A Journey Of Entrepenurship In The CBD Oil Industry

I don’t have to say it – entrepreneurship is hard. Scratch that, it’s really hard!

You’re trying to build a business which until recently didn’t exist while fighting your demons which give you a reason to doubt your success. 

Sound familiar?

Yup, if you’ve built something before you know what I’m talking about. 

CBD

In any industry, it’s an uphill struggle to conceive an idea and then bring it to market. But, when you’re talking about the CBD oil industry, there are unique struggles you need to contend with and somehow resolve.

We asked Ahmed Mir, the founder of Nature and Bloom CBD UK, for his thoughts on the subject. This is what he had to say:

CBD is not new 

Before we dive into the industry, it’s essential to highlight CBD isn’t something which has been recently discovered. CBD stands for Cannabidiol, a compound found in hemp, a plant which has grown for millennia.

Sure, CBD oil has only recently been adopted by the masses, but it’s been a part of plant-based medicine for centuries. 

The CBD industry is in the midst of a revolution

Usually, when entrepreneurs bring a product to market, they look for the most economical route to market. 

For digitally native brands, this tactic often begins with leveraging the power of paid ads. Using the reach of industry leaders such as Google or Facebook to build an audience and then use retargeting tools along with lookalike audiences to scale the ads on Facebook. Sometimes, this is also supplemented with listings on Amazon to increase reach on autopilot through their FBA program.

Unfortunately, if you’re in the CBD industry, these strategies are not available to you. Google and Facebook both have exclusions in place for paid advertising when it comes to anything associated with CBD. Cannabidiol is also explicitly banned when it comes to Amazon. 

How come?

Well, that’s the million-dollar (probably billion actually) question. But, the crux of it is that while CBD is legal in most jurisdictions, there is significant ambiguity around quality control as the products are sold as dietary supplements.

Supplements are not subject to the same rigour of testing which pharmaceutical drugs are. Consequently, bad actors have been able to quickly jump into the market and deceive consumers through products which are not fit for resale.

You can’t blame these huge tech companies from taking a conservative outlook on the whole thing, even though in the short term they could rake it in via increased ad spend.

Strategies to market CBD 

As a result of these constraints, many business owners struggle to get their CBD business off the ground. 

Regardless of if you go to the effort of sourcing a high-quality product range, ensuring its safety and stability, if you don’t have potential customers to sell to you’re screwed.

Instead of sitting and weeping over the advertising policies for which you have no control, you need to consider the tools available at your disposal.

My three favourite approaches include:

Influencer marketing

Connect with micro-influencers who have an engaged audience in your niche, offer to gift them your product(s) in return for an Instagram story or post. 

You’ll be surprised to see the power of genuine referrals to an audience who is already familiar with your type of products. This approach will also build your organic social reach so that you can market to them for free via organic posts later. 

Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is where you optimize your website for search engines and users. In short, you do this by building out content which people resonate with and promote the article(s) to get other sites to link to you.

For this to work, you need to carry out keyword research and figure out topics which are niche relevant and that you can rank for and then create that content.

Your content needs to answer the search intent. Otherwise, users will bounce from your page never to be seen again, and Google will demote you for not being relevant. 

It’s important to realize that while SEO can trigger swarms of qualified traffic without paying for Google Ads, it takes time to work.

Give yourself 6-9 months before you complain that it doesn’t work and make sure you educate yourself on what SEO is before hiring an agency or doing it yourself.

Email Marketing 

Email marketing is the jewel in the crown and offers the highest ROI of all digital marketing methods. It’s also wholly controllable by you without the need to pay anyone else.

It helps you capture customers who got to check out but for one reason or another abandoned before making the payment (it’s common, and it sucks). In addition, you can email your subscribers with offers to tempt them to buy again and improve overall engagement. 

The latter is where you can make some serious money but first things first, you need to build an email list! 

How?

Create a lead magnet (offer something for free in exchange for an email). This could be something as simple as x% off their first order with you! 

Once you’ve started building a list, you need to actually email them too! You might laugh, but it’s common for people to do all the work of capturing new subscribers to let them sit idle.

Summary

Being a CBD entrepreneur isn’t easy, but if you want to live life on your own terms and build a business, it’s never going to be easy.

Give yourself time and be consistent in your approach. Remember it might take some time to perfect these methods and that overnight success is rarely a thing!

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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