When you create a cannabis marketing plan, the most important consideration to take into account is how you are going to implement your plan. Most states that have passed legislation to allow the use of medical and recreational marijuana have also passed legislation on how, where, and to whom cannabis-related products and services can be advertised.
In these states, advertising via mainstream media is prohibited due to the risk of vulnerable members of society and minors being exposed to marijuana. The prohibition extends to the Internet, where several social media sites have removed pages relating to marijuana - even educational pages - because of the federal classification of cannabis as a Class 1 drug.
Solutions for Marketing Marijuana Products and Services
Despite the restrictions placed on advertising, there are several solutions for marketing marijuana products and services. A number of agencies advocate creating a website and optimizing it to feature among the top search engine results. Optimizing can be costly and resource-intensive if you put a lot of work into the content yourself, and it is not guaranteed to be successful.
Having a website is recommended, and most businesses include a website in their cannabis marketing plan. However, if you want to attract visitors to your website, you have to promote it. This can be difficult with the restrictions placed on advertising and social media marketing, but a few compliant solutions for marketing marijuana products and services - and your website - are available.
The three solutions most commonly used are email, direct mail and SMS text messaging. These are generally considered compliant because you are not advertising in places of public access and because safeguards can be put in place to ensure you are not inadvertently marketing to minors. Of the three solutions for marketing marijuana products and services, SMS text messaging is the most effective.
SMS Text Messaging vs. Email vs. Direct Mail
SMS text messaging is a channel of communication available to almost everyone. 98% of consumers have access to an SMS-enabled mobile device - giving SMS text messaging a broader reach than email - and 91% of consumers keep their mobile device within reach at all times. Consequently response times are much faster. According to research conducted for the CTIA, the average response time for an SMS text message is 90 seconds, compared to 90 minutes for an email.
If response times are not crucial to the success of your cannabis marketing plan, you might be tempted to consider direct mail as an alternative. However, direct mail marketing campaigns tend to be expensive because of design and mailing costs, and - according to the Direct Marketing Association - achieve a response rate of just 1%-2%. Direct mail marketing campaigns are also not environmentally friendly.
SMS text messaging is a channel of communication that is intimate. It is the way in which people communicate with their families and friends or receive messages that are important to them. It is quick, simple to use, and you do not need any special design skills or snappy titles to encourage people to read your text marketing message. People only have to hear the ringtone of an incoming message to pick up their mobile devices.
Implementing a Cannabis Marketing Plan with Bulk SMS Texting
Bulk SMS texting - sending the same text marketing message to a database of customers simultaneously - is a method used successfully by many businesses and organizations. It takes advantage of the immediacy and intimacy of SMS text messaging to advise customers of promotions, to engage them with polls and competitions, and to develop loyalty with VIP programs.
Most consumers are familiar with bulk SMS texting. Typically they will have responded to an advert by texting a keyword to a dedicated number in order to take advantage of a special offer and joined the retailer´s marketing database. Bulk SMS texting can be used in the same way to implement a cannabis marketing plan more cost-efficiently than sending each customer an individual SMS text message.
In order to send a bulk SMS text message, all you have to do is subscribe to a group messaging service. The service provider will allow you access to their web-based text messaging platform and, when you wish to send your database a bulk text marketing message, you log into the platform, upload a group of your customers, write the message and click send. Within minutes your customers will be receiving your text marketing message wherever they are, whatever they are doing.
Obtaining Consent to Implement a Cannabis Marketing Plan
One thing commonly shared by email, direct mail and SMS text messaging marketing campaigns for cannabis-related products and services is that you may have to obtain explicit consent from the people you want to market to. This is because many states have implemented regulations prohibiting unsolicited advertising of cannabis-related products and services.
With bulk SMS texting, obtaining consent is straightforward. Your group messaging service provider supplies you with the keywords you use to invite customers to your bulk texting service. When your customers text your keyword to a dedicated number, they are sent a reply asking them to opt into your bulk texting service - effectively giving you their consent to receive future text marketing messages.
This process has its advantages for your cannabis marketing plan inasmuch as customers who opt into your bulk texting service are making a conscious decision to receive marketing material from you. Unconsciously, they are more aware of your business (your “brand”), and you now have the opportunity to develop that brand awareness into brand loyalty.
How to Market to Different Customer Profiles
One thing that your cannabis marketing plan has probably already taken into account is that you will have to market your products to multiple customer profiles. For example, if your business is located in a state that has regulated medical marijuana, you might have one group of customers with a preference for CBD products and another with a preference for psychoactive products.
For businesses located in states with regulated recreational marijuana, not only might you have diverse medical marijuana groups to cater for, but also groups with a desire to experiment and groups whose primary purchasing motivation is price. Bulk SMS texting gives you the opportunity to market to each of these groups separately to ensure that customers only receive messages that are relevant to them.
The best way to organize your database into separate groups is to ask customers to text keywords relating to their specific preferences. The text messaging platform places each customer into a group according to the keyword, making the management of your customer database easier and avoiding the scenario in which customers opt out of your bulk texting service due to receiving too many irrelevant text marketing messages. Bulk texting by group also reduces your marketing expenses.
Features to Increase the Impact of Text Marketing Messages
The text messaging platform used to send your text marketing messaging has a number of features to increase their impact. For example, you can make your customers feel special by personalizing your text marketing messages with their names - even when you are sending the same text marketing message to a group of customers simultaneously.
A scheduling feature enables you to compose your marketing texts in advance, and then send them when they will achieve the maximum impact. Alternatively you can use the scheduling feature to implement a cannabis marketing plan that consists of recurring or drip-fed campaigns. A feature that allows you to save sent messages as templates makes this even easier.
Other features include the option of sending polls and discount coupons by SMS text message, or integrating a tiny URL into your message to encourage visitors to your website. It is often easier to convey a promotion with a link to your website than it is to explain the promotion in 160 characters or less, and research has shown that 29% of consumers subscribed to a bulk texting service click links sent via text marketing messages - with 47% of those subsequently making an online purchase.
Try Bulk SMS Texting for Free
If you have a cannabis marketing plan, but are still searching for compliant and effective solutions for marketing marijuana products and services, we invite you to try bulk SMS texting for free. Contact us today, and we will register you for a free Group Texting account, provide you with a keyword so you can start building your customer database, and give you login credentials to our web-based text messaging platform. We will also add ten free credits to your account.
Our offer gives you the opportunity to implement your cannabis marketing plan in your own environment with no credit card required, no contracts to sign and no commitment to continue using our service once you have tested bulk SMS texting with your ten free credits. If you subsequently decide that bulk SMS texting is a compliant and effective solution for implementing your cannabis marketing plan, we can offer a range of inexpensive pricing plans from which to choose.