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CBD Marketing Changes: Don't Leave Your Customers in the Dust

Every savvy business owner knows the importance of a loyal customer base. CBD products are no different! The CBD industry as a whole has struggled with customer retention and building brand loyalty. With new regulations expected before the end of 2020, business owners need to work now to make sure they have their messaging straight to communicate with their target audiences. In today's Move the Stairs Friday Chat, our team shares our best strategies for you to keep your audience in the loop during a time of industry change.

Remember, we've included a free downloadable 1-sheet at the bottom of this post that will give you an Insider Media Relations™ strategy for tracking the latest updates in your industry as they happen!

If you'd like to watch the conversation, you can see the whole thing here:

Communicating change to your CBD target audience

There are a number of CBD rulings and laws being considered at the federal level and all signs are pointing toward decisions coming by the end of the year. Everything from labeling to dietary supplement designations are on the table.

As rulings come down, you will need to act quickly in not only product compliance but also in your PR and marketing plan. Talking to your customers and clients about why you are making changes is a great opportunity to exhibit your knowledge and expertise in the industry.

Being clear to your target audience is one of the keys to demonstrating you are on top of the newest information. This builds your credibility and thought leadership which is key in brand protection and in building your business.

According to a July Brightfield Research report, 51% of Millennials said they are increasing their CBD use. That's up from 48% in March. This group is also most likely to use CBD to deal with anxiety issues surrounding COVID.

The question for you is whether this general research is applicable to your specific target market. Who is buying your products? Craft your messaging to speak to your current buyers. While they may or may not be Millenials, knowing who is most likely to buy from you offers you the chance to expand your customer base.

How? Let’s look at Millennials. If I am looking to get my brand's message across to a Millennial audience, I am likely going to focus my social media campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. If given the opportunity to use traditional media, I would target morning and early afternoon news shows. I may also look at parenting magazines/websites. If I am talking to a Millennial father, my first choice would be Twitter and sports radio.

Be mindful of your distribution methods. Are you a local retailer or do you convert all of your sales online? Geographically target an area where your customers live. Think about their lifestyle, what they care about and what causes they support.

Knowing your audience is fundamental in educating your consumers about your product and how changes at the federal level may impact the familiarity of their favorite brand. This is brand protection at its core!

Strategies to consider ahead of potential CBD changes

Great, you understand who your target audience is. Remember to communicate these changes to them, not at them. How?

  • Consider writing out a Q&A sheet. It's a great way to think through a conversation by writing to your ideal customer and directly addressing their needs.

  • Talk to your customers: Be direct! Ask them why they use CBD. Write their answers out verbatim. The key to communicating industry jargon to them is speaking in a language they understand and resonates with them.

Be detailed! Federal regulations on labeling can be a big deal, especially for your marketing purposes. Some people will buy a product because of the labeling or packaging alone. How does your ideal customer feel about the possibility of CBD potentially being listed as a dietary supplement? What does the term "dietary supplement" mean to them? These are great introductory questions to get a productive conversation going.

If you can, with permission, record the conversation. Market research is important ahead of these proposed changes. How will the federal changes impact your consumer? Chances are they won't know how to answer that explicitly. Instead, do they have a loved one who they think would benefit from CBD but is resistant to use it because they aren't sure how safe it is? What information can you provide to answer their questions? Where do they usually go to get their CBD questions answered? How would they like to be updated?

Getting candid answers from your loyal customer will help you in crafting your brand's message about new federal guidelines as they become official. Speaking their language, using their words and descriptors in blog posts, social media copy and media interviews will help you speak directly to your target audience.

Facebook? Instagram? Traditional media? Where to reach your ideal customers

Whether they know it not or not, these federal changes will impact your customer base. What platforms are available to reach them?

Specific groups primarily get their information from different outlets. If you've taken the time to determine who your target audience is and understand the CBD information they want to know but don't know where they are digesting their news from, you may be wasting your time!

When it comes to CBD regulations, you want your loyal customers to see you as a thought leader. This is someone who is a loud and respected industry voice, whether that's locally or nationally. This is an opportunity for you to educate the public on how the regulations are providing guidance that may help answer questions about dosage, uses, or how CBD can increase their quality of life.

New laws and regulations offer you, what we call in the biz a "news hook." It's an impactful news story that you can offer your expertise to local media, podcasts, and bloggers. This is a great way to establish yourself as the credible CBD thought leader, build your business and protect your brand.

Once the story airs, you can then share the interview across platforms you know your audience is spending time or pitch those platforms with your expertise.

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