By now, you’ve likely heard of CBD oil and the amazing impacts it can have on a wide variety of health concerns. While the industry continues to grow in the footsteps of the legalization of marijuana across the states, marketers face both legal and practical challenges in a saturated market.
The good news is, like marketing in any industry, successful CBD marketing comes more from building a solid brand than anything else, albeit with a few extra legalities and educational things to keep in mind.
Learn how to successfully market a CBD business in 2021 in this guide.
What is CBD?
CBD is an abbreviation of cannabidiol oil. Which is good, because that is a heck of a word. Though derived from hemp plants and a sibling of the psychoactive compound found in marijuana called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is not psychoactive and doesn’t give users a “high” feeling normally associated with marijuana.
Both CBD and THC are found in medical marijuana and have data-backed research to support the wide variety of uses for everything from pain management to depression. The difference between the two is that CBD doesn’t offer the same chemical high as THC.
Misinformation around CBD can be a huge hurdle for CBD marketers. It’s important to understand how it’s created, how it interacts with the human body, and how it can help people in order to accurately market and sell it.
Is it legal?
While marijuana continues to be legalized on a state by state basis, CBD has been legal at a federal level since 2018, provided the products don’t contain more than 3% THC. In the earlier days of CBD production, ambiguity around the levels of THC in CBD made it difficult to know what was technically legal.
Since then, labeling and production have improved significantly. While it can still be difficult to know what’s legal and what’s not, addressing customer concerns about legality with clear messaging is still imperative for CBD marketers.
The legality of CBD is another frequently asked question marketers need to be prepared to answer for their customers. Study up, and make sure your products are at legal levels of THC and labeled as such.
What is the market like?
In a word: huge. While sales were at approximately $500 million in 2018, they are conservatively predicted to rise to $1.8 billion by 2022, according to Statistica.
The industry is following in the footsteps of the legalized marijuana industry, which continues to grow as legalization rolls out statewide. The opportunity is there and continues to grow (pun intended). You love to see it.
CBD Marketing 101
Finding a niche
As with any good brand, the key is to find your niche. CBD is used for so many reasons, by so many people, that the options are limitless.
Maybe your target demographic is an older audience. Maybe it’s people who suffer from chronic illnesses or chronic pain. Choosing and selecting a niche is where you’ll start to develop your audience.
It’s important to remember that CBD comes in many forms, too. You’ll want to have a good idea of what products you’re selling and how that will impact your niche.
Understand Your Audience
Once you’ve found your niche, you need to conduct research to understand the audience and the implications of selling CBD to that audience.
If you’re selling to an older audience, your messaging and value proposition will likely need to have a more educational focus. Younger generations are more familiar with the legality and availability of CBD products, so they have entirely different concerns.
What motivates your audience? Understanding their pain points (literal and figurative) will help you understand how to reach and message them.
Once you have an idea of who you’re going after, you can start to look at brands that are doing CBD marketing well. Competitive research is never about directly copying your competitors’ ideas, but seeking to understand what they’re doing well, how they’ve built their brand, what works well for the industry you are mutually in. Areas your competitors could improve become opportunities for you.
Take a look at everything from brand colors and fonts to email marketing and social media strategies. Anything you can learn from someone else is going to be more valuable than learning by trial and error (although you’ll need a fair bit of that as well).
Define your value proposition
When you have a good idea of what you’re going for and what you want to avoid, use all of that pre-planning and research to define your value proposition.
Your value proposition sets your company apart, explains to your customers why you do what you do and ultimately drives people to purchase from you.
Due to the somewhat murky legalization and public perception of CBD, it’s important to be very transparent about where you’re sourcing your CBD and what you’re putting in it, as well as showing your customers that you understand the product and the labeling concerns that come along with it.
Create a mission statement for why you do what you do. Define your company values, and how you live them out within your work. Otherwise, they’re just empty words on a page, and trust us, your customers will see right through them.
Jordan Nix on Unsplash
Utilizing micro-influencers and referral networks
Possibly due to the history of CBD, many brands in the industry have found good success using micro-influencers and referral networks. These are great ways to increase customer trust and loyalty.
With customer reviews being as important as they are, creating this kind of user-generated content can go a long way in reducing uncertainty around the legality and validity of your CBD products.