Vaporizers and E-cigarettes have grown in popularity over the past few years by a staggering amount.
From 2014 to 2018 alone, E-cigarette sales in the U.S. grew from $1.5 billion to $3.6 billion. With no signs of slowing down, more and more people are choosing to open online businesses to take advantage of this global phenomenon.
However, there are challenges when trying to operate in this space.
For one thing, the market is hyper-saturated. Due to low startup costs and drop-ship opportunities, thousands of individuals and businesses are trying to take advantage of the online e-cigarette and vaporizer market.
In addition, new laws and regulations have restricted the channels online vape shops can advertise on, making it even harder for new businesses to grow and scale.
If you want your online vape shop to thrive, it’s going to take some work, but the payoff can be worth the effort.
Internet Marketing Services for Online Vape Shops
Optimum7 has been in business for over 15 years and has helped ecommerce businesses in sensitive industries, such as e-cigarettes and vaporizers, circumnavigate complex regulations and help their online business thrive.
Some of the services we offer include:
- Web Design
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
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What You Need to Know About Internet Marketing for Online Vape Shops
Because of it’s rapid ascent into mainstream popularity, the FDA has taken special interest in e-cigarettes and vaporizer products and has even considered banning sales of online vapes permanently. In the meantime, selling vaporizers and vape-related products is legal, but certain regulations must be observed or you risk being severely penalized and, in some cases, face legal repercussions.
Despite e-cigarettes and vaporizers not containing any tobacco, in 2016, the FDA classified e-cigarettes and related products as tobacco products and must face similar regulations.
- No free product samples
- Can’t sell any vape products or e-juice in vending machines
- Manufacturers have to submit a pre-market tobacco application with the FDA
- Have some sort of age verification functionality on their site
Several methods are out there for online sellers to verify a customer’s age. These methods include age verification pop-ups, requiring an adult to sign for the package upon delivery, and other services and functionalities that verify age. While there is no standard for verifying age, the FDA regularly monitors online sales of tobacco and e-cigarette products for potential violations. Still, low-threshold methods such as check boxes or entering your birthday are still considered FDA compliant despite the chance that somebody underage may buy your products.
Other retailers are much more diligent about their age verification process. Some use public voter databases to verify age or require you to enter your last three digits of your social security number. While this may affect your conversion rate, it makes it almost impossible for underage buyers to illegally purchase your products.
While no such regulation exists as of now, the FDA has repeatedly expressed their concerns over flavored vape products, arguing their flavors appeal to underage shoppers. Such regulations could potentially affect millions of dollars in lost revenue. If such a regulation were ever to be put into place, it is likely that businesses will just sell the flavor and nicotine separately. This could potentially lead to more problems, however, as shoppers can make juices stronger than they intended to.
In 2016, Google classified vaporizers, e-cigarettes, and related accessories as “dangerous products” and banned them from all Google Advertising platforms. This included the search network, display network, and ads on Google affiliated websites such as YouTube as well. Shortly after, Facebook followed suit and with it, Instagram, WhatsApp, and other sites owned by Facebook.
While there still are advertising networks that will allow you to run PPC ads, these are usually on disreputable sites and we don’t recommend using these channels. Instead, try one of the other marketing strategies listed below. PPC can be a great way to get your products visible in front of your target audience quickly, however, in the long run you’re better off with another strategy anyway.
Average Increase in Website Traffic+97%
Average Increase in Conversion Rates+52%
Monthly Total Leads Generated3,000+
We become an indispensable resource for our clients to drive traffic and leads.
Internet Marketing Strategies for Online Vape Shops
…of all clicks go to the top 3 results on searches.
Just because you can’t run paid PPC ads on Google doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the world’s most popular website.
These days, the first place people go when looking for information is a search engine, most likely Google considering it owns 75% of the market share.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing your website through a number of methods in order to increase your position for search terms related to your niche.
This means, if you sell “Pineapple E-liquid” you can make on-site and off-site changes that place you in the top 3 search results, driving hundreds of qualified visitors to your site who are actively looking for your products.
Ranking for competitive terms, however, is profitable, but difficult. With so many sellers vying for those top spots, it will take more than a few simple optimizations to rank for the terms your audience is searching for. The payoff, however, is grand. SEO can see ROI for years to come, unlike other strategies that only last as long as your ad budget does.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media has taken the world by storm, and it didn’t take long for marketers to start using it to engage with their audience unlike ever before.
The basic concept of Social Media Marketing is to promote your products through social channels, however, it is truly more about creating and fostering relationships with your audience by engaging them with high-quality content.
The two biggest challenges when performing social media marketing are
- Creating High Quality Content. Anybody can post pictures and content on their company’s social media pages, but is that content engaging? Is it professional quality? Is it encouraging your audience to go to your site and make a purchase? Your content needs to capture the attention of your audience and strategically place move them along your marketing funnel.
- Increasing visibility. Ok, so you have your wonderful content. Now how are you going to get it seen? Growing your social media followers is an important aspect of Social Media Marketing, but only if you’re getting the right followers. If the majority of your followers are other brands, bots, or people who aren’t interested in your products, these gains are meaningless.
…of millennials check social media everyday.
…of consumers say they enjoy receiving weekly promotional emails
Email marketing is one of the most popular forms of online advertising for businesses who aren’t looking to dedicate a large budget to their online advertising. Email marketing is one of the most cost-friendly digital marketing strategies and offers one of the highest ROIs.
Email marketing is essentially using emails to promote your products or services. However, it has recently become more challenging. New regulations require you to receive explicit permission from your audience to email them, meaning that if you want to do email marketing, you’d need to convince them that you have something valuable to offer.
Building an email list out of your clients is one challenge, converting them into paying customers is another. You can use email marketing as a way to showcase new products, spread awareness about any promotions you may be running, or distribute content that will engage your audience and make them more likely to make a purchase.