CBD products are all the rage right now, and if early indicators hold, it will remain this way for the foreseeable future. CBD products claim to offer relief for everything from pain to inflammation, treatment for anxiety disorders and a myriad of other ailments. Because of the multiple uses, CBD has caught the attention of today’s consumer. This has resulted in a flurry of CBD brands flooding the market and has made breaking out of the brand noise feel like the Wild West. Add to this consumers’ confusion about the seemingly similar CBD products available for sale, and you have one monumental marketing challenge on your hands, while also navigating the regulatory environment, platform restrictions and other limitations CBD brands already face.
What’s a CBD brand to do? Here are the top three strategies CBD marketers should use to stand out from the crowd.
1. Get Grassroots
The digital marketing landscape is tricky for CBD brands. At present, Google, Twitter and others do not allow CBD brands to engage in paid advertising. That means that CBD brands need to get creative.
One of the best opportunities is for CBD brands to focus their efforts offline and connect with potential customers via experiential marketing. Festivals, farmers markets, outdoor expos, health and wellness retreats and hyper-local events provide the perfect outlet. This grassroots style lets your CBD product speak for itself by being explained, tested, smelled, tried and consumed.
This approach also provides interesting and authentic photo and video fodder for social media marketing. Images and videos of real people trying your CBD product which artfully capture their natural expressions and honest feedback can be priceless on social media. It also provides an opportunity for user-generated content, which is equally beneficial for capturing your customers’ trust. A little raw and genuine content can go a long way in separating your brand from the competition. More than that, all of this provides valuable, customer-centric content that engages and informs your target audience.
Get your booth, tabletop and outdoor gear ready and go after it!
2. Be Influential
It’s no secret that influencer marketing works, and influencer partnerships should be a top priority for CBD brands. An ideal approach is to seek influencers who can help tell your brand story through insightful blogs and articles. Influencers who are also bloggers have a loyal readership and are skilled in the art of storytelling. That makes them not only a great resource, but also a worthy investment.
Influencers could discuss their personal issues with pain or anxiety and explain how CBD helped to offer relief. To keep the cost down, CBD brands would be wise to use micro-influencers who have smaller follower counts but tend to have more loyal and engaged followers. This is also a clever way of utilizing unique and original content marketing tactics through digital platforms to expand your brand’s reach and engage new audiences.
If you haven’t thought of using influencers, it is time to give this marketing opportunity a try.
3. Social with a Purpose
To be honest, most of the time, I’m underwhelmed with brands on social media. They tend to feel too much like non-distinct copy-cats of other brands. However, I recently stumbled upon a CBD brand that is doing many things right on social media: SundayScaries.
First, the company has aligned its brand with a higher purpose through cause marketing and social issues, which resonates with more and more consumers. In fact, according to the Cone/Porter Novelli Study, 77 percent of Americans feel a strong emotional connection to purpose-driven brands. Specifically, SundayScaries has partnered with The Trevor Project and donates $1 from each sale of its jerky product to provide intervention and suicide prevention for youth within the LGBTQ community.
Second, SundayScaries appreciates the native environment of Instagram. It is clear that the company put a great deal of thought into the curation of images on its Instagram page. SundayScaries speaks to the creativity and aesthetic nature of Instagram users. Its brand page feels distinct from other CBD brands. Plus, the company’s fun memes add an element of levity that captures the brand’s essence.
While SundayScaries’ engagement rate could use a little work, the company has been clever in using contests with complimentary brands to increase its engagement and reach. One area of improvement would be for SundayScaries to begin writing and distributing interesting blogs or articles which concentrate on the lifestyle interests and needs of its customers. This will afford stickiness on SundayScaries’ website while providing another connection point on social media.
Other CBD brands take note: SundayScaries’ methodology shows that there are many organic opportunities to improve your visibility, engagement and reach on social media.
The truth is that some of the limitations to CBD marketing will gradually go by the wayside as platforms determine how best to support this growing industry. Still, there is no time like the present to increase the exposure of your CBD brand by following these simple tips. After all, the Wild West only lasts so long.
Shahla Hebets has held executive management positions in media companies specializing in ecommerce, pay-per-click (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO) and other forms of digital marketing and advertising. With over two decades of experience developing digital marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies and small businesses, Hebets founded Think Media Consulting in 2016 with a focus on helping healthy lifestyle brands grow. She lives in Denver, Colo., with her husband, two children and dog. Her new book, What’s Working Now? YOU-Centric Marketing is available for pre-order on Amazon and for purchase at all major booksellers on Sept. 24, 2019.