How to Market Cannabis [Smart Tips For Business Owners]

97% of cannabis startups fail in the first year, compared to just 20% of small businesses.

Why? Experts say the harsh marketing regulations that CBD companies face are a key factor.

With hemp becoming legal and over 40 states allowing CBD sales, you would think promoting your store nowadays is easier than it was years ago. But selling CBD products are still considered high-risk and comes with a whole host of advertising challenges.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what these challenges are and how you can successfully overcome them.

CBD and the law – how FDA regulations impact sales

The primary concern in today’s market for CBD sellers is that, despite legalization, FDA strongly regulates CBD products.

Currently, the only product that has been approved by them is pure CBD oil (or hemp-based CBD) that contains 0.3% or less THC. This means that most retailers face significant restrictions when it comes to how they describe and advertise their product.

In fact, FDA Commissioner Scott Gotlieb has made an official statement that “this deceptive marketing of unproven treatments raises significant public health concerns”. As a result, CBD marketers are oftentimes not allowed to make any claims of a physical and medical nature concerning the benefits associated with CBD products.

CBD and social media – how cannabis brands are regulated

Giants like Google and Facebook do not allow CBD advertising and will shut down any ads for products containing CBD.

Given that the two companies make up 60% of the digital ad industry in the US, this poses a real challenge for cannabis business owners. Moreover, platforms like Twitter and Amazon have similar restrictions.

In a world where social media advertising is at its peak, having to rely on other means of marketing can seem like a death sentence for many cannabis businesses.

But don’t lose hope – there are still powerful strategies out there that work. 👇

How to be smart about CBD advertising and market your business

Selling CBD products can seem impossible, but there are legal ways of doing it – that would bring in the results you want.

Here are 3 steps you can follow to make sure your CBD marketing is low-risk but effective:

1. Partner up with friendly ad networks

Without many of the marketing tools most businesses have access to, CBD companies need to find different ways to target potential customers. One such way is using affiliate networks.

Put simply, an affiliate network refers you to a group of publishers that then allow you to run advertising campaigns on relevant websites. There are many CBD-friendly networks out there that are willing to display links and ads to your brand on sites that target your demographic.

This approach can put you in touch with interested buyers and can significantly boost your website traffic and online orders.

2. Use social media to build an online presence, not to sell

While you can’t market your product or promote its health benefits as freely as most companies (if at all), you can still use social media to create a strong brand identity online. Paired with content writing, this strategy can bring invaluable organic traffic that helps you build a powerful social following to whom you can later sell your products.

If you do want to venture into direct CBD marketing on social, make sure all of your claims are scientifically supported by reputable sources and make sure to check the laws of the states where you’re planning to advertise.

3. Target your audience through SEO

A smart way to increase sales without getting in trouble with the FDA is by upping your SEO game. Given that 75% of Internet users never scroll past the first page of Google search results, you want your brand to be at the top of that list.

So make sure you invest in a powerful SEO strategy that provides customers with easy access to your brand online.

Conclusion

An entire industry is being built around cannabis and many trusted brands are joining in. And although there are critical advertising limitations placed on CBD products, you still have many valuable marketing alternatives as a cannabis business owner.

If you’re interested in learning about effective marketing strategies, reach out to our digital marketing team and get informed.