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How to Start a CBD Business

The CBD sector of the cannabis and hemp industry is one of the fastest growing segments of the space. Here’s how you could start a CBD business and get involved.

  • Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in hemp and cannabis plants, is becoming increasingly popular as a dietary supplement.
  • The CBD industry is projected to hit $20 billion in sales by 2024.
  • Hemp and hemp CBD are federally legal following the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill.
  • The industry still faces challenges in advertising, banking and insurance.В

Still relatively new to the mainstream, cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is becoming a household name. The purported therapeutic and health benefits of CBD, one of many compounds found in cannabis and hemp plants, has created a buzz. CBD oil has entered the marketplace in the form of tinctures, infused edibles, topicals and more. The growth of CBD oil products has been so immense, in fact, that industry analyst BDS Analytics predicts the U.S. CBD market will reach $20 billion in sales by 2024.В

The potential of the CBD industry has prompted many people to explore how they can launch a CBD business. The industry is not without its challenges, though, especially surrounding the evolving legal landscape, but the opportunity is significant.В

If you’re considering getting involved in the CBD industry, you first need to understand more about cannabinoids and the products that utilize them.В

What is CBD?

CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids, which are compounds found throughout the cannabis and hemp plants. The most famous cannabinoid is undoubtedly tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the intoxication associated with the consumption of cannabis. CBD, however, does not produce an intoxicating effect; instead, it offers potential therapeutic and health benefits, though research into its potential medical applications is ongoing.В

CBD products are generally created in several steps. First, the raw material needs to be cultivated and harvested. For example, if you plan on using industrial hemp to create your CBD products, you will either need to cultivate or purchase a large amount of the plant. From there, CBD oil is extracted from the plant using a variety of methods. Again, you can do this yourself or outsource the process to an extraction company. Once you have extracted the CBD oil, it can be sold as a concentrate or used to infuse a variety of products. Some of the most common CBD products on the market today include sublingual tinctures, infused edibles and topicals, like gels or creams.

Hemp CBD vs. cannabis CBD

CBD is found in both cannabis and hemp plants. CBD oil can be extracted from either plant and used to create CBD oil products. However, there is a key difference between hemp CBD oil and CBD products derived from cannabis: THC.В

Industrial hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, and as such, it is considered legal under federal law to cultivate, harvest and process into finished products. Cannabis, on the other hand, contains more than 0.3% THC (often much higher levels) and remains federally illegal.В

Hemp and cannabis are closely related; in fact, industrial hemp is actually Cannabis sativa L. The difference in name is mostly a function of a legal definition, which sets the threshold for THC content. The flowers of a hemp plant contain little to no THC, while the flowers of a cannabis plant (commonly referred to as marijuana) contain much higher levels of THC.В

The federal government considers marijuana a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, making it illegal for interstate commerce, even as dozens of states legalize it for adult use. Industrial hemp, on the other hand, was recently removed from the Controlled Substances Act altogether, opening the way for its cultivation and harvest in the U.S. for the first time since 1937.

Full-spectrum CBD vs. CBD isolate

If you’ve done any research into the CBD market already, you’ve likely encountered the terms “full-spectrum” or “isolate.” Depending on the extraction methods used, the CBD oil obtained from the plant might contain other cannabinoids and compounds found in the source plant. This is what is known as full-spectrum CBD. Full-spectrum CBD not only contains other cannabinoids found in the source material, but compounds known as terpenes, which are responsible for creating the flavor profile, aroma and specific effects of the plant.В

CBD isolate, as the name suggests, is a concentrate that only contains CBD and no other cannabinoids or terpenes. While the purity of CBD isolate might sound desirable, there is some evidence to suggest that full-spectrum CBD promotes an “entourage effect;” that is, the compounds in a full-spectrum hemp extract work together to promote more significant effects. The entourage effect is still under investigation by researchers studying CBD and other cannabinoids.

The CBD industry is projected to grow immensely

Industry analyst BDS Analytics predicts the U.S. CBD market will reach $20 billion in sales by 2024. This would be a major surge from $1.9 billion in 2018 (a 49% annual growth rate).

Needless to say, society is growing more open-minded and accepting of CBD. Many individuals are turning to it for pain relief, stress management, better sleep, and more; and many gas stations, restaurants, and local CVS stores now sell it.В

Some trends the CBD market might experience in 2020 are increased potency of products, more brick-and-mortar CBD shops, more pharmaceutical CBD products, and more access to products online through CBD websites and e-commerce shops. In fact, CBD online sales currently account for 60% of the sales channels.В

The CBD industry is introducing new products all the time. If you’re looking to start a CBD business, you will have a wide range of product types to consider selling. Here are the most popular types of CBD on the market right now:В

  • Sublingual tinctures: A sublingual tincture is CBD oil that generally comes in a small bottle with a dropper. Sublingual products are ingested by placing them under your tongue and allowing the oil to absorb.В
  • CBD edibles: CBD edibles are a rapidly growing sector of the industry, including baked goods, candies and foods. CBD edibles have faced significant regulatory scrutiny from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but remain as commonly found products.В
  • Vape concentrates: Vaporizer concentrates, such as CBD oils and waxes, are another common product. These can be used with an electronic device to vaporize and inhale the CBD product.В
  • CBD topicals: CBD topicals include gels, creams and sprays for aches and pains. These products are placed directly on the skin to target a localized region of the body.
  • Capsules and pills: Many patients who experience seizures or digestive issues take CBD capsules or pills to treat their conditions.В

Additionally, CBD isn’t just for humans. Animals also experience calming effects when given small doses, and many businesses offer CBD products for pets, like dogs or cats.

How to start a CBD business

There are countless unique opportunities for new businesses to sell CBD. Starting a CBD business includes all the hard work and effort of launching any other company in addition to the uncertainty of a shifting regulatory landscape (and all the issues that accompany it). However, in a fledgling industry projected to undergo explosive growth, the heavy lifting today might be well worth it tomorrow.В

Cory Slovik, owner of Core Roots CBD, started his company after experiencing firsthand what he said were the healing properties of the cannabinoid.В

“I used to be a pro snowboarder … and I was always sore, my muscles were constantly in agonizing pain. I tried CBD, and it helped me tremendously,” said Slovik. “Then, years later, cannabis … started coming to the forefront, and there was research and data backing up everything I felt on the mountain.”В

Slovik soon launched Core Roots CBD, seeing a business opportunity and a way to help other people treat their pain. He said starting a CBD company is like any other business, plus a bunch of added steps.В

“It’s like any other business; there are steps and procedures you need to go through like getting insurance and writing a business plan,” Slovik said. “But in this space, you have got to double- and triple-check everything, know your market and jump through regulatory hoops.”

[If you’re looking for more details on how to start a business and all the steps you need to take, see our step-by-step guide to get started.]

Understand your legal obligations

Just because the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized industrial hemp and, by extension, hemp extract, like CBD oils, doesn’t mean there aren’t significant regulatory considerations surrounding the industrial hemp industry.В

The 2018 Farm Bill essentially removed CBD from the federal Controlled Substances Act and the oversight of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Instead, it placed governance of the hemp industry and CBD oil in the hands of the FDA.В

Currently, the FDA is still devising regulations, leaving the CBD industry in a sort of gray area. So far, the federal agency has signaled that marketing CBD as having health benefits will not be tolerated. It has also initiated a crackdown against CBD-infused foods and beverages in some instances.В

Further complicating the regulatory landscape is the 2017 approval of the CBD-based pharmaceutical Epidolex, an epilepsy medication that was approved by the FDA. Since CBD is a main ingredient in an FDA-approved drug, using it in food products without FDA approval could be illegal. Clearer guidance is sorely needed for CBD businesses to operate in compliance with federal regulations.В

“I think the FDA does have to step in, and they will,” said Slovik. “I expect a lot of changes to labels; we’re seeing a lot of businesses out there now using the term ‘hemp extract’ instead of CBD, or they’re not thinking of health benefits so much. Many companies are doing different things, but no one really knows [what the regulations will be] until it happens.”В

Understanding your legal obligations and playing it safe is key in a highly scrutinized industry. While CBD businesses everywhere await clearer regulatory guidance, it is important not to craft your marketing strategy around the supposed benefits of CBD. It’s also important to stay apprised of new developments as the FDA moves forward on crafting new regulations.

Market and sell your products

Marketing and selling CBD products is tricky. While the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill liberalized the industry a little bit (CVS and Walgreen’s now carry CBD products, for example), it is still difficult to sell CBD products on major online platforms like Amazon or eBay. Likewise, social media advertising is virtually nonexistent; paid ads for CBD products risk account suspensions or bans. All your growth must be driven through organic content that falls under the guidelines of each platform.В

“In today’s day and age, if someone is looking to sell a product, the normal avenues are Amazon, eBay, Alibaba or paid ads on social media,” Slovik said. “In this industry, it’s way, way, way different. You can’t do any of those things.”В

To successfully advertise and sell your CBD products, you will have to be creative. Establishing your own e-commerce store or carrying your products in a brick-and-mortar location is a must. Marketing your product with an organic search strategy and customer loyalty programs is always safer than engaging in paid advertising. And, of course, every market is a bit different, so do your research and understand your local and state laws.

How to gain a competitive advantage

The key to gaining a competitive advantage with staying power in the CBD industry is to develop a high-quality product that will withstand the coming scrutiny of both regulators and educated consumers. If you want to differentiate yourself from other CBD businesses, it’s key to provide third-party lab testing results to validate the quality of your product, Slovik said.

“We want to be more transparent by putting QR codes on all our bottles so anyone in the store can use their phone to get lab results right then and there,” Slovik said.В

In addition, Slovik said pursuing certifications like USDA organic, Good Manufacturing Practices and FDA facility registrations are important moves to instill confidence in consumers about the quality of the product they are buying.В

Overall, Slovik said, the formula for success is simple, even if the process is complicated.

“I would recommend double-, triple-checking everything. Know there will be changes. Research as much as you can, and recognize what the future opportunities are by thinking outside the box,” he said.

Key challenges facing CBD businesses

The CBD and cannabis industry faces unique challenges that other industries don’t. Most of these challenges relate to the regulatory environment and, as federal agencies like the FDA detail specific rules and guidelines, things should stabilize. For now, though, if you want to start a CBD business, you should be aware of these major considerations:В

  • Banking: Access to reliable banking services can be complicated due to the fluctuating regulatory landscape. Many banks are hesitant to do business with CBD and cannabis companies, fearing significant risk or burdensome oversight. Frequently, CBD businesses are forced to switch banks or experience the abrupt closure of a merchant account, which can seriously disrupt operations.В
  • Insurance: Finding affordable insurance for a CBD business is another major challenge. Prices remain elevated despite the legalization of industrial hemp, Slovik said, as the industry takes time to catch up to the developments. Education remains a key obstacle.В
  • Payment processing: Similarly, payment processors present high fees and other challenges to CBD businesses. Slovik said Visa recently cut off all CBD businesses, leaving him capable of only accepting MasterCard and Discover for payments.В
  • Access to capital: Banks and other lenders are reluctant to fund CBD companies, viewing the industry as too risky without clear regulatory requirements. So far, the CBD industry has relied on bootstrapping, outside investors or alternative lenders to find the growth capital it needs.В

Each of these challenges will likely be cleared up as more concrete regulation appears, but in the meantime, CBD businesses must remain adaptable and well-informed. Changes in the industry come on a day-to-day basis, so preparing backup plans ahead of time could save you a great deal of time and money should the worst come to pass.

CBD is a huge business opportunity, if it’s approached correctly

The growth opportunity in the CBD industry is unparalleled. The cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing in the nation, and CBD is one of the quickest growing sectors of that industry. Especially following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp CBD products are proliferating at a fast rate. If you want to start a CBD business, you’re not alone.В

“This industry has been more or less illegal for the past century,” said Slovik. “At this point, there’s major, major momentum. Many people are trying to break in, so don’t follow the herd. You want to be a leader.”В

A combination of due diligence and creativity will set your business up for success in the CBD industry. Now is the time to get in on the ground floor and build a company that will last, but differentiate yourself with a quality product that stands out from the crowd.В

Additional reporting by Sammi Caramela. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

The CBD industry is experiencing booming growth. Here is how to start a CBD business and enter the industry.

CBD Marketing 101: Strategies for Sellers to Stand Out in a Sea of Green

Bethan Rose

Bethan Rose / 12 min read

GET THE FULL CBD GUIDE

Ready to learn how to navigate the legal gray areas of CBD? Download the complete guide to selling CBD online.

It’s not every day that a product manages to grasp the attention of a global consumer market within such a short space of time.

However, cannabidiol – or “CBD” as most people call it – has contributed to a surge of enthusiasm in the medical market. Perhaps one of the most frequently discussed cannabinoids, CBD controls an industry of its own and is on-track to harvest a generous $16.32 billion in the United States by 2026.

Demand for effective CBD marketing is on the rise and there is no wonder why.

So far, scientists have successfully isolated 113 of the leafy green plant’s active chemical compounds. Formerly, the cannabis community firmly focused its attention on the plant’s psychoactive constituent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) — but now, thanks to a swelling smorgasbord of scientific evidence pointing to the therapeutic potential of cannabis and hemp’s non-psychoactive chemical compound CBD, the market is constantly evolving.

CBD is enticing a diverse group of consumers from all ages — and even pets. If you are cashing in on the “Green Rush” and are wondering how to market CBD products effectively and legally, then you will need to use an effective strategy.

Before you kick-start an online business selling CBD oil and alternative products, understand the rules behind marketing CBD oil so you can align your business with statewide laws.

What is CBD?

A substance that does not induce feelings of psychoactivity, cannabidiol, or “CBD” as it is most commonly known, can be extracted from either the hemp or marijuana plants. The vast majority of products featured in CBD advertising strategies will be extracted from industrial hemp.

CBD falls into two main product segments:

  • food grade, and
  • therapeutic grade.

Based on a report by MarketWatch, therapeutic grade CBD constitutes the vast majority of market share, with this segment accounting for 59.90% of the market in 2018.

A Running History of CBD’s Legal Status

As more people start to learn about CBD’s non-psychoactive properties and discover that it could actually present consumers of all ages with an opportunity to amplify their health/wellness routines, minus the high, the Internet is becoming suffused with cannabinoid-rich content.

Before you start creating content for your CBD marketing campaign, take into account the following facts about CBD’s legal status:

1. Recently, legalization has swept across much of the U.S.

Up until a few years ago, marijuana and hemp were illegal across the entire United States on both the federal and state levels. However, public and political perception of marijuana is most certainly evolving. Thanks to a number of ballot and voter-approved initiatives, marijuana has been legalized in some form in a total of 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. However, it is still federally illegal.

While some states have legalized marijuana merely for medical purposes, others have gone as far as to legalize it on a recreational scale. Soaring demand for cannabis-containing products is putting pressure on businesses to properly navigate the complex patchwork of regulations associated with the nascent industry.

2. 2019: Farm Bill and FDA hearings.

In December of last year, President Donald Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill, PL 115-334) (the “2018 Farm Bill”) into effect, which removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and maintains FDA’s authority to regulate certain hemp-containing products.

Despite the fact that commercial hemp cultivation was legalized throughout the U.S. following the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, there has been much confusion regarding whether or not hemp-derived CBD products can legally be marketed and sold.

The FDA must treat hemp-derived CBD-containing products just like any other regulated product. However the agency has vowed to explore various regulatory pathways that will safeguard the health of patients and the general public.

3. Is CBD legal now?

Pay attention to reputable sources that publish the most recent updates regarding the legality of CBD in the U.S., such as this one. Obtain advice from an attorney. The cannabinoid’s legal status is dependent not only of federal law but also on the state in which you reside.

Why CBD Marketing is So Important

The CBD marketing craze is well and truly upon us. Everywhere you look online, whether it is in the form of a CBD-focused advert that grasps your attention on Facebook, a search engine optimized CBD advertising campaign that points to an online store via Google, or a captivating Instagram story with a ‘Swipe-up’ link directing visitors to a website, the surge in CBD marketing is hard to ignore.

1. Finding new customers.

According to a study conducted by High Yield Insights, approximately 40% of U.S. consumers aged 21 and above claim that they would consider trying CBD. This figure will grow and so, finding customers by tapping into the power of CBD marketing is essential. Customers want your help and so, you need to be the one to give it to them!

2. Differentiating your brand.

The CBD space is well and truly bursting at the seams, with more companies being established on a daily basis.

This does not mean that you should give up on your dreams of earning money with CBD marketing but rather, learn how to stand out and differentiate your brand from the rest. This is possible by providing your audience with constant education.

Engage with your audience by creating compelling video content, carry out industry surveys and don’t be afraid to show consumers how they can benefit from your services. You might also consider focusing on a particular niche.

3. Retaining customers.

CBD marketing can help you attract recurring customers. Affiliate marketing is a great way of building high retention rates, but only the big brands tend to attract affiliates, proving the importance of building brand awareness.

Featuring legitimate customer testimonials on your website that make statements in compliance with all laws will boost your reputation and keep customers returning for more. Send out newsletters, offer discounts for recurring customers and encourage them to invite a friend in return for a free product if you want to achieve better overall engagement and increase the likelihood of customers returning.

Conducting surveys will make you aware of customer needs/wants and will alert you about areas where you might be failing to satisfy customers. You may also want to focus on problem-solving, providing ongoing support and of course, staying in touch with your customer base!

What Can’t You Say With CBD Advertising?

While it might be tempting to boast about CBD’s medicinal properties to the whole world via online CBD marketing, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve of this. Avoid the following to sidestep potential repercussions.

1. Health and Medical claims.

You might have read claims online hailing CBD as a miracle cannabinoid that can be used to combat a wide scope of medical conditions, diseases and ailments, such as epilepsy, cancer, arthritis, insomnia and chronic pain. It is imperative that you hold off on making any health or medical claims.

The FDA certainly does not approve of this and will take your marketing campaign offline before you can say “CBD!”.

“Deceptive marketing of unproven treatments raises significant public health concerns, as it may keep some patients from accessing appropriate, recognized therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases,” reads an official statement from the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

2. Untested assumptions.

Although it is possible to spotlight the potential medical benefits of integrating CBD into a daily health and wellness routine, it is not possible to legally advise customers about treating their specific medical condition, disease or ailment with CBD. Only a doctor can do this, so don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because you read it somewhere, it is true.

Every single thing you say (including consumer reviews, testimonials, social media posts, marketing, and claims made on any forum where the consumer may see the product) when trying to lure in buyers with an online CBD marketing campaign must be backed up by reputable sources and cited where/when necessary. Claims must always be substantiated, credible and authentic and avoid making disease or health claims. Anything that cannot be proven simply cannot be used in your marketing material, so just remember this.

3. Anything that has not been approved by the FDA.

According to the FDA, all CBD products must comply with the applicable laws, including the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). The FDA has taken the position that it is not lawful to add CBD to food, dietary supplements, and pet foods.

This rule applies, even if the product is defined as containing the hemp plant. Because of this, you must practice caution when conducting CBD marketing efforts. For example, cannabinoids cannot currently be sold as dietary supplements, nor can they be added to FDA-approved ingredients and sold legally.

CBD Advertising Restrictions in 2019

Despite being legalized following President Donald Trump’s signing of the 2018 Farm Bill in December 2018, advertising options are currently limited. The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and was integrated into the 2018 United States Farm Bill, which was effectuated in December 2018.

When the federal government changes its stance on marijuana, likely so too will the rules for CBD advertising change. Until this time, entrepreneurs with online stores are limited to marketing their product and raising brand awareness through referral marketing and content creation. Unfortunately for ‘cannapreneurs’, Google and Facebook – two of the world’s dominating ad-buying platforms – have not yet permitted advertising for marijuana-derived CBD, but hemp-derived CBD products are now being considered.

Make yourself aware of the following CBD advertising restrictions in 2019 to avoid potential pitfalls:

1. Facebook.

You cannot advertise cannabis-derived CBD on Facebook. Then again, if your focus is primarily the hemp-derived product, you’re in luck.

As of June 26, 2019, Facebook announced it would be lifting its ban on CBD products, meaning that advertisers can now publish ads promoting topical hemp products via the social networking platform.

The great thing about this is that advertisers have the privilege of including a direct link to a landing page, from which consumers can promote products and link directly to their website. However, this is subject to change and may not last forever; Facebook has always forbidden CBD ads due to the cannabis plant’s illegal status and previously, CBD-focused ads were blocked outright.

2. Google Ads (Adwords).

If you decide to run a Google AdWords advertisement promoting CBD products, you run the risk of your ad being taken down and will possibly be penalized from publishing future advertisements, even if they are not CBD marketing ads.

On a more positive note, Google recently asked a number of companies in the CBD space to participate in a trial run for CBD advertising on its platform. The results are yet to be revealed.

3. Twitter.

Unfortunately for CBD marketers, you won’t be able to run ads on Twitter.

Why, you ask? Because Twitter does not permit advertising for illicit substances, not to mention herbal drugs, thus eliminating CBD completely. This is not to say that you have to stop using Twitter for marketing efforts however, since this platform’s advertisement policy is only applicable for products that are being promoted by means of paid advertising.

Examples of some effective ways in which you can reap the rewards of Twitter include posting information about new products and linking back to your website, publishing informative and relevant information that will be well-received by the cannabis community, as well as building brand awareness with frequent posting and engagement.

Refrain from making any health or disease claims about CBD, because this could cost you your account and possible FDA enforcement.

4. Instagram.

The policies put into place by Instagram regarding CBD advertising are fairly similar to the rules laid out by Twitter. However, Instagram users are not penalized as often as Twitter users when advertising CBD oil and related products, since Instagram does not seem to monitor CBD marketing quite as much as Twitter does. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket with Instagram; the app can permanently shut down your account if you try to specifically sell a product. Instead, focus on educating your audience by linking back to your blog or resharing content from other CBD-focused Instagram pages.

Stay on top of your Instagram game by posting exciting and relevant images that reflect your CBD marketing campaign and brand. You can also use Instagram to publish videos. What’s more, the social media platform enables users with a business profile to include direct web links via the ‘Story’ feature, as well as on their profile bio.

The Key to Marketing a CBD Company: Brand.

CBD might just be a cannabinoid, but it’s not just any old cannabinoid. This unique naturally-occurring chemical compound has victoriously leaped over hurdles that skeptics once thought were impossible to overcome.

It has successfully broken through barriers and filtered its way into the mainstream market, where branding is critical for staying afloat.

6 Strategies to Market CBD Online

Estimated retail sales of CBD consumer products could reach $16 billion by the year 2025. This is according to industry analysts from Cowen Research. Tapping into this consumer market requires a great deal of diligence, consistency and patience. By marketing hemp-derived CBD effectively with the following methods, you can master the art of learning how to sell CBD online.

1. Focus on SEO.

Perhaps one of the most organic ways to build your brand on the Internet is by paying close attention to search engine optimization, better known as SEO. Although this method can be somewhat difficult to execute, the cost is usually a lot lower than it is for alternative methods of advertising. Hiring an SEO expert to help is often the best way to ensure your money and time are well spent. Additionally, you need not fret about breaking the CBD marketing rules. However, please be aware SEO “key words” will be considered as marketing and advertising materials if the FDA is investigating any health or disease claims. Practicing proper SEO will ensure that you are seen as a trusted thought leader in the nascent industry and will enable web visitors to find your site based on what they are searching online.

2. Grow content.

Content creation can fit in seamlessly with your SEO plan, due to the fact that SEO focuses on the implementation of suitable high-volume keywords and phrases throughout blog posts, articles, product descriptions and web content. Get in the habit of sharing your content on social media platforms and watch the traffic grow! Carefully curated content will bolster your credibility as an authoritative and influential leader in the CBD industry.

3. Attend trade shows.

Word of mouth marketing has always been (and continues to be) one of the most powerful forms of marketing. Consider attending industry trade shows for an opportunity to meet with other industry players face-to-face, as well as to assess the competition. Not only this, but at trade shows like World CBD Expo and the CBD Expo Tour, you can also demonstrate what your brand has to offer and get people on your side. By doing so, there’s a possibility of attracting a new audience and potentially, investment for your CBD advertising strategy.

4. Build an affiliate network.

Affiliate marketers are valuable people who can help to inform the world about your product, without you having to lift a finger. According to industry data, affiliate marketing expenditure will inflate by 10% over the next few years. Worth a whopping $12 billion, affiliate marketing accounts for 15% of all digital media revenue and back in 2017, web users clicked on affiliate marketing links over five billion times! If that wasn’t enough to blow your mind, consider the fact that global affiliate marketing transactions surpassed $170 million during the same year! Some trusted affiliate networks include ShareASale, CannAffiliate and Clickbank.

5. Use influencer marketing.

Aim to include as many marketing tactics in your CBD campaign as possible. The more diverse your marketing campaign, the better the chance of attracting your target market and turning over a rather healthy profit from CBD marketing. Influencer marketing is a fantastic way of doing this and it is one of the fastest-growing segments in the marketing world today, with 17% of companies claiming to spend more than half of their marketing budget on influencers. This year, 65% of influencer marketing budgets are predicted to inflate. Of course, an influencer that is compensated in any way must follow FTC guidelines and conspicuously disclose their connection to the brand being promoted.

6. Utilize email marketing.

Another marketing method that should not be ignored is email marketing. Although this is one of the oldest forms of online marketing, it maintains its efficacy at attracting customers from all corners and all walks of life. Sending coupons and deals to your existing newsletter subscribers/customers is a fantastic way to get the word out about products and improve customer relationships and retention.

Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open

The nascent CBD industry may present you, the marketer, with some challenges; regulators are still smoothing things out. Nonetheless, the results can be incredibly rewarding if you learn to stay abreast of federal, state, and local laws pertaining to hemp-derived CBD marketing and selling CBD-containing products online. Focus on the following:

1. CBD legal changes.

It’s no secret that cannabis consumption is becoming normalized. More than 94 million people in the U.S. have admitted to using it at least once and with legislation spreading like wildfire, this figure is increasing by the day. Nonetheless, hemp-derived CBD marketing poses some challenges due to market volatility. Often, this is triggered by the hazy status surrounding CBD legality. Local, state and federal laws are shifting constantly, so stay alert.

2. Advertising restrictions.

The information contained in this article is accurate at the time of writing. However, information pertaining to CBD advertising and marketing is subject to change, depending on whether or not advertisers decide to amend their rules in the foreseeable future.

3. Cannabis news.

Remember to pay close attention to any news about the cannabis space, both marijuana and hemp, since there’s a good chance it will have an impact on CBD. Some of the best cannabis news resources include:

Subscribe to RSS feeds and email newsletters – just as a customer would do on your website/blog/online store, once it is up and running – so as to ensure you never miss a trick.

What Advertisers Need To Do Next

For newbie marketers who want to capitalize on the profit potential associated with the CBD market, there are certain steps worth taking to get one step ahead of the competition. Some of the best CBD oil marketing strategies include:

1. Keyword research.

Before a customer lands on the homepage for your online CBD store, they will have typed a keyword or query relating to the product they want into a search engine like Google.

Be the website that Google ranks on the first page by conducting proper keyword research! You can integrate keywords into titles, meta tags, picture descriptions, video descriptions and more.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

With your chosen keywords and phrases, integrate them into an SEO-optimized site that is targeted to your niche market. Submit your website to directories, create meta tags and always include strategically-placed search phrases on pages for the maximum return on your SEO-optimized CBD marketing strategy.

3. Content marketing.

Whether you decide to outsource your content marketing to an expert in the industry – this is a highly recommended time-saving strategy that ensures quality content and rules out plagiarism – or write the content yourself, you should not ignore the potential of curating keyword-friendly, informative content that keeps people returning for more.

4. Link building.

The link-building marketing technique never gets old. Guest posting on authority sites in return for a link back to your website will enable your site to climb higher on the search engine rankings. In addition to getting inbound links, don’t forget to create outbound links from your website/blog that point to authority sites in the cannabis and hemp markets if you want to attract extra traffic.

Please note, linked content can be considered part of your advertising materials. Linking to articles, scientific studies, and testimonials does not shield or remove you from the claims that are made on the linked content. Commercial use of scientific publications to promote the product’s sale, including simple references to scientific studies or general research, discussing potential health benefits may still be considered to be drug claims made about the product.

5. Analytics.

There is nothing quite as motivating as monitoring your progress with a CBD marketing campaign and noticing that the results are improving as time progresses.

Various types of software can be utilized to view site analytics, including:

Attitudes about cannabis are changing on a global scale and by getting in at the ground floor now with CBD marketing, you can establish yourself as a well-respected brand before the market gets overly saturated. Feed your industry knowledge by reading the news on a daily basis. This will enable you to make a mark on the industry at large, as well as establish trust and loyalty among your customer base.

Conclusion

In spite of the fact that the major social networking platforms do not currently allow CBD advertising, there are ways to sidestep this predicament. Combined, social media and content marketing provides the perfect opportunity for CBD marketers to educate their audience and build brand awareness, without using aggressive selling techniques that could get your account banned.

For the best chance of success at making money from the “Green Rush”, perform adequate research prior to launching a CBD marketing campaign to better understand the limitations associated with the CBD industry, federally, in each state, and online. Ahead of your brand launch, make sure all claims you make are authentic, substantiated and are accompanied by credible scientific support.

This material does not constitute legal, professional or financial advice and BigCommerce disclaims any liability with respect to this material. Please consult your attorney or professional advisor on specific legal, professional or financial matters.

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Advertising CBD and hemp products has many nuances. Learn creative CBD marketing strategies and how to navigate these nuances.