How to market a marijuana dispensary in a regulated environment with strict advertising laws is an issue for all dispensaries. Regardless of whether your business is operating in a state that has passed legislation for medical marijuana only, or in one that allows recreational marijuana as well, you are likely restricted in how, where and to whom you can advertise cannabis-related products and services.
Some states that allow the sale of recreational marijuana do have more relaxed advertising laws. However, in these states, marketing a recreational marijuana dispensary has additional issues related to commoditization - a situation in which consumers identify with a commodity rather than a specific product or brand - and having to appeal to different types of consumers with widely different profiles.
How to Market a Marijuana Dispensary Compliantly
In the majority of states that have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use, compliance with advertising laws is the biggest issue. Most states prohibit “open” advertising that exposes minors and other vulnerable members of society to the availability of marijuana. Furthermore, due to the federal classification of marijuana as a Class 1 drug, many mainstream media channels are apprehensive about accepting advertising for cannabis-related products and services.
For the same reasons, businesses cannot use the Internet to market a marijuana dispensary compliantly. Most online advertising channels decline advertisements from dispensaries, and social media sites remove pages - even educational ones - that relate to cannabis and cannabis use. Some agencies claim the best way to market a marijuana dispensary compliantly is to develop a website and optimize it for search engines. However, obtaining and maintaining a high position in search engine results pages can be costly, or - if you attempt it yourself - resource intensive.
Practically speaking, this leaves three options available to market a marijuana dispensary compliantly - direct mail, email and SMS messaging. Of the three, SMS messaging is the most effective. It reaches consumers more quickly than direct mail and has a broader reach than email. It also has a simple and effective way of obtaining explicit customer consent to receive marketing materials in states that prohibit unsolicited advertising of cannabis and cannabis-related products and services.
Using Mass SMS Messaging to Market a Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Mass SMS messaging is the process by which businesses can text the same marketing message to a large database of consumers simultaneously. It is used successfully by businesses in many different industries to engage consumers, develop brand loyalty and increase sales. How the process works is simple. Consumers opt in to receive a business´s marketing messages, usually by texting a keyword to a dedicated number to take advantage of a special offer or promotion. The business then sends regular text marketing messages to its opted-in database with further special offers and promotions.
In order to use mass SMS messaging to market a medical marijuana dispensary, you need to subscribe to a group SMS texting service. The service provider will issue you the keywords you need to develop your own database of customers, and provide access to their browser-based group text messaging platform. Once your medical marijuana dispensary has its own text marketing message to send, you log into the platform, upload your database, write your message and click send.
Using mass SMS messaging to market a medical marijuana dispensary is remarkably effective. Within minutes your database will be reading your text marketing message wherever they are, whatever they are doing. The messages are tracked by the platform so you can see delivery rates and open rates, and all replies are collected by the platform so that you can measure the success of your marketing campaign and, if necessary, fine-tune future medical marijuana marketing campaigns.
Marketing a Recreational Marijuana Dispensary to Avoid Commoditization
When commoditization takes place, consumers tend to ignore specific products or brands and select the cheapest or most convenient option available to them. This is particularly true for recreational marijuana dispensaries, whose consumers are typically price sensitive and less concerned about quality, product consistency and predictable effects than medical cannabis consumers. Unless yours is the only dispensary within a certain radius, commoditization is - or will likely become - an issue.
You can avoid commoditization by creating brand awareness (the “brand” being your dispensary) and developing brand loyalty. Even in jurisdictions that do not allow the promotion of cannabis and cannabis-related products and services by any means, you can still promote your “brand” by offering a mass SMS text messaging service that informs consumers about the latest developments in the world of medical and recreational marijuana - like a community news service.
You can also generate consumer engagement with a mass SMS text messaging service by sending your database of contacts polls and surveys. The polls and surveys do not necessarily have to be cannabis-related - they can be about any current event. However, by inviting your database to share their opinions in polls and participate in surveys, your dispensary will be at the forefront of their minds when they next want to make a cannabis-related purchase.
How Mass SMS Messaging Resolves Consumer Profile Issues
However you wish to market a medical marijuana dispensary, or whatever means you choose for marketing a recreational marijuana dispensary, you will always have consumers who have different preferences - or profiles. Medical cannabis consumers might be divided between CBD and psychoactive products, while recreational consumers might be divided between those who are happy with the products they are familiar with, and those with a desire to experiment.
Mass SMS messaging avoids the scenario in which you are sending text marketing messages to those who have no interest in them by providing the facility to sort your database into groups and marketing to each group separately. The sorting process can be done manually, but is more efficiently achieved by asking your consumers to text keywords that are most relevant to their interests. When they text the keywords, the text messaging platform automatically places each consumer into the relevant group.
Then, when you next wish to send a text marketing message, you select the group for which the message is relevant and send the message just to them. The process of dividing your database into groups to represent their consumer profiles makes it easier to manage your database, measure the success of targeted marketing campaigns, and prevent consumers opting out of your mass SMS text messaging service due to receiving irrelevant marketing. It also reduces your marketing costs.
How to Market a Marijuana Dispensary the Easy Way
Mass SMS messaging is undoubtedly the easiest way market a marijuana dispensary. It is compliant, it is effective, and you need no special design or technical skills to write an SMS text message. You do not even need a snappy title for your text marketing message to be read by your consumer database. Due to the immediate and intimate nature of SMS messaging, people only have to hear the ringtone of an incoming message to pick up their mobile device and read the message.
Once you have subscribed to an SMS text messaging service, you will find various tools on the service provider´s group text messaging platform that can help with marketing a recreational marijuana dispensary:
- Even when sent to a group of consumers - or your database as a whole - the platform allows you to personalize each individual text marketing message with the recipients´ names.
- You can schedule your text marketing messages to be sent at a time when they will achieve the most impact, or use the scheduling function to run drip-feed campaigns.
- Where allowed, mass SMS messaging can be used to run competitions and sweepstakes. Entries are automatically collected and collated by the group text messaging platform.
- Also where allowed, you can use a mass SMS text messaging service to send discount coupons. In the retail industry as a whole, discount coupons have a redemption rate of 30%-50%.
You can, of course, use your mass SMS text messaging service to drive visitors to your website. It is often easier to add a link to an SMS text message than it is to explain your latest promotion in 160 characters or less. Research has shown that 29% of consumers subscribed to a mass SMS text messaging service click links sent in text marketing messages. 47% of those subsequently make an online purchase. When consumers opt into your mass SMS text messaging service, not only do they want to hear what you have to say, they have also subconsciously made a purchasing decision to give your dispensary their business.
Try Marketing a Recreational Marijuana Dispensary for Free
If you run a marijuana dispensary - either medical or recreational - and you feel that your business could benefit from offering a mass SMS text messaging service, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to set you up with a free account - and provide you with free keywords and free access to our group text messaging platform - so that you can try marketing a recreational marijuana dispensary in your own environment. We will even give you ten free text credits.
There are no contracts to sign, no credits cards required and no commitment to continue with our service once the free credits have been used. If you decide you would like to continue using our service, we have a range of cost-effective pricing plans for every size of business, plus a Pay-as-You-Go plan for periodic use. In you have any questions prior to taking advantage of our offer, our team of experienced and helpful Client Success Managers will be able to assist you so you can start to market a marijuana dispensary compliantly and effectively with mass SMS messaging.