Let’s cut to the chase: if you aren’t doing Dispensary SMS marketing (i.e., text message marketing), then you’re missing sales.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but SMS marketing is a crucial tool for dispensaries looking to connect with their customers, drive engagement, and increase sales. When combined with other digital marketing tools, it can help you create brand awareness and promote your business.
What is SMS Marketing?
SMS stands for short message service. Most texts sent fall under this category. They’re 160-character messages sent to mobile devices.
MMS, SMS’s cousin, stands for multimedia message service and includes videos, gifs, images, and more.
Using SMS and MMS for marketing involves creating an account with a dispensary SMS software provider that maintains your customer data. Any provider you use should:
- Abide by federal regulations,
- Offer a simple, easy-to-use interface for creating and scheduling your messages, and
- Give you access to high-quality analytics so you can make iterations and continually improve your campaigns.
For dispensaries, using an SMS platform that is specially formulated for dispensaries can help you avoid regulatory issues and help ensure that your messages get through to your customers.
Is SMS Marketing Actually Effective?
Not only does SMS marketing work, but it’s widely believed to be more effective than many other digital marketing channels, including email newsletters and social media.
SMS marketing messages have amazingly high open rates, especially when compared to email marketing. One recent study found that commercial SMS messages have a 5x higher open rate and a 7.5x higher response rate than email newsletters. This makes them a much more effective digital marketing tool than the email newsletters that are heavily relied upon by many marketing professionals. (Email newsletters have their place, of course, but if you’re looking to increase your dispensary sales and get customers to your online menu, SMS may be a better tool. Emails are pretty great as educational tools.)
So why is SMS marketing so effective?
As long as you do it right, there’s no reason not to use SMS marketing. Still need convincing? Check these stats:
How Can I Boost My SMS Signup Numbers?
SMS marketing campaigns are only effective if you actually have someone to message.
To drive SMS signups, place clear calls-to-action on your website and social media pages. This can be a pop-up that appears when someone first visits your website. It’s also a great CTA for your deals page. Consider the following CTAs (and feel free to make them your own and use them).
Stay in the know. Sign up to receive daily deals and specials.
Don’t miss another sale! Sign up for text alerts.
Become an insider—sign up for our loyalty program.
Join our loyalty program for special deals and events.
Text “Hello” to ##### to join our VIP for special deal alerts!
Opt-in offers should include effective calls-to-action that inspire immediate action in order to keep customers from losing interest. Offering small discounts or special offers for signing up can also be a good way to motivate customers to opt-in. Check out the following example from Reefside.
Lastly, leveraging your dispensary’s physical location is always a great way to pull in local customers. Your signup campaign can be advertised in-store and promoted with discounts or other incentives where allowed. Some states limit giveaways by dispensaries, so make sure that whatever you do, you remain compliant.
Bonus: Where to Advertise Your SMS Opt-In
Grow your list. Make sure you have info about your texting program:
- On your website
- Homepage as a CTA at the bottom or a pop-up
- Deals page
- On blog posts
- Menu page
- In your emails
- On your social media
- Create special posts to promote your program
- In your email newsletters
- On in-store promotional materials
- Educational materials
You can even customize your receipts to include information about joining your program or make it part of your online ordering. Any piece of literature you offer your customers is an opportunity to highlight your loyalty program and try to capture more phone numbers.
The Legality of SMS Marketing and Opt-ins
Don’t jeopardize your dispensary—make sure to observe federal and local SMS messaging laws when growing your list and capturing data.
In the US, the FCC regulates SMS messaging at a federal level through the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that has been in effect since 1991. Under this act, companies must obtain express written consent from an individual before sending them a message. Messages must contain both the sender’s identity and instructions for opting out of the program.
Check this image to see how springbig incorporates consent into their signup:
One way to guarantee your campaign’s legality is through the use of double opt-ins. While double opt-ins are not strictly required by the TCPA, they’re the most practical way to guarantee your campaign is in compliance with commercial SMS messaging regulations.
A ‘double-opt-in’ refers to getting to customers to confirm their participation in your program by texting back a simple confirmation message like ‘yes’ or ‘ok.’ This gives your brand or company proof that customers are willing to participate, fully protecting you from potential legal violations or even litigation. It’s a pretty common practice, and because you’re offering great deals and other incentives, most consumers don’t mind it.
By following these strategies, your dispensary can take advantage of SMS marketing to increase brand awareness, promote special offers, and boost sales.
What Should You Be Messaging Your SMS Audience?
What should you put in your SMS messages? That depends on the message’s intent. There really is no perfect, one-size-fits-all message when it comes to SMS marketing.
SMS marketing messages can serve many different purposes. They can be used to build brand awareness, promote special offers or events, remind customers of deliveries or appointments, ask for a review, and to re-target past customers, among other things. The content of your messages will depend on which one of these goals you are trying to achieve.
SMS marketing messages can be broken down into three different groups: sales and marketing messages, personalized messages, and notifications or reminders.
Sales and Marketing Messages
Sales and marketing messages are typically used to bring awareness to new promotions, sales, offers, or events. Sales messages inform potential customers and inspire them to take immediate action, often through the use of effective and carefully crafted calls-to-action. These kinds of messages should be short and to the point so as to not lose customer interest. Most importantly, sales and awareness messages should include a link so as to help potential customers learn more about the offer or to take action.
SMS marketing messages can also be personalized in order to add a more human touch to your communications. Making the most of collected information such as names and birthdates can help to establish a personal connection with the customer.
Personalized messages are essential for building a connection with your customers. They allow you to make product recommendations and offer special deals based on a customer’s purchasing history, location, age, or other information. With personalized messages, you can send special birthday deals, re-target customers that haven’t stopped by in a while, reward frequent shoppers, and more.
Hey, John! We miss you! Stop by this week for 10% off your order.
Happy Birthday, Karen! Save 10% on edibles for your special day.
We know you love <brand>—and so do we! Take 10% off your next <brand> purchase.
To ensure you can do personalized messages, make sure the SMS software you use is also a CRM! If it isn’t, you’ll have no way to target your audience based on behaviors, location, etc.
Notifications & Reminders
Lastly, SMS messages can also be used to notify customers of important information. For instance, notification messages can be used to make customers aware of stock availability, delivery times, or appointments.
You can craft a variety of different SMS campaigns using automation tools. To get started, consider your goals. Are you looking to drive foot traffic into your stores at certain times? Do you have some new stock you want to get your customers interested in? Are you in need of Google Reviews and want to ask your loyal customers to consider leaving one? Have an upcoming event you want to promote?
Whatever the goal, there’s a text message that can help you.
Bonus: Best Practices
Provide an Enticing Offer
Don’t waste your customers’ time—send them a text worth opening. Make sure you’re sending good offers and lead with it.
Create a Sense of Urgency
Using a time limit to the offer can entice your customers to act quickly. Otherwise, they may read your text and then forget about it.
Make it Feel Special
Bulk texts can feel pretty boring, but that doesn’t mean you have to personalize every text. At the least, generate a sense of exclusivity by providing offers for loyalty members only.
Use Branded Links
To build trust and increase the likelihood that your links will get clicked, use a branded link shortener. Customers will recognize your name in the link and will feel more comfortable clicking on it.
Link Directly to Your Menu or Relevant Page
Make it easy for your customers—send them to your menu to take advantage of a deal or to the relevant page you mention in your message.
When Should You Be Sending SMS Messages?
Timing is key for ensuring your messages are effective. Nine AM may be a bit early for a Green Happy Hour text, but 3 PM is pretty solid.
For the most part, you should only send texts when you’re open. Reminder texts are an exception. Make sure to avoid messaging customers at inconvenient times or at times when they’re unavailable to view messages and click through to offers.
There are specific times at which SMS marketing messages have been shown to be more effective. On weekdays, this is between the hours of 8 AM and 12 noon, when people are getting up, getting out, and checking their messages in the process, and 4 PM and 9 PM, when people are settling down for the evening. On weekends, the ideal time to send messages is in the mornings between 9 and 12 when people are less active.
And what about frequency?
Sending a message daily may lead to more unsubscribes. Remember, you want to be sending exciting offers that are too good to pass up. Even if your dispensary offers daily deals, customers don’t need to be reminded every single day. A weekly MMS that showcases the week’s deals should suffice and be more welcome than a daily text. According to Upland Software, retailers can send 10-15 messages a month without increasing their unsubscribe rate too much. More messages will lead to a higher unsubscribe rate.
Timing Best Practices
As previously mentioned, your dispensary should be open or accepting online orders when you send text messages. You want to drive traffic to your menu or retail location, after all. So consider when you want to drive traffic. Do you want some more AM visitors in your shop? Want to invigorate your happy hour? Tailor your texts to drive traffic during those times with offers that are too good to pass up.
The ROI of SMS Marketing
For marketers, ROI is everything. If you aren’t getting a return on your investment, then why bother, right?
To determine the ROI of a text campaign, you’ll need to track how much you spend on your campaign and the total sales attributed to the campaign.
The formula for your ROI percentage is:
ROI = ((Sales – Cost of the Text Campaign) ÷ Cost of Text Campaign) x 100
If you include a unique link in your text message, you can track online orders placed as a result of your text. Add up your total sales from your link (or from individuals who purchased the item you were promoting) and divide it by the cost of your text campaign.
For example, if you made $4,000 on sales of your disposable vape pens after spending $1,000 to send out a sale alert, your ROI is 300%. That’s an amazing return!
In some cases, calculating the precise ROI can be difficult. For example, let’s say you send out a text advertising a particular product that’s on sale. Mary gets the text and comes into the store. She decides to purchase a different product than the one advertised. While the text led to her purchase, it can be difficult to attribute her actions to the text because she didn’t click on a link or purchase the item advertised. However, the text propelled her to stop by, and she ultimately bought something else. There’s no good way to connect that purchase with a text campaign, even though the text is what initially induced Mary to stop by.
How to Send SMS and MMS Messages
Ready to get started? Good! At Foottraffik, we partner with the best text message marketing platforms in the cannabis industry. We know that keeping track of your digital marketing and text message marketing can be confusing and time-consuming—so let us help! In addition to traditional digital marketing like SEO and SEM, Foottraffik offers SMS marketing management to help you take advantage of this powerful tool.