Following the 2018 Farm Bill, the CBD market exploded. What was previously a niche part of some alternative medicine practices has exploded into an industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
If you’re one of the thousands of businesses trying to break into the CBD market, it’s essential to have a bit of internet marketing know-how to help get your name out there. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to offer you an introduction to some of the most common and potentially lucrative ways to promote your CBD business online.
An additional challenge facing CBD businesses is that CBD still cannot be advertised on some traditional platforms. For example, most Cost Per Click mediums like Google Ads or Facebook/Instagram ads don’t allow CBD related content.
Therefore, it’s vital for CBD businesses to know how to leverage their own websites and social media platforms to command attention and get new business.
This article is intended to just give you a brief introduction to some of these marketing techniques. Armed with this knowledge, we encourage you to go on and do some of your own research to really figure out how to hone these techniques to your advantage!
Your Own Website
Having your own website is one of the most powerful internet marketing tools available. Not only does it provide you with an interactive advertisement for your business, it can also:
- Let customers order through a web store
- Let customers get in touch with you directly
- Bring its own traffic with Search Engine Optimized pages
You probably know a bit about the first two already — those are the fundamentals of doing business online.
But the third point might be something you’re less familiar with. Let’s take a look at just what it means to have a Search Engine Optimized Website.
Technical SEO Details
On the technical side of SEO, you need to make sure your site can be easily read by the algorithms used by Google and other search engines to “crawl” the web. These “crawlers” are automated programs which browse the web looking for content and automatically catalog and rank it for inclusion in search results.
Here are a few basic pieces of technical information which are the cornerstone of any cannabis SEO project:
- Use SEO Friendly URLs: Your URL is one of the most important parts of your site for SEO. Make sure you are using nice, concise URLs which highlight the most important keywords on your page.
- Use Meta Titles and Descriptions: Hidden “under the hood” in every page’s HTML are what are known as meta tags. These let you tell the web crawlers in a few words what your page is about. Leverage them to include the proper keywords and make sure you use accurate, descriptive titles.
- Use HTTPS: HTTPS is an encryption standard necessary on the modern web. It makes use of what is known as an “SSL” certificate to let the user know they have a secure connection to your website. Converting your URL from regular HTTP to HTTPS used to be an optional task, but modern search engines consider it a necessity. To avoid your page being labeled “unsecure” and potentially dropping (or being excluded) from search rankings, be sure to implement HTTPS.
- Optimize Your Images: Web crawlers can’t “see” images, but they can see the information associated with them. Everytime an image is used on a web page, it has a file name and an “alt” tag. Optimize these to use relevant keywords and provide an accurate description of the image in the “alt” tag. This lets the search engine “read” your image, even if it can’t see it!
- Use Rich Snippets: If you ever perform a search on Google and see some extra information under the results like a star rating, a business address, or information about the author, you’re looking at a “Rich Snippet.” Implementing rich snippets to your website gives web crawlers more information about your page and who created it, which they can choose to display in the search results. This can improve your search ranking as well as make your search results stand out more on the page.
- Optimize for speed: How quickly your page loads is an important factor for search ranking. It also affects how users use — or don’t use! — your website. A slow loading website is likely to be ranked poorly in results. User’s have little patience for a slow website and are likely to navigate away if the page doesn’t appear in a timely fashion. Try to make your site as lean as possible by using a limited number of images, videos, and leverage techniques like browser caching to make sure everything loads as quickly as possible.
- Build Backlinks: Each time another website links to your website, it counts as a sort of “vote” for the quality of your content in the eyes of a search engine. By getting other high quality websites to link to yours, you have the potential to increase your search ranking. Try to get as many backlinks from high quality websites as possible.
Create SEO Content
One vital aspect for attracting visitors is having quality long-form content on your website. The most common way to create this content is in the form of a blog.
By creating a blog which covers relevant topics, you have the opportunity to populate your site with useful content which has the potential to show up in Google search results. This content should be informative and helpful, appealing to your potential customers by answering questions and providing information they might be searching for.
There are two keys to creating good content which can rank well on Google:
- Do Keyword Research: Use tools like Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords which are already being searched for, then create content focused on these keywords. You can also use an in-depth research tool such as SEMRush or ahrefs.
- Write Long-form Content: Writing long posts (2,000+ words,) allows you to naturally utilize important keywords while creating useful and informative content. This type of useful long-form content is much more likely to rank on Google and has the potential to be shared by your customers, creating steady streams of organic traffic to your website.
Social Media Marketing
Every business should engage with social media as part of their online marketing strategy. With literally billions of users tuned in to social media platforms, this is a massive audience which is not to be missed.
For all of these platforms, it all starts with your own profile. Build a strong profile which includes an in depth description of your business along with all the relevant links to your website and other social media platforms.
Each social media platform has a slightly different approach required to effectively market. Here’s some basic tips for the most important platforms:
Instagram is one of the largest social media platforms on the internet. As an image based platform, it relies on having strong visual content and few words. Building an Instagram following can be extremely lucrative.
Here’s a few need to know points:
- Use Hashtags: Always use relevant hashtags like #cbd #wellness #cbdoil — etc. Anything that potential users interested in CBD might be searching for!
- Tag relevant profiles: Use the @ feature to tag other profiles relevant to your posts, especially big Instagram accounts. This can help cross-pollinate your content and improve engagement.
- Engage in discussion: Engaging in discussion both on your own profile and the profiles of large Instagram accounts is vital for bringing in new users and showing your followers that you are active and engaged with their questions and concerns.
Twitter is an absolutely massive social media power house. It is primarily based on “Tweets” which can be up to 280 characters of text, but can also feature images and videos.
Twitter is all about short, clever text messages. Getting one good Tweet which is re-Tweeted by larger profiles can be a true home run for promoting your business.
- Be Witty: Your Tweets need to make the most of their 280 characters. Get creative!
- Engage, engage, engage: Twitter is all about talking to people in short bursts. Tweet at major profiles, reply to all of the comments on your Twitter, and frequently use the @ function to tag other major profiles and get the discussion flowing.
- Use strong Calls to Action (CTAs): Include a strong CTA with your message, like “Act NOW!” or “Tag other CBD fans!” to encourage your followers to spread the word.
Facebook remains the largest social media platform on the web. It doesn’t have a particular focus on one type of content, so it relies on a strong blend of images, text, and videos.
To optimize your Facebook feed:
- Post Good Content: Facebook is an excellent place to post articles from your blog or from other relevant blogs. It doesn’t rely as strongly on original content as other social media platforms, so don’t be afraid to Share other page’s posts or find intriguing CBD related links to pad your profile with.
- Leverage Groups: Facebook has a “Groups” feature which lets you engage with communities built around a certain topic. Being active in these groups is a great way to get new users to find your page. Look for CBD related groups, health and wellness groups, and anything else relevant to your business.
- Connect with other pages: Be sure to Like other pages and post regularly in their comment section. This not only acts as a form of advertising, but can also build real, long-lasting business connections.
Try it All!
Don’t skimp on any of these methods. To truly compete in the online CBD space, you’ll need all of them!
Your website should be the first focus of your advertising efforts. Then work to build out your presence on various social media platforms.
Never stop doing your homework! Staying up to date on the latest trends is vital for keeping an edge on the competition and getting the most out of online marketing.
Best of luck out there!