How to Handle Email Marketing in the Cannabis Industry?

The widespread acceptance of cannabis is indeed a positive change we are experiencing in the 21st century. As of 2022, 37 states in the US have either decriminalized or legalized cannabis use for medicinal and recreational purposes. However, the cannabis industry faces several challenges when it comes to marketing, for example, the biggest social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter restrict all sorts of cannabis promotions and marketing campaigns.

Here comes cannabis email marketing as a solution to the issues faced by cannabis small businesses. This tried and tested method has a huge return on investment (ROI) as well. Research conducted by Campaign Monitor publishes that email marketing generates $44 for every $1 invested. It’s high time you switch to it and collaborate with cannabis-friendly Email Service Providers (ESP) for promoting your brand and products.

Going through this article will provide you with all the necessary information required before starting your email marketing campaign. The blog features a range of platforms and various tips and strategies to provide you with the right solution for your business.

What is Email Marketing?

It is a digital marketing strategy where businesses send promotional emails about their new products, updates, features, milestones, etc. to a section of potential customers. You can also use it to initiate actions like free trials, registrations, and referrals. Email marketing, when done strategically, not only helps in lead generation but also develops brand awareness and builds interpersonal relationships, which is beneficial in the long run.

We can summarize the advantages:

  • Increased sales and website traffic.
  • ROI is as high as 4,400%.
  • Cost-effective marketing strategy.
  • ESPs help in sending a large number of emails to targeted customers.
  • Builds interpersonal relationships and brand awareness.
  • Helps to collect feedback from customers.
  • Automated emails save time as well.

Do Cannabis Brands Really Need Email Marketing?

It is a good promotional strategy for every small business in general. However, why are cannabis small businesses specifically advised to rely on marijuana email marketing to broaden their client base?

It is worth mentioning that cannabis is yet to achieve its legal status federally, although it does not hamper the production and use of marijuana products where they are decriminalized. But the real problem lies in the fact that marketing your cannabis business becomes difficult due to the restrictions imposed on it. You can’t use social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for promotion. Even searching relevant keywords on Google Search Console for cannabis SEO of your website is not possible. Billboards are allowed but they are not much in use for businesses operating online.

Keeping these challenges in mind, and also the overall stigma that is yet to disappear completely, a private yet effective approach is necessary. This is where private email marketing for cannabis brands comes in handy. You invest a little and enjoy multifaceted benefits with marijuana email marketing like lead generation, increased sales, and many more. So, it is highly advisable for ambitious entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry to incorporate this kind of marketing into their plans.

How Does Cannabis Email Marketing Work?

How Does Cannabis Email Marketing Work

A successful cannabis email marketing campaign starts with getting access to the list of potential cannabis users and their addresses. It is crucial to categorize them according to your priorities. For example, recreational use is restricted to some extent but CBD/low-THC products are legal in most states. Depending on the products of your brand, you must grade your target audience in different tiers.

There are different kinds of emails that you can spread to promote your cannabis brand, starting from direct to informational newsletters. It is advisable to intermix them accordingly since an approach that is neither too generalized nor too customized works best. Your emails should indeed have a personal touch to them, but make sure you use automated services to spread the news of your new CBD gummies to all your clients.

Talking about the content, it is important to make it interactive. How about a transactional email to remind a visitor of an incomplete activity or a customized list of Delta-8-THC products for a client who is looking for a cure for insomnia? Prioritize your welcome emails, include informative blogs that spread awareness, insert a comprehensive guide to your website, and check out customer requirements and reviews to maximize your returns from cannabis marketing.

The key to success lies in your ability to build the confidence of your users. If you’re a newbie, make sure to include reviews from reputed influencers or cannabis magazines and sales records to demonstrate your brand value. Once you achieve a steady client base, you can add other features like referral programs to take it to the next level.

6 Steps to Build a CBD and Cannabis Email Strategy

So, you’re about to incorporate email marketing to boost your cannabis start-up. Let’s assume that you already have a website for your business, which is a necessary prerequisite in such a case. A compact well-designed website alone can be beneficial in increasing your sales. However, we’ll get straight to describing the entire procedure in a stepwise manner.

Choose the Right Email Service Provider

It is not practical to single-handedly manage the emailing task on a large scale, so it is recommended to collaborate with an email service provider. ESPs are companies that provide bulk services on behalf of other companies. Cannabis-friendly email marketing platforms undertake such projects, they will be listed later on in this article.

There are several benefits of consulting an ESP. You can segment your address list, get access to both pre-designed and customized templates, compatibility and spam testing of templates, tracking information, and different analytical metrics. With prior research and monitoring, email marketing experts can make your campaign highly successful and increase website traffic and sales.

Build Your List Organically

Your primary task in email marketing for cannabis is getting in touch with a considerably large list of contacts. Once the purpose is fulfilled, your ESP can take care of the rest. There are different ways to build your list, which has been explained in a pointwise fashion.

Age Verification

The legal age of cannabis use in the US is 21+ years. A verification process is necessary in such a case, which is done through the address of a new signup. This serves a two-in-one purpose for getting in touch with the email of a potential customer.

Lead Magnets

Online lead magnets – eBooks, puzzles, worksheets, webinars, and reports related to cannabis where users are requested to input their email – are useful in collecting addresses. Make sure that they are useful, interactive, and somehow related to cannabis.

Exit Pop-up

You can also ask your website visitors to input their addresses as they are leaving, although the success rate can be less in this case.

For cannabis dispensary email marketing, you can use your in-person communication skills to ask them for their email address. A more professional variant would be asking your visitors to fill out a review form.

Segmentation of Email Address List

It is not wise to blindly disperse your emails to every potential customer on your list. A good way to curb your costs is by segmenting your list and using targeted emailing strategies. For example, there are recreational users vs medicinal users, users who prefer CBD products over THC, etc. The degree of legalization also varies across the states. While medicinal use is approved on a large scale, recreational use is still limited to a few states.

Here comes the benefit of slicing and dicing your customer base. You don’t want to suggest your new low-THC gummies to a heavy user, or highly potent strains to someone who is using cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Location and interest-based segmentation, followed by customized emails, is a powerful tool for email marketing in the cannabis industry.

Use Catchy Subject Lines

The subject line is a summary of your content in a sentence. A HubSpot review published that 77% of emails are opened from smartphones, which makes a crisp and eye-catching subject line a must for cannabis businesses. A subject line within 50 characters, with a personal touch and literary elements like puns, works best to tempt the receiver to visit your website.

Since honesty is the best policy, using deceptive subject lines is not advisable. You can also take the help of different tools to find the ones that bring out the best results. A fast-moving world prefers gliding through the headlines more than going into detail, so make sure your subject line is unique and engaging.

A Combination of Automated and Customized Emails

Your email marketing campaign should not be entirely automated. However, too much customization is also not practical. Imagine famous CBD influencers reviewing your brand on their channel, which you want to spread with your target audience. There is not much room for customization in such a case, and automated emails would work best.

On the other hand, you want to send the first email to a new visitor of yours and you’re aware of their priorities. Here customized emails come into play, where you have the chance to showcase your best products that particularly fulfill their requirements. Also, include phrases like ‘Thank You For Your Visit’ or ‘Only For You’ in your content to sound less mechanical, even if the emails are automated.

Guide Them to Your Website

Your ultimate target of email marketing is to guide the interested ones to your website. Whether a visitor ends up buying or not depends on several other factors, increased website traffic is directly proportional to increased sales. If you’ve successfully undertaken the above-mentioned steps, your final task is to make them visit your website.

Depending on the product preference, incorporate links that take your visitors to the particular segment of the website featuring the products. Include product images and features to make the email look more appealing. Make sure that your guide is comprehensive and easy to understand. The modern cannabis user base is quite educated, so it is highly advised not to use deceptive tactics.

Top 6 Cannabis-Friendly Email Marketing Platforms

We have already talked about how service providers help in distributing bulk messages to target audiences, along with other benefits like customization, monitoring, etc. Here is a list of 6 cannabis marketing platforms with their key features.

  • Alpine IQ – Cannabis-only marketing platform.
  • Klaviyo – Robust set of marketing tools.
  • Moosend – Trusted by big companies.
  • MailerLite – Concise, all-in-one email marketing package.
  • MailChimp – Email services at the most affordable rates.
  • SendX – Inexpensive start-up for cannabis marketing.

Alpine IQ

One of the top email marketing platforms, Alpine IQ, based in Denver, provides a bunch of marketing tools for cannabis retailers and cultivators. Starting from email marketing, the services include mobile app development, SMS marketing, loyalty and referral programs, data segmentation, and performance analytics. In short, all the business tools required by a cannabis website are provided by Alpine IQ, which includes email marketing. Alpine IQ is indeed special considering it provides cannabis-only marketing services instead of generalized email marketing tools.

Key features of Alpine IQ’s email marketing include templates with drag-and-drop editors, segmentation, multi-channel messaging, and dynamic content creation. They are designed to work in multistate environments keeping in mind the varied legalization status in the US. Besides protecting and promoting consumer experience, the services are guaranteed to reduce costs, develop loyalty, and increase your revenue in the long run. As of now, Alpine IQ’s services are used by 2,100+ stores across the countries, including large companies like High Tide and Canna Havana.

Klaviyo

Klaviyo is a cannabis-friendly marketing automation platform, focusing primarily on email and SMS marketing. Klaviyo is one of the best email service providers for cannabis small businesses, thanks to its easy-to-use interface and affordable rates. You can also integrate the services while retailing via eCommerce platforms that allow THC and CBD products. They come up with a free trial, which gives you an opportunity to try and test their services, by sending up to 500 emails to 250 contacts for free.

With pre-designed automated messages, customizable templates, and segmentation, Klaviyo can increase your cannabis sales significantly. The company also incorporates performance analytics to monitor and analyze user behavior and sales trends. There are 100k+ global brands that took help from Klaviyo for email marketing strategies. Now it’s your time to make use of their personalized content that keeps a track of user data like recently viewed products, bestsellers, new arrivals, abandoned carts, etc.

Moosend

Moosend is another cloud-based email marketing and automation software provider that accepts cannabis businesses. Moosend provides all sorts of marketing tools like personalized emails, newsletters, segmentation, landing pages, subscription forms, and automated marketing features besides proper monitoring and analysis of customer data using CRM tools. With an immense free trial period that lasts up to 6 months, you can easily check out their services for free. Following that, Moosend has a subscribe-based monthly payment plan.

What features does Moosend bring to the table as one of the email marketing platforms? Hundreds of customizable templates, drag-and-drop newsletters, A/B testing for subject lines and content, subject line optimization using AI, segmentation, and countdown timers are the services that put the company ahead in the race. Whether you’re operating a cannabis dispensary or tying up with eCommerce sites, Moosend is always a solid choice. And when famous brands like Gucci, Vogue, Domino’s Pizza, and TEDx trust Moosend, you can too.

MailerLite

Going by the name, MailerLite is indeed a lightweight email marketing solution provider based in Lithuania. Starting from landing pages and sign-up forms for accessing the email list of potential customers, MailerLite’s services include website building, email marketing, newsletter editing, SEO-friendly content creation, etc. However, you need to have a physical store location to access their services.

Now, let’s look at the email marketing features of MailerLite. Choose between interactive drag-and-drop editors, personalized rich-text emails, or customized HTML editors to start your marketing campaign. Use their pre-designed templates, free images, automated messages, and their own API to boost your sales. You can also start targeted campaigns via segmentation and personalization tools. Their standout features include RSS campaigns to send emails on a regular basis, click-maps on emails for heatmap analysis, and landing page creator with inbuilt tracking and WordPress plug-ins.

Mailchimp

One of the most famous email marketing platforms, Mailchimp is an automation brand working in this industry for over two decades. What is exciting about Mailchimp is that they offer their services at a ridiculously low rate, with the premium plan allowing up to 150,000 email sends per month at just $299. Starting from creative tools to customized emails, the range of services offered by Mailchimp forms a complete package essential for small businesses to market their products.

To begin with, you can rely on Mailchimp for landing page development for your website which collects users’ email addresses. With proper segmentation, A/B testing, and behavior analysis, it is expected that Mailchimp’s automated and customized email marketing tools are going to be a catch for enriching your brand value. Mailchimp’s emails have a delivery rate of over 99%, which are both interactive and relevant for your targeted audience. The company has an active user base of 13 million, which includes some big names like Vimeo, TED, and New Belgium Brewing.

SendX

Keeping in mind the budget constraints faced by small business owners, our experts have settled on SendX as the final email marketing platform on the list. The rates are quite affordable, with up to 100,000 email sends for just $299.99 per month. Although the size of the company is not very big, the set of tools offered by SendX is quite robust. You can start with forms and landing pages for your website, and proceed to send beautifully curated emails to the people on your list.

SendX makes use of all the email marketing tools utilized by other companies. These include segmentation and tagging, A/B testing, advanced automation, and performance reports. You can also rely on their API integrations with reputed third parties like Amazon, PayPal, Zapier, etc. Whether you are managing a dispensary or selling your CBD products online, SendX is always a decent option to lean on for promoting your cannabis brand.

Key Takeaways

The appearance of cannabis start-ups with different strains, THC, and CBD products is indeed a recent development. Although the market is expected to grow at a rate of 13% for the upcoming five years, the path is not straightforward. The cannabis laws of the US make it difficult for small businesses to market their products, collaborate with banks, and get access to human resources. Since social media marketing is prohibited for cannabis products, email marketing turns out to be the best option considering its direct and covert nature.

There are different strategies for cannabis email marketing, like getting access to an amplified email list, segmentation for targeted messages, incorporating catchy subject lines, and creating meaningful content to maximize leads. Although an ESP can perform these tasks on your behalf, it is always recommended to input your own ideas for taking your strategy one step ahead of the rest. This article also mentions a few email marketing platforms you can resort to for marketing your cannabis start-up, as they deserve a shout-out for coming forward to help this highly regulated and potential industry.

Andrew High is an experienced digital marketing expert. He specializes in helping businesses within the marijuana industry market their products and services online. With years of experience in creating marketing strategies for cannabis-related businesses, Andrew has a proven track record of success.