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Text message marketing might still be a great unknown in some industries — with customer information hard to receive, and success rates difficult to measure. But in the cannabis industry, it’s one of the few approved methods of communication with customers, so it’s a strategy many dispensaries are ramping up.
Without the advantage of TV, radio or Internet marketing, SMS marketing is a unique way to develop brand loyalty for cannabis companies. When done properly, text message marketing can be the answer to increasing ROI and securing customers for many dispensaries. If done incorrectly, it could be the reason a dispensary loses its license.
To better understand how the leading dispensaries use text message marketing to their advantage, here are some things to remember.
1. Stay Compliant
Being compliant means that customers are interested in receiving SMS messaging in the first place. When customers sign up for dispensary reward programs, or hand over their contact information to make an account, a brand must first get permission before texting them.
Moreover, the dispensary must also offer people a way to opt out as well. An example of this would be a blurb at the bottom of a message that reads something like “Don’t want to receive texts from us? Reply ‘STOP’.”
If customers do opt out of SMS messages, remember to send a friendly confirmation message so they know they won’t get any more texts. Do this strategically, though, writing something like, “You’re still a member of our Loyalty Rewards Program, but you won’t receive any more text reminders about our great sales.” This is a good opportunity to maintain some relationship.
2. Create Structured Campaigns
SMS marketing is an efficient way to blast out daily deals, but, as a rule of thumb, never text customers more than once a day. Use information from the POS system to send people what they want to see, when they want to see it.
Ideally, a dispensary will map out a weekly or monthly promotional plan to send via text, which advertises flash sales or special offers. For the highest engagement, consider that SMS campaigns sent between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. typically have the highest click-through rates.
And remember to think quality over quantity. The last thing a dispensary wants to do is bombard customers and turn someone previously loyal against them.
3. Use Compelling Graphics
Remember that whole compliant thing from above? Part of that is understanding the regulations allowed in SMS marketing specifically within the cannabis industry.
For instance, there are a list of banned words companies cannot use when text messaging customers. Using words such as “kush,” “weed,” and any variation of “pre-roll”, among others, will immediately lead texts to the Spam folder.
This is where using compelling graphics is beneficial.
Sending an MMS with an attached product photo, or incorporating emojis into texting campaigns to make messages more fun to read, are all within regulations. This also increases user engagement, a info shows that click-through rates are about 13 percent (compared to 5 percent) when photos or emojis are used.
4. Strategize Automation
Timing is everything, and, when it comes to SMS marketing, it’s critical to understand what the customers wants. This is where automated messages can be handy.
Automated messages can include things like asking a customers to review a new product, or to rate a shopping experience within 48 hours of a purchase. Likewise, these messages can notify a customer when he or she is close to a spending threshold and in line for a reward.
Dispensaries should also keep holiday spending cycles in mind when scheduling automated texts, and should start reaching out to customers with promotions or product launches 2-3 weeks before big holidays like Christmas or Valentine’s Day.
A sale doesn’t stop after a customer leaves a dispensary, so remember to utilize data to offer the highest returns, promotions and rewards to loyal members in your community.
5. Consider Interest-Based List Segmentation
One size does not fit all. So, when it comes to SMS marketing, that means catering text messages to customers with niche interests or hobbies, and being respectful of their time by only sending texts about products or brands that are relevant to them.
Utilize the data from the POS as an advantage. This info is invaluable when it comes to understanding what each customer regularly purchases, and provides great insight as to what he or she may be looking to buy in the not-so-distant future. Target these shoppers appropriately with deals or promotions of their specific interest.
A dispensary that invests in a well-crafted and well-researched SMS marketing campaign can successfully bolster brand loyalty and increase customer retention. This can eliminate guesswork, while also informing the customer in a unqiue (and legal) way.
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