If you’re not growing your email list every day, you are dead in the water. Email works. Let’s cut to the chase. Customer retention is so important, along with bringing in new customers, that if you’re not growing your email list every day, you are dead in the water.
First, you’ve got search engines, then social media, but if you’re not expanding your traffic, you’re g0ing to fall behind.
It’s going to become a competitive market. Prices alone won’t separate you. If you don’t know who your customers are, it’s going to get harder to hold onto and attract a loyal, repeat customer.
Google, Facebook, and Twitter won’t let you run cannabis related ads. Running ads on billboards and print ads are also restricted. To reach cannabis consumers, email and SMS marketing is it. It’s also the law since cannabis laws (from Canada to California) makes email your only available option for many cannabis businesses.
So yeah, grow your email list or you will die.
Of course, there are other good reasons to use email and SMS marketing:
- Email is 40x more effective than social media for acquiring cannabis customers. SMS engagement is even 6 to 8 times higher than email.
- For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI. Not only is this affordable, but from a do-it-yourself point of view, easy to implement.
- 95% of SMS messages are read compared to 20% for email and 12% of Facebook posts. Both email and SMS messages get eye-balls to know about you.
- 58% of people say receiving discounts and special offers were the top reason for subscribing to emails from businesses. This number is even higher for local, cannabis consumers.
Got your attention? Let’s go. Here are 5 steps to starting your cannabis business email marketing:
Step 1: Offer an Opt-in Incentive
Most recreational or medical cannabis consumers won’t hesitate to give you their email or telephone number (nor think of it as spam) if they believe what you offer has a value for them.
Of course, any email and SMS marketing messages you make:
- Must only be sent to a person of the legal age,
- Must be addressed to an individual who is identified by name, and
- No promotion can be done as part of a “game, draw, lottery or a contest”.
Governments restrict the use of contests to discourage the promotion of cannabis. So what incentives can you give in exchange for emails or telephone numbers?
Here are a few ideas, but don’t feel limited by these suggestions:
- E-book. How about offering a cookbook (see image below)? Or book that helps people learn more about cannabis strains? People are curious about cannabis, its health benefits and connoisseur-like interest in terpene profiles. The list of cannabis-related books to offer is almost endless.
- Discounts and Specials. Offer a weekly, monthly or holiday discount or a coupon. If these subscribers want deals, then they are also the ones most like to return as repeat and loyal customers — and not go to some other store.
- In-store events and announcements. Your email campaign needs to enticing and offers something of clear value since not everyone wants to read an email. Perhaps the email could help to build an in-store club where you offer special guest speakers and club-like membership t-shirts and hats.
Want to boost your subscriber list even more?
Consider offering exclusive subscriber-only access to monthly discounts and specials. Offer several different opt-in incentives at once to different customer segments. For instance, some customers may only want the free e-cookbook, while others want a newsletter for the events and members’ hats.
If you do offer several incentives, you need to tailor each follow-up message differently to each group. You need to know who is currently on your email list, how they got there, and from what source. You also need to set a goal of how many people you want to see added to your list each month and compare that to how many actually do.
Segmentation is the holy grail of email marketing
Well, since you’ve found this blog post, I can only assume you wanted to read something interesting. In the same way, how likely are you to see an email land in the inbox folder that y0u actually want to read and not sent to a spam folder?
The truth is that if you know who is sending you the email, you’ll likely open it. Let’s be honest, if a person hasn’t opened your last 10 emails (or even 5) it’s likely they won’t be opening the next ones. Maybe you’re already in their spam folder, maybe they just can’t find the unsubscribe button, maybe they stopped using that email address. Whatever it is, they are not reading your emails so you might as well stop sending it to them. According to Kissmetrics, segmented email campaigns get about 15 percent more opens and 60 percent more clicks than non-segmented campaigns. The most important thing is getting the right message to the right people.
Step 2: Make the Home Page an Opt-in Page
Your Home Page is the most visited page on your website, which makes it the best place for an ‘opt-in’ box. Most opt-in forms left on sidebars are easy to miss.
For a better chance at getting more opt-ins, my advice is for you to set up more than one sign-up. Consider placing your opt-in boxes in the following:
- Above the Fold. This sign-up button is placed at the top before a customer can scroll down. This opt-in placement tells the visitor immediately what is being offered in the first messages at the top of the website. Always mention the benefit of joining in what’s ‘in it for them’.
- Lightbox (pop-up). This pop-up appears as the visitor opens the website or starts to scroll down.
- The bottom of the website is another good place to add an opt-in section.
- About Us page. If you have this About Us webpage that describes who you are and what you do, consider adding an opt-in form here.
- Middle of Page. Sometimes there is no better place to add an extra opt-in form than anywhere. In this case, the middle of the web page. Notice in the example how only an email is asked for (not a name). By including as few fields as possible, you could improve the chances of someone signing up (this is often more true for your mobile users).
Be sure you include an anti-spam policy to assure potential subscribers that you will only send relevant information and that you will never sell or share their private contact information.
Step 3: Drive Traffic to Opt-in Page
You will need to start promoting your sign-up in all of your content marketing and social media strategies. One place to start is on your Facebook page. Using popular email plugins like Aweber and MailChimp, you can add a sign-up form to your Facebook page.
Of course, the real world offers opportunities as well. If you can, keep a tablet on the counter in the store and ask customers to sign-up. You could offer a discount on their next purchase for the sign-up. You can also include the URL to the ‘Sign Up’ box webpage on your print ads.
This is a quick look all the points a good response email layout should have. Think of this as your checklist before sending out any emails.
- Keep this professional. Recipients click the spam button based on the From name or address. Keep this professional with a company domain included (not @gmail or @yahoo).
- Subject line. Open rates increase with a well-written subject line. Personalize, where possible.
- Short, clear text. Use bulleted lists when necessary for clarity. Consider how to use an appealing color scheme. Focus on the benefits, not the products.
- Call to action. The email has one (maybe 2) calls to action. Text inside the call to action is urgent.
- Grab attention with clear, relevant images. Include Alt text. Compress images for quick load time.
- Contact information is provided. Social icons are clickable.
Step 4: Measure the Results
Once you start your marketing campaign, it’s time to take a look for the results. If you can’t see the results towards hitting your goals, then it feels like you are spinning wheels. It’s time to take a look at the numbers.
Take a look at the following:
- Bounce Rate shows you the invalid, closed, or non-existent email addresses that were unsuccessfully delivered.
- Click-Through Rate shows how many people on your list are engaging with your content. You may discover, for instance, that emails that sent on weekends have a higher Click Through Rate.
- Conversion Rate of visits to your website show where the sources of subscribers come from. For instance, higher mobile subscribers than desktop ones could prompt you to re-design your website for mobile users.
- Email Sharing Rate is a good way to track how you are generating new Encourage subscribers to share your email with a friend.
- List Growth Rate. Since subscribers unsubscribe or return less and less to the shop each year, you need to pay attention to your list’s size and continually growing your list.
- Return on Investment. The more you can connect your marketing to your sales and expenses, the more you can see which of your marketing efforts are generating the best revenues.
The bottom line: measure the health of your email list and keep track of your progress at reaching goals.
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Step 5: Create Great Content
Ever wonder why most people unsubscribe?
The top reason is the sending frequency. Next, it is boring. Always think about who your customers are and what they want.
Now that you have an email list, give them content they value each month. If you have a new strain or a holiday sales special, hire a new employee or want to tell a special customer story that might resonate, share it. If you are hosting a workshop or invited an influential cannabis grower to host an event, tell customers about it.
Give your repeat and loyal subscribers something to feel happy about. Happy subscribers tell their friends.
Here’s some advice on how to stay on the narrow path:
- Create an Email Marketing Calendar. Did you know you’re twice as likely to succeed if you have your plans in writing? Having a written plan keeps you on track and ensures you never miss an opportunity like 420. All you have to do is write down what content is going out when in your calendar, like the one shown above. You can use any calendar app – I personally love Google Calendar.
- Don’t Create, Curate. Rather than creating brand new content of your own, try curating the best content on the web into one place. These 20 hacks are a perfect example — I found them from various places and brought them here in one easy to digest article. Just make sure your content is unique — don’t copy + paste it from others, put it in your own words.
- Don’t Overuse Images. Images are a great way to increase the scannability and value of your emails — but overuse of images could get you flagged as spam. Try to limit yourself to 1 or 2 high-quality images per email, or even test an all-text email! Marketing is all about testing and analyzing, after all.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Resend Unopened Emails. Any time you send an email campaign, keep a list of the people who don’t open your email — and resend the email to them in a few days.
- Break Your Email into Chunks. Don’t be surprised but most people who open your email don’t read it from left to right like a book. Instead, they go from top to bottom, skipping around and skimming for things that interest them. What this means is that long, text-heavy text won’t work as well. Our advice to you is to break newsletters and long-form emails into short, easy to scan, digestible chunks of information.
So there you have it, our best advice on how to create high converting email campaign your cannabis customers will love. Email marketing is one of the quickest and easiest ways a cannabis business can connect with audiences, keeping your business top of mind, and for driving traffic to your website. The secret is to make each and every piece of content you include more prominent against its background to help it stand out and get noticed.
Email marketing is still one of the highest-converting methods of marketing, and it’s only growing as people tune out other marketing methods and install ad blockers. I hope these marketing tips help you grow your business, increase sales, and become a more successful cannabis business.