Do you own a CBD brand? Are you running into digital blockades when it comes to CBD advertising? Well, you came to the right post.
Since the legalization of cannabis and CBD products across the U.S., more and more brands have been trying to figure out ways to promote themselves. Unfortunately, CBD advertising is in a legal gray area that most major tech companies (that run ad space) don’t want to touch. Luckily for you, the CBD industry is projected to reach $22 billion by 2022! Now, that is a number that most tech companies can’t ignore.
In today’s post, I’m going to break down the 5 best tactics for CBD advertising. But first, let’s get into some basics.
Start Off Strong
Let’s be honest with each other – there’s a CBD brand around every corner. I work food truck/beer festivals and there are at least two CBD brands per event! So what does that mean? Well, to have long-term success, you have to differentiate yourself – in a meaningful way – from every other CBD brand out there.
I mean, just look at the craft beer industry. Craft breweries struggle with some of the same issues because there’s a local brewery popping up around every corner. But they don’t run into the same legal issues as the CBD industry.
Hopefully, you have already established your brand in the industry. If not, be sure to get your brand sorted before you start spending money on advertising. Figure out what you stand for and how you’re different than the competition. Who are your target personas and why should they purchase your CBD products over any other CBD brand? Why should they purchase them at all?
My advice? Become a thought leader in the CBD industry. Here at The S3 Agency, we have found that thought leader brands carve out a place of meaningful differentiation that lasts – and these are the brands that people will pay more for (and be more loyal to). Thought leaders set the narrative for the industry vs. just commenting on the conversation.
Once you’ve got your branding on the right track, it’s time to think of the big creative idea that can reach your target market with the right message(s), at the right time(s), in the right channel(s). This idea should be reflective of your brand’s unique appeal. It should also be informed by data-driven insights – and then optimized as new data comes in, to work with maximum effectiveness.
Note: You may or may not be able to advertise your content depending on the messaging/what is being shown. So think creatively about that messaging – sometimes the obvious absence of a product or message is enough to suggest it while still remaining within the legal limitations!
The 5 Best CBD Advertising Tactics
You’ve established your brand, thought of a big creative idea, and you’re ready to advertise. Below are all the ways that you can LEGALLY advertise/promote your CBD brand online. Let’s begin.
1.) Social media
This is going to be the meatiest section out of the 5 best CBD advertising tactics because of the multiple platforms, strategies, and opportunities that surround social media.
A.) Social Content
Your content is going to be what sets you apart from the competition. A general rule of thumb – video is king. Followed by images and plain text.
This content can include a number of different posts. Ideally, we want our fans to engage and hopefully click through to our website. There are a number of ways to do this and I have listed a few examples below:
- Informational Posts
- Controversial Posts
- Cannabis Vs. CBD
- Health benefits of CBD oil
- Customer Testimonials
- Customer videos on how your products have helped them.
- Interactive Posts
- “Do you like the CBD oil or CBD edibles better?”
- “How has CBD helped you?”
B.) Social Advertising
2019 is the year for advertising CBD on social! Some tech companies have opened up their doors to advertising CBD products on their platforms, but there are still some gray areas.
Start off by understanding your limitations. Most social platforms will allow you to run generic ads for your brand but will limit the content that specifically references CBD or hemp products. These restrictions will loosely pour into your content as well.
This guideline will change with time and legislation as well, so stay informed. In the meantime, let’s go into what we do know:
- Google – Recently, Google has been testing the waters with CBD advertising for SEM and Youtube, but the ads cannot reference “CBD” in any way.
- Facebook – In a recent change, Facebook has opened up to advertising certain CBD products on its platform. Advertisers are allowed to run ads for topical hemp products. They can run ads that direct consumers to a landing page on topical hemp products, but the ad can’t show any of the given products.
- SnapChat – There have been reports from numerous Snapchat users that they have been seeing CBD ads on the platform, but it’s still unclear as to what the regulations are.
Influencer marketing is a great way to get your products in front of your target audience. By teaming up with an influencer that properly reflects and compliments your brand, you have the ability to expand the reach of your CBD brand to highly qualified leads.
Consumers can be more likely to trust influencers, so make sure you find one or more that align with your brand. If you want to test out the waters, try using a micro-influencer or two and see how that works out (in some cases they are more effective!). Overall, longer-term engagements with influencers get the best ROI, since it gives the influencer’s followers time to appreciate the growing relationship with the brand.
D.) Affiliate Marketing Programs
Similar to influencer marketing, you’re picking someone who aligns with your brand to push your products. The difference between the two is with influencer marketing the brand pays the influencer to promote their products on their social pages, blogs, and/or website. On the other hand, affiliate marketing gives the influencers a bit more incentive giving them a piece of commission for every sale they make.
With affiliate marketing, you essentially turn an influencer into one of your biggest salespeople. This gives the influencer a bit more motivation to create content and sell your product as opposed to just posting about it.
E.) Brand Ambassadors
Brand Ambassadors are happy clients that post about your products either in the form of a review, a blog post, video, or a post to their retrospective social channels. Now, brand ambassadors cannot be ignored. They are truly your biggest fans that will post about your product without even getting paid for it!
Reach out to them, interact with them, and repost their stuff (get consent first)! Most of these brand ambassadors want to interact with you already, that’s why they’re posting. Also, don’t be afraid to give back to your biggest supporters – a simple thanks or a free sticker can mean the world to some people.
F.) Cross-Platform Advertising
Have a popular channel on social already? Don’t be afraid to cross-promote your other social channels on it!
Feel free to even give users an incentive of a discount code for liking other pages. For specific examples, go to CBDMD. They do a great job of promoting their products and their other social platforms.
We want to be found on the platforms that our consumers use. For CBD, that could mean being on a bunch of different platforms because the products vary in use. Ideally, we want to expand our reach to bring in more leads that will hopefully convert down the line.
G.) Interact With Your Fans
More and more users are turning to social media for customer service, so don’t ignore your fans. Being interactive with your fans/industry will not only help fans trust your brand, but it will also help improve your rankings.
Posts with the most engagement (comments, likes, etc) are shown more often in the news feeds than posts with little to no engagement. Treat your brand as if it were human, and just conversate with people. Provide your fans with something more than just a product, provide them with knowledge and attention. This will help increase your followers. engagement, and overall brand loyalty.
Blogging is such an important part of inbound marketing. When you create blog content, you want to be creating content that your target audience will be searching for, so do your homework on the appropriate keywords for your audience (A great tool for this is SEM Rush). The possibilities for content are endless.
For example, you could create a blog post based around “The 5 Health Benefits of CBD Oil” or “CBD Oil: Your Dogs New Best Friend” – both articles using “CBD Oil” as their keyword. Ideally, this is the keyword your customers are searching for. Now, the keyword has to organically be in the post more than three times for search engines to be able to decipher what this post is about.
Blogging can help your organic ranking on search engines like Google and Bing. Your website, and the content that lives on it, then becomes more valuable to these search engines because you’re providing answers to questions that people are searching for (Thus ranking you higher and increasing traffic). The idea is to organically drive more traffic to your website so your ideal customer can discover your products.
Side note: You can also repurpose blog content for emails and social media!
3.) Lead Magnets
Lead magnets are especially good for qualifying leads immediately. A Lead Magnet is when you have a specific CTA on email, social, etc that drives consumers to a landing page where they can enter their information to receive downloadable content. The downloadable content could be as simple as “The 5 Best Applications for CBD Oil” or “How to Use CBD Oil for Your Pets”.
This lead magnet does a few things that will benefit you in the long run. The benefits are as followed:
- Immediately qualifying leads
- Obtaining email addresses and other information for future campaigns
- Builds brand credibility
- If shared, it increases traffic and brand awareness.
4.) Email Marketing
This isn’t something new or mind-blowing, but email marketing is still just as effective as it was a few years ago. Anyone who has a digital footprint will most likely have an email or two associated with it. If you have your customer’s email address it is because they either bought from you in the past or they downloaded one of your lead magnets. Because of this, we know that they are already interested in what you have to offer.
We can use these emails to send our customers more useful information, push a sale or current discount, or introduce a new product. Email marketing helps you stay in touch with the consumer by being able to reach them on any device, at any time, anywhere.
Last but not least, SEO is 100% needed for your website and for your content (social, blog, lead magnets, etc.). Search Engine Optimization is to ensure that your website, and the content you produce, shows up when people search for it. This involves incorporating the right keywords on your site and in your content and it also involves creating valuable content.
Search engines will take notice of how much time people spend on your site, the bounce rate, and more. If this performs poorly, then your rankings will go down, but if you perform well, this will increase your ranking for being the best answer for the term that was searched.
6.) BONUS ROUND: PR
“Say what? There are actually 6 CBD advertising tactics? This is like the Beyond section at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.” All jokes aside, Public Relations is a tool that can help elevate your brand in terms of awareness and affinity.
PR is a solid way to get consumers talking about your brand with the help of trusted media sites, magazines, and newspapers. The unique visitors for some of these publications are 10x more than any influencer and it can establish your brand as a thought leader in the CBD space. Plus, you can leverage that coverage as content for social, email, and more!
Follow the Data
As with everything digital, always look back to the data. Check-in on your analytics for social, email, lead magnets and landing pages and adjust accordingly. Take a look at your google analytics and your SEO strategy every couple of months. See what you’re ranking for, where your traffic is coming from, and who your main demographic is.
Focus on your main source of traffic and then trickle down your efforts from there. Appeal to the audience that is interested in you at this time and then branch out. If you have a piece of content already out there that is performing great organically, why reinvent the wheel? Repurpose that content to be made into an ad, blog, landing page, email, or more!
Sometimes the data can be overwhelming. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to reach out to us here at The S3 Agency. We can help set you on the right path toward brand recognition.