Cannabis Email Marketing: Do's & Don'ts

Email marketing can be a powerful tool for those who wish to put in the work, or it can be white noise to your recipients if you aren’t careful or try to take the “easy” way out. Especially if you’re in cannabis, where there are even more considerations to be wary of! So let’s review some do's and don’ts for email marketing, specific to the cannabis & hemp industry.


DO recognize your niche – the cannabis industry, like many others, is filled with smaller groups. Identify your corner of the market and only send to those who fit your qualifications. Research your market, and understand the struggles, preferences and needs of your audience.

DO segment your audience and send targeted content to each license activity, status and company size. A larger company with multiple active licenses will have different concerns than a small mom-and-pop shop with a single pending license. Taking a minute to carve up a bigger group and customizing your email to each segment can help improve your open and click-through rates as well as conversion rates. For example if you are selling soil and fertilizer, then you will want to send to cultivators and exclude other license types like testing and manufacturing. Unrelated groups won’t be interested in your product and are more likely to mark your email as spam which can negatively impact the deliverability of your future emails.

DO focus your content on providing value or addressing pain points specific to your audience. Tell them WHY they need you/your company and what you can do for them. User testimonials can be great to show other companies how you have helped similar businesses to succeed.

DO think about your subject line. Find something that is compelling and gives your readers a hint as to what they will see when they open the email. Consider using merge tags to add in the name, state, or license type of your recipient.

DO show off your expertise! You likely have valuable expertise and knowledge about your niche area of the cannabis market - share it with your recipients as a quick way to earn their respect! Think about including information about industry trends, tips, best practices, recent news that affects them, etc. By establishing yourself as the authority/expert in your area, you can build credibility and trust with your recipients. Instead of simply telling them you are the top provider in your area, show them WHY you are the top provider so they actually believe it.

DO separate cold leads from warm leads. Warm leads know who you are and what your company provides so you can send longer emails, like newsletters and company updates. Cold leads will require a bit more finesse to introduce yourself and your company. Emails to cold leads should be short and sweet. The average person takes around 9 seconds to skim an email. Make each second count!

DO continue innovating! Look at analytics from past email campaigns to identify what works and what doesn’t. Use A/B testing to try different subject lines and Calls To Action (CTAs) to see what appeals to your target audience best. Every single email campaign you send is a learning opportunity - take advantage!

DO send at optimal times. The day and time that you send can make or break your open rates. Studies have shown that emails distributed during business hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays perform the best.

DO check local laws and regulations. Until cannabis is legalized on a national level, each state has its own laws and requirements. It is important that you send relevant information based on that state’s laws. Otherwise, your target audience won’t touch you with a 10-foot pole if they recognize you are not in compliance!  

DO pick a reputable email marketing service provider that offers detailed reporting and complies with current email standards like Cannabiz Media!


DON’T wing it! Proper preparation includes identifying what license types most benefit from your product or service, and how your company can best help them. Sending a boring, all-encompassing email about cannabis insurance to a big group, or multiple smaller groups will not have the same impact as an email to dispensaries about dispensary insurance, and an email to cultivators about cultivation insurance.

DON’T spray and pray! This is when you send the same generic email to a huge list, hoping that someone will bite. (Sound familiar? Most people are guilty of this at least once in their career…) But not everyone needs or wants your message. With billions of emails sent every day, an email that doesn’t immediately speak to your recipient has a bigger chance of being ignored at best and marked as spam at worst. Negative engagement can adversely impact your deliverability to the segments who do want to receive your message. Revisit the tip in the above DO section about segmenting your audience for a quick and easy way to increase positive engagement.

DON’T send vague emails with unsubstantiated claims or generic rhetoric (“We’re the best ATM service on the East Coast!”, “Get the best bang for your buck!” etc.)

DON’T send emails with misleading or generic subject lines. Using Re: in a subject line is a common tactic used by spammers in an attempt to make their emails look like a chain that recipients have already engaged in. These often end up in the spam folder. Generic subject lines like “Free Sample”, or “Visit Us at Booth #” are commonly used by companies attending conventions and tend to get lost in the shuffle. (And in this case, the word “Free” is often an immediate spam trigger.) If you are attending a convention, tell people what they can gain by visiting your booth. Are you doing demos for a new machine? Offering giveaways?

DON’T spend your entire email talking about how great you and your company are. In fact, try to write one whole email without using the word “we”, “us”, or “our”. Instead, try to flip your statement to use “you” or “your”. Here’s an example…

Swap this: "The data team adds new cannabis and hemp leads to the Cannabiz Media Cannabis Market Intelligence Platform every day."

With this: "Keep your pipeline filled all year long with new cannabis and hemp leads available daily."

See the difference? Seriously, have you ever met someone who can’t stop talking about themselves? Don’t be that person.

DON’T rest on your laurels. Email marketing in the cannabis industry is constantly changing, and what once worked a year or two ago may not work today and vice versa! For example, it was once thought using the word “cannabis” in your subject line was detrimental but that is no longer the case.

DON’T send on off-times thinking it’ll help your email standout if there are fewer arriving at that same time. There’s a reason why other people aren’t sending emails on Saturdays, Sundays, or overnight. They have a significantly lower chance of being read and interacted with than emails sent on other days/times.


While marketing to the cannabis industry is fairly new, email marketing as a whole has evolved over the last 20+ years and will continue to do so based on trends and best practices. Making sure that you are following email best practices while playing into the habits and needs of cannabis companies will ensure that your emails are delivered, read, and interacted with.

One of the best ways to stack the deck in your favor is to pick an email marketing service provider who is supportive and “gets” cannabis. (Not all do! In fact, many email marketing service providers will shut your account down for cannabis-related content.) Here are two recommendations for email service providers that will help you succeed:

  1. Cannabiz Media - If you want the added benefit of being provided all of your leads.
  2. Simple Outbox - If you have your own distribution lists and just need a platform to partner with.

If you are interested in seeing a demo of the Cannabiz Media email marketing platform, email us at

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