You’ve officially set up your CBD business; you’ve got a name, a website, a brand identity, and the right directory listings. That just leaves one question: how do you let your potential customers know that you exist?
Standing out from all the other CBD startups out there can be quite a challenge, but here are some key strategies to help you make your name.
Know the difference between marijuana and CBD customers
While CBD rode into the US market on the back of medical marijuana, its potential market is actually much broader than the traditional pro-cannabis crowd.
I actually got a lesson in this before I’d even gotten into the business. In the small Appalachian city where I used to live, I had a white-haired co-worker who looked like a televangelist and acted like one too. If you were a customer with the slightest interest in Jesus, he was your man.
When I told him I was moving away to work with a CBD company, I thought I’d have to explain to him what CBD was, and feared that he might disapprove. But boy was I wrong.
“Oh yeah, CBD!” he said. “I know veterans who’ve really been helped by that. CBD is great for pain.”
That was my first clue that CBD could go over with people who’d typically shun intoxicants and/or anything associated with those darn hippies. And in fact, market research has supported that: the common thread among customers isn’t weed, it’s an increased interest in natural health products.
In order to reach the largest possible customer base, it’s best to downplay the marijuana connections and emphasize the possible health benefits. A lot of middle America doesn’t know the difference as well as my former co-worker, which just goes to show that knowledge truly is power.
Educate potential customers about CBD
Another thing that tends to happen when people find out that I work with a CBD company is that they have a lot of questions. Is it legal? Can it get you high? What exactly does it do?
For that reason, it’s crucial to spend a lot of time and web space covering the basics. Starting with CBD education that answers the most pressing questions is a great focal point. Building out a blog that both educates and informs about the growing CBD industry is another foolproof way to reach a specific demographic.
Pointing to scientific research on CBD helps to sort out the facts and lends authority to what you’re saying. The NIH has a vast online database of medical papers that you can search for CBD-related topics. The language is very technical, so it helps to have at least one person on staff who knows how to translate them for a more general audience.
Know what you can and can’t say
Although the 2018 Farm Bill legalized all hemp-derived CBD, the Food and Drug Administration could still spoil the party if you violate its strict standards regarding health claims.
Despite the research that’s been done on CBD, only substances that have been through the FDA’s approval process can be advertised to treat this or that specific medical condition. Even with thousands of studies available, the CBD industry is still in its infancy in terms of regulation and control.
Because it’s such a new category, any content created needs to be suggestive in nature, allowing customers to draw their own conclusions as to how CBD can benefit them.
You can talk about CBD supporting health and wellness, keeping the body in balance and that sort of thing, so long as you don’t refer to diseases. Presenting unbiased information and letting customers use it as tools for education is the safest way to ensure you’re not making any unsolicited claims.
Work with health sites
As mentioned earlier, CBD appeals to fans of natural and alternative medicine, so an excellent way to raise your profile is to advertise on sites related to that topic. If a site is into herbal remedies, yoga, organic food and/or meditation, it will probably have a readership that’s receptive to your alternative message.
Target sites dedicated to specific conditions that CBD can potentially help. Sites devoted to mental illness, weight loss, chronic pain, and the like, will often draw people looking for new options, especially if the traditional ones have failed them.
A lot of these sites are also open to guest posts on relevant topics. Consider writing for those platforms and fitting in a CBD angle that links back to your website. Every one of these sites is a little different in its requirements, so be sure to follow their directions to the letter.
It also makes logical sense to target specific pro-marijuana sites, since those also have a receptive readership. But even then, emphasize the difference between CBD and THC, without demonizing the latter.
Learn to speak google
If you’re not already a big name, the search engine is going to be one of the most critical ways that potential customers will find you. It’s crucial to understand what Google, in particular, is looking for when it ranks CBD-related search results.
Search engine optimization has been covered pretty thoroughly in other sections, so there’s little need to divulge those details here. But one point to emphasize is the importance of quality content. Google is long past the days where you could hack its algorithm just by putting in popular search terms a zillion times or overloading on links.
An excellent way to start is just to see what websites come up on top when you enter the desired search terms. That will show you the quality content and style that heeds the best results in terms of Google search ranking. Take that content, and make it even better!
With the kind of growth the CBD industry is expecting, there’s plenty of room for reputable companies to step in and get their hands on a piece of the CBD pie.
Born in New York and raised in northern California, Amy joined cbdMD as a writer for the cbdMD blog after spending 17 years as a business reporter in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, visiting museums, watching movies, and fantasizing that she’ll one day finish her novel.