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CBD Success with Affiliate Marketing

Last Modified: February 24, 2023

It’s not often that a product can capture the attention of the global consumer market so quickly. However, cannabidiol, or CBD as it is commonly referred to, has helped spark a wave of excitement in the healthcare industry. 

CBD, one of the most talked-about cannabinoids, has created a multibillion-dollar market for itself and is expected to reap $23.24 billion worldwide by 2026.

There has been a rise in the need for efficient CBD advertising. Up to this point, 113 of the plant’s active chemical compounds have been successfully extracted by researchers. Formerly, the cannabis community had its sights set squarely on THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the plant’s psychoactive constituent. However, the market is constantly shifting as more and more research points to the therapeutic potential of CBD, a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in cannabis and hemp.

If you’re looking to capitalize on the growing “Green Rush” via an ecommerce store, then you’ll need a successful marketing strategy so that you can sell CBD products in a way that is both ethical and legal.

The CBD sector is incredibly profitable for all merchants since CBD or cannabis is freely available in most parts of the United States, despite the fact that its legal status is still up in the air. However, it could be difficult to implement conventional marketing strategies in this sector. 

For this reason, affiliate marketing has emerged as the optimal strategy for businesses of all sizes. 

In this guide, we cover the basics of CBD affiliate marketing, including how to get started and what kind of businesses can benefit from it, and how you can benefit from Refersion‘s affiliate marketing toolkit. 

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

In affiliate marketing, you basically just make an agreement and an exchange. One of the first steps in promoting CBD products online is forming partnerships with affiliates who can help spread the word about your company and its offerings among their respective audiences. As a reward, they receive a commission.

Affiliate marketers can choose from a wide variety of strategies to promote your products, including but not limited to blog posts, product reviews, email lists, and the ever-popular Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

The term “CBD affiliate” refers to someone who promotes CBD products and services.

A commission is paid to affiliate marketers based on the sales of CBD products promoted through their unique link(s). 

Because brands can choose affiliates that already have an audience base that is in the market for CBD products, you have your work cut out for you. Plus, they get paid only for the leads or traffic they get you. It’s a win-win situation. 

Affiliate marketing can also be more effective than traditional advertising at connecting with its target audience on an emotional level. Customers will hear about your company from people they respect and whose opinions they value. Their recommendations are, therefore, very valuable. Even more importantly, in a competitive market like the CBD industry, you get to zero in on the customers most likely to buy your wares.

Why Choose Affiliate Marketing for CBD? 

Affiliate marketing may prove to be especially fruitful for CBD products. People between the ages of 18 and 35 make up the largest segment of CBD consumers. Shoppers in the millennial and Gen Z generations are more likely to look for new brands online, and they frequently consult social media influencers for information about those brands.

Find influencers who are interested in working with brands in the same niche as yours. Industries like CBD/cannabis and the health and fitness sector are ideal candidates. By using their own voice and perspective, they can give a genuine review of your CBD product, which will ring true with their readers.

Your affiliate marketing program will benefit greatly from using a tried-and-tested affiliate marketing platform, even if you’ve already planned out its structure. You can certainly make your own, but joining an existing affiliate network is preferable because you’ll then be able to take advantage of the network’s established infrastructure, including its support team and analytics tools. To put it another way: you won’t have to worry about wasting time or energy on reinventing the wheel.

Because many such platforms also come with reporting features, you can use the data you collect to make key decisions, such as which affiliates to retain or reward. You can see how your marketing tactics are measuring up in real time. 

There are a number of ways to track things like this, such as keeping tabs on individual affiliates’ stats, analyzing the performance of affiliate links, forecasting the outcomes of campaigns, and adjusting as needed. Having a dedicated affiliate hub and instant billing set up will also help you maintain positive affiliate relationships.

Benefits of Using Affiliate Marketing for CBD Stores

1. Low-Cost Marketing Tactic

Affiliate marketing is the most effective way to reach consumers interested in CBD because major ad networks like Facebook Ads and Google Ads frequently reject CBD ads. 

Not only that, but because affiliates are only compensated by CBD companies for sales they generate, payouts are contingent on the business being profitable. If no money changes hands, then the affiliate pays for everything out of their own pocket.

2. Targets a Large Group of Customers

Affiliates may also be able to tap into previously untapped markets that the CBD company hasn’t been able to effectively target on their own.

Affiliates typically have an established audience base that engages with their content. And because you don’t have to limit yourself to one particular person, the more affiliates you hire in your niche, the more likely it is that your audience base will naturally expand.

You can’t achieve that type of reach singularly on your own, especially if you’re a new brand.

3. Saves Time on Marketing

If you have a marketing team, then hiring good affiliates can free up some of their time. They can focus on channels and tasks that your affiliates don’t already have a stronghold in. That way, you get multiple sources of traffic that are independent of one another.

Because affiliates can handle much of the promotional work for CBD businesses, the parent company is also able to better concentrate its efforts on developing its brand and products. You can put more of your attention into sourcing more profitable products while affiliates take care of the traffic.

7 Effective Methods to Grow Your CBD Business With an Affiliate Program

When it comes to improving anything in marketing, your best friend is data. Whatever you can measure, you can improve. 

You need to regularly update your program to attract top affiliates, maintain existing relationships, improve engagement, increase ROI, and monitor conversion rates — all of which are essential components of a solid CBD affiliate marketing strategy. With the data at your disposal, you can easily gauge your strategy’s long-term efficacy, pinpointing areas of improvement for both you and your affiliates to boost positive brand engagement.

In the next section, we discuss how you can make the most out of data you are likely to have at your disposal from your affiliate marketing platform. We also discuss other factors that will determine what separates your business from the others in the minds of your consumers.

  1. Establish a Strong Brand Identity ‌

Every day, it seems, a new CBD business pops up. What sets your company apart from the competition?

It could be that you are aiming for a specific market with your products. Maybe you just have a unique approach to writing. Can customers purchase more high-end items from you? Is your tone one that resonates with them? Knowing what your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is will help you establish an audience base that not only buys from you but also gives you their loyalty.

Knowing this ahead of time will also help your affiliates. Affiliates are more likely to produce content that is on-brand if they are provided with clear guidelines for doing so and are inspired by a genuine representation of your company.

  1. Choose the Right Affiliates

Reduced editorial independence is a drawback of affiliate marketing. If they misrepresent your company, then they won’t be bringing in new customers. This risk can be mitigated by choosing better affiliates that resonate with your brand.

Investigate web pages and social media profiles that fit your brand’s target audience. This can include CBD-focused accounts as well as general health and fitness influencers and bloggers.

A large number of followers is desirable in an affiliate, but it is not decisive. There are influential people who have lots of followers, but hardly any of them ever interact with their posts. A high percentage of interaction is indicative of a genuine connection between a creator and their audience, and small creators often have this.

One piece of good news is that there is no dearth of affiliates in the CBD niche, as it is often lucrative for commissions. Be mindful, however, that many brands want to snap up the top performers; you will need to also make your brand appeal to them if you want them as an ally.

  1. Form Successful Affiliate Relationships

It’s time to make contact with your affiliates when you’ve decided on who you’d like to recruit. There may be a need to dangle some carrots if you want to sign on some of the more well-known influencers. Inquire as to the perks your rivals are giving their affiliates, and see if you can match (or even overtake) them.

In our experience, these steps work to establish a good relationship from the beginning: 

  • After making the first contact by email or DM, you should make an effort to follow up.
  • After they’ve joined your affiliate team, provide them with some foundational training using sample materials that reflect your brand’s tone and style.
  • Pre-publication content review and incorporation of your suggestions for boosting conversion rates should be a natural part of the process. 
  • You should regularly track the ROI you receive from the content each of your affiliates creates. Good metrics to track are traffic sent via their links, and the number of total leads or sales generated because of that traffic. 
  • You should make an effort to reward & retain top affiliates with bonuses, perks, and more.
  1. Focus on Customer Retention

Affiliates can incentivize your customers to visit your website or landing pages by providing special discounts or freebies, but once they’ve sent traffic your way, you’ll also need to make an effort to retain the consumers so that the customer lifetime value is much higher.

Simply put, loyal customers cost very little to acquire & tend to be a significant portion of most brands’ incomes. You need to make an effort to convert that one-time lead into a regular customer.

Relationships with customers can be strengthened through the use of email marketing, loyalty programs, and consistent communication through other channels. 

Having a system where you can track traffic events properly on your website will help you create an omnichannel marketing strategy that makes the most out of the traffic you receive. It may be best to hire a professional to set it up for you or use an affiliate program that does it for you if you are not sure how to proceed. 

  1. Use Influencer Marketing

Your CBD affiliate plan should make use of as many channels as feasible. The more varied your marketing efforts are, the more likely you are to succeed in reaching your intended audience and making a respectable profit through CBD promotion. 

One of the most rapidly expanding areas of modern marketing, influencer marketing is a great tool for reaching your target audience. Some 17% of businesses even report allocating more than half of their marketing budget toward influencers.

It is estimated that there will be an increase of spending in influencer marketing this year, so you can’t lag behind, especially if your competitors are already putting themselves in front of your audience through this channel.

Remember that any paid endorsement by an influencer must comply with FTC regulations and include a clear disclaimer of any material connection between the influencer and the advertised product if you decide to use this tactic too.

  1. Choose the Right Platform

Although you can choose any platform to run your affiliate program, it can be a challenge to create a system of recruiting, rewarding, paying, and also tracking affiliates, as you will likely need separate dashboards to do all of these. Most native platforms such as Amazon, BigCommerce, Shopify & more allow you to automate some of these things but not all.

A simple solution to this problem can be an affiliate marketing SAAS, such as Refersion. It automates affiliate marketing tasks like commission management and report generation while also providing real time data and insights into marketing campaigns. You can also set up regular payouts and get access to a base of top affiliates that you can recruit as you need. This facilitates seamless connections and engagements between brands and publishers.

  1. Stay Away from Dicey Marketers

While some affiliates are transparent with their business model, others choose to operate in the shadows.

Like with most CBD marketing strategies, it is best to pick a publisher that, at least at first glance, appears honest and can connect with its clientele.

You should try to avoid affiliate marketers who suggest increasing the price of your products to maximize profits at the expense of potential buyers. If you do so, then potential customers may bounce back because of the high price. 

Again, rely on data to gauge if it’s a good fit for you. Ask them for the kind of results they have produced for other brands, and make a call from there.

Look No Further Than Refersion to Boost Your CBD Affiliate Marketing Efforts

Start building long-term partnerships through Refersion’s affiliate marketing toolkit if you want your CBD business to thrive for years to come.

The main motivation for the development of Refersion was to facilitate effective communication and collaboration amongst various marketing partners. Because of the software’s capacity for automating critical procedures, this is now possible. The program ensures that affiliates will be paid accurately and on time by eliminating the need for human intervention in the commission calculation and payment processes.

The automated report-generation capabilities of Refersion also help you keep tabs on and assess the effectiveness of your affiliates in terms of lead capture, customer conversion, and campaign growth. You can opt to get automated performance reports on a recurring basis at intervals of your choosing.

Refersion is not just an affiliate marketing platform; it is a powerhouse of tools that make affiliate marketing a breeze. Contact us today!

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Written by

Ruthie Carey
Ruthie Carey