Getting started with your own CBD products? The legalization of CBD in the US, Canada, and parts of Europe over the past years has created a surge in demand and enormous industry growth. Customer demand for CBD is high, but so is the competition. With hundreds of brands and products already in the market, it is easy for new CBD brands to get lost in the mix. But by following these 5 steps, you can ensure that your CBD products rise above the crowd.
1. Understand What’s Legal, What Isn’t
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. It is often used therapeutically for anti-inflammation, pain relief, cancer treatment, and anxiety relief. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, the production, sale, and consumption of CBD products became fully legal across the country, as long as they have less than 0.03% THC content, the psychoactive compound of cannabis that remains illegal federally.
Although CBD has been legalized at the federal level it is not federally regulated, so many states have taken regulation of its production and sale into their own hands. You need to be aware of your state’s stance before selling your CBD products. For example, in Iowa, only patients who qualify for a medical marijuana card are able to purchase and consume CBD. In Idaho, only CBD products with absolutely zero THC are permitted.
Whatever state you hope to sell in, remember that although there are no specific regulations around CBD federally, the FDA still prohibits companies from making health claims not backed by research. Avoid marketing CBD as a “cure”, as there can be legal consequences.
2. Partner With a White-Label Producer
CBD businesses with the greatest chance of success work with white-label labs rather than self-producing their product line. This approach will give you immediate access to lab-tested, top-quality products without investing in manufacturing or procuring your own product sources. This keeps startup costs low, and you are far more likely to provide consistent quality, purity, and potency in your products right out of the gate.
Pick a supplier carefully, they are not all equal. Because of the lack of standardized regulations across the country, the CBD industry can be something of a Wild West. Avoid the get-rich-quick producers that are not rigorously testing their products for safety and purity. Before deciding on a partner, take the time to understand their lab tests, product information, and pricing.
3. Find your CBD Niche
The market for CBD products is filling up fast. It’s not enough to be a generalist and slap a logo on every CBD product under the sun. You need to specialize: in the products you offer, your brand alignment, or both. Ways to specialize and stand out include:
- Product Focus: Consider dedicating yourself to a specific product category like oils, tinctures, creams, or edibles.
- Find a niche for your brand positioning: What customer values do you want to appeal to? This could be a focus on sustainable and organic ingredients, health and wellness, science-based products, or sports performance.
- Develop your brand story: Why you, why your blend, what makes it different? Communicate what makes you stand out. Examples of a brand focus and ways to differentiate your products could be:
- American Made/Buy Local
- Special Blends unique to your brand
- Potency and quality
- High end/luxury cosmetics
4. Develop your Sales Strategy
There are multiple ways to go about selling CBD depending on what your goal is:
- You can go full DIY and create your own online solutions to sell your products. This can give you more control of messaging, branding, and content, but starting your own marketplace will take a significant investment in technology and marketing to launch and generate traffic and sales. You also need to know which ecommerce solutions are CBD friendly and which ones you’ll be banned from using due to their policies before you start.
- The alternative is to get your products listed on an existing marketplace, like Alphagreen, a CBD-specific marketplace. Larger, generalized ecommerce sites like Amazon are also an option. The challenge with relying on a third party marketplace is that it’s very hard to differentiate and establish your own brand, or to sell a high volume of product. However, this can be a good option if you’re trying to dip your toes in the water without committing the time and money necessary to build out an independent ecommerce solution.
Physical Retail Stores: CBD products are often sold in brick and mortar locations like health food and supplement stores, alternative treatment clinics, gyms, and doctor’s offices that are looking to add retail to their practice and supplement their income. To sell your CBD products you can:
- Make your own store. CBD products are small so you can lease a small space or try a farmer’s market or local craft market. This is great for building your brand but requires additional investments in real estate, staffing, merchandising, and visuals.
- Get in someone else’s store. While many people aspire to get into well-known chains in a city, like Whole Foods, it can be difficult to get in front of a local store’s buyer and especially to differentiate your product. Unless you have something that is not on the shelf and their customers are asking for, you have a slim chance of getting in there. Instead opt for local stores like crafts, clothing, beauty salons, independent grocers, cafes, or other types of local shops that best fit with your brand. You’ll be more likely to chat with the owner about your products and do a test run for a month.
5. Marketing Your CBD Line
To stand out in a hyper-competitive market, your marketing needs to be top-notch. You know your products are the best, but you need to put in the work so your potential customers know as well. This includes:
- Branding and product design that resonates: Putting in the time for market research and developing buyer personas helps you understand and better target your ideal customers, which will pay long-term dividends. Align your branding, business colors, name, and packaging with the needs and desires of your customers.
- Digital marketing: The web is awash with CBD brands. Strong SEO, web design, paid media, social media, and content marketing strategies are not just “nice to haves”. For competitive markets like CBD and cannabis, your digital marketing is essential to building a memorable brand, establishing strong sales, and gaining loyal customers.
Need help putting together a winning marketing strategy for your CBD line? Get in touch with us today!