Six ways CBD brands, companies and products can reach consumers in-spite of the social media advertising bans.
If you are a manufacturer, brand, or product marketer in the CBD sector, of course, you’re considering using both organic and paid Social Media advertising campaigns to get the word out to consumers and investors.
But there’s a problem! Of the 4 major networks, only LinkedIn allows advertising for CBD products. And that isn’t exactly the first network you think of for retail advertising.
The reason for the ban is that, despite a push for legalization across the country, marijuana is still classified federally as a Schedule 1 drug. Despite possessing none of the elements of marijuana – most notably THC – that get people high, CBD (Cannabidiol) remains illegal
In their own words, here’s what Facebook has to say about its CBD advertising ban :
“Ads must not constitute, facilitate, or promote illegal products, services or activities. Ads targeted to minors must not promote products, services, or content that are inappropriate, illegal, or unsafe, or that exploit, mislead, or exert undue pressure on the age groups targeted.” “Ads must not promote the sale or use of illegal or recreational drugs.”
“Avoid using images of either recreational or medical marijuana.”
Googles Adwords ban on CBD advertising simply includes CBD as a line item under “Unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements.”
What many people don’t know, apparently including the internet giants, is that Hemp-derived CBD is federally legal.
What Is The Future of CBD Advertising?
As you may be aware, (Federally) illegal drugs aren’t the only things you can’t advertise on Facebook. You can add alcohol, tobacco, “unsafe supplements”, adult content, and more, to the banned list
However, whereas the overall list is only likely to grow, there’s a reason for optimism regarding the future of CBD advertising. This is both due to hemp’s legal status and the continuing push across political party lines, to make at least medical marijuana legal federally.
Of course, though, nobody can predict when this loosening will occur. So what can you do to publicize your wares in the meantime?
Here Are Six Ways CBD Companies Can and Are Reaching Consumers
Social Media Advertising Under the Radar
Christie Strong, marketing communications manager for Kiva Confections, told Digiday that CBD companies could spread their message organically through accounts connected through social media influencers and celebrities.
However, social media platforms are starting to crack down on influencers. Cannabis influencer Bess Byers aka @iamcannabess was shut down on Instagram twice in one month.
Other companies use branded content, which means cannabis-related content can be shared on social media if the article or video is editorial and not solely promotional.
Mike Schwarz, CMO of greenRush, told Digiday that it’s possible to create content that is sufficiently generic enough to not trip Facebook’s algorithms.
“It’s about creating content that appeals to cannabis consumers, without explicitly offering them weed to purchase. You can target cannabis consumers; you can brand to them. You just can’t directly solicit their business.”
2. Third Party Rented Email Lists and Sponsored Email Advertising
Similar to the approach mentioned above regarding hiring social media influencers, CBD companies can reach consumers directly via their email inbox buying advertising in the form of rented email lists and sponsored email advertising from publishers with email lists with as many as six hundred thousand or more consumer subscribers.
The USA offers marketers wanting to reach this market almost endless compliant ways to achieve this with email marketing, direct mail, and telemarketing.
One example of reaching consumers with a brand's CBD marketing message is to look at the various use cases.
While the natural health industry cannot make medical claims, consumers who use natural products often speak of the benefits they receive. In the USA, several publishers with large consumer databases and email lists can segment their email lists by consumers with specific Ailments; Anxiety, Epilepsy, Chronic Pain, Diabetes, Insomnia.
In addition, several Doctors, Health & Wellness, and Natural health practitioners also publish daily, weekly, and monthly emails for their subscribers.
CBD advertisers who want to reach these consumers directly can do so, by having these publishers send the information and marketing materials to their subscribers' email.
3. Search Engine Optimization
Since the majority of sales revenue comes from online purchases, CBD companies focus on search engine optimization aimed at visibility in search engine results (SERPs).
Chad Reiling of Dixie Brands which sells hemp CBD products is using standard SEO practices to get its CBD brands websites to appear at the top of the search results page using relative keywords and phrases.
4. Networking With Doctors
Some CBD companies also rely on networking with doctors who are willing to educate patients about the merits of CBD products.
Bo Shirley, COO of NuLeaf says building a network of doctors has been very helpful:
“Building a network of doctors has been really helpful. If we hear from a patient that they’ve been referred to us by their doctor, we’ll reach out to that doctor and provide answers to any questions they have. They’re just as curious as their patients.”
5. Going Old School – Word of Mouth
CBD companies also rely on traditional marketing streams like word of mouth.
NuLeaf, a company based in Colorado, hosts booths at events like the Boulder Creek Festival and Boulder Farmers Market. This gives them the opportunity to directly engage with consumers.
6. Create Compelling Content
In addition to CBD products, people are also looking for expertise and connection. CBD companies are building authority and driving traffic to their websites by providing compelling and useful content and pairing that up with a strong SEO strategy.
This article from Green Entrepreneur is a great example of CBD Content Marketing
Certainly, if this is the route you choose to go, this article would be a standard to aspire to.
The most scalable tactics with the fastest ROI would be for CBD brands and products to pay publishers to send to their permission-based email list.
- The second tactic to consider is hiring specific select influencers that support natural health and CBD products who have a demonstrated ability to convert followers and drive traffic to their advertisers.
- Both of these tactics are simple pay to play model.
- Choose your target audience, the number of consumers you want to reach, set up and run your advertising campaign.
- Track your results, adjust, refine, scale, rinse and repeat.
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Doug Morneau is an Author, Speaker, Podcaster, and Media Buyer – specializing in Email List Rental & Sponsored Email.
His first book “THREE BIG LIES – The Real Truth About Renting Email Lists to Generate Targeted Leads and Sales” became an International Best Seller.
As a podcaster, Doug currently hosts the “Real Marketing Real Fast” Podcast. He interviews top marketers, industry experts, and SAS vendors.
He works as a Media Buyer, he has helped venture capital and investment banker clients raise in excess of $100 million dollars in the USA. He does this by leveraging email marketing, renting/sponsoring third-party permission-based email lists, online PPC advertising, and paid influencer marketing.
This made him one of the nation's largest media buyers of sponsored email and rented email lists.
In his spare time, you can find him in the CrossFit box, Olympic weightlifting, and chasing his grandsons around.
You can get more information about his best selling book.