Hemp Marketing: Challenges + Solutions

Hemp Marketing basics

Marketing Hemp and CBD Products

Marketing your hemp/CBD products remains a major challenge in 2020. From payment processing to ad compliance, you have to walk a tightrope to get effective market penetration. In this post, we’ll briefly describe 5 CBD marketing challenges and the best strategies to overcome these hurdles.

Education

Even though CBD and hemp products have seen explosive growth, significant research indicating health benefits, and increased acceptance, the topic of CBD remains exceptionally confusing to the general public. Many people who misunderstand the subject think CBD and hemp are marijuana products, so it often carries stereotypes about marijuana lifestyles. Even though CBD is a hemp product and contains no THC, misunderstandings persist.

CBD education

Your solution:

  1. Be proactive. Lead every conversation or digital interaction with a brief, up-front clarification about your products. If some of your products contain a trace amount of THC, then provide an example of how minor its presence is within your product.
  2. Don’t alienate marijuana enthusiasts. Many of your prospects may already enjoy marijuana products, but they have other reasons to choose your CBD products. 

Your target audience

Defining your brand identity will help identify your target audience so you can create a customer or buyer persona. A buyer persona is a portrayal of your ideal customer.

3-4 buyer personas usually account for over 90% of a company’s sales.¹ 

Buyer personas provide important insights to guide your messaging. Hemp and CBD products are now sold to virtually every demographic, including the elderly. Understanding your customers through these personas is an essential step in building your go-to-market strategy.

Hemp and CBD marketing

Your solution:

  1.  Consider Clay Christensen’s brilliant “Jobs to be Done” framework. What are the big picture “jobs” that your prospects are trying to accomplish?
  2. Define 2-3 buyer personas that include demographic details such as age and income ranges. Define their pain points and their goals for solving them. For more info, read the Digital Marketing Institute’s excellent guide on building buyer personas.
  3. Carefully plan and build a brand identity that speaks to your key buyer personas. Consider hiring a spokesperson for each separate persona. This provides essential personalization that remedies the typical bland brand approach. 

Standing out from the crowd

One of your main brand goals should be to stand out from your competition by representing your products’ unique benefits. Do your products claim the exact same benefits as all the other major players in your space? Targeting a niche within the larger CBD/hemp space positions you to excel better than a generic brand play that sounds exactly like everybody else.

Hemp marketing

Your solution:

  1. Conduct a thorough competitor analysis using some of the great tools out there like the free Competitive Analysis Kit offered by HubSpot & Alexa.com
  2. Reach out to several of your best customers—your brand evangelists. Send these clients a small gift card, and ask them why they love your brand instead of Charlotte’s Web or one of the other industry giants.

After these steps, you’ll be ready to define a more unique value proposition that speaks to the specific pain points you’ve heard from your customers. 

Ad compliance

You wouldn’t know it’s 2020 by the dated policies of ad giants like Google, Facebook, and Instagram. Google lumps CBD into its “recreational drugs” category. The good news is that there are much better strategies that we cover in depth in our Ultimate CBD Marketing Guide.

Hemp ad disapproval

Your solution:

  1. If your budget is big enough, advertise with an industry pro like Leafly. See our Ultimate Guide for pricing details.
  2.  After you’ve got over 1,000 site visitors/month, build a remarketing campaign. Our free guide reveals the success this strategy can bring. 

Finding influencer support

It can take a lot of time and legwork to find and correspond with the influencers who will boost your sales. If your budget is large enough, consider using a more automated solution such as Pixlee or Octoly. 

“78% of influencers prefer Instagram over other platforms” ²

There are also excellent DIY tools such as BuzzSumo ($99/mo.+), Ninja Outreach ($299/mo.+), or Followerwonk for Twitter which has a decent “Target” plan ($29/mo.)

See our Ultimate Guide for more in-depth coverage of influencer marketing including the approximate rates you can expect to pay for micro-influencers, mid-level influencers, or macro-influencers.

Hemp influencer marketing

Your solution:

  1. Search for influencers who specifically address your buyer personas. Chelsea Krost describes 6 detailed buyer personas in her excellent course, “Influencer Marketing Foundations.”
  2. Search hashtags on Insta and the influencers who rank for them. 
  3. Search trending conversations and videos on Twitter & Insta.
  4. When you find influencers who match your criteria, follow, share, and like their content before sending them a DM.
  5. If you’re emailing potential influencers, use a catchy subject line and make a short, clear offer.
  6. Ask influencers for a media kit. Many influencers bundle posts into a package deal.
  7. Purchase influencer support for different social media channels to see which channel produces the best results. Don’t forget bloggers and vloggers!

Conclusion

Every industry has its challenges, and the hemp/CBD industry poses several unique ones. Despite these challenges, many entrants into the hemp and CBD market have seen great success from carefully defining their niche, buyer personas, and unique value propositions. With the CBD industry growing to an expected $16.3 billion by 2028, hundreds of competitors are seeking to take advantage of the “green gold rush.” Be sure to differentiate the value of your product offerings to stand out from the crowd. 

Want to learn more?

Read our FREE Ultimate CBD Marketing Guide for 2020

Follow us on Facebook, Insta, Twitter, or LinkedIn for weekly marketing motivation and proven strategies to grow your business. 

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All of us at Root Manifest would like to extend our heartfelt compassion for everyone affected by COVID-19. We include those who have dealt firsthand with the virus and the legions of courageous healthcare workers including our own family members.
 
Many of our friends and clients’ businesses have been deeply affected as well. For those of you who are struggling to find alternative ways of communicating and connecting with your current and prospective clients, we’ve compiled the following helpful resources.
 
Resources:
  • Here’s Forrester on Responding To Coronavirus: A Playbook For Marketing And Communications. “Providing transparent and ongoing communication is the hallmark of good crisis communications. The communications team needs to analyze the types of communication that will be needed to support a variety of scenarios.” and especially, ” Companies that fail to rise to the occasion or are late to respond may create uncertainty or damage the confidence they have built.” 
  • Here’s Klaviyo on How to Communicate With Empathy During the Coronavirus Crisis. This article includes lots of good suggestions for altering your existing communications for greater relevance. If you’re offering a discount, then “Highlight the ways you plan to give back, donate a portion of your proceeds to relief efforts, or help your community. For example, while Nuun talks about the benefits of their products, the main message of this email is that they’ll be sending free care packages to medical professionals to help keep them healthy”
We’ve seen a large number of exemplary companies rising to meet this unprecedented challenge. If applicable to your business, we encourage you to apply these resources, and please reach out to Root Manifest for additional insights and strategies for your organization.