To say that the vaping industry underwent massive changes in 2018 and 2019 would be a colossal understatement – and when it comes to promoting an e-liquid brand, the game has changed completely because some of the strategies that e-liquid brands once used to get attention simply aren’t viable anymore.
You Can’t Make E-Liquid Bottles That Look Like Cereal Boxes
What has changed? For starters, cartoony e-liquid labels are out.
Even as the United States experienced an explosive increase in underage vaping, e-liquid companies became increasingly brazen in marketing their products with cartoon character mascots and label designs resembling those of popular snack foods. Things got so bad that the Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission had to step in and send warning letters to the worst offenders.
You Can’t Pay Social Media Influencers Under the Table
Are you thinking of paying social media influencers for exposure? Better make sure you’re doing things the right way.
In June 2019, the FDA and FTC began sending warning letters to e-liquid companies that promoted their e-liquid brands – both through their own social media accounts and via influencers – without clearly tagging the posts as advertisements for nicotine products, without adding nicotine warnings and without disclosing material connections between the influencers and the brands they were promoting. When it comes to paying social media influencers under the table to promote your e-liquid brand, that ship has sailed.
Why We Know How to Promote an E-Liquid Brand
Here at eCig One, we take online marketing seriously. We’ve worked with some of the fastest-growing e-liquid brands around the world, and we’ve helped those brands get attention without using tactics that could potentially cross legal or ethical boundaries. We know a thing or two about what works online, and in this article, we’re going to get you on the road to success by sharing a few very simple and actionable tips for promoting your e-liquid brand online.
Target Adult Consumers With Your Labeling and Branding
We can say one thing with complete certainty: Adult vapers love flavored e-liquids. Unfortunately, surveys have proven that underage vapers also like flavors. The appeal of flavored e-liquids, in fact, is one of the biggest factors that contributes to underage vaping. That’s what has led to the FDA and FTC crackdowns on e-liquid companies that have gone too far with bright and cartoony e-liquid branding. You can still make your cereal-flavored e-liquids, but you don’t need to make the packages look like actual cereal boxes.
To see what’s possible with the right style of e-liquid branding, look no further than Vaper Empire in Australia. Vaper Empire’s branding is clean, classy and clearly for an adult market. With good design sensibilities, you can create a brand image that generates interest and excitement without stepping over the line.
Write Your E-Liquid Product Descriptions With Care
If you’ve spent any time studying your competition, it’s likely that you’ve sampled many e-liquids with common flavor profiles such as tobacco, cereal, custard and strawberries-and-cream. You’ve surely noticed, then, how similar some of those flavor profiles are from one brand to the next. E-liquid companies all get their flavor concentrates from the same handful of manufacturers. Those who aren’t manufacturing their e-liquids in house are using a handful of white-label e-liquid makers who also get their flavor concentrates from the same manufacturers. Either way, there’s only so much room for variety in the world of e-liquid.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned here at eCig One in nearly a decade of studying the vaping industry, it’s this. An e-liquid’s flavor is important, but it’s not nearly as important as the way the e-liquid is presented. When you launch an e-liquid brand, you should definitely spend plenty of time developing your flavor profiles. You should spend even more time, though, crafting a great brand image and writing text descriptions for your e-liquids that really stand out. Not a writer? Get in touch; we can help.
Talk to Local Vape Shop Owners
As an e-liquid brand, getting yourself ranked on Google is only going to be part of your marketing strategy. You’re not going to get on the first page for a term like “e-liquid,” for example; the companies that may one day sell your products already have a stranglehold on that term. For any e-liquid brand, getting in front of local consumers is the shortest path toward generating revenue. In our opinion, you should not even consider launching an e-liquid brand unless you have the funding necessary to manufacture your e-liquids in sufficient quantities to handle wholesale orders. Many e-liquid brands earn most of their revenue from wholesale orders.
Start with your local vape shops. Bring samples to all of your local vape shops and try to get your brand on their shelves. If you’re not comfortable being your own salesman, either find someone with door-to-door sales experience or print and distribute an attractive flyer. The fact that you’re a local business may encourage local vape shop owners to work with you, but you should also be prepared to entice them further with very attractive pricing. Don’t limit yourself to your local vape shops; fan out until you’ve covered your entire state.
Get Your E-Liquid Brand Added to Distributors’ Catalogs
Getting your e-liquid brand on local vape shops’ shelves is a quick path to profitability, but being sold on online vape shops can potentially be even more lucrative. The biggest online vape shops receive many thousands of visitors each day, and those vape shops aren’t interested in making deals with small e-liquid brands. They get their products from wholesalers. Many online vape shops don’t even handle their own order fulfillment; they just forward their orders to drop shippers who handle the warehousing and shipping for them. To get your e-liquids shown on online vape shops, then, you’ll need to contact and make deals with e-liquid distributors and drop shippers.
Remember that when you sell your e-liquids to local vape shops, you are the wholesaler. Vape shop owners will add their required profit margins to your price. When you sell your e-liquids to wholesalers, though, you’ll have to offer even better pricing. Wholesalers will mark your products up when selling them to retailers, and retailers will mark the products up further when selling them to consumers. If the companies that resell your e-liquids can’t profit, they won’t buy from you.
Use Social Media Influencers the Right Way
The recent FDA and FTC warning letters haven’t killed social media influencer marketing for e-liquid companies; you just can’t do it under the table anymore. The biggest influencers on social media have thousands of devoted followers, and you definitely want to expose those people to your products if you can. Look for influencers who clearly label their pages as being for adults only and tag their advertisements with the required nicotine warnings. Make sure that the influencers with whom you collaborate also mark their posts as paid advertisements. The honesty will not hurt the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.