Marketing controversial, yet legal products online isn’t much different than marketing a pair of socks or a new refrigerator. If you can reach your potential customers and convince them to buy your product, you’ll get sales.
However, marketing controversial products – especially dietary supplements – is a little more restrictive. Sometimes you won’t be able to make the claims you know are true, which limits your ability to freely market your products.
If you’re selling a controversial supplement, here are 3 strategies to ensure effective marketing.
1. Adhere to FDA and FTC regulations at all times
When you’re selling controversial consumable products, it’s critical to know all applicable FDA and FTC regulations. For instance, the FTC regulates how you can advertise your products and the FDA regulates the safety of your actual products.
The FDA is a powerful agency with the authority to shut down and/or fine businesses that don’t comply with certain regulations.
For the most part, products that exist to provide any health or therapeutic benefit are considered dietary supplements. This definition applies to herbs and botanicals, even if it’s just a capsule containing dried, crushed dandelions.
If you make any claims on your label or website related to the structure or function of your product, you must also publish the following disclaimers:
- “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
- “These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA.”
Not publishing these disclaimers is a violation and your business could be fined or shut down.
2.Go out of your way to explain how you meet all industry regulations
While it’s tempting to publish your disclaimers and statements on an obscure webpage to avoid taking up valuable space, it’s a better idea to make them visible on all of your webpages.
Your website visitors aren’t just consumers – they’re often federal agents checking you out to make sure you comply with current regulations. Remember, even innocent, law-abiding businesses get investigated. The more visible your disclaimers are, the more likely you’ll be left alone.
Certain products require more information
The disclaimers and information you’ll need to display will vary based on the specific products you sell. In addition to required disclaimers, certain products command an explanation for how you’re meeting industry regulations that make your product legal.
For example, you can probably just post the standard FDA-required disclaimers if you’re running a website that sells kratom. Kratom is perfectly legal and isn’t regulated in the United States.
On the other hand, cannabidiol (CBD) is only legal when extracted from industrial hemp. CBD extracted from the marijuana plant is illegal because it contains too much THC. If you sell CBD products, it’s a good idea to explain how your CBD meets all legal requirements where everyone can see. ou can also do online research on this matter and visit blogs like nature bloom to learn more about CBD or THC products. For example, you’ll want your visitors to know:
- Your CBD is extracted from industrial hemp, which makes it federally legal
- Your CBD contains less than 0.3% THC and every batch is tested to ensure compliance
Don’t wait until you get placed under investigation to add this important information to your website. It may not prevent you from being audited by a regulatory body, but it will be less of a red flag.
3. Be cautious when publishing testimonials
Testimonials are often a major source of problems for businesses selling dietary supplements. Most of the problems are seen in the weight loss industry, but it happens across the board.
Testimonials are unscientific anecdotal stories that may or may not be true. Testimonials depicting better-than-average results can’t be presented in a way that makes those results appear typical.
This makes sense, but can be problematic when outrageous results really are typical.
Testimonials will help you sell more of your product, and outrageous results might be typical. However, select your testimonials with caution and give people a variety of experiences. While many people will want those outrageous results, other people will be perfectly happy to try your product even if it offers just a small amount of relief.
Make sure you publish scientific support for the results claimed in testimonials. Testimonials can be considered claims and all claims must be backed up by sufficient scientific evidence.
Maintaining compliance can be a full-time job
When you’re hiring people to write and publish your content, it can be hard to stay compliant by yourself. Hire someone to stay on top of your industry’s regulations and have at least one person monitoring compliance across all aspects of your business.