The cannabis industry has been restricted when it comes to marketing and advertising. The government and digital ad networks dictate what — and how — brands and dispensaries can advertise, even in states where it’s recreationally legal.

This means you’re unlikely to see a sponsored Facebook ad or a Google Ads campaign for cannabis products, dispensaries, or even ancillary businesses. 

This has encouraged the advent of new marketing channels, as well as a re-thinking of how to build customer loyalty for cannabis brands.

As the main consumer-facing operators in the space, dispensaries are right there on the front of all the restrictions and regulations imposed on the industry, but they are also finding creative ways around them.

Text Message Marketing

Texting is the #1 form of mobile communication in the United States today. 99% of texts are opened and 90% of them within the first 3 minutes of being received. But it’s not just family and friends sharing the latest gossip. 

These numbers just can’t be beaten by email marketing 

Text message marketing is an important business tool — no matter the industry — it is an extremely cost-effective form of advertising. 

Today, almost everyone and certainly every millennial (the primary demographic of cannabis consumers) owns a cellphone that they keep within arm’s length at all times. Millennials more than previous generations expect brands and retailers to have some form of a loyalty rewards program and “Ninety-five percent of customers are interested in some degree of proactive communication from companies they buy products and services from” (loyalty360)

Since cannabis companies cannot advertise through traditional public channels, text message marketing has become a popular method to reach customers. It has been proven to increase sales and also increase customer basket sizes.

Now you may be thinking, if mobile advertising on cell phones is so valuable — why not create an app? 

The Problem with Push Notifications & Apps

Every business thinks they must have an App to be successful. But the truth is most apps, once downloaded, are rarely used. Numerous studies show that users use about one-fifth of the apps they have installed and that 90% of those who download an app do not become high-value users.

While corporate wisdom promotes increased use of push notifications to engage and retain customers, the data is clear — push notifications are unreliable as a means of communication. They’re easy to ignore or turn off and most apps aren’t even used. Only about half of users keep push notifications on in apps, and most of the time, that’s for apps with info regarding things like flight times.

This is why incorporating a dispensary SMS messaging system can truly make a difference.

Personalized Marketing

But don’t equate a dispensary texting marketing program with those random texts from out of the blue about “important news regarding your car insurance”.

Creating a dispensary texting program might seem easy, but the easiest method doesn’t necessarily equal a quality result. If you were thinking of just sending out generic text blasts to all your customers, let me stop you there. This is impersonal and likely to make your customers feel like just any other customer. If your dispensary texting efforts involve these outdated methods, you may get a reputation as spammers or gain that “soulless corporation” vibe.

Sending friendly updates, coupons, and product photos via SMS and MMS is a quick and compliant way to push content directly to your customers and stay top-of-mind among a sea of competitors. Plus, text marketing engines can record responses and re-target campaigns based on their most loyal customers and their unique shopping preferences.

They also enable marketers to track the performance of each text message campaign. Click rates, redemptions, and most importantly, store visits.

Text Message marketing also allows for dispensaries to acquire new customers even outside the confines of the store environment, via landing page forms, text-to-join codes, QR codes, and even tap-to-join NFC chips.

springbig can help make SMS marketing smarter and simpler for dispensaries:

  • Our Autoconnect feature offers a dispensary SMS messaging system that is easy to use, providing a less time-consuming method of setting customized parameters.
  • springbig’s dispensary messaging service enables images and gifs to be embedded directly into an SMS and MMS messages, allowing you to create attractive messages that grab your customers’ attention.
  • springbig offers Track technology to see if and when your messages are being opened. This adds that personal touch to your dispensary’s messages and keeps customers from feeling either forgotten or overly inundated with messages.
  • With Wallet, springbig’s single send cannabis solution eliminates the need for an in-house app. Wallet contains all your customers’ reward info on our own servers. That means your dispensary doesn’t have to deal with the cost and management of running its own App and rewards system.
  • Springbig allows you to embed your e-commerce solution right into customer’s digital wallets, allowing you to track, target, and convert customers without them ever entering the store!