Marketing your product is the process of taking potential customers on a journey; every time they notice or interact with your brand, they take another step towards making a purchase. To make your voice heard in a crowded market, like CBD, you need to use more than one of the marketing tools at your disposal.
The journey starts with brand awareness, then develops into interest and trust, before your potential customer feels desire and finally takes action – a purchase. Ideally, you want them to move through this journey (also known as a ‘sales funnel’) as quickly as possible. Different marketing approaches are more effective at each step of this journey, which is why you need to try more than one channel to ensure those throngs of potential customers stick with you to the end. And if you do it successfully? The first purchase they make will become multiple purchases, followed by loyalty, positive reviews and recommendations. It’s the long game, but it’s worth playing.
“On average, multi-channel marketing and selling increases revenue by 38%, 120%, and 190% with each additional channel.” (Shopify, 2018)
You don’t have to use all of the platforms, and you certainly don’t need to use them all at the same time. Consider how your ongoing ‘business as usual’ approach could be complemented by short campaigns of activity.
Here are some of the main platforms to consider, and the steps of that journey they are traditionally most likely to enhance.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Having your brand name and products appear at the top of the search engine results is great for building awareness and trust. Optimising your webpages (and keeping them that way) doesn’t have to be an expensive job, so regardless of the other channels you choose, this is a wise place to start. Learn a little about SEO and give your knowledge (and website) an annual refresh as a minimum.
Quick SEO wins include using good meta titles and descriptions on your pages, using clear fonts (point size 10 and a good contrast with the background), using clear titles and subheadings with proper H1 and H2 headings, and creating pages or articles that focus on one specific topic at a time.
Social media is notoriously challenging for CBD business, but it can still be used in so many different ways. Ultimately it is a great way to not only build awareness and trust but to create a buzz around your product. This starts to hit the ‘desire’ element of effective marketing. The great thing about social media is that it doesn’t have to cost a penny. However, it is real-time, it can be fickle, the restrictions on CBD businesses can be frustrating, and there are varying layers of complexity depending on how deep down the rabbit hole you want to go.
Here are some ways you can make it work for you:
- Build a following for your business/product page on Facebook, so you can share updates and offers to an already engaged audience.
- Create a strong visual identity for your brand with regular Instagram posts that put your product on a pedestal.
- Get involved in conversations around related topics to showcase your industry knowledge on Twitter.
These platforms also become an easy way for you to interact with potential and existing customers. Quick, courteous and helpful responses will increase trust and make people want to continue to do business with you. It is, of course, possible to sell through social media platforms, but sales may not always be the right target for you; social could be a powerful addition to your website’s role as the sales hub.
The first steps are to work out where your customers are most likely to be found, what type of content they enjoy and interact with and what the first few weeks/months of high-value content you could create for them might look like. If you want to get serious with it, hire a social media manager. And always track and analyse engagement to find out what works best for you.
Display (banner) ads
Banner ads can be a particularly powerful short-term campaign tool, helping you get that new product or special offer into a potential customers head. A well-designed banner could capture the attention of someone who doesn’t know your brand, or it could help someone who is already ‘aware’ to develop ‘trust’ or ‘interest’.
The results of the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s 2018 survey of nearly 700 multichannel campaigns showed an average uplift in brand awareness of 21% for campaigns that included digital display advertising.
When your brand name is served in an eye-catching way on other webpages, it starts to stick in your audience’s mind. If they see it popping up repeatedly, your business will be the first to come to mind when they want to know more about the product and explore some options. And if someone has been teetering on the edge of making a purchase, banners offer that little nudge in the right direction (particularly if they include a limited-time offer). Wherever your audience is on their journey down the sales funnel, a well-timed display ad can be all it takes for them to progress to the next stage.
E-newsletters are a great way of keeping your brand name in the mind of interested people. Building up that initial (GDPR-adherent!) list of contacts takes time – hello, social media – but email is a great way to remind people how much they want your product.
Make the most of email by following a few simple rules:
- Stick to the same format (length and layout) once you find what works, as people prefer to open emails when they know what to expect.
- Always offer some value for free: a discount code, exclusive access to your new range, influencer interviews all help keep your open rate high.
- Use interesting snippets to get readers to click through for the full story on your website or social media platform, getting them out of their inbox and into your digital store.
Why doesn’t single-channel marketing work?
Think about it – your customers have a problem they need to solve. They might Google it; great, the search engine dishes up your well-optimised page. So, they have a potential solution to the problem; chances are, they’ll think about it a little longer… and in that time period, the product they are considering will stand out to them when it appears on a different platform, nudging them closer to a buying decision.
If your product only appears in those search engine results, you could be missing out. Your competition will undoubtedly be the ones serving up little hints, reminders and nudges on other channels, and clinching the sale.
If you don’t have an SEO-optimised website, but you have a brilliant and eye-catching Instagram presence, potential customers may be aware and interested – but they won’t trust you when they search for your product category and you’re not even on the first page of results.
And if you have both excellent social media and a well-optimised website, don’t let someone else’s banner or newsletter close the deal. For your business to benefit from the predictability of consumer behaviour, you have to be present for every stage of their journey.