For marijuana retailers, email marketing is essential. By building your list of email subscribers (and using a tool that allows you to send marijuana-related content to them), you can increase sales and customer loyalty among audiences who want to hear from you.

One of the biggest benefits to email marketing for businesses, including marijuana retailers, is that you control your list. That means you just need to follow the laws and rules of email deliverability, and you can communicate directly with your target audience. Considering how restrictive marijuana advertising laws can be, having this type of access to your audience is critical to marijuana retailers’ success.

But what kind of email marketing messages should marijuana retailers send to their lists? That’s a question I get asked all the time, so to make it easy for you, I pulled a list of five email marketing messages from my book, Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Business, that every marijuana retailer should set up and use as part of their email marketing strategies.

1. Welcome Email Messages

When you get a new customer, always ask for their email address when they make their purchase. This is an important first step to building a lasting relationship with them that leads to repeat sales, loyalty, and word-of-mouth marketing. Once you have their email address, you should add them to your email marketing list and send them a welcome message.

This message should be friendly and thank them for their business. Avoid trying to sell them anything else at this point. Instead, your goal should be to nurture the relationship so they’re more likely to pay attention and open your messages in the future.

However, there are exceptions to this recommendation. If you’re able to offer a great promotion to new customers, go ahead and mention it in your welcome message. Just make sure it’s a really good offer so recipients truly appreciate receiving it. You don’t want your first communication with people after their first purchase to be a sales pitch unless the offer is so amazing that it makes them feel very special.

2. Post-Purchase Cross-Sell Email Messages

It’s likely that you sell specific products or services that go very well with one or more other products or services that you sell. If a customer purchases one of these items, then you should send them a post-purchase cross-sell message that promotes the related items. If you’d like, you can offer a discount on the additional items. Just be sure to include an expiration date!

For these messages to be most effective, try to include images of the related products. However, remember to follow email deliverability best practices and make sure a larger percentage of your message is text than images so it doesn’t end up in recipients’ spam folders.

Sending messages to people after they make a purchase that promote other products or services can be very effective, but don’t overdo it. Too many post-purchase cross-sell messages can be annoying, particularly if the products aren’t highly relevant and the promotional offers aren’t very appealing.

3. Newsletter Email Messages

As a marijuana retailer, you should send an email newsletter. I’d recommend sending the email newsletter weekly or biweekly. At a minimum, it should go out once per month to all of your subscribers. This newsletter should not be entirely self-promotional or no one will bother opening it after the first time they receive it. Instead, it should include useful, meaningful content.

If you write a blog, you can send content from your blog posts in your email newsletter. For example, you can include an intriguing snippet from each blog post along with links to your blog to read the full posts.

In addition, your email newsletter offers a great way to learn what kind of content your subscribers are most interested in. Use your email marketing tool to track opens and click-throughs and learn what topics resonate with recipients. This data can help you create more relevant offers and content in the future which will increase your returns.

4. Exclusive Promotion Email Messages

Make your subscribers feel special by sending them exclusive promotional offers that no one else can get. They took the time to buy from you or subscribe to your list and showed they’re interested in your content, products, and services, which means they should be special to you. Show them you recognize that they’re special by giving them great offers.

These offers should clearly state that only your subscribers qualify for them. Use a special code to track offer redemptions in your store or include a coupon in the message that recipients need to bring to your store in order to get the discount.

The key to making exclusive offers work is to make the offers better than what anyone else can get and to send them out infrequently. If people receive exclusive offers from you every week, those offers won’t seem very exclusive or special. The same is true if your exclusive offers are the same or similar to what everyone else gets. To be exclusive, your offers need to be the best and rare. Sending an exclusive offer once per month or every other month is a good schedule for marijuana retailers.

5. Anniversary and Birthday Email Messages

The anniversary of when a customer first purchased something from you and their birthdays both represent opportunities for you to connect with your subscribers on a personal level. They also give you opportunities to show them that you appreciate them with a special offer.

For example, send a special discount each year on the anniversary of each customer’s first purchase. Also, send a separate offer on each person’s birthday. In fact, you could send a special offer that is good for the entire month of their birthday to try to increase repeat sales.

Setting up Your Email Marketing Messages

Most of the email marketing messages introduced above can be set up to go out whenever new contacts are added to your email marketing list. If you’re using an email marketing tool like the one offered through the Cannabiz Media License Database, you can set up your welcome message once and use it each time a new customer makes a purchase, which will save you a lot of time in the future.

Most important, always track your results so you know which email marketing messages people are opening, clicking, and taking action on. These five email marketing messages give you a great place to start, but as you spend more time interacting with your subscribers, you’ll tweak this list and add more to it. Over time, your results will get better and better.

Susan Gunelius, Lead Analyst for Cannabiz Media and author of Marijuana Licensing Reference Guide: 2017 Edition, is also President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company offering, copywriting, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and strategic branding services. She spent the first half of her 25-year career directing marketing programs for AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more as well as small businesses around the world. Susan has written 11 marketing-related books, including the highly popular Content Marketing for Dummies, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing, and she is a popular marketing and branding keynote speaker. She is also a Certified Career Coach and Founder and Editor in Chief of Women on Business, an award-winning blog for business women. Susan holds a B.S. in marketing and an M.B.A in management and strategy.