There are certain best practices that apply to marketing consumer brands.
With advertising restrictions on major digital platforms, a stampede of products hitting the market, and a lack of true customer understanding, CBD marketing is a challenge all its own. Brands are finding alternative ways to advertise CBD products through organic content, but there's more to it than meets the eye.
Over the last few years, we’ve worked with some of the biggest CBD brands in the world, developing key insights along the way. The Cannabis Summit is a huge opportunity for companies to learn what cannabis marketing strategies work the best. From networking with other cannabis industry pros and leading innovators, these are the six biggest takeaways from the event that you can deploy for your own CBD brand:
This may seem painfully obvious, but the truth is, we’re witnessing a race to the bottom in the CBD industry.
That is, many brands are creating cheap products to capitalize on the latest consumer trends, hoping to move mediocre products with aggressive marketing. In the end, these brands don’t last.
So what makes a quality product? Effectively resolving customer pain points (whether literal or figurative) is paramount. However, quality extends beyond practical features and benefits; it includes things that indirectly affect a customer’s opinion, like sustainability and ethical integrity in the production process. Cannabis is no exception, so make sure your products are pure, clean, and authentic to the consumer experience.
Determining who your product best serves will allow you to tailor your marketing strategy to the right people with meaningful branding and messaging.
Never build target audiences on just a hunch. Instead, established brands can use existing data to determine top-performing customer segments, while pre-launch brands can perform competitive analysis.
This kind of data analysis can often reveal surprising insights. At Hawke Media, one of our clients was successfully marketing their products to men and women between 25 and 35, but weren’t looking at data to find promising new audiences. We discovered that website visitors aged 55+ were converting twice as efficiently, but only accounted for a fraction of the client’s overall traffic.
By testing strategies crafted specifically for this new audience, the client was able to increase traffic from this promising segment and capitalize on a revenue opportunity. Sometimes brands are afraid of addressing new audiences for fear of alienating current ones. However, authenticity in messaging will only drive more adoption; identifying a key demographic and speaking to them directly won't exclude other key demos.
Because of the scientific nature of CBD products, it’s especially important for CBD brands to inform their audiences on how their products work and how to use them most effectively.
Your brand will only succeed if your products make customers feel better. If customers aren’t using products correctly, they won’t feel the full effect, which is why it’s so important to educate your audience as much as possible.
Our work with CBD brands has shown us that CBD consumers are prepared (and usually eager) to be educated. Successful CBD brands invest heavily in demystifying CBD for consumers by explaining its effects on the body, the best ingestion methods, when to take it, and much more. Some CBD brands even have a Chief Education Officer that's in charge of making sure each product comes with the right instructions and best practices for personal health.
In your mission to educate consumers, always be careful to abide by state and federal laws that prohibit making medical claims.
If educating customers is the priority, what’s the best way to provide that information?
CBD brands should lean on organic content to inform and entertain customers.
But content doesn’t end at education; it’s also your way to tell a brand story and create an engaging experience for your audience. Original content allows you to hone your brand identity, nurture customer loyalty, and with a proper SEO strategy, grow awareness. Experimenting with different types of content along your customer's journey from awareness to purchase will also help reveal what messaging performs best.
The bonus of publishing content is that you can repurpose these assets across other marketing channels, including email, social media, and certain paid strategies.
The two most important KPIs for CBD brands to focus on, regardless of budget, are social followers and email subscribers.
The most successful CBD brands aggressively grow their social audiences and email lists.
Social media is a great, low-cost way for CBD brands to grow their addressable market (i.e. the number of people aware of their products) and encourage engagement while also educating consumers.
Meanwhile, email marketing is one of the most effective revenue-driving channels available to any brand. By leveraging segmentation and automation to deliver personalized content based on your subscribers’ demographics, interests, behaviors, and many other parameters, you can drive quality traffic back to your site and encourage purchasing.
Focus on growing your email list. It will cost the same to design, code, and automate your campaigns whether you’re sending it to 100 or 100,000 subscribers.
As mentioned above, CBD brands face restrictions when it comes to advertising on major digital platforms.
In a way, this may be the best thing that could have happened to the CBD industry because it's forced brands to engage with consumers through quality, organic content, rather than flooding them with paid ads. Still, it has undoubtedly made growing CBD brands substantially more difficult.
Paid acquisition, even when relegated to alternative platforms, is a highly effective way for CBD brands to grow their addressable market and scale revenues; as long as they know what channels are most effective.
CBD success starts with a quality product and a fully developed brand that addresses a specific audience.
With strong value props and messaging that resonates, you can educate consumers with content, leverage high-ROI channels like social media and email, and scale your efforts with paid media. Marketing experts at Hawke Media can help scale your brand and give you the tools to generate success through the changing landscape.
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Madison is Hawke's Director of Growth. When he's not planning custom marketing strategies for clients, he's chillin with his very handsome dog and certified good boy, Jax.