Planning CBD Marketing Strategies Avoids FDA Pitfalls Photo by Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash

While marketing CBD is fraught with restrictions, there are some methods to get the word out there effectively.  Success requires careful planning for your CBD marketing. Following these three proven techniques will get you on the path.

Before I share these techniques, I want to share a quick story about someone I know. The man is an amazing researcher and if tested it would probably be revealed he is a genius. Smart, kind, gentle and loved to read quantum physics while he waited for his wife to get ready to go out to dinner.

While studying for his medical degree he was doing research trying to identify some microorganisms.  When he looked through the magnifying glass, he spotted something he hadn’t seen before. Science and logic clicked. It was cancer.  It was different from what they had been studying. If he could share this finding, lives could be saved.

In his youthful excitement and exuberance, he dashed from the laboratory with his notes in hand.  He didn’t go to his instructor, nor the department head.  My friend went straight to the dean.

There he managed to wangle his way in and excitedly tried to tell the dean what he had discovered.

He was met with a stern, fixed gaze. “Stop!  Don’t say a word more!” 

My friend had broken the rules. Bypassed the chain of command.

“But, sir.” He pleaded. A finger firmly directed him out of the room.

Planning CBD marketing strategy

It’s crucial to know your brand and how you can differentiate it in a sea of CBD options.  The same could be said for a soda or a bottle of wine.  They are all alike but different. So you need to find something special about your brand.   It’s always there…but it may require stepping outside the box to find it.

I recently saw a commercial for an accounting firm.  One of the key players is a member of the family-owned business that has been around for years. So the marketer suggested, “she’s a CPA with XYZ in her DNA.”  It’s a clever way to build trust, distinction, and credibility in just a few words.

That’s what you want to find for your business.

Every business wants to attract new customers. It’s just as important to have a plan in place to keep them coming back. It’s far less expensive to retain a customer than acquire a new one.

It’s also critical to be up-to-date on your marketing options paid and free.

Paid advertising

This is the toughest area to market CBD.  Every option has its own set of restrictions.

Facebook will not accept CBD from cannabis paid advertising.  However, they are considering hemp-derived CBD.

Google ad words also do not accept cannabis-based products nor will it accept hemp products. Currently, they are doing a limited hemp-based trial but no results have been released.  

Twitter allows no paid ads accepted for any form of CBD.

Instagram, like Twitter, allows no paid ads accepted for CBD, but there are fewer penalties being issued.

Pay-per-click or other social media advertising can be extremely expensive.  It’s easy to pour hundreds or thousands of dollars into just one media…quickly.  Sometimes a more organic approach works better.

Planning CBD marketing options that do work

These options also require an investment. But they require less tweaking and maintenance than paid advertising.  They can also be a safer path. In many cases  they are equally effective to build your brand.

SEO works

SEO  has been proven to work using keyword optimization. These show up in your meta tags and in your content.  It takes a bit of work to come up with the best keywords to use.  Avoid FDA trigger words that tout CBD as a miracle cure-all or disease fighter. Those will just get you into trouble you don’t need.

Take the high road and be a thought leader.  Someone who can be trusted. Honesty, integrity, transparency.

But your SEO can’t do the work by itself.  It needs quality content.  It is dependent on it.

Content

This is a huge area that does work and generally the best place to start.  Generate quality content that you can optimize. Share educational content that explains CBD, what it is.  Share who uses it and why.

Know your target market and make sure the content will resonate with them. 

Add lots of value via information, free guides, stories of use. Tell readers what is currently being researched and studies being conducted. Talk about chemical structure and future potentials. 

Don’t forget to share your certifications, awards and other recognitions.

Avoid making medical claims or assumptions.  The beauty industry has coped with the same requirements for decades. And they too are coming under closer FDA scrutiny.  It all comes down to word choices. 

Is Informational content really important?

I saw a recent article that talked about Eughan Henn, from Search VIU, who was working with an e-commerce site with over 60,000 product pages.   They had 25 informational pages that they decided were a waste of money because those pages only directly resulted in a small percentage of sales. So they pulled the informational content. 

Big mistake!  They lost one-third of their visibility and sales plummeted. It didn’t seem possible because percentage-wise, they were just a few pages. 

In the interest of scientific research, they decided to re-add the pulled pages.  Within three weeks their visibility and sales completely rebounded.

Those informational, how-to, guides and blogs may seem expensive initially. 

Think of them as a sales and brand investment. They demonstrate your expertise, authority and build trust. For them to be the most effective they are dependent on a clear target customer profile.  They require a deep-dive into keyword research.

Once the content is created share it….share it…Share it!

Use bits of content to create posts for social media that link back to your website, driving traffic. Sharing informational posts that lure prospects back to your website avoids many of the paid advertising pitfalls. You are focused on education, information, news, guides…not directly pushing product.

You are building the know, like, and trust factors that make people comfortable buying from you.

Email

In a recent report, 59% of B2B companies and 80% of retail companies said that email was their most effective marketing method. 

It can be one of your safest marketing methods with a high return.  To get the most traction, generate a quality “bait-piece”, an informational piece that is useful and valuable. Use this as a reward for someone sharing their email address with you. 

Sometimes companies use a discount as a lure. That can work and it’s probably less expensive upfront. But you are teaching prospects to wait for a sale. Sale discounts come right off the top of your bottom line.  Discount rewards also require regular updating.  Your informational piece can work for longer with much less attention.

Once you have just ten people on your list…start staying in touch with them. 

Rewards, points, newsletters, you have lots of options.  In my experience newsletters need to be at least monthly.  Focus on sharing valuable, useful information. Then add your link and call-to-action.

You still have to follow the rules and avoid health or miracle claims, so be aware of your word choices.

You can also ramp up your email ROI by targeting specific subsets of your customer list.  The best way is to make interest-based groups and target the content to those specific interests. Wellness, fitness, coping with stress are some examples.

Sales funnels

Many companies have found a series of automated emails that go out to a new subscriber keeps them interested and promotes sales. 

The series can be a minimum of 3-5 emails that go out over a week or two. Then they might drop down to a bi-weekly post or a monthly newsletter.

Automated email funnels can be 15-20 or more that go out over a longer period of time. Scheduling and timing require consideration and planning.

Tailoring your emails and email series to your target client is the key.

Support your CBD marketing strategy efforts

Once you have the Content, SEO and Email efforts planned out and created then support them.  This is where trade shows, affiliates, and influencers can come into play. 

When I work with clients we evaluate where they are.  Then make a plan to help them achieve their marketing goals.  For many CBD companies that means sharing information in a way that doesn’t bring the FDA down on them, at the same time helping them grow sales. 

And my friend the research doctor?

Because he didn’t follow the guidelines and broke the rules, no one would pay any attention to what he tried to share.  Not his instructor, not the head of the department.  His discovery was halted by his hasty decision.  It was more than twenty years before the form of cancer he had found was re-discovered by someone else.

And yes…it could have saved lives.

Like this doctor, we have to follow the rules, the guidelines if we want to get the message out there in order to help others. It takes careful planning of CBD marketing to avoid the pitfalls and grow your business.