As more states are legalizing marijuana, 4/20 has become Black Friday, the Super Bowl and July 4th rolled into one for every category of cannabis brands. It has huge potential for sales, but there’s also significant competition. So how do you build a campaign to stand out?
Play by the books
Regulations for CBD marketing are notoriously tricky, and the worst-case scenario would be to spend the time and resources creating a campaign, only to have it blocked from the get-go.
Most everybody knows that Google does not support CBD ads. A good workaround is to devote real time and energy to content and organic SEO, getting creative, specific and detailed about your product to help you stand out. Don’t restrict this content to your website alone – leverage it over email, on social, and through native ads.
CBD advertising on social media is still somewhat of a wild west. Though Facebook/Instagram technically allows CBD marketing, meeting their standards for compliance can feel like finding a needle in a haystack, or hitting the bull’s eye on a constantly moving target. On top of that, the stakes are high: a rejected campaign could risk the entire page.
Of the social platforms, Snapchat has proved the most reliable in terms of compliance and performance. Because Snapchat users (like CBD consumers) skew young, it’s very important to ensure that the campaign is only targeting 18+ audiences. Further, note that a product must be 0% THC to comply with Snapchat regulations, and no promotions, sweepstakes, testimonials, endorsements, lenses or filters are currently allowed.
Most importantly, CBD marketing campaigns can leverage programmatic advertising, which is one of the most effective avenues for targeting and converting consumers. Success with programmatic will depend on the strength of your audience data.
Broadly, any paid CBD ads you create should follow these guidelines to stay compliant and avoid barriers to success:
● Stick to tinctures, topicals, bath bombs and other non-ingestibles. If possible, avoid advertising infused foods and drinks, supplements, gummies, etc.
● Like alcohol, do not show consumption in advertising
● Make sure there is evidence to support your product’s health or medical claims. On site content is important for the long-term growth of your brand, but compliance to key.
Choose your audience wisely
For small businesses and those coming late to the 4/20 marketing game, audience targeting will be the make or break. Few have the budget to compete with big brands on all fronts. Instead, focus your resources on the consumers who are most likely to convert.
This means approaching your campaign like a data scientist. Dig into your existing data and identify your most reliable customers, the highest spenders, and the promising newcomers. Fill out these profiles as much as possible, including not just contact information and age but browsing history, time spent on your site, and other available data points. These core audiences are your best bet in terms of 4/20 conversions, and the more information you have, the more effectively you will be able to target them and their lookalikes.
While retargeting is often what drives the final sale, make space in your campaign for prospecting as well. It’s among these broader audiences that you’ll identify and retarget a new wave of loyal shoppers. For CBD, high performing prospecting audiences include those interested in alternative health, pain management, and nighttime aids. Pet health products are also a rapidly emerging category for CBD shoppers.
Prospecting will help you lay the foundation this year for an even stronger 4/20 in 2022. In the months to come, log new visitors’ activity and build detailed and segmented lists to help bring them back again and again. Building CRM and email lists for remarketing can also enhance your long term success and maximize lifetime value (LTV).
Create strategic messaging and promotions
Finding the right audiences for your 4/20 campaign is just half the battle. You will be competing with numerous other brands targeting these same consumers, so the ads themselves need to stand out.
There are two key ways to go about this: creative personalization, and smart promotions. For personalization, this is where your audience segmentation will really count. The more specific and tailored experience you are able to create, the better your campaign will perform.
Likewise, different promotions work best for different options. Review your past trends and study what has worked best. For many audiences a price discount will be the most appealing, but options such as free shipping, loyalty points, and free gifts can also be highlighted effectively based on the users and their preferences.
As you build and target audiences, there will inevitably be trial and error. But as long as this work is grounded in data, takes a creative approach, and prioritizes compliance, there is nowhere to build but up for 4/20 and beyond.