How B2B Email Marketing is Different for the Cannabis Industry

While there are many fundamentals of B2B email marketing that don’t differ from one industry to another, there are some nuances that you need to know to successfully promote your cannabis or cannabis-related business. 

Following are some of the most important things to keep in mind as you’re creating email marketing campaigns targeted to licensed cannabis businesses. To set yourself up for success, you can get your free cannabis industry email marketing certifications through the Cannabiz Media Email Success Academy and learn everything you need to know to create and send campaigns that get great results!

Spam Flag Words and Images

Many people think that using the word “cannabis” or images of cannabis in email marketing messages is a ticket to the spam folder. At Cannabiz Media, we haven’t seen this correlation in the millions of messages sent to cannabis license holders through the Cannabiz Media License Database over the years.

However, if you’re still worried about using “cannabis” in your content, there are some steps you can take to limit any possible risk. Of course, you can avoid using the word “cannabis” or images of cannabis in your email marketing messages entirely, but that can significantly impact your results. 

In marketing, you always want your messages to be as clear as possible, so omitting cannabis-related words and images does exactly the opposite. Not using these words can make your messages confusing.

To err on the side of caution and reduce the risk of your messages going to the spam folder, don’t use the word “cannabis” in the subject line. Also, consider the context of how you use the word “cannabis” and any industry slang words within your message content. 

Takeaway: Words are only a small part of email service providers’ (ESPs) spam algorithms, but if your message is filled with risky words, they may just take notice and flag your messages as junk.

GET YOUR CERTIFICATION: Take the free online Email Marketing Technical Specialist Certification course from the Cannabiz Media Email Success Academy to learn about spam laws, deliverability, domain reputation and more, and become a certified expert in technical email marketing.

Message Audience Definition

Every business wants to get its products and services to cannabis businesses, and that creates a problem. Cannabis businesses get a lot of email messages every day, and many of them are completely irrelevant! 

In fact, cannabis businesses may get so many irrelevant messages that they start deleting messages without opening them or mark them as spam. Both of these actions can hurt the deliverability of your future email messages, so you don’t want this to happen to your messages.

For this reason, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to identify your target audience and segment your email marketing lists so you’re only sending messages to people who will actually be interested in what you have to say.

As an example, imagine your company sells a product for cultivators who grow outdoors, and you want to send an email marketing campaign to cultivation license holders through the Cannabiz Media License Database. Rather than sending a message promoting your product to all cultivation license holders, a much better strategy to get the best results and protect your future email deliverability would be to target outdoor licenses only. You can do this using the Cannabiz Media License Database license filters. 

Any license holder that doesn’t grow cannabis outdoors won’t be interested in your message, and their lack of engagement with your message (or worse, their negative engagement by blocking you as a sender or marking the message as spam) will hurt the deliverability of all of your future messages. 

Takeaway: The more targeted you can get, the better for cannabis industry email marketing.

GET YOUR CERTIFICATION: Take the free online Email Marketing Audience Specialist Certification course from the Cannabiz Media Email Success Academy to learn how to find the right people to send your email marketing campaigns to, how to match your content to your audience, and how to create an effective email marketing strategy.

Message Content

Once you’ve identified your audience and segmented them into hyper-targeted email marketing lists, it’s time to consider how email message content is different in the cannabis industry. Remember, cannabis businesses get a lot of email marketing messages every day. Even if you send relevant content to the most interested audience, what your message says plays an important part in your success.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t just apply to copywriting – although I do recommend that you work with a B2B email marketing writer who has experience in the cannabis industry. It also applies to what you offer in your messages. 

You have to give recipients something of value or they won’t bother reading your messages – let alone following the call to action in each message! 

Think of it this way, if a cannabis business owner opens their email inbox and sees 10 new messages from businesses trying to sell something and 10 new messages from businesses that are sharing useful, valuable information, which messages do you think the recipient will open and which will they delete without opening? If you said they’ll open the non-salesy messages and delete the others, you’re right. 

Not only do you need to do more than just continually send messages that are entirely self-promotional to cannabis businesses, but you also need to make sure the content of your messages makes it incredibly obvious to each recipient that the message is specifically for them. 

Start by segmenting your lists into hyper-targeted audiences, and then write personalized content for each message that is laser-focused on the niche audience who will receive it. 

Personalization means more than adding someone’s name to the message greeting. It means the content, offer, images, and call-to-action are all created for a very specific audience. Think about what you want to communicate, and then modify it for each audience so it’s as personalized as possible. That’s how you’ll get the best email marketing results.

For example, a packaging company selling its products in industries other than cannabis may be able to send the same email marketing message to prospects in all 50 states. That may not be the case in the cannabis industry since each state’s packaging laws are different. 

A better strategy would be to make sure prospects in each state only get email messages about packaging products they’re allowed to use based on state and local laws. In other words, you need to have a solid understanding of the legal cannabis industry in order to be an effective email marketer.

Takeaway: Don’t just sell in every email marketing message you send. No one wants an inbox filled with ads, so add value and personalize your content!

GET YOUR CERTIFICATION: Take the free online Email Marketing Content Specialist Certification course to learn how to how to write and design email marketing messages that drive the results you need.

Results, Engagement, and Strategy

How recipients react to the email marketing messages you send is extremely important. If few recipients are opening your messages, clicking on links, filing them in folders, and engaging in other positive ways, ESPs will think you’re not sending content that people want. They’ll think you’re not segmenting your lists into hyper-targeted groups and you’re not personalizing the content of your messages for each audience.

As a result, your reputation as a sender will go down and fewer of your messages will make it to inboxes. People in the cannabis industry receive a lot of messages every day, so it’s very important that you track your email campaign engagement results and build your future strategy based on those results.

Fortunately, there is a unique and easy way for B2B cannabis industry email marketers to do it! 

When you’re emailing cannabis license holders using the Cannabiz Media License Database, you can add custom engagement tags to every recipient record after each campaign is sent. If people are opening your messages and clicking on the links inside, then it’s safe to assume they’re interested in the content you’re sending. If they don’t open or click, they probably aren’t interested. 

Using this engagement data, you’ll know who to remove from your list to keep it clean (and protect your future deliverability), who you should continue nurturing with more email campaigns, and who might be amenable to receiving a sales message. 

You can also use additional data in the Cannabiz Media License Database to drill down to build niche target audiences and find more of your ideal prospects based on the demographic profiles of your most engaged email recipients.

Bottom-line, you can plan your next messages and effectively move people through the marketing funnel when you leverage the engagement data available to you.

Takeaway: Stop emailing people who aren’t interested in your products, services, or content based on their engagement with your email marketing campaigns.

GET YOUR CERTIFICATION: Take the free online Email Marketing Data and Lead Scoring Specialist Certification course to learn how to track results, score leads, and qualify leads using the Cannabiz Media License Database.

Key Takeaways about How Email Marketing is Different for the Cannabis Industry

The rules of email marketing are the same in the cannabis industry as they are in any other industry. However, there are some things that you should be even more careful about when you’re sending B2B email messages to businesses that receive dozens of sales messages every day. 

You have to be mindful of each recipient’s time and make sure your messages are more targeted and more interesting than your competitors’ messages. Follow cannabis industry email marketing tips and best practices, and your email marketing campaigns will notice in crowded inboxes for the right reasons, and your messages will continue getting to inboxes in the future.

To become a recognized expert in cannabis industry email marketing, get your certifications from the Cannabiz Media Email Success Academy! Just click the links below to enroll. All courses are free, online, and self-paced: 

Want to see how you can get better email marketing results to cannabis and hemp license holders in the U.S. and international marketing by subscribing to the Cannabiz Media License Database? Schedule a demo and see how a subscription can help you reach your business goals.

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