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The Wild West (and some other states) of Hemp and CBD Marketing

 
Hemp and CBD Marketing
 

The more marijuana and hemp laws change, the more certain attitudes towards them stay the same. The more legal these products get, the more difficult it seems to market them. It’s understandable that advertising rules for marijuana mirror those of drugs such as alcohol and nicotine, but it makes almost no sense that CBD products, which have negligible psychoactive symptoms, is constrained by the same restraints as prescription and recreational drugs.

Companies specializing in hemp-based products are springing up all over the country, There are currently ten states plus Washington D.C., where they have fully legalized marijuana. Congress has introduced bi-partisan supported hemp legalization bills. This type of growth and acceptance shows us Hemp is a part of mainstream culture and a big business that’s here to stay.

Don’t believe us?

If you think the hemp boom materialized out of thin air, you may need to pull yourself out of 2010. In 2017, hemp-based products accounted for only $820 million in sales and revenue. While that sounds like a lot, and certainly more than could have been dreamed of back when hemp products barely topped $200 million in 2012, models predict that growth is only getting started. By 2022, Hemp Biz Journal estimates that hemp-based products will generate over 1.8 billion.

The hemp train is picking up steam, and that train has less smoke and more power than ever before.

CBD Hemp (Cannabidiol), the non-psychoactive extract that contains the health benefits of marijuana, continues to gain traction as a public health gift from Mother Earth. CBD is used to treat cancer, anxiety, loss of appetite, chronic pain, seizures, inflammation, and depression.

Despite its benefits and functional uses, stigmas remain. As the hemp market grows, companies continue to work to destigmatize CBD, distancing CBD from its recreational marijuana. More consumers, researchers, and politicians understand hemp isn’t marijuana.

So why can’t Facebook, and Instagram, and Twitter, and Google AdWords put down the hater-ade and get down with the hemp revolution?

Thanks in large part to the #FakeNews crackdown following the 2016 presidential elections, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have nearly stopped hemp products dead in their tracks. Facebook classifies CBD and hemp as marijuana products and herbal supplements that cannot make claims about how a product makes you “feel.”

Hemp, with its health and well-being benefits, is not #FakeNews. Meanwhile, millions of Americans can differentiate between marijuana, CBD, and hemp. But these are the conditions and restrictions hemp and CBD companies find themselves.

Enough of our personal gripes with Facebook. This is an article about education, trends, and lessons from experience. It is frustrating that Facebook will deactivate Ad Accounts and disallow future advertising if you try to skirt their policy on hemp. If you’ve wandered into the deep end of the hemp marketing world, you understand the frustration.

Like all companies that are selling products for wide consumption, hemp-based companies need to market to wider audiences in order to continue growing. Recently, we’ve detailed the effectiveness of social media marketing campaigns. The ability to advertise and market on social media is going to determine the haves from the have-nots in the next five years.

What do you do if you can’t advertise on Facebook and Instagram but still need to expand into the mainstream conscience?

 
 

Education

With paid advertising off the table, and posts getting flagged and removed for making medical or well-being claims, social media can be leveraged by providing educational content. Making eye-catching posts about new research findings and distinguishing Hemp CBD from THC-laden marijuana is an excellent first step.

What many CBD companies need is to able to target the people who are open-minded to hemp, but don’t know it’s an option because they don’t like the psychoactive effects of marijuana. For instance, the bill Congress is considering would legalize hemp products as long as their THC threshold is below 0.03% (well below the amount needed to feel high), much like non-alcoholic beer.  

People love to share new information with friends and family. The higher quality informational and educational resources that a company can disseminate, the more likely that those posts get shared between peer networks.

Remember, tip of tongue is tip of mind.

Lifestyle

The marijuana plant has been under consistent stigmatization for decades. Hemp, fairly or not, has been lumped in with its stoner counterpart. It’s not just in the way we think about hemp and pot; the federal government still classifies marijuana and hemp as Schedule I narcotics, the same classification as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. Crazy right?

The people already using CBD products do not link hemp with these other drugs. But for a growing business to thrive, the clients who are on the fence are the ones who need to be brought into the fold. An effective way to do this is present a healthy, natural lifestyle that is improved with CBD, like Enveed Hemp is trying to accomplish.

Email Blasts

There is a misconception out there that consumers tune out email marketing campaigns. Simply put, email marketing is the second most effective marketing channels, behind your website. Email marketing is far from dead; if you haven’t been utilizing email to engage your client base and build that base out, you’re late to the party in 2018.

Email marketing generates new business by engaging visitors to your website, reengages past customers, and deepens the relationships you have with your customers. Regardless of the industry, every opportunity to deepen relationships is a must for any company to thrive.

Build Authentic Relationships, not just a Database

I want to relay a conversation I had to highlight the importance of relationships and business. I recently interviewed one of the most successful real estate agents in Silicon Valley. She used to be a sales lead at a leading tech corporation, and grew frustrated that she kept losing sales and clients to an inferior client:

I actually had the better product in most cases, had the better presentation, and a better business case. But my competitor at the time was incredibly well-networked. I kept losing out because of the relationships that the competitors had with my customers. I lost several multimillion-dollar deals as a result.


Don’t miss out any opportunity to bond with potential clients and customers. Often, people buy because of emotional bonds created with a brand or personality.

Push boundaries

With so much of the regulations and policy regarding hemp and CBD in constant flux, there is a lot of gray areas. The advertising restrictions will change; we just don't know when. Take some risks. You may get shut out temporarily from one avenue. If you’re not failing sometimes, you’re not trying hard enough to succeed.


These are also opportunities to perfect digital marketing campaigns through free posting so that when paid advertising opens up (if ever), you’ll be primed to take advantage of the newest opportunities.