Don’t be intimidated by our choice to use the word "choreography." It can be daunting, but it’s worth the investment of your time, attention, and resources. Let us tell you why.
When email marketing began, it wasn’t considered to be effective because having an email was a novelty. Of course, now that 92% of adults online use email and 61% of adults check it daily, this seems quite laughable. In 1978, DEC sent out the world’s first email blast to a list of 400 potential clients. It resulted in $13 million in sales. Since then, email marketing has evolved from those mass email blasts into a choreographed tactic. Here's how you can use tailored cannabis email marketing services and management to raise awareness and instill trust in your customers.
Why E-mail Marketing?
"Email is an easy way to reach mobile customers. About 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices."
"Promotions delivered in email drive online sales and in-store visits. 64% of US Internet users have printed a coupon from an email."
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Types of E-mail Marketing
Considered to be any email that’s sent to your entire subscriber list, direct emails are exactly that – a general email blast. This could be a dispensary promotion, an announcement of a new product on the shelf, or simply a ‘hello’ with a dispensary update. Though considered to be ‘general,’ you can still increase engagement with this type of email by segmenting your list and including their first name in the email using shortcodes provided by your email marketing software. If you’re not familiar with the idea of segmenting your list, think of it like this: When signing up email subscribers, take note of what they’re interested in. If they sign up to your email list, maybe automate with a transactional email (see below) and ask them what products or brands they are interested in. That way, you aren’t sending them a promotion that isn't relevant to them. For example, you may annoy a subscriber by sending them an edibles promotion if they’re only interested in tinctures.
Transactional emails will get you through the filters of your customer’s inbox. These are ‘triggered’ emails based on a customer’s action on your website. They might have filled out a form, completed a purchase, abandoned an item in a shopping cart, or simply added themselves to your email list. Since these emails are crafted specifically as a response to an action, they are viewed as the most relevant to your subscriber and are therefore more engaging. The primary purpose of this type of email is to follow-up on an action and give the customer more information. Companies who market directly to their consumers using transactional emails have seen conversion rates as high as 50% (eMarketer). Take advantage of the high open rates and include a promotional message within the body of these emails.
About 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices (Campaign Monitor) so optimizing your campaigns for mobile is extremely important. Just like your email marketing software should allow you to segment your list, it should also provide you a preview of how your email will look on a mobile device.
Email Marketing Best Practices
There is an ‘art’ to email marketing. To ensure you’re using this channel to yield the best results for your dispensary, we are going to touch on a few rules of etiquette and the current laws regarding cannabis email marketing services and management here in the United States
Have a clear purpose when asking for a user’s email address, and be clear on what they’re signing up to receive in their inbox. Adding them to any and all of your lists is not polite and most likely will result in an unsubscribe. Get whitelisted by your subscribers. Today’s inbox filters are strong. For example, Gmail places unknown senders in your subscriber’s ‘Promotions’ tab, and they may never see your email. In your introductory email sequence or on your ‘Thank you for Subscribing’ page, provide instructions for whitelisting your dispensary. By adding you to their contacts list, you’ll appear in their primary inbox.
Have a strong call to action in place and employ consistent follow-ups. If you are sending out a newsletter, be consistent. If it’s a weekly newsletter, send it out on the same day every week. If it’s daily, don’t skip a day. Consistency builds relationships, while inconsistency will create distrust with your subscribers. For example, if you have set up an automated email sequence to welcome new subscribers, tell them what they should expect in the upcoming days.
Be considerate with your pitch.
Is your messaging consistent and are you pitching too often? Put yourself in the shoes of your subscriber. If you were them, would your emails be coming off as too sales-y? Are your calls to action naturally placed within your content or are they abrasive interruptions? Be considerate with how you pitch your subscribers and you’ll gain their respect.
Craft a great newsletter.
First, don’t manually add subscribers to your email list. It’s not polite and will only hurt you in the long run. Now that we have that out of the way, how do you craft a great newsletter? Create compelling content! While you need to be consistent when sending out your newsletter, you also need to be creative with the content inside. Find a good balance by including a personal message, images, maybe other multimedia, and product updates. In a newsletter, your primary goal is to build a relationship with your subscriber – be careful with pitching in this kind of email. Instead, offer value and context.
Use email sequences.
Also known as autoresponders, email sequences are perfect for walking your subscribers through a funnel. If they are new to your list, maybe it’s setting up a ‘Welcome’ sequence and sending one email thanking them and introducing yourself. Maybe the next email is educating them about the products you offer at your dispensary. The third one could be used to introduce them to your staff, further building the relationship. Now that they’re familiar with you, why not offer them a special ‘New Customer’ promotion? Are you catching our drift? Email sequences are automated triggered actions that ‘walk’ your subscribers up the steps.
Segment your lists.
Split up your general email list into more targeted groups of subscribers. Put subscribers who’ve placed an order into a ‘Customer’ segment. Put clients who’ve signed up for your newsletter in a ‘Newsletter’ list. Again, this goes back to asking permission. Don’t automatically send them a newsletter if they just bought a product; ask permission. Put subscribers who have not yet bought into a ‘Leads’ segment and cater your emails to providing more information about who you are and what you offer. If a subscriber signed up for product updates on your edibles selections, place them in your ‘Edible Lovers’ list and so on.
Email U.S. Laws
Concerning legality, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, which is in direct response to the rise of spam in inboxes nationwide. It imposed laws on using deceptive tactics that are “materially false or misleading.” Congress also set conditions for how emails need to be formatted to comply with the new laws. A popular email software (see below) is a worthwhile investment. It not only ensures that you are formatting your emails correctly and including all necessary information, but it also enables you to design engaging emails and set up email sequences quickly.
Let’s take an in-depth look at each digital marketing channel.
Given the unique position of the cannabis industry, we’re only covering the digital marketing channels that are permitted to be used by ancillary businesses, brands, dispensary owners, mobile applications, producers, processors, and websites. There is a legal gray area when marketing cannabis companies, and you should regularly reference the laws within your state before starting any campaign.