Why Email Marketing is Essential to the Cannabis Industry and How to Leverage It for Profits

According to research by Litmus, for every $1 spent on email marketing, businesses receive $42 in return. Separate research by Campaign Monitor found that for every $1 spent on email marketing, businesses get $44 in return. Email marketing works and businesses that work in or with the cannabis industry should take note.

Email marketing presents a significant opportunity at a time when many traditional and digital marketing tactics are out of bounds or highly restricted for cannabis and cannabis-related businesses, including direct mail, print advertising, Facebook advertising, Google AdWords, and social media marketing.

By the way, McKinsey found that email marketing is 40x more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.

That’s great news for businesses working in or with the cannabis industry. You just need to know how to use email marketing effectively to generate sales and profits.

Key Components of Successful Email Marketing for Cannabis and Cannabis-Related Businesses

The power is in your list.

When you can connect with a highly targeted audience of people via email who are likely to be interested in what you’re offering, and when you send them highly relevant messages that solve their problems and address their pain points, the likelihood that you can convert them into paying customers skyrockets.

Given how restrictive advertising and marketing regulations are for businesses operating in or around the cannabis industry, having a way to connect directly with a targeted audience is like tapping into a gold mine.

You can’t advertise on social media sites or through paid search advertising, but you can get your brand and messages in front of your target audience using email marketing – if have a high quality list of people to send your messages to.

In addition to having a great list, you need to be using the right email marketing tool – one that was built based on the unique nuances of the cannabis industry and evolves with it.

Email delivery rates aren’t the same for every email marketing software provider, and those rates vary even more dramatically for messages related to the cannabis industry. Some email marketing software providers don’t allow businesses to send messages related to cannabis at all!

It doesn’t matter how great your list is if your messages don’t get to recipients. Therefore, make sure you’re using the right tool (email messages sent from the Cannabiz Media License Database have 33% higher open rates than those sent through different tools), and make sure you’re not making any of the 10 common email deliverability mistakes.

How to Leverage Email Marketing for Profits

The key to leveraging email marketing for profits in any industry, including the cannabis industry, is to consider the buyer journey and create messages and offers that meet recipients’ needs depending on where they are in the buyer journey. In my book, Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Business, I explain that there are five stages to the consumer buying cycle:

  1. Not in the market yet
  2. Problem identified
  3. Research and evaluation
  4. Preferences established
  5. Final decision

Your goal is to consider where each person on your email marketing list is in the consumer buying cycle and send them messages that will help move them to the next stage. That means your email marketing tool needs to offer features that make tracking recipients’ behaviors easy.

For example, a person who is not in the market yet or has just discovered that they have a problem which needs to be solved could benefit from receiving educational content, checklists, short ebooks, and worksheets.

On the other hand, a person who is in the research and evaluation stage and is in the process of establishing their brand, product, or service preferences could benefit from receiving case studies and how-to videos.

Finally, people who are ready to make their final purchase decisions and just need an extra nudge to choose your brand or business could benefit from receiving competitor comparison tables, testimonials and product reviews, or discounts and special promotions.

With all of this in mind, you can create an email marketing plan filled with different types of content, promotions, and offers to connect with people at various stages of the consumer buying cycle that effectively push them to the next stage – and closer to choosing your brand as their final purchase decision.

The key to success is sending messages that people actually want to read, sending messages at the right time, and tracking your results to improve your future email marketing investments.

Keep in mind, email marketing doesn’t end after a purchase is made. You should continue investing in email marketing to nurture prospects and build relationships with them that lead to future sales and brand loyalty (i.e., repeat purchases and word-of-mouth marketing from vocal brand advocates). For example, cannabis dispensaries and retailers should be sending the five most retail important email messages at a minimum.

Key Takeaways about Email Marketing for Cannabis and Cannabis-Related Businesses

I’ll leave you with a final thought about email marketing and the marijuana industry. Every day that you’re not connecting with stakeholders in the marijuana industry is a day that your competitors can sweep in and steal market share from you. The power is in your list and your tools, so use them!

If your business wants to connect with cannabis and hemp license holders, the Cannabiz Media License Database with email and CRM tools can help you. Schedule a demo to see how it can help your business.

Originally published 5/1/18. Updated 4/03/20.

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