Marketing Trends for 2020.

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5 Marketing Trends for 2020

As the new year is about to start and the time for new beginnings is coming, we are excited to share the marketing trends we think are important for you in 2020. We believe these trends are going to help you in getting more customers and selling your services or products. Our team has been observing and analyzing the industry throughout the entire year, and this report is going to be a demonstration of the most important aspects of marketing we have found in the last 12 months, which is crucial for your marketing strategy. 

1. The Best Ways to Attract Traffic to Your Website Are Through Voice Search, Position Zero, and Blogging 

We have decided to start our list with Voice Search. It shouldn’t be a surprise that voice search is becoming a more important tool in the lives of your customers. Do you know how many smart speakers like Google Home and Apple HomePod have been sold in 2019? According to a study by Statista, 35.2 million smart speakers were sold in 2019! Voice search is becoming more and more popular, as it is the most convenient way of searching that is available nowadays. In our fast-paced lives, people sometimes can’t find time to sit down and type search queries to get the desired results. With voice search, they don’t need to do more than simply ask a question. Additionally, users do not have to sift through pages to choose the most desirable result. Instead, the voice search gives an answer to a searcher. Uh oh, wait: But what about all the rest of the pages that we usually see on a regular search? What about them? Well, when it comes to voice search, there is only one most relevant answer pronounced, and it could possibly belong to you!

Source: bluecorona.com

What Is Position Zero (P0) 

Position Zero, also referred to as a featured snippet, is the result of a search that appears on the top of the results, below ads, if there are some, and above the list of webpages. Featured Snippet is an answer to a question the user searched for. For example, we have just searched for “How to exfoliate skin” and here is the result:

We got a step-by-step answer to our question, without even clicking any website. 

“We display featured snippets when our systems determine this format will help people more easily discover what they’re seeking, both from the description about the page and when they click on the link to read the page itself. They’re especially helpful for those on mobile or searching by voice.” – Says Google.

When your customers use voice search, their device is going to read the featured snippet and send a link to the result, so they can still access your website if they want to. List snippets, just like the one we got above, are becoming more famous on Google. MOZ found that “best” and “how-to” are more likely to have list snippets to provide a step-by-step answer to a question.

How to Optimize for Featured Snippets

Now that you want to rank for position zero (because honestly, who doesn’t want to?), you have to find out what the chances are of your web page ranking in position zero (P0). Not all queries have featured snippets. Google chooses the snippets by looking at the best available results and highlights the answer that will be the most helpful to people.

To analyze your chances for ranking in P0, you can use the Featured Snippets + Tool – it will help you find opportunities on your website.

Types of search terms which often return featured snippets are:

  • Financial
  • Mathematical
  • Time
  • Transitional
  • Status
  • Requirements
  • Health
  • DIY processes
  • “Best” lists
  • “Reviews” of products
  • Comparisons between 2+ items
  • Price/Cost breakdowns
  • Definitions for complex terms (an implied question)
  • How-To’s & Instructions
  • Answers to the 5 Ws (Who, What, When, Where, Why)

The types of searches which rarely return featured snippets are:

  • local
  • info/help
  • factual
  • shopping
  • images and videos

According to an analysis by SEMrush, the most common length of content in a featured snippet is 40-50 words, and that’s the length you should be targeting in your responses. If your content does not fit in the length of 40-50 words, then slice up your information by summarizing, creating a list or table for the response. That doesn’t mean that your web page should be only 40-50 words long. It means that you must answer the main question you’re addressing in 40-50 words, and then use the rest of the content to elaborate on your response.

Optimizing for Voice Search in 2020

Optimizing for voice search should be among your top priorities in 2020. According to statistics in 2019, more than 66 million Americans now own a smart speaker, and 50% of all searches will be by voice in 2020.

Optimizing for voice search might be different from optimizing for a regular search. The queries of regular and voice searches differ, and their results are different, too. With voice search, we tend to use longer sentences. With regular search, people tend to type just keywords like “exfoliate, skin, face,” but with voice search, they say “how-to exfoliate the face.” Why? Because they speak to a device. When speaking out loud, nobody is going to randomly throw some words at Google Home, because it would be unnatural. When people use voice search, the way they speak to their device is almost the same as they would ask a question to a human being. That is the reason why voice search queries tend to be longer than typed ones. When it comes to finding content, Google uses keywords to analyze results, amongst other factors. There are the main keywords and LSI keywords. Main Keyword can be “exfoliating skin,” while LSI Keywords can be “dead skin,” “acne,” “skincare,” “facial,” “peel,” “home-remedies,” and others. LSI Keywords are words associated with the main keywords and help Google understand the context of the page. Using LSI Keywords will help you rank for both voice and typed search queries.

Source: dot-design.co.uk

When it comes to keywords, there are short-tail and long-tail keywords. “How to exfoliate face” is a long-tail keyword. Long-tail keywords are very useful when it comes to voice search, as we have already discussed longer queries. Just like LSI Keywords, long-tail keywords help Search Engines like Google understand the intent of the page. According to research, the average length of a text search is between 1-3 words, while voice search is usually more than 7 words.

Source: monitorbacklinks.com

Make your website fast! Page speed affects all kinds of searches, and Google uses it as a ranking factor. Although your content is very important for ranking, you cannot rank for position zero, voice search, or regular search if your webpage takes forever to load. The faster your page loads, the more voice-enabled gadgets will like you. According to Backlinko, the average voice search result page loads in 4.6 seconds, and it is 52% faster than the average page.

Source: machmetrics.com

According to SEMrush, the maximum volume of the voice search request is constructed with “near me,” meaning people want to find places using voice search. To rank for “near me,” searches target local keywords. To pick the right local keywords, you will need to determine the most commonly used phrases that people use to find your business. Try to imagine if you were a customer: What would you be searching for to find the services or products you currently offer? Most importantly, don’t forget to have a Google MyBusiness page for your company.

Source: backlinko.com

How to Get More Traffic by Having a Blog

According to statistics, 77% of internet users read blogs regularly, 55% of marketers say blogging is their top inbound marketing priority.

By having a blog, you have control over the content you create, and you can utilize it in any way you want. Think of what is that you can write about, depending on the product and the services you offer to clients. If you are a company producing granola bars, write a blog about a healthy lifestyle, nutrition, energy food. When people see your content online and they read it, they are going to be wondering about your company. Many of the readers will want to know what it is that you produce, and you end up with more potential clients. Keep in mind that, if your granola bars are produced for gaining weight, before anyone buying it, people will be trying to solve the issue themselves. When they are ready to make a purchase, they are more likely to come back if the content you have offered to them was valuable. 

Source: Hubspot.com

Additionally, having a blog helps you rank on Search Engines. The content you are going to write will have relevant answers to more search queries than the website alone. The more search queries you rank, the more visitors you get. The more people visit your site, the more potential clients you have. Furthermore, the blog helps your website to be fresh. By continuously adding posts to your blog, Google is going to know the website is being updated. Google likes fresh content, and when there are no reasons for updating your homepage so often, the blog is a great place for new content. 

Although Google has never officially stated that it is a ranking factor, many SEO experts believe the time people spend on your website affects ranking. The more time users stay on your page, means the more relevant is the content to the search query. By offering them posts, users are going to stay longer to read the blog posts on your page. Remember how we talked about long-tail keywords? Well, how many possibilities are you going to have to target those on your page if you don’t have a blog? Blog posts can increase the number of long-tail keywords and rank for more queries. 

Google, among other factors, looks at how many pages link to your page to determine the relevancy of your content. Besides other websites pointing at yours, you can use internal links on your site. If you have a blog, your opportunities for directing users from one of your pages to another, rise, and it’s part of a successful SEO strategy. If you do have high-quality content on your blog, other pages will link to it and this is going to help your website perform better on search queries. 

And finally, by having a blog, you have direct communication with your audience. It is the space where, instead of selling your products, you are trying to solve the problems of hundreds of readers. With a successful beginning of your relationship with clients on your blog, you are more likely to do business with them in the future.

2. Have a Unified Message and Brand Identity Across All Platforms

We have seen companies and people who think they need to come up with different marketing strategies for different platforms, and we have to tell them: they cannot be more wrong. You create a marketing strategy for your company, not for the platforms you want to use for marketing. Your strategy should be the same for SEO, Social Media, Blogs, etc. Why? Well, because you cannot target different customers on different mediums. Imagine if you opened the Nike website and it says ‘Just do it,’ and then you open their Facebook page and it says ‘Just don’t do it’ – would you believe that kind of company? Your customers do not change from platform to platform, and neither does your target audience.

The difference between Social Media and website lies in their techniques for promoting your products. If Search Engines rely heavily on keywords to find your website, on social media, you still use keywords so that users find the content, but hashtags tend to be more important. We are not going to dive into this any deeper. What we try to convey is that your company needs a unified message it will deliver on all of its platforms, although the techniques of delivering might differ on each one of them. If you have consistency in the visuals, mood, feel, language, it is going to help you maintain solid relationships with your customers. 

Let’s say you create a granola bar, and on Instagram, you share it as ‘the most nutritious bar for gaining muscle.’ You should keep the message consistent and carry the same message. Otherwise, consumers will be confused. Why do you say it’s “the most nutritious bar for gaining muscle” on Instagram but “an excellent choice for losing weight” on Facebook? The bottom line is that you cannot create separate marketing strategies for the separate platforms you use for your products. Instead of doing so, research who your clients are and create the tone of your brand. 

Creating Marketing Personas for Your Business 

For a successful marketing strategy and for creating a unified message, you should have marketing personas – also referred to as buyer personas. Those are fictional and generalized characters who represent your ideal customers. Having marketing personas help you not only in marketing (as the name suggests), but also in developing your services and products. Once you know who you are creating for, you know what you need to create. You are not going to tell someone ‘Just Do It’ if you know their goal is to avoid every possible discomfort in their lives.

How Do You Create Buyer Personas? 

To create buyer personas, you should discover trends about the customers who are consuming your products. Collect information about your customers. To do so, interview them either in person or over the phone and find the reasons they like your products or services and why they keep coming back. Find both happy and unsatisfied customers to find patterns that are going to help you in creating and understanding your personas. In addition, interview your potential customers to find out how they are likely going to use your products and services and what it is that they like about your company. Ask them to refer you to their friends and family members that might be interested in participating.

After you gather the information, find the most common answers you have received during the research. These might be the details you are going to use later in communicating with them. At this point, you should determine demographics, the way they use your product or services, their skill level, and what challenges they have – so you can be on target to solve their issues with your products. 

You are not creating just one persona, but buyer personas, and that’s why you should group people based on the common challenges they have or the goals they share, and put them in different categories. 

To go back to the granola bar, you might have customers who want to gain weight and customers who want to lose weight. 

At this point, give your personas names. This can be Annabelle who is a middle class, middle-aged, single woman trying to lose weight. Once you pass this step, you can start delivering personalized content to your buyer personas. Perhaps you have a granola bar for Annabelle, who wants to lose weight, and then offer a different bar to Brad, who wants to gain muscle. Have a unified message on all platforms, but use different solutions for different personas.

You can send emails to your customers with those personas in mind, and they are more likely to engage with this kind of email as they will be more relevant to their needs. Having your buyer personas in mind will also help you create engaging content across all platforms. That will increase the demand for your products and services.

3. Your Website Loading Speed Should Be Under 3 Seconds 

We cannot put trends together for the coming year without including site speed on the list.

In 2019, the new page speed performance report made its way to the Google Search Console. Now, if you visit the Google Search Console and monitor Google Search Results data, in addition to URL inspection, performance, Coverage, Sitemaps, and mobile usability, you can see a speed report, which is now in the experimental stage.

Page Speed is among the few ranking factors that Google confirmed twice – in 2010 and 2018.

“You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.”wrote Google in 2010.  

Although the speed of a page became a ranking factor in 2010, it was only for desktop searches. 8 years later, Google wrote:

“People want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible — studies show that people really care about the speed of a page. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.”

According to Google, this update will affect only the slowest experience to users in a very small percentage of queries. It says in the blog on Google that the intent is still a very strong signal, so a slow page can still rank highly if it has great and relevant content. However, we think if the search query is very competitive to rank for, and there are hundreds of other relevant results, a slow webpage might not rank well. If the webpage is amongst very few relevant results, we understand the speed will not matter as much as the intent.

“The average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds, according to a new analysis. Yet 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. That’s a big problem.” says Google, according to the article published on hobo.

When we talk about a page loading, we should keep in mind that loading a page is not a single moment in time but multiple moments that, as grouped, might take much longer than 3 seconds to complete.

First Contentful Paint (FCP) measures the time from a request to the time of the first rendered bit of content by a browser. This is a very important stage in loading the page, as the users get the information that the webpage is actually loading. It can be any render – even just a change of color in the background. Besides FCP, there is FID – First Input Delay, and it measures the time from when a user first interacts with a site to the time when the browser responds.

Both First Contentful Paint and First Input Delay are the core metrics of the new page speed performance report. Those indicators are not new, as we have seen them on PageSpeed Insights. Those are important metrics to know to be able to monitor the first experience your customers are going to have with your company and make sure your page loads fast enough for them not to abandon it.

4. Include Live Videos, FAQ Videos, and Visuals in Your Marketing Campaign

If you are wondering whether or not to invest in videos and visuals for your marketing strategy in 2020, let’s have a look at the numbers we have collected from 2019. According to statistics, 85% of all internet users in the United States watched online video content monthly on any of their devices. 54% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support, and 87% of marketing professionals use video as a marketing tool. 

In 2016, there was an article published on Quartz with the headline – “Facebook is predicting the end of the written world.” Wait, you said the end of the world?! No, end of the written world! – A Facebook executive predicted that their platform would be all video and no text by 2021. Now it’s 2020, and we still use text, but according to what we have seen in the last several months, the demand towards visuals keeps growing. 

According to the research, more than 60% of millennials say they understand information faster when it’s communicated visually, versus just 7% who don’t. As the millennials are becoming consumers of your product, offer more visuals to them, and instead of telling them, show what you’ve got.

By creating visuals, you become free to be creative in the ways you show your product to the audience, instead of telling them about it. Visuals should be on every platform you use – your website, blog, Facebook. When people search for information on social media, they scroll through hundreds or even thousands of posts, and a typed text has way fewer chances to get anyone’s attention than something visual. 

Additionally, visuals help you define the tone of your brand and the style. By having consistency in your visuals, you convey a message you want to deliver to your customers. There should always be something special and unique about every picture or video you post. If you own a company producing hats, the visuals you create should have something in common. It can be about location – maybe you take every picture in a forest, so customers know it’s designed for outdoors. Or maybe all your models are twins, dressed in the exact same clothes, and the only difference they have is the hat – so maybe the hat makes people unique? Anything that is consistent and makes your brand stronger. By looking at your visuals, people should be able to tell it belongs to your company. Just like by looking at Salvador Dali’s works, you know they belong to him.

You should make visuals not only for promoting the products and services you offer, but also to answer questions from your potential or existing customers. For a successful marketing strategy, you might want to have FAQ videos. Those videos help, as they are engaging and customers can ask questions as the video keeps going – meaning they feel part of the process as it keeps progressing. Again, you are not trying to sell anything here but are just helping your customers. Customers who are happy keep coming back, and that’s what we want. 

By using visuals, you should also be thinking about showing how you contribute to the community around you. Your clients will be happy to see you attending a charity event for breast cancer, an orphanage, animals, the homeless, wildlife, climate change – you name it. Your social media is going to be a great place to share it. And here, you won’t be just typing about it, but putting pictures, videos, or other visuals from the event. Not because you want to brag about it, but if your customers know how you spent revenue from selling products, they will trust you more and feel they are contributing to the charity themselves. 

When it comes to posting about news, a study you have been working on, or statistics, it’s always a good idea to create graphics to illustrate the idea of the post. It will help your content stand out, and customers will get the idea and the message you want to deliver to them more easily. You don’t even need to be a graphic designer or a pro to create nice visuals for a social media post. You can use one of the several available free online tools, such as Crello, Canva, or BeFunky.

And finally, nothing can compare to live videos. Live videos unfold in front of viewers, and they know they are part of an authentic experience. They feel more engaged and connected. Creating live videos is a great way to build authentic relationships with your clients. According to Cisco, live internet video will account for 17 percent of internet video traffic by 2022. Live video will grow 15-fold from 2017 to 2022. Think of a live-streaming campaign you can make for your firm. It can also be events you attend or something you protest. It can also be from your office, introducing your employees, or a sneak-peek after creating a product. The statistics in 2019 show that Facebook Live Videos produce 6 times more interactions and 10 times more comments than regular videos.

5. Optimize Your Content for Relevancy to the Topic 

Sometimes we think the most important part of creating a website and a marketing strategy is creating content. Content is important – that’s correct, but creating it is just a step in the process. Things change, the industry changes, there are lots of discoveries made every year. The content you created in 2012 might not be relevant in 2019. If you let this kind of content stay on your website, your potential customers are going to doubt your competency in the field. If your potential customers do not trust you and your website, they are not going to do business with you.

Additionally, you might have long pages of content about a topic that used to rank well years ago, but we highly doubt that it will still rank high in 2019. On the contrary, the long pages of content confuses Google, and your ranking might be stagnant. If a search engine sees many different pages related to the same topic with similar content like “treating acne scars,” it will be confused – which page should it use to rank your content?

Consolidating and Updating Content

To get rid of excessive content, go through pages and find the most relevant information and the pages with the strongest content. If you see there are other pages repeating the same information, get rid of them. But be careful not to delete pages that rank well on Google. Consolidating content is a process which requires an investment of energy, but is very effective in the process of optimization.

Once you have up to date, high-quality content, it’s best to tell Google it’s fresh by adding 200-300 words every three months. That way, Google is going to know you are monitoring your page, and the content you have is current.

What about SEO? Well, high-quality content is crucial in the process of optimizing your website. High-quality content means up to date information and relevancy, among other factors. Google, several years ago, relied heavily on keywords to find content and give the best results to its users. It used to look at the number of times a specific keyword was used on the page to determine its relevance. But Google changes its algorithms to find information sometimes several times per year. Most of the time, changes occur because Google is trying to understand the intention of a user better, as well as the pages it provides as an answer to a query. If search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing do not understand the intention of a search query, it’s very difficult to provide useful results.

In October 2019, Google announced its first major update in several years – BERT. An algorithm that is aimed towards a better understanding of the natural language that we humans use to communicate. Google once again is trying to put more emphasis on the intent of a search. With BERT, Google will understand longer queries better as well as prepositions in a search. 

Among other techniques of discovering information, Google uses LSI keywords – Latent Semantic Indexing keywords. Those types of keywords are connected to the main keywords semantically. As we have discussed at the beginning of this report, LSI keywords are associated with the main one. If the main keyword of a search is “Sea Resort,” and you own a hotel on a sea resort you want to rent out, LSI Keywords can be “vacation,” “guesthouse,” “rentals,” “holidays,” or “bedroom.” Consider using LSI Keywords on your page, so you help Google discover your content when it’s relevant to a searcher’s intent. With the new algorithm, the importance of LSI Keywords rises, and it’s something you should definitely keep in mind for 2020.

We hope the above-mentioned trends and reading this report will make you feel more confident about your plan and optimistic about getting positioned in the desired search query results. As an American writer, Carl Bard used to say, “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” We wish you luck with your new strategies and new beginnings in the marketing of your company.

7 CBD and Cannabis Marketing Trends for 2020

In the past 12 months, we have seen an increased demand for CBD and cannabis products. Those are grasping the attention of many consumers across the world. According to MarketWatch, the global Cannabidiol (CBD) market is expected to grow from USD 1,453.81 million in 2018 to USD 17,345.80 million by 2026. In December 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill, PL 115-334) (the “2018 Farm Bill”) into effect, which removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and maintains FDA’s authority to regulate certain hemp-containing products. The term “hemp” is used to classify varieties of cannabis with 0.3% or less THC – the chemical responsible for cannabis’s psychological effects. Although selling CBD products is legal now, there are numerous restrictions to keep in mind and claims to avoid when marketing your products online. When it comes to cannabis, keep in mind that even if it is legal in your state for recreational or medical purposes, there are still local and federal regulations that restrict your marketing options. 

If you are a company selling CBD or cannabis products, you are part of the growing industry that seems very promising in terms of its development. However, it’s crucial to know how to market your products to reach more customers. We have been studying the industry throughout the year to figure out the most important trends for 2020 for CBD and Cannabis Marketing. As cannabis is being legalized in numerous countries, at this stage, it’s essential to know the best ways to promote your products. We hope that, with this report, you will feel confident and excited about your strategy for the coming year.

1. Determine Your Buyer Persona and Establish Your Brand.

When it comes to the marketing strategy of any kind, it’s crucial to know who your customers are. Without knowing consumers, it’s almost impossible to craft a successful marketing plan. Defining your customers should be the foundation of your marketing plan in 2020.

First of all, your customers are not necessarily the same people with similar challenges and goals. People differ from each other, and so do their needs. Even when they need a particular product, the reasons for requiring them are different. Some might want CBD products for their skin, others might want to try it to help with anxiety, and others might want to get it for their pet. For successful marketing, you should approach each buyer as individuals, so the information you provide to them is relevant to their needs. 

Because of the differences across your buyers, it’s almost impossible to create content that will be relevant to the needs of all potential and existing customers. But you don’t need to create such content. Instead, it’s practical to approach buyers as individuals by grouping them into several categories. A buyer persona, or a marketing persona, is an ideal or targeted customer for your company. The idea behind creating a buyer persona is to create targeted and relevant content for ideal customers. But who are these customers? Well, it’s not a question you can answer based on your intuition. The answer to this question should derive from detailed research about your audience.

How to Create a Buyer Persona 

One of the biggest mistakes companies make is guessing who their buyer personas are. Sure, you have been in the business for a while and know how your customers shop, so you think you know their patterns of buying and who they are. You will be surprised to learn that your buyer personas may be different than what you imagined. Defining them correctly is key to the success of your marketing campaign. 

Accurate persona development is based on data gathered from several categories of people: customers, prospects, referrals, and third parties. You cannot create a buyer persona based solely on who your current customers are, or else you may be missing out on an ideal segment that you could be targeting. 

First, you need to determine your sample size. Then you need to create an online survey/questionnaire with carefully picked questions that will help you define your buyer persona. Then comes data collection, the most time-consuming part. Once you have gathered enough responses, the next step is the most fun – defining the personas. You will then use your results to craft personalized marketing campaigns. 

Determining Your Sample Size

Start by creating a list of at least 50 names/emails of each of the following segments. 50 sounds like a lot! However, of those 50, if only one third reply, you will have enough data to work with.

  • Existing customers – the nice thing about them is that they probably don’t need an incentive to fill out your survey, as customers usually love to be heard.
  • Prospects/leads – people who haven’t purchased yet but have considered your products.
  • Referrals – ask your coworkers, friends, and family for who may want/need your product and add them to your sample size.
  • Third-party networks – companies such as UserTesting.com allow you to run market research online.

Creating the Survey

The questions you ask are the most important part of this exercise. You will want to find out their demographics, income, education, career, pain points (as they pertain to the solutions you offer), how and where they shop, as well as things such as how many kids they have, what they do for fun, how they relax, etc. You want to create a well-rounded image of a fictional character in your mind. The more specific you get, the better you will be able to target their segment. If you know what they like to do for fun and where they shop, you will know how to reach them. One of our favorite resources for persona development training is Hubspot. They teach you which questions to ask, how to analyze data, and how to use it to craft marketing campaigns.

When building a survey, Google Forms is a great resource. It allows you to create polished, free online surveys, and it makes it very easy to analyze the results. 

Analyzing Your Data and Defining the Buyer Persona

Collecting data is just a step in the process. Once you have the information, you should group your customers based on the challenges they share, their age, and the goals they have – amongst other factors. You might have people dealing with stress and anxiety and people who want to use CBD oil for salad dressing because they think it’s a delicious and healthy addition to their diet. 

Once you figure out who your customers are, you can give them names. 

  • Thomas can be a 45-year-old male, married with 2 young kids, living in Greenwich, CT. He is suffering from anxiety and has a hard time falling asleep and concentrating on tasks at work. He doesn’t like taking prescription medicine and believes there are natural ways to cope with any health issues.
  • Melissa can be a 60-year-old woman, married, with young grandchildren. Melissa lives in a beautiful town in Texas (let’s say Fair Oaks Ranch) and loves playing tennis with her girlfriends. She has arthritis and wishes she could move like she used to. Melissa is pharmaceutically-driven and responds to scientific facts when choosing health products. She would prefer softgels and topical CBD.

If you know the reasons for customers wanting your products, you will not offer CBD products for a possible reduction of anxiety to someone who doesn’t have it, and as a salad dressing to someone who doesn’t cook. This way, the information you provide is relevant to their needs, and there are more chances of getting more clients.

Defining Your Brand Identity

Now you have your buyer personas defined. Equally as important is determining who you are, how you help your buyer persona, and why you do it. A strong brand will resonate with your audience. 

Here are two great resources to help you build your brand identity:

Monitor Your Website Activity to Improve Your Marketing Strategy

Your personas are set and your brand identity is strong as it could be. Your marketing team was able to create a winning strategy. What’s next? To stay relevant and continue your success, you need to monitor how your website visitors are using the website, which cities they are coming from, and how they found your website online, etc.

To monitor the online behavior of your customers and potential customers, you should track your website. Web tracking is a useful tool to understand your customers’ behavior in order to offer more related content to them. With web tracking, you can record activities such as transactions, videos watched, and pages visited. For example, if you watch a web series online, a website can record your activities and offer you a watchlist based on the shows you have already seen. Additionally, with the IP address, you can determine users’ locations. 

The most common way to track website visits is Google Analytics. If you haven’t set up an account yet, it’s high time you did. Google Analytics is a free platform and can show you how your users found you online, which cities they are from, what keywords they searched to find you, which pages they visited on the website, and much more! 

Another great tool is HotJar. HotJar provides heat maps of your users’ interaction with your website, how far down they scrolled, where they clicked, and at which point they decided to leave the website. This is a great tool if you are looking to increase conversions on your website.

2. Creating Content That Appeals to Your Audience Even If It’s Not Related to CBD

When it comes to CBD and Cannabis marketing, creating content is different than for most other products. As we mentioned at the beginning of this report, there are numerous restrictions to keep in mind and claims to avoid when marketing online. The Food and Drug Administration will certainly be upset if you start claiming CBD or cannabis can treat cancer or other illnesses, and you should never make these types of health claims.

“Cannabis and cannabis-derived products claiming in their marketing and promotional materials that they’re intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of diseases (such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, psychiatric disorders, and diabetes) are considered new drugs or new animal drugs and must go through the FDA drug approval process for human or animal use before they are marketed in the US selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of the law but also can put patients at risk, as these products have not been proven to be safe or effective.” – reads in the FDA statement in 2018.

When creating content for your products, you must avoid all kinds of medical and health claims. You should never recommend treating a medical condition either with CBD or cannabis, and if you do, it must be proven from credible and authentic sources. Besides, depending on who your payment processing company is, they may be very strict about the content you create to make sure you follow FDA regulations and avoid any kind of violation of the law.

At this point, you might be wondering: If you cannot write about health claims, what can you write about? You could write about the production process and the product quality, but how much can one write about that? 

Creating a Blog for Your CBD Products

Whether you talk about your product or not, blogging is one of the most effective ways to bring traffic to your website. And the more visitors you get to your website, the more potential clients you have. A blog is a unique space where you aren’t selling your products, but communicating with your customers. If you write regularly, have high-quality content, and keep updating the blog, it can significantly impact your website’s performance in Search Engines like Google. Whereas your product pages are for ranking your products (and targeting consumers who know what they want and search for specific products online), your blog articles are there to target visitors who don’t know a lot about CBD but want to learn more.

At this point, you are going to know who your customers are. They might have stress issues, suffer from arthritis, chronic pain, or may have trouble falling asleep at night. You cannot say that your products are going to help with any of these health issues, but you can write content to target the same audience that would suffer from those issues. For example, you can write about possible causes of stress, meditation, lifestyle, exercise, the importance of diet, sleep hygiene, etc. If you write content about the issues your customers are concerned with, guess what? They land on your website! (Well, if you have invested in a successful SEO strategy amongst other factors). And your customers reading your posts is just the beginning of your relationship. If potential customers like your content, they are more likely to check other pages on your site as well as the products you sell.

But you cannot and should not create all kinds of content. Write content with your buyer persona and brand identity in mind. 

  • Are you a luxury brand? Talk about how your production process is superior. Perhaps you want to have a skincare line and talk about how to keep your skin healthy and glowing. Or maybe talk about leisure, art, or traveling.  
  • Are you leaning more towards a pharmaceutical feel? Then write about pain management or improving health by changes in lifestyle, without making any health claims.
  • Is your brand more on the fun and entertaining side? Then maybe write about how cocktail recipes can be enriched with CBD, fun activities for the holidays, how to plan a party, the different types of hemp or cannabis strains, best movies to watch for Christmas/Valentine’s Day/other holiday, how to roll a joint, or new ways of trying CBD, etc.

Once you choose the topics you want to write about, remember to use headers and subheadings that stand out. Consider using visuals to illustrate the ideas you convey. Use original graphics to catch the readers’ attention. Studies show that 70% of consumers learn about a company through articles rather than ads, so it’s a great way to promote your products online. Additionally, according to Tech Client, you have a 434% higher chance to rank high on search engines if you have a blog.

3. Email Marketing

Email is a great way to stay connected to your customers, and you can use it to send commercial emails to them. The process of sending a commercial email to a group of customers is called Email Marketing. With the information you have about your buyer personas, you can create relevant content and offers for your potential clients. When you personalize your emails, people are more likely to read and check out your products. 

You might expect people to feel frustrated by receiving tons of emails, but when emails are relevant to their needs, people love receiving them. Additionally, according to these statistics, the average expected ROI (Return On Investment) is $32 for every $1 you spend on email marketing. And for sending emails, you don’t need to sit down and write to every single customer. Instead, you can use automated emails to reach them. When you have limitations for social media, paid media, and rules to follow about traditional media, email becomes an important component for driving traffic to your website. 

But to send out emails, you need a list of email addresses. Those are your existing and potential customers – the target audience. To successfully build an email list, you should have lead magnets. A lead magnet is a marketing term, and it offers a piece of free information, service, report, eBook, video, or other downloadable items in exchange for an email address. Additionally, make sure your checkout process includes the option for buyers to sign up for your email offers.

Having a lead magnet is crucial for email marketing. In a world where the internet created a need for instant gratification, offering something to your visitors gives them an incentive to leave their email address. Think of what you can give to customers. Maybe it’s a discount, free delivery, an electronic book, or something you think is valuable to your clients. Your lead magnet should be something that your target audience needs, or it solves their problems. It should help them and can be accessed right away. People are not going to sign up if the free PDF will take 2 weeks to be delivered to their email address. 

How to Send Emails to Customers – Email Automation 

Have you already created the email list and have you chosen the email marketing strategy for your brand? Then sit down – not to write emails to every single customer you have, but to select the email marketing software provider you want to use. Because no matter how short your list ended up being, you are not going to write to each and every client you have on your list. Email marketing software automates most of the workflow and sends emails for your campaigns. With those apps available for email marketing, you can create fascinating newsletters and emails based on your buyer personas. Providers have plans based on the size of the list you have. Unfortunately, not all email marketing vendors allow CBD and cannabis products to be marketed through their service, so make sure to check their policy before signing up. Try using Klaviyo, ActiveCampaign, AWeber, Emma, HubSpot, mailerlite.

When you send emails to your customers, make sure to customize your greeting and subject line so it includes their names. Statistics show that emails with personalized subject lines generate 50% higher open rates. 

Start with welcome emails. Your customers will be happy to be greeted in your subscribers’ list and receive the item you give in exchange.

Abandoned Cart Emails 

Abandoned cart emails are also great for your marketing strategy. There are going to be lots of customers who add products to their carts but won’t check out. There are times when users abandon their carts, not because they didn’t want to make a purchase, but maybe a session expired, or the website crashed, or they simply forgot to complete the order. To remind your customers to complete their orders, you can send a reminder or simply ask, “Hey, do you still want this?”. Even if a customer meant to abandon the cart, if you send the email after several hours or even a day or two, maybe by that time they have changed their mind. You just have to try.

Most customers abandon their cart because of unexpected shipping rates and the total cost of the order. If you think it’s worth it, offer a discount for the product and see if it can bring them back to your website. If there is a limited quantity available, maybe offer to reserve it for several hours. With a personalized message, say you are willing to hold the item because it’s in their cart. Do this only if you know there are not hundreds of other customers trying to get the same product. OptinMonster shows us 14 creative examples of abandoned cart emails in this article.

Source: optinmonster.com

Lead-Capturing Emails

Sending lead-capturing emails should be part of your email marketing strategy. Based on your persona development, you are going to know who your customers are and what they need. Emails sent through this type of email marketing are based on the previous behavior of the customers. If they have purchased CBD oil for pets, you know you can assume they own a pet and you might want to promote other pet-related products through your email communication. Send lists of products that you think are the best for their doggies. If they only perused the website and visited pages with educational material, send them emails that answer frequently asked questions, talk about the quality of your product, or email that offer advice on which products to choose and what dosage is recommended. This way, the customer feels you are following their progress. Be creative, create graphics, and let the client know you care.

4. Alternative Shopping Platforms 

In 2020, take advantage of various shopping platforms to increase your sales online. Of course, your first priority is having a website where you can sell your products online. Write content, blog, and optimize your website in order to increase traffic and sales online. However, having a great website may not be enough to dominate your market in 2020. Have you noticed that, when you search for a product on Google, a tab appears for Google Shopping? More and more people are starting to use alternative shopping platforms on search engines and social media. This doesn’t mean that you should stop taking care of your website, but rather embrace the change and get your products on those platforms as well. 

And here is what we see when clicking on the Shopping tab.

When it comes to shopping platforms for your CBD products, it can get a bit tricky. If you want to use a shopping platform like Google Shopping, you will need to label your products as “hemp.” The reason behind this is simple: Marketing your product as CBD will make it ineligible to be listed on many shopping or advertising platforms. Market it as hemp instead and you will bypass the rules that stand against CBD. Many companies have jumped on this train in 2019 and we foresee a lot more doing it in 2020. 

So can you sell your CBD products on Google? Yes! Just don’t label them as CBD products but use the term “hemp.” You can find products on Google Shopping like hemp extract, hemp seeds, hemp protein, hemp hand protector, hemp chocolate powder, and basically every CBD product that you can think of. So all you have to do is a little magic, and once you label products as allowed, you are more than welcome to join millions of sellers on Google Shopping.

As an addition to Google Shopping, two major e-commerce platforms – Shopify and BigCommerce – are providing new features on their platform to help retailers in the United States sell their hemp-derived legal products online. Shopify, which is based in Canada, has enabled companies to sell CBD products since November 2018. According to this article published in Chain Store Age in 2019, Shopify has opened its doors to US vendors in 2019. Now sellers of CBD products will have access to Shopify’s online store builder tool, payment and shipping providers, marketing tools, and customizable shipping rules.

BigCommerce is also stepping into the game and greenlights CBD products on its platform. It offers BigCommerce for Hemp & CBD, which is a set of tools and services crafted for hemp and hemp-derived CBD commerce.

Selling CBD Products on Instagram

A great place to sell your CBD products can be Instagram. Although Instagram isn’t a shopping platform itself, you can bring your customers to a shopping platform through it. With its Shopping on Instagram feature, Instagram offers businesses the ability to have posts with their products tagged in it. With just a simple click, customers land on the websites to make a purchase.

“We know that Instagram is a great place for people to discover and share their passions. With shopping on Instagram, this sense of discovery goes even further by giving people a visual storefront to explore new products from businesses they follow. – Reads on Instagram Business Page.

Selling on Instagram is a great way of selling directly to your customers. Because once they click on the picture, they land on your website to make a purchase. This process is called D2C – direct-to-consumer. It means selling without a retailer, distributor, or other source. Direct-to-consumer companies create, market, sell, and ship their products themselves. Statistics show that a third of US consumers plan to do at least 40% of their shopping from D2C companies in the next five years, and 81% say they’ll make at least one purchase from a D2C brand within the next five years. 

In response to this, SpeedWeed – An American cannabis delivery company, headquartered in Los Angeles – has already launched its D2C platform that allows customers to order cannabis directly from them. It’s a brave move because, when selling via D2C, you’re in charge of supplies and delivery. It’s more than just creating a platform or a website, and if you are not sure you can fulfill orders yourself, then it’s better partnering with a third-party fulfillment provider. You should only try D2C if you have enough supplies. Retailers have other products to sell if they are out of stock on your products, but if you are out of stock, what are you going to sell?

5. Moving Away from CBD – Marketing It as Hemp to Run Ads 

Although we have already talked about the CBD and cannabis market as a very promising and growing industry, there are numerous restrictions regarding those products. When brands try to advertise their CBD products online, Facebook treats it like contraband and rejects these advertisements – and so does Instagram, owned by Facebook. Not only are your ads going to be rejected on Facebook for advertising your CBD and Cannabis products, but your account is also most likely going to be shut down. We know there are billions of users you need to reach through social media, and if Facebook has closed the bridge between you and your customers, you might be thinking there is no way to get through. Actually, there is a small trick you can use to get your message to your customers. If you don’t mention CBD in your account name, do not include CBD in your domain, and create a Facebook ad that doesn’t mention CBD at all, you are going to get away with it. Instead of marketing CBD, market your products as hemp. Try to deliver the message you want to convey creatively and using CBD images are okay, according to the article published on moblyft.

“Advertisers are allowed to run ads for topical hemp across Facebook. Advertisers can run ads that direct to landing pages that feature ingestible hemp and topical CBD. But the ads cannot specifically feature those products. Facebook is still prohibiting ads for ingestible CBD, including ads that direct to landing pages with those products.”says in the article published on DIGIDAY.

To promote your CBD products via Google Adwords paid search, you will need to market your products as hemp instead of CBD. For example, instead of saying CBD Tinctures, you will have to market the product as Hemp Tinctures.

“Unfortunately, similarly to Google, Facebook (who owns Instagram) aligns with the DEA in classifying CBD as a “dangerous product.” This makes it challenging to advertise CBD online, resulting in the rejection and removal of any CBD advertising and related products. Strict ad regulations ultimately leave those who want to advertise CBD on Instagram with limited options.” moblyft.

Influencer Marketing for CBD

A possible path between your customers and your brand can be social media influencers. Those influencers are people who have thousands of followers that trust them. Partnering with them and including influencers in your strategy might bring hundreds of new customers. According to statistics, 78% of social influencers used Instagram to collaborate with brands worldwide.

When choosing the influencers to market with, make sure they have a ton of engagement on their posts and are followed by thousands of people. These followers trust your influencer, and chances of turning some of them into customers are really high. According to a survey, 53% of women made purchases due to an influencer’s posts.

Find the right influencers using the hashtags related to your products. Follow them and see who is going to be the best ambassador for your brand. Define what your goal is going to be with the collaboration. Do you want to increase sales? Get more subscribers? Drive traffic to your website? Then try to determine if it’s enough to work with only one influencer or if you need more than that. Once you have defined your goals and the influencers you want to work with, get in touch with them and offer them to work with you. When you approach them, communicate what your goal is and why should they become part of it – inspire them. Remember, you aren’t contacting an advertisement channel. Those are real people who have invested a lot of time in building their audience and the trust of their followers, and they are not going to give it away. They genuinely need to like your brand and products for a possible collaboration. Most likely, you are not going to be the only brand pitching to them, so you should invest your time and energy in crafting a great plan that speaks to influencers and their audience.

6. Product Personalization: Gift sets, Sets, and Packaging

Bundle Up!

The truth about our century is that people find less and less time to think. Nowadays, customers tend to lean towards companies that offer solutions and require less time to make choices and decisions. If you pre-arrange and group products for your customers, they are going to thank you! Instead of looking for each product online, your clients could be just looking at sets that are relevant to their needs. So for example, if someone lands on your website and is looking to purchase CBD for their sleep issues, have a pre-arranged set that is unified by the solution. Although you cannot make any health claims, maybe give it a name that communicates with the customer “CBD Good Night” – or something similar. Group your products based on the problems they solve – it can be for sleep, skincare, stress issues, etc. If you know there are customers getting your products for pets, assemble a box with products for pets. Here are some CBD companies who have created a bundle online: Ned, Charlotte’s Web, Green Roads, Populum

Source: helloned.com

Sample Boxes

A sample box for the products or a subscription box is also a great idea, so your customers can get a little bit of most of the products you have. Some customers like to leave it entirely up to the company, and they will pay the price for the box, but it’s up to you what you include in it. That’s for those who love surprises. And you can create subscription boxes for those – name the price of a box, and deliver the products you choose monthly to customers who sign up. Joy Organics is a great example! Check out their CBD sample pack.

Source: JoyOrganics.com

Packaging That Tells a Story

With so many CBD brands out there, the competition is becoming really serious. How do you stand out? Some merchants forget that it’s not only about the product, but it’s also how you deliver it. Let’s say you love apple pie, and there are two bakeries that serve the same exact apple pie for the same price. It’s your favorite apple pie and the best you have ever tried! The bakeries selling it are next to each other, so the distance doesn’t make any difference. For the sake of the example, let’s say their interiors are identical, too. The only difference is the box they put the pie in. So one is the plain white box – it’s clean, and it’s just a box, nothing more or less to it. And the other bakery puts it in a box that reads the history of the apple pie and how the baker made it from a family recipe he inherited from his grandfather. Inside of the box, there is a picture of the grandfather from 1955 holding the apple pie in front of his own bakery. And with every box, there is a small excerpt of the recipe, and you never know which part of the recipe you are going to get. We might assume, if you are buying the pie to bring it to a friend’s house, you would more likely buy the one that has interesting packaging. It probably looks more beautiful and might also become an icebreaker for the evening – by looking at the box, you already have something to talk about.

Source: drugstorenews.com

And what about your CBD products? Do you want to be like the bakery with the white plain box? As a part of building your brand, you should come up with the packaging ideas that are going to be exciting and appealing to your customers. Opening the package should be an experience in itself. Remember, at this point, you have a fantastic content about lifestyle (if you followed our advice on having a blog) and think of the best bites you can use from those. Talk about self-care, self-love, meditation, or similar topics on your packaging. Perhaps you want to mention on your packaging how your production method is superior or information about the farms that grow the plant. With so many CBD brands out there, you need to find a way to really stand out and be ahead of the competition.


Designer: Peter Farago. Source: packagingoftheworld.com

A Higher Purpose

When it comes to packaging, try to be eco-friendly. This way, you will make your audience feel a part of something bigger in their purchasing journey. You are contributing to a great cause at the same time – keeping the planet healthy while providing healthy products for your consumers, too. Use fully recyclable or even recycled materials for your products. By doing so, you make your customers feel they contribute to making the earth a better place.

Source: leafly.com

Customized Packaging

Besides offering a pre-made packaging box or bottles for the products, you can also provide unique, customizable packaging. It can be the boxes and the actual product bottles. By being able to customize, customers are going to feel like they are part of the creation process, and the products they receive will be very personal to them. Customizable packaging is also great for gifts. And if customers have the opportunity to find gifts for their loved ones on your website, you are in the right place. In Unity Marketing’s survey in 2017, holiday gift spending accounted for 56% of the total annual expenditure with occasion gifting making up the remaining 44% – according to Forbes. Receiving a box with a design that defines your style, your life, and things you love, brings more joy, and makes you feel the sender invested time and energy into crafting the gift. This applies not only to the CBD and Cannabis market, but also to every product you can think of. A great example of a unique packaging campaign is Oreo Colorfilled. With this campaign, customers can customize the packaging and transform it into a personal package. There are designs, just like templates, customers can customize by filling colors. They also can add seasonal images. Now a simple process of purchasing cookies has transformed into an artistic experience. This is something no other snacks company offers to clients, and even if people like cookies from another brand, they will still find Oreo Colorfill a great option for a unique gift.

“Colorfilled packs feature exclusive, illustrated black and white designs from graphic artists Jeremyville and Timothy Goodman that offer fans a peek at the holidays through the eyes of OREO and include an energetic mix of seasonal images and icons, such as waving snowmen, singing partridges, hugging penguins and moustached presents donning bowler hats. The online Colorfilled experience is available via desktop or mobile and offers fans an easy way to create a completely custom package.” – Reads on PR Newswire.

According to Packaging Digest, the goal behind this initiative is to expand Oreo’s e-commerce market to $1 billion by 2020.

Source: ifitshipitshere.com

So, think of what you can do for your CBD and cannabis customers. Customized boxes and packages cost more, so they should probably just be an option for those who want it. As for general packaging, be creative and don’t stick with just a cannabis leaf on the bottle – we have seen it millions and zillions of time. If you target people with sleep issues, for instance, maybe put the bottle in a box that is shaped like a bed. And the blanket is illustrated with quotes about a good night’s sleep.  

7. Partnerships with Other Businesses

As we have already seen, the CBD and the cannabis market is very competitive. But if you have been reading our report and have already reached this passage, then we know you are up for the challenge! 

Another trend we have seen in the past 12 months is partnerships in marketing. It’s a great way to get ahead of other brands and gain success in the industry. It helps to reach your customers and get your brand in front of them. What it means is that you collaborate with other businesses that are relevant to your products. You reach more customers, as the businesses you collaborate with already have clients who might be interested in purchasing CBD and cannabis. 

Your partner should not be another CBD company, but businesses that are going to help you and your products are going to help them. Find the companies that are going to be beneficial for your marketing, and they also gain something from the partnership. A great example of this would be a vet clinic. Although a veterinarian cannot advertise your products as medicine that can treat disease and make claims that are untested, they can suggest CBD oil for pets. Since CBD is legal all across the United States, veterinarians have started talking about it. Some of them not only recommended using it for pain relief and joint problems in pets, but started selling it at their clinics. Canna-pet, for instance, has already started a collaboration with veterinarians. And you can see on the official website the list of the local retailers and vets that sell their products.

To have a successful marketing strategy, think of the ways you can collaborate with other companies. So, for instance, a mattress company is promising a good sleep to its customers, and you have a line of CBD products labeled as “Good Night CBD.” Maybe you can offer the mattress company to include your products at checkout. Because, at this point, you both share the target audience who needs a good sleep. In the same way, a travel company offers a trip to its customers. It is a five-day vacation in the mountains for relaxation. If you have a product like “Sweet Relaxing Gummy Gums,” maybe you can ask the travel company if they are interested in including your products on their website. If you know a good furniture store, offer your CBD0-oil-infused products. So when clients purchase a bedroom set, they can add your candles to the cart for a more relaxing mood in their new bedroom. Think of everything that might improve your marketing strategy, and your company can benefit from it.

Although, as we saw in this report, there are restrictions on CBD marketing, we hope that after reading this, you feel more confident in your marketing strategy. Let’s see what the future holds for us, and until then, let’s make the best out of all the opportunities we have for marketing CBD and cannabis products.

If you need help taking your CBD or Cannabis company to the next level in 2020, reach out to us! Internet Marketing Geeks is here to help you define your personas, brand identity, create personalized content, automate your email marketing, and advise you on winning marketing strategies. Give us a call today!

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