How To Market Restricted Products Online – Cheat Sheet

Contact for help with eCommerce restricted product marketing

Making headlines recently are a few companies that are under financial pressure as a result of investments in product categories in which the founders underestimated the difficulty of dealing with known restrictions. Firearms and related accessories, tobacco products and related accessories, and even self defense products are examples of products that are perfectly legal to sell across the United States, but categories that Amazon, Google, Shopify and Facebook put advertising restrictions on due to ideological decisions made by the platforms.

Marketing an eCommerce website for products like weapons that are prohibited from advertising on platforms like Google and Facebook can be challenging, but there are alternative strategies you can consider:

Niche Forums and Communities: Identify online forums, discussion boards, and communities related to weapons, self-defense, or similar topics. Engage in meaningful discussions, provide valuable insights, and discreetly promote your products when relevant.

Content Marketing: Create informative and educational content related to weapons, self-defense techniques, or safety. This could include blog posts, videos, infographics, or guides. Share this content on your website and social media channels.

Influencer Marketing: Partner with influencers who have a following interested in self-defense, martial arts, or related topics. They can showcase your products in a way that complies with platform guidelines and resonates with their audience.

SEO and Organic Traffic: Optimize your website for SEO using the tips mentioned earlier. Focus on long-tail keywords that potential customers might use to search for your products. This can help you rank higher in search engine results.

Email Marketing: Build an email list of interested subscribers and send them regular updates about your products, promotions, and educational content. Email marketing allows you to directly reach your target audience.

Affiliate Marketing: Set up an affiliate program where individuals or websites can promote your products in exchange for a commission. This can help you reach a wider audience while adhering to platform restrictions.

Social Media Platforms: While Google and Facebook might prohibit direct advertising, other social media platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram might have less strict guidelines. Create engaging posts, use relevant hashtags, and interact with your audience.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: Consider using alternative PPC platforms that allow the advertising of restricted products. Examples include Bing Ads or smaller niche platforms.

Local and Events Marketing: Attend trade shows, exhibitions, or local events related to self-defense, outdoor activities, or similar themes. These events can help you connect with potential customers directly.

Loyalty Programs and Referrals: Reward existing customers for referrals and repeat business. Satisfied customers can be your best advocates and help spread the word about your products.

Remember to always prioritize safety, compliance with local laws, and ethical considerations when marketing potentially sensitive products. Additionally, clearly communicate the responsible and legal use of the products you’re selling. You may need to have us do more extensive research for you with regard to payment processors, website hosting companies, and other issues you may contend with as you bring legal products to market and navigate through third party imposed artificial restrictions. Check out the eCommerce coaching options available from and let us know if you need help scaling your business against the odds.

Subscribe to the free email newsletter from as we’re starting to communicate these types of updates for our clients and free insider email subscription list.

Originally posted 2023-08-12 16:38:51.