market content on the site and app. In short for most cases, you need to make sure your visuals are made as professionally as possible. A smartphone won’t cut it for images; have a photographer on hand, either in-house or freelance, that can assemble the brand you need. Always proofread your advertising content, and edit your videos with finesse.
Then a second issue emerges: who will see your content? You don’t want to send out images, blogs, and videos into a void.
To get a connection, people must click on your links and read. They need to interact. Fortunately, we have several strategies.
You can mine hashtags to analyze users who share them and the content involved, to show what you can offer. If you are trying to reach a larger audience than cannabis users, then you want to study the online communities and peg which tags can either help spread awareness or buy your products. You cannot use this technique alone, however; many tags have content that users have to filter to reach what they want. Influencers can help with that part.
Influencer marketing is getting an endorsement from an online celebrity or expert in a certain field. Unlike traditional advertising, you don’t have to limit yourself to actors, singers, and sports stars. You only have to identify who is popular with their subscribers and make sure the subscribers are real people and not bots.
With that said, costs can vary depending on the demand for the influencers’ time and content. Someone like the Kardashians may cost millions, while a reviewer of CBD products on YouTube may be satisfied with a few free products. Set your budget carefully and screen your influencers.
Instagram, which has over one billion monthly users globally, has emerged as the premier platform for influencer marketing. Users love how Instagram fosters connection and engaging with them directly, using original media.
Unlike Facebook, which owns Instagram, you can use the loopholes regarding promotion via organic content to reach your audience while utilizing the power potential of its billion users. You want to create meaningful, solid content on Instagram because that will allow you to engage more. An influencer will help accelerate otherwise slow organic growth of followers that will possibly convert to buy your products.
Paying an influencer is one way around the advertising restrictions. The right influencer can get you thousands of impressions, clicks, and conversions from the organic following they have already built.
Find an influencer who can reflect your brand image and intent, and whose followers are not mostly bots or trolls with ulterior motives. Study their branding and goals. Set measurable goals on ROI, and reasonable rates to pay influencers so that you don’t go bankrupt or shift them for their time. Make sure any free products arrive speedily to them.
How We Can Help
Optimum7 has the tools you need to develop a strategy that will market your CBD without necessarily needing to advertise online. We’ll help you follow the law and get your product out there.
Contact Optimum7 today to get your CBD marketing strategies started.