The CBD Conundrum: How to Market Your Products Effectively

With the CBD industry rising in profits and concerns, it’s time to partner with a CBD marketing agency to enhance your brand and product positioning.

Whether you’re selling CBD products or you’re a CBD marketing agency, it’s a great time to be green.

U.S. farmers are switching — in large numbers — from pumpkins and squash to hemp. Sales of products containing CBD oil have exploded, as the extract is being used in everything from beverages to bath products.

For companies operating in this emerging market, such developments are thrilling. Yet there’s one thorny issue that remains to be resolved: CBD advertising regulations.

While the public is eager to hear more about CBD, the largest digital ad platforms are quieting that conversation. Because there is no legal uniformity concerning how cannabis-derived products are classified, some of the largest advertising networks have simply opted for a wholesale ad ban.

This has left CBD businesses scrambling to find alternative methods for marketing CBD products and reaching mainstream audiences. Here’s the good news: Those methods exist, and the right CBD marketing plan can help businesses reach their stated goals.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the challenges inherent to CBD marketing — and how smart companies can solve them.

What to know about marketing CBD products

Google and Facebook are the two titans of digital advertising. Unfortunately, both have policies restricting the marketing of CBD products. Google AdWords censors CBD ads by filtering forbidden keywords.

While it’s possible for companies to be oblique or vague enough in their wording to escape automated censoring, that’s not a truly sound strategy — oblique, vague ad copy is just going to confuse consumers even if it manages to escape filtering. 

Facebook and Instagram also do not allow CBD advertisements. When you consider that Facebook and Google (and their digital properties) own roughly 60% of the online ad market, that presents a significant challenge.

So how do you market effectively?

While it’s true that Google and Facebook have made it more difficult to market CBD products, a good CBD marketing agency can help overcome these limitations. There are several strategies that can be pursued to break through to consumers.

Those strategies include the following:

Partnering With Influencers

Influencer marketing has never been more popular. The right influencer with a large, engaged following can give a brand instant traction within its marketplace. More importantly, influencers can pitch CBD products in an organic fashion that doesn’t break the rules of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

One example: Beauty is one of the most popular influencer categories on Instagram, and also a profitable market for CBD oil. Many high-end cosmetics are incorporating CBD into their products to help provide users with a natural, healthy glow.

This lends itself perfectly to Instagram, the most visual of all social networks. By partnering with an influencer, CBD products appear organically within the audience’s feed, reaching the most highly engaged segment of consumers.

People also trust reviews and recommendations from influencers more than they trust conventional online advertising. According to Adweek, 90% of consumers trust recommendations from other people — even people they don’t know personally — more than conventional ads.

Another benefit: CBD brands can use influencer-generated content on company blogs, social media accounts, and websites. CBD brands can also drive more followers of influencer accounts to their networks through crossover marketing.

And, most importantly, all of this can be done while still staying on the right side of CBD advertising laws.

Industry Ad Networks

While Google AdWords may not be an option, other entities are more than willing to host CBD ads: Cannabis-specific ad networks. These networks serve digital ads on websites that take a pro-cannabis posture.

While this approach can reach the hardcore, highly motivated audience segment, it has quite limited utility in terms of connecting with the larger market of buyers. Most people simply don’t browse CBD or hemp-oriented websites, so acquiring customers within the mainstream will be challenging.

That said, these networks do provide a smart option for raising product awareness within industry-related publications.

Leveraging PR

While Google and Facebook keep CBD ads at arm’s length, the news media has been more than accommodating in terms of earned coverage. Organic media coverage in a high-authority publication is a dream outcome for many small to mid-sized businesses, and CBD is no exception. Getting that coverage, however, is often a steep challenge.

CBD companies do have one innate advantage in this regard, however: the CBD category is relatively new, fast-growing, and of considerable public interest. That means that it’s newsworthy — provided you can come up with a clever news hook and know how to pitch an editor.

That’s going to be a near impossible task for many business owners. However, the right CBD marketing agency can help businesses develop a hook, craft a pitch, and reel in the kind of earned media coverage that moves the needle.  

The takeaway

At BIGEYE, we’re more than up to the challenge of navigating the CBD marketing minefield. If you’d like to hear more about how we help CBD companies reach new audiences and grow by using our sophisticated CBD marketing tools, please visit our website today.

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