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Cannabis Marketing: 5 things every Hemp Company Should Do.

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Marketing is the key to sales.  And without sales, a company will not be successful.  Cannabis companies face much harder challenges because the ability to do paid advertising is very limited.  So, how do you market CBD products?  The answer is not a simple answer where just one type of marketing works.  There are several and all must be done at the same time on a regular basis to really take advantage of them.  Read on to learn about these 5 marketing strategies and why their synergy is so important. 

Why is marketing so challenging for CBD companies?

Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon, and eBay do not allow any sort of paid advertising on their platforms.  Without paid ads, you must rely on things like SEO which takes time.  Growing your business organically is especially challenging for CBD companies.  Because the marketing tactics are limited, that means the available marketing strategies are highly competitive. 

What's the end goal?

The goal of these 5 marketing strategies is to:

 

  • Provide an Amzing Customer Experience

  • Generate Website Traffic

  • Rank on the 1st page of Google

  • Grow Customer Base

  • Improve Brand Awareness

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So, what’s the secret to a successful CBD ecommerce business?

With what I know now, if I could go back in time to 2016 when I first joined the cannabis space, I would do things differently.  I would follow this article like it was the bible.  These 5 specific marketing tasks, some of which take time, should all start from day one and be done on a consistent basis.  Here are the 5 things every CBD company should do, how and when to do them, and why they are important and relative to each other.  Success is just hard work and an article away.  Read on to learn the optimal marketing plan for CBD companies. 

5 Marketing Strategies for CBD Companies that Work

It should be noted that you must do all of these for this to work.  There is synergy through each of these activities that has exponential benefits to the others.

BEST NEW WEBSITE

#1. Quality Website

The importance of having a quality website when you are first starting a CBD company cannot be overstated. A website is more than just an online presence; it is the foundation from which your business will grow and become successful. It is essential to have a website that looks professional, communicates clearly, and functions properly. This is especially true for CBD companies as customers may not be familiar with cannabis products and look to your company’s website to find detailed product information. 

For those who are just beginning their journey into the world of CBD, investing in a quality website with strong branding and good user experience should be at the top of their priority list. Your website should accurately convey your brand’s message and values, provide customers with easy access to product information, allow them to make purchases securely, and be optimized for both desktop computers as well as mobile devices. Additionally, providing educational content such as blog posts and videos can help inform potential customers while also helping to build trust in your brand.

 

Anatomy of a Successful CBD Ecommerce Website

A quality ecommerce CBD Shop requires Premium Ecommerce Hosting, a customizable website builder, widely used shopping cart, a cannabis theme, a robust page builder, sales-converting plugins for added features, integrated marketing tools, on-site SEO, a responsive design for desktop/tablet/mobile viewing, speed optimization, time-saving automation, and features like a customer review system, an affiliate program, dynamic pricing, google analytics, lead-capturing forms, banners, popups, order notifications, abandoned cart emails, and a chat bot.

 

Premium Ecommerce Hosting

There’s no better hosting solution overall for ecommerce websites than Siteground.  They offer a managed-hosting service for a reasonable price packed with a ton of included features such as:

  • Free WordPress and WooCommerce installation
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Unlimited Emails
  • Managed IP Address Reputation Monitoring
  • Spam Protection
  • Free CDN (Content Delivery Network)
  • Free Site Optimization Plugin (Minification, Caching, Image Optimization)
  • Free Security Plugin
  • Managed PHP Version Updates
  • Staging Environments
  • Daily Backups
  • Free Site Migration
  • Subdomains for Weekly Newsletter Emailing

There are 3 hosting packages.  We recommend you Buy the Siteground Grow Big Hosting Package to start out.  As you grow you can increase that. 

 

Customizable website builder

There is no CMS (Content Management System), or Website Builder, in the world more widely used and customizable than WordPress.  Over 30 million people use WordPress covering over 40% of all live websites.  WordPress is the most customizable CMS platform in the world through WordPress Plugins. 

IMPORTANT:  DO NOT USE WORDPRESS.COM TO BUILD YOUR WEBSITE.  INSTEAD, USE A SELF HOSTED COPY OF WORDPRESS ON YOUR SITEGROUND HOSTING ACCOUNT.  YOU CANNOT BUILD AN ECOMMERCE CBD SITE USING WORDPRESS.COM.  SETUP IS EASY THROUGH SITEGROUND.  WITH ONE CLICK, YOU’LL HAVE A COPY OF WORDPRESS INSTALLED ON YOUR SERVER.  YOU’LL NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT YOUR SITE BEING SHUT DOWN.

 

Shopping Cart

If you decide to use WordPress, then the best shopping cart option is WooCommerce.  It’s a free plugin that adds a shopping cart and checkout to your WordPress installation.  It’s the most widely used shopping cart in the world.

IMPORTANT:  DO NOT USE WOOCOMMERCE.COM TO BUILD YOUR WEBSITE.  INSTEAD, USE A SELF HOSTED COPY OF WORDPRESS ON YOUR SITEGROUND HOSTING ACCOUNT AND INSTALL THE WOOCOMMERCE PLUGIN.    SETUP IS EASY THROUGH SITEGROUND.  WITH ONE CLICK, YOU’LL HAVE A COPY OF WORDPRESS AND WOOCOMMERCE INSTALLED ON YOUR SERVER.  YOU’LL NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT YOUR SITE BEING SHUT DOWN.

 

WordPress Theme

The theme is a general style of a website.  Some themes even come with sample pages, images, and other features already included.  Some themes even come with their own page builder where you can add text blocks, image blocks, charts, graphs, videos, and more.  The most robust page builder in the world right now is called Elementor.  If you decide to use Elementor, I’d strongly recommend using theme made for Elementor called “Hello Elementor”.  It’s a free theme that gives you a blank slate which you can customize however you like.    

 

Robust page builder

Elementor is the most robust page builder in the world currently.  It comes packed with so many features that it cuts down the number of plugins you need in half.  Elementor also has a special feature which is something called Templates.  Elementor Templates can be imported which are premade websites.  You can build an entire site’s pages in less than an hour with these premade templates.  Below are several Cannabis Elementor Templates.

 

WordPress Plugins

Plugins are little bundles of code that can do everything from creating a customer review system to discounted pricing.  In fact, WooCommerce, which acts as a shopping cart, is a WordPress Plugin.

 

Integrated marketing tools

Having your entire marketing suite integrated into the back end of your WordPress dashboard is the way to go.  Do all your marketing from the same dashboard where you check orders and add content.  WordPress Plugins like The Newsletter Plugin and WP SMS are great plugins to start out with.

 

On-site SEO

A great website is structured correctly so Google can understand it and rank you accordingly.  This is accomplished using good On-Site SEO practices.  Accomplishing this early on can offer long-term benefits when done correctly. This includes optimizing page titles, meta descriptions, ALT tags on images that contain relevant keywords that are targeted towards users who are searching for these types of products/services online. Quality web design not only improves customer engagement but also helps ensure that your website turns up in search engine results pages (SERPs) when people search for related topics.

 

Responsive design

Your website needs to have different configurations for proper viewing on a desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.  About half of all website traffic will come from mobile devices.  Responsive mobile viewing is imperative to ecommerce success.

 

Speed Optimization

One of the factors google considers when ranking a website is its loading time.  How long does it take for a page to load.  If it takes too long, then most users will simply click out and try another site.  Therefore, it is important to perform speed optimization on every page.  This can be done by minifying and combining CSS, JavaScript, and HTML as well as optimizing all the images on the page to appropriate sizes and adding a lazy load feature where images load just before they are needed to reduce the data needed on the initial page load.

Caching and a CDN will also enhance this performance.  Both of these take copies of the site and store them in nearby servers or the customers browser for a quick load time.

 

Time-saving automation

Automating common tasks when running a business ensures they are done correctly and cuts down on unnecessary labor.  Using services such as Zapier and social media syndication for new posts is a must when planning a successful ecommerce business.

 

Customer review system

Reviews are one of the most important parts of any business.  It has become customary to check a company review before making any purchase.   Using a 3rd party verified review system such as CusRev increases a brand’s reputation further.  Set up your review system to automatically send requests about a week after the customer’s order is shipped.  This allows time for them to try the product.  Have them review your website, the sales and fulfillment process, as well as the individual products using a 5-star rating system with comments.  Manually approve these comments to avoid any medical claims in them.  Those with medical claims in them you can edit prior to approving.  Upon approval, have your web developer set them up to automatically show up in the applicable places such as the shop page and individual product pages.

 

Affiliate program

Affiliate marketing can be one of the most beneficial marketing tools on a website.  An affiliate program pays individual marketers, or “affiliates”, to refer to a business for a commission in the form of cash or store credit.  These referrals are tracked with an individualized code placed at the end of the URL and a cookie placed in the referral customer’s browser.  Let other professional marketers work for you with an affiliate program.

 

Dynamic pricing

Dynamic pricing can set customized discounts automatically based on the rules you set.  These may include bulk purchase discounts, wholesale pricing, and a set percentage off for certain holidays.

 

Google Analytics & Search Console

Knowing everything about your target audience is key.  Combine that with which keywords your pages are ranking for, and you can intelligently run your business by focusing SEO and marketing efforts to your top performing product and keywords. 

 

Weekly Newsletters

Email subscriptions are an effective way to send updates about your business directly to your customer’s inboxes. You can also use email subscriptions to send out promotional offers or discounts on products and services. This will help you build customer loyalty while also increasing sales.  But, how do you get their emails?

 

Lead-capturing forms

Lead capturing forms are a perfect way to capture a potential customer’s email.  Add them to a subscriber list marketing to them weekly to build your customer base.  You may also want to offer something for free in return for their email address.

 

Order notifications

When someone checks out, they expect to receive a confirmation email and an SMS notification.  This makes them feel secure about their online transaction and builds trust between company and customer.

 

Abandoned cart emails

“You left something in your cart.”  This type of email gets customers back to the checkout by sending them a reminder email and providing a convenient way to get back to your site.  Some companies even include a small coupon to entice them to do so.

 

Chat bot

Let your customers get in touch with you in real time.  This will boost your conversion rate.  Using a chat bot can also provide them with instant preprogrammed answers. 

 

On-site SEO

A great website is structured correctly so Google can understand it and rank you accordingly.  This is accomplished using good On-Site SEO practices.  Accomplishing this early on can offer long-term benefits when done correctly. This includes optimizing page titles, meta descriptions, ALT tags on images that contain relevant keywords that are targeted towards users who are searching for these types of products online. Quality web design not only improves customer engagement but also helps ensure that your website turns up in search engine results pages (SERPs) when people search for related topics.

VINTAGE TYPEWRITER ON YELLOW BACKGROUND

#2. Weekly Blog Posts

Content is King, and New Content is even better.  Content marketing is an often overlooked but critical aspect of any successful digital marketing strategy.  This is especially true for hemp and CBD companies. Creating valuable content about topics related to hemp and CBD can not only help attract potential customers but also build trust in your brand over time as people begin to recognize it as a source of reliable information about these topics. A well-crafted content strategy can go a long way towards helping you establish yourself as an authority in the industry.  

New Blog Posts should be hand crafted at least once per week, but on a consistent basis.  Every blog post should include these things:

  • Engaging Title
  • At least 1000 words
  • Images, Videos, and Infographics
  • Meta Title and Description targeting long-tail keywords
  • Link to Other Posts
  • Include Products for Sale
  • Allow Comments (but monitor them)
NEWSLETTER PRINTED ON A PIECE OF PAPER TORN OFF WITH BLUE BACKGROUND

#3. Weekly Newsletters & SMS Messages

Content is King, and New Content is even better.  Content marketing is an often overlooked but critical aspect of any successful digital marketing strategy.  This is especially true for hemp and CBD companies. Creating valuable content about topics related to hemp and CBD can not only help attract potential customers but also build trust in your brand over time as people begin to recognize it as a source of reliable information about these topics. A well-crafted content strategy can go a long way towards helping you establish yourself as an authority in the industry.  

New Blog Posts should be hand crafted at least once per week, but on a consistent basis.  Every blog post should include these things:

  • Engaging Title
  • At least 1000 words
  • Used Images, Videos, and Infographics
  • Meta Title and Description targeting long-tail keywords
  • Link to Other Posts
  • Include Products for Sale
  • Allow Comments (but monitor them)
  • Weekly Newsletters & SMS Messages

 

Email and SMS marketing are still one of the most powerful ways to reach potential customers with your message, even if they’re not currently engaged with your brand on social media or other channels. Building an email list is an essential step for any business looking to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace and using your existing customer list to send SMS messages is key.  Target specific segments of your audience with personalized messages tailored specifically for them.  This will increase engagement rates significantly over blindly emailing purchased lists.

Set up an email list and use it regularly to send out newsletters, promotions, and other pertinent information about your business. You can even segment your list based on different criteria such as location or purchase history to ensure that customers are receiving relevant information about offerings tailored just for them!

What should I include in a Weekly Newsletter?

  • Include New Blog Posts
  • Eye-catching Images
  • 50% of the space should be filled with text that excludes “spam keywords”
  • Links to Products
  • A Weekly Coupon
  • Short Company Bio
  • Contact Information

The Newsletter Plugin

The Newsletter Plugin is a WordPress plugin that integrates into the WordPress Admin Dashboard so you can send weekly newsletters without leaving your dashboard.  The plugin is free.  However, it’s recommended to buy the premium version of the plugin which requires a yearly license.  There are no monthly fees like there are in services like MailChimp. 

SMS Companies

Be cautious when choosing an SMS company to use.  Twilio, for example, is the largest but does not allow CBD companies to use them.  I recommend looking into a plugin called WP SMS which can integrate with a service called Plivo. 

Be consistent

Consistency is the key.  If you’re going to write one blog article, send a newsletter, and send an SMS message every week, do it.  Do not skip weeks.  This improves both your brand reputation and customer loyalty.  It also trains customers to look out every Friday, for example, for your weekly newsletter and weekly coupon.

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#4. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important things that any business can do to ensure its online presence. But it’s especially true in the cannabis space, where it can be difficult to get visibility without using traditional advertising platforms like Google and Facebook. By optimizing your website and content with keywords, you can improve your search rankings and make sure potential customers find you when they need you. 

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization and is a useful tool when it comes to driving organic traffic to your website from search engines like Google or Bing. Make sure you research keywords related to your industry and incorporate them into content you create for your website or blog posts. This will help ensure that people searching for terms related to what you have will find you easily in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Content remains king when it comes to cannabis marketing. Platforms like YouTube, Google My Business Pages, Pinterest, and Reddit are all great places to post content such as blog posts and videos about your business or industry news. This will help you reach potential customers who may not be aware of your company yet.

What is an Anchor Text?

An anchor text is a word or group of words that, when clicked, links to another web page.  Google views anchor texts as telling them what the linking page is about. 

Can you do SEO yourself?

Yes, you can.  It is a time intensive process but can easily be done with a good content writer.  It’s more important to focus on quality backlinks from established reputable sites than the quantity of backlinks from low reputable sites.  Quality beats Quantity every time.

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#5. Paid Advertising

Although you can’t do paid advertising on Google if you own a cannabis or CBD company, there are two places you still can: Taboola and Outbrain.  Both Taboola and Outbrain are programmatic native advertising platforms. 

 

What is Native Advertising?

Have you ever been reading a blog on your mobile phone about one topic, then you get to the end of the article and there are blog posts that look like they are part of the same website, but they are about topics that don’t totally fit?  

This is native advertising.  It’s ads that don’t look like ads placed in places that look natural and part of the website you’re already reading.

What is Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic Ads use artificial intelligence to learn who your target audience is.  They start by showing your ad to everyone.  Then learn what type of demographic and psychographics click most on your ads.  And then they target just those audiences, doing the learning for you.  This optimizes your ad campaigns so you can target niche groups and maximize your conversion rates

Example Of Native Ads

native ads example
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Taboola & Outbrain

Both Taboola and Outbrain are Native Ads and utilize programmatic learning.

Bringing it all together

It’s time to bring it all together.  Why do I need to do all these things?  To understand that let’s look at what Google looks for to Rank on Page one for a high traffic keyword.  There are 4 very important areas that all rely on one another.  And without one of them, you will surely not be as successful as you could have. 

  1. How does Google View Your Website?

    1. Website Structure and Performance – Google must be able to read your website and understand what it is about.
  2. How does the Internet View Your Website

    1. Google looks at Backlinks and Anchor Texts for this. Are other people writing about your website and linking back to it?  If so, what words are included in the anchor texts, and do they match the page they link to?
  3. Is the Customer Experience Good?

    1. What happens when someone clicks on an anchor text that says, “Buy Hemp Oil”. Does it take them to a product page selling hemp oil?  When the customer gets there, do they spend time reading about it, add a product to the cart, and check out.  Or do they land on a page about skin care and immediately click out of the page.  Customer interaction when they land on your website is one of the most important things to consider because it tells google if human people agree with the bots that scanned your website.
  4. Is the website stagnant or is it updated regularly and growing with new and fresh content?

    1. Stagnant websites do not rank as good as websites that are updated regularly. Think about it.  Does google want to send people to a site with outdated information or new, fresh, relevant information?

 

How does this tie into the 5 Must-do marketing Strategies?

Great Question? 

To rank on google, you must have a Quality Website, Backlinks from around the internet, and Good Customer Interaction when they get there. 

You can build a great website, but without driving traffic to your site through Backlinks or Paid Ads driving traffic to your site, Google will never be able to see if there is good interaction when they get there and thus, never rank your site organically on the first page.

Ranking organically is the goal.  And it will never happen on google until they have seen how people interact with your site, which is why you need advertising such as Taboola and Outbrain.

Conclusion

When it comes to starting a CBD company, having a quality website should be the foundation of your business. A website serves as your digital shop window and gives potential customers their first impression of your brand. Having a well-designed website that conveys professionalism and trustworthiness helps to create a positive experience for users, leading to increased engagement, customer loyalty and ultimately sales. Investing time and money into creating a well-designed website for your CBD company is critical for setting up its success down the road. With a good strategy in place and proper execution it can bring exposure to your brand through organic search traffic that only quality websites convert into sales.  This will be the best investment your business makes.

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