The passage of the 2018 US Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp, and both medical and recreational cannabis have been widely legalized at the state level. In 2020, sales of CBD products in the U.S. were valued at $4.6B. By 2026, that figure is expected to reach nearly $16B. How can your CBD business grab a share of that growth? Here are some tips to sell CBD online.
What is CBD? And what are the biggest marketing challenges?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second biggest active ingredient in cannabis, after THC. But CBD on its own doesn’t have any psychoactive properties, so it doesn’t deliver a “high.” In fact, most CBD is derived from the hemp plant, a close cousin of the marijuana plant.
While CBD and hemp products are legal, brands face several marketing challenges when they try to sell hemp online. Local, state and federal regulations are complex, and they are constantly changing. In addition, there are restrictions on many of the biggest direct-to-consumer channels, including Google ads and ads on Facebook and Instagram. And while these strict rules are evolving, at present these channels are not available to most CBD brands.
The importance of finding the right target demographic
Given the recent growth in the CBD market, it’s essential for new brands to identify their target market. Many people believe that CBD is mostly used by younger people. But is that correct? A 2019 Forbes article revealed that 9% of U.S. seniors have tried CBD, and 51% of those people reported an improved quality of life afterward. A 2020 survey also showed that 36% of U.S. adults use CBD as a supplement to prescriptions, 32% use it as a supplement to other natural remedies and 19% use it instead of other natural remedies.
Here are some questions to consider:
How old is your typical customer?
Why are they buying your products?
What conditions are they treating with CBD?
How are they consuming CBD (drops, edibles, vaping or capsules)?
Are they buying CBD for their pets?
Content is critical
When building a CBD brand, creating relevant content is the best way to get around the marketing restrictions. How can you create that content? Consider content that helps users better understand their CBD needs, and find the products that meet those needs. This content can be written by experts in the field. Publishing content that’s written with SEO in mind can help your brand take advantage of organic search, which will pay off in better positions in search results. And publishing downloadable content using a subscription model is a great way to collect email addresses for potential customers.
Marketing CBD products on social media
We’ve already seen that CBD brands can’t advertise directly on most social media platforms, so why are we discussing social media and CBD products here? Influencer marketing and blog content marketing are two strategies that can get your brand noticed on social media. Instagram is one of the biggest platforms for CBD influencers, who offer an opportunity for CBD brands to build awareness and market share. In addition, Facebook now allows groups about cannabis and CBD. These can be either public or private, and they’re a great way to build awareness about your products and services. And with more consumers using social media for customer service, CBD business owners can use social platforms to connect with customers and build loyalty.
What are some other channels to look at? Don’t forget about Twitter and LinkedIn. But it’s important to remember – whenever you start posting on a new channel, take the time to carefully read the terms and conditions that businesses must follow to make sure that you’re following the rules and won’t get banned.
Look beyond social media
Social media, website content and blog posts are a great starting point for publishing content about your CBD brand, but don’t stop there. Affiliate marketing – you hire the affiliate to promote your brand using ads or links on their website content and email lists – is a great way to reach a wider market.
You can also think about related brands and services, and think about opportunities to collaborate to reach a larger market. Could your brand sponsor local events or offer support to social causes? Podcasts are another good option for finding a new audience for your CBD brand. And finally, there’s email marketing. Build your email lists by offering new-subscriber discounts, use welcome emails to educate customers about your brands, and don’t miss the opportunity to use email to send advance notice about new products or special offers to your most loyal customers.
There are great opportunities for marketing CBD and hemp out there, as long as you understand the limitations and don’t reach beyond them. Our payments experts have experience working with the leading CBD, hemp and cannabis technology providers in this space. Contact us today and we can help you find the right solutions for your business. Call us at 1-800-957-0534 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.