Email marketing produces $44 in returns for every $1 invested according to research by Campaign Monitor. It’s also 40x more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined according to McKinsey & Company. In other words, email marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote and generate brand awareness, sales, and loyalty for businesses in most industries, including the cannabis industry.
However, you need to know how to do strategize, plan, and executive email marketing tactics correctly or you won’t get the results you need no matter how many messages you send or who you send them to.
Getting a great email marketing tool isn’t enough. You need more than a tool to successfully use email to generate leads, close sales, and create lifetime customer value that leads to sustainable revenue.
Following are a variety of email marketing best practices and tips for the cannabis industry, so you can fully leverage the power of email marketing for your business.
Use Reliable Lead Sources
You can’t promote your products and services if you don’t have a list of people to send email messages to. But for many entrepreneurs, the first email marketing obstacle is figuring out how to get email addresses to create a list of people who match targeted buyer personas.
In addition to your existing customer list (if you have one), you need to continually build your email marketing list to increase the number of leads you can communicate with and ultimately sell to. You start by casting a wide net and then use email marketing to push people through your marketing funnel who are most likely to buy from you.
There are a number of ways to build your email marketing list. Here are three of the most effective for cannabis and cannabis-related businesses to help you get started:
1. Lead Magnets
Lead magnets are freebies that you give to people in exchange for their email addresses and permission to send them email marketing messages in the future. The trick is to offer a lead magnet that has a perceived value greater than the value people put on their email addresses.
Some lead magnets that are commonly used to get email addresses offline include in-store contests and event giveaways. Popular online lead magnets include free ebooks, checklists, worksheets, and other useful content that helps the target audience solve a problem or learn something meaningful.
Online lead magnets are often promoted on company blogs, through social media posts, and via online advertising. As a result, larger audiences see the free lead magnet offer. When they click to download the lead magnet, they’re prompted to provide their email address and opt in to your email marketing list. Once they’ve submitted the form and subscribed to your list, they get access to the lead magnet.
Once you have their email addresses, you can send targeted messages and promotional offers to turn them into customers.
Advertising cannabis businesses and cannabis-related businesses can be challenging through social media and Google, but there are digital advertising opportunities available to you. Look for websites where your audience spends time and inquire about buying advertising space, sponsoring a newsletter, and so on.
In addition, look for targeted offline opportunities, particularly in the communities where your customers live or clients operate. Rather than advertising your products or services, advertise your free lead magnet to get more email subscribers.
Some publishers will be more willing to allow an ad for a useful ebook related to the cannabis industry than they will be to allow an ad for cannabis products.
3. Cannabiz Media License Database
There are many companies that sell email lists, but there is a long list of things you should do before you purchase an email list to ensure you’re following all relevant laws and you’re not hurting the deliverability of your email messages today and in the future.
The reality is that research has proven bad data (including email addresses) can cost businesses at least 30% of revenue. That means you can’t run the risk of purchasing a list of email addresses unless you’re certain the data you’re buying (i.e., the email addresses) is accurate.
If your client audience includes cannabis and hemp license holders in the U.S. and international markets, then the Cannabiz Media License Database is the leading source for individual email addresses and contact information tied to cannabis licenses.
Cannabiz Media uses a multi-step process to verify the data in its database, so there is no more accurate source of cannabis and hemp license holder email addresses than the Cannabiz Media License Database.
Improve Your Landing Pages and Opt-in Forms
Many of your lead sources, including lead magnets and advertising, will send people to your website where they’ll submit a subscription form to join your email marketing list. However, the landing page people visit and the form they’re asked to submit could actually stop people from signing up.
You need to invest time and money into professional copywriting and design so your landing pages and opt-in forms are tailored to the right target audience and include an appropriate call-to-action that motivates people to provide their valuable email address (and any other personal information you require in your opt-in form) in exchange for the email messages you’ll send to them.
Your landing page needs to prove that your email messages are of equal or greater value to them then their email addresses are. If your copy doesn’t give enough proof or your opt-in form makes them hesitate, then they won’t subscribe. Optimize your opt-in forms and landing pages and more people will subscribe who meet your target audience profile.
Build Your Funnels and Automated Campaigns
Every business in the cannabis industry should build email marketing funnels and automated campaigns to move prospective customers through the sales funnel from lead to purchase. That means you should develop funnels to generate leads, nurture leads, close sales, and engage customers.
Think about the type of information customers at each stage in the sales funnel need in order to move to the next stage and/or avoid leaking out of the funnel entirely. Then, create campaigns to connect with them at each stage.
To the extent possible, you should automate email marketing messages in order to save time and money. For example, there are five messages that every business should have set up to go out automatically based on when customers hit specific milestones, display certain behaviors, or complete specific actions:
- Welcome messages
- Post-purchase cross-sell messages
- Newsletter messages
- Exclusive promotion messages
- Anniversary and birthday messages
You can follow the link to learn more about each of the five email marketing messages your cannabis business should be using.
Write Messages that Matter
To avoid annoying the people on your email marketing list, you need to make sure you send messages that matter to them and add value to their lives. Think about your target audience and what their needs and problems are. Send messages that solve those problems.
Pay close attention to how you format your messages. Most people read email on mobile devices today, so it’s essential that your messages look great not just on desktop computers but also on smartphones and tablets.
Spend time not only writing great message content but also great subject lines and preview copy. You can learn how to do it here.
Use Data to Improve Your Results
As mentioned above, bad data in an email marketing list can destroy your marketing efforts, so you need to be careful to only send messages to accurate addresses.
But that’s not all. You should also track your email marketing results to find ways to improve your results in the future.
Identify your email marketing key performance indicators (KPIs), track them, and monitor them so you don’t waste time or money on campaigns that aren’t delivering adequate returns on your investments.
Furthermore, use the data included in Cannabiz Media’s research reports to stay current on what’s working in cannabis industry email marketing. For example, did you know that subject lines in cannabis industry messages that include specific educational words have higher click-through rates? Did you know the best day to send messages to the cannabis industry is Monday, but that can vary depending on who you’re sending a message to?
When you use the Cannabiz Media License Database as your email marketing tool, you’ll always see a recommended day and time to send your messages based on historical performance from messages sent to similar audiences, so you can get the best response from every campaign.
Understand the Importance of Deliverability
Deliverability refers to whether or not an email message has a chance to actually land in someone’s email inbox where they can see it.
There is a long list of factors that affect the likelihood of your message being delivered or not. Fortunately, you can control many of these factors through your message content, where you send your messages from, and who you send your messages to.
The most important thing to understand related to deliverability is that internet service providers tend to be unforgiving. If you send messages that they flag as spam using their internal algorithms or that your message recipients flag as spam, delete without opening or block, then the chances of your messages getting to any inboxes in the future drop significantly.
Deliverability is extremely important, so review the common reasons your email messages don’t get to recipients and make sure you avoid making detrimental mistakes.
Email marketing works, but to get the results you want, you need to have a great list, write messages that matter to recipients, build the right funnels and automations, continually work to improve your results, and prioritize deliverability.
If you want to invest in email marketing to cannabis and hemp license holders, the Cannabiz Media License Database gives you the email addresses and tools you need to do it. Schedule a demo today!
Originally published 8/7/19. Updated 4/10/20.
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. She has been working with clients in the cannabis industry since 2015. 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.