The CBD industry has recently been experiencing significant growth. This is undoubtedly because of the legalization of cannabis products in a growing number of places and now almost global acceptance of the potential health and wellness benefits of CBD. In fact, the global CBD market is valued at USD$4.9 billion and is expected to reach over USD$47 billion by 2028. (1)
This new market presents a new opportunity for businesses and influencers to build a good foundation for their future success—if they have what it takes. Right now, it’s a competition with CBD brands trying to grab the top spots in the industry. It’s also an opportunity for influencers to grow themselves with this new audience.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective and affordable marketing strategies. It’s one of the best ways to market a CBD eCommerce business for both the merchant and influencer. Keep reading for tips that can help boost sales in an affiliate marketing campaign.
What is affiliate marketing?
If you’re an influencer, marketer, or are running a business, you’ve probably heard of affiliate marketing before. Luckily, the concept is relatively simple to understand.
Affiliate marketing is a way of advertising in which businesses pay a specific commission to influencers—who become their affiliates—in exchange for advertising their products or services.
Here’s an example of how this works:
Consider a CBD products merchant who has started an eCommerce store through a service like Shopify. It might be a small business without a large marketing budget. There’s a selection of plugins or extensions to the Shopify ecosystem that allows the store owner to create affiliate links for specific products affiliated with particular third parties (influencers). The company is relatively new and has yet to attract a consistent client base.
Now, imagine you’re a social media influencer whose niche lies within cannabis, CBD, or anything related. You’ve already established a reasonably-sized audience that regularly engages with your content. So, you decide you’d like to earn income through your social media audience by promoting products that your audience is likely to enjoy or find valuable. To do this, you look for CBD related affiliate programs to promote through your online streams.
You come into contact with the CBD eCommerce business. By signing up for their affiliate program, you receive an affiliate link leading to their website. This is the link that gets promoted to your audience. Whenever someone is taken to the eCommerce website through your link, and makes a purchase, you receive a small percentage of the profit from that sale as thanks for your help in generating the sale.
Benefits of affiliate marketing
At this point, you’re probably wondering how affiliate marketing offers any advantage over other marketing strategies, like paying for sponsored posts or growing a business’ social media presence. There are several notable benefits that make affiliate marking such an attractive strategy.
From a business perspective, affiliate marketing is relatively low-cost. Around 65% of businesses report that it accounts for up to 20% of their annual revenue. Furthermore, around 60% of the most successful merchants implement affiliate marketing. You pay a portion of your profit, but that’s only when an affiliate helps you make a sale. In other words, it basically requires almost no capital to start and only costs you when it brings you a customer. (2)
It also gives you access to targeted markets and valuable traffic that comes from your affiliates who already have an audience within your niche. This helps you grow your presence and can bring you more customers. Affiliates earn based on their success and will be more motivated to promote you.
From the affiliate perspective, this marketing allows you to earn an income online through your already-established streams. Once you set it up, it’s almost entirely passive. A video or social media post can generate revenue long after you’ve published it. It also lets you direct your audience to something that’s valuable and relevant to them.
Tips for boosting sales
The growing CBD market is an excellent environment for new eCommerce stores and CBD-related influencers to earn great revenue. However, a successful affiliate marketing campaign doesn’t come without work. Here are some tips that can help get more sales from affiliate marketing.
1. Find a variety of good CBD affiliate programs
As an affiliate, having more affiliate links generally means you’ll have more places to direct your audience. This increases the likelihood that your audience will purchase something through one of your links, resulting in more potential revenue for you.
Remember not to overdo or overmarket your affiliate links. Having too many links can make you seem ingenuine to your audience. Rather, try to find a handful of affiliate programs that you truly trust and believe will provide value to your audience.
By promoting something you’re confident in and not pressuring your audience just to use your links, you can build trust with your viewers. In the end, building long-term trust is better than making an immediate profit by promoting bad products and losing your audience’s interest.
2. Use key performance indicators (KPIs)
The KPIs are a series of metrics tracking specific qualities of your campaign. These can be useful for marketers or affiliates.
Your KPIs can tell you things like the percentage of clicks that lead to sales, which links make you more sales, which platforms or posts generate the most clicks and sales, and more. All of these are valuable pieces of information that’ll help you better identify and understand which strategies work best.
3. Learn about the restrictions on CBD content
The last thing you want is to put effort into creating a piece of content only for it to be removed by a platform. Now, CBD is still relatively new and somewhat of a controversial topic to many.
Various social media platforms are slowly opening their rules up to allow CBD and cannabis-related posts. However, there are still rules regarding the subject, and you can have your posts taken down for breaking them. You can even be shadowbanned for repeat offences. For example, Facebook removed all advertising posts relating to CBD up until 2019, when they revised their rules to become slightly more lenient. In 2021, they once again gave CBD marketing some more leeway. But there are still limits to adhere to. (3)
If you want a successful CBD affiliate campaign, it’s best to learn the limits of each platform.
4. Know the facts about CBD
There are many alleged benefits of CBD that are yet to be backed by any concrete evidence. It would be beneficial for you to understand the various myths surrounding CBD, to improve the quality of the content you use to promote your affiliate links.
Inaccuracies and untrue statements can significantly decrease an audience’s trust in you. This will lead to distrust of any products and affiliate links you’re trying to promote. Tailor your language to accommodate the difference between factual and speculated information. Doing so can help you keep producing relevant content while preventing negative reception from your audience.
5. Build audience loyalty
A loyal audience will keep coming back for your content, helping you grow your presence organically. This is by far one of the biggest contributing factors to a successful affiliate marketing career. As you’ve likely gathered from the previous two tips, you need to do everything you can to build trust and loyalty with the audience.
Some of the best ways to do this are by staying genuine, listening to any concerns of your audience, responding to comments, and doing everything you can to engage with followers.
6. Optimize affiliate link landing pages
The web page you’re directed to from a link is called the landing page. A click on your link doesn’t guarantee a sale. Having a link lead to the right landing page plays a role in how many clicks lead to sales.
As a general rule, landing pages should be relevant to the product. They should provide easy access to all information the potential customer might need. It’s also equally important that the page offers multiple ways to convert. In other words, it should offer multiple ways for someone to actually buy that product.
The KPIs offer benefits here by allowing businesses to test the success of different landing page styles. As an affiliate, you can get a landing page specially optimized for you from marketers with whom you hold a strong relationship.
7. Disclose the nature of your affiliate links
This is a simple one. Don’t try to hide the fact that the links you promote are affiliate links. You’ll earn a commission when they’re used, and your followers deserve to know this.
Instead, be upfront by telling followers that you’ll receive a commission if they use your links. Good affiliate programs don’t add any additional costs when someone uses the links. The best affiliate programs might even offer followers a discount when they purchase through your affiliate links.
8. Leverage your email list
An email list is one of the best resources for anyone trying to earn a living online. When people willingly subscribe, you know that your emails will be reaching people who are interested in your niche. If you don’t already have one, you probably will in the future.
Email is also a powerful tool for CBD marketing. Your emails might not include any of your affiliate links at all. But they’ll lead your subscribers to content that will.
9. Use the merchants' marketing statistics and resources
Merchants want your affiliate marketing to be successful. After all, your success leads to their success.
As such, merchants often provide you with their own statistics and market research for you to use in your promotions. These could be real reviews, visual resources, or their own KPIs. It’s also not uncommon for merchants to regularly have a means to keep their affiliates updated with relevant information, like a blog or email list.
Stay updated with your merchants and use any valuable assets they provide.
To sum up, CBD eCommerce is an upcoming market that offers a new environment for affiliate marketers to grow an audience and earn some more income. Successful affiliate marketing can be quite beneficial if you put in the initial work needed to succeed. Follow the tips listed in this article so that you know exactly how to tailor your affiliate marketing campaign for more sales.
- “CBD (Cannabidiol) Market Size to Reach USD 47.22 Billion by (globenewswire.com)”, Source: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/02/08/2380516/0/en/CBD-Cannabidiol-Market-Size-to-Reach-USD-47-22-Billion-by-2028-Increased-Demand-for-CBD-Cannabidiol-for-Health-and-Wellness-Purposes-to-Drive-Market-Vantage-Market-Research.html#:~:text=Primarily%20driven%20by%20increasing%20demand,(CAGR)%20of%2021.3%25.
- “Make Money With Affiliate Marketing (investopedia.com)”, Source: https://www.investopedia.com/personal-finance/affiliate-marketing-can-you-really-make-money/
- “CBD Advertising On Digital Platforms: Navigating Mixed Messages And Confusion (forbes.com)”, Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/03/18/cbd-advertising-on-digital-platforms-navigating-mixed-messages-and-confusion/?sh=4ffa5a922124