In states that have enacted legislation for the regulation of the marijuana industry, there is a wide range of laws relating to legal cannabis business marketing. In addition to state laws, many marketing channels - both printed and online - refuse to accept advertisements for marijuana-related goods and services due to the federal classification of cannabis as a Class 1 drug.
The restrictions of where, how and to whom cannabis can be advertised make it very difficult for companies to market a cannabis business legally. Furthermore, with it being challenging for a company in the regulated marijuana industry to gain compliant public exposure, few opportunities exist to engage with consumers and build brand awareness.
Options for Legal Cannabis Business Marketing
With mainstream advertising channels and social media marketing effectively prohibited, the options for legal cannabis business marketing are generally limited to direct mail, email, and group messaging by SMS. With all three options for marketing a cannabis business legally you will likely need recipients’ consent to send them advertising material, as unsolicited marijuana marketing is typically prohibited.
Of the three options for legal cannabis business marketing, group messaging by SMS is the most effective. It is more immediate than direct mail and - because nearly everybody has access to an SMS-compatible mobile device - SMS texting has a wider reach than email. It also has a number of features that can obtain a recipient´s consent quickly and easily.
The Concept of Group Messaging by SMS
Group messaging by SMS is identified in many industries as an effective way to get targeted messages heard above the noise of other advertising channels. This is why you will often see advertisements inviting you to text a keyword to a certain number. When you text the keyword, advertisers know you are interested in their product and invite you to opt into their SMS messaging service.
Once you have opted into the advertiser´s SMS messaging service, you will receive periodic marketing messages by SMS offering you discounts on goods and services, 2-for-1 offers, and special time-sensitive deals. You might also be invited to take part in surveys, enter sweepstakes or join a VIP program. All of these marketing activities are designed to engage you, build brand awareness, and increase sales.
Why Group Messaging by SMS?
Group messaging by SMS, rather than individual text messaging, takes advantage of economies of scale to save time and money. Although companies within the regulated marijuana industry will never grow to the size of companies with SMS messaging services such as Walmart and the Coca-Cola Company (due to cross-border advertising regulations rather than a lack of ambition), it is still less time-consuming and cheaper to contact groups of customers as one instead of each customer individually.
The process for group messaging by SMS is straightforward. You subscribe to a bulk texting service. The service provider supplies you with the keywords you need to attract potential customers to your SMS messaging service and also “click-to-join” widgets you can place on your website. Once you have built your database, you log into the service provider´s texting platform, upload the database, write your message and click “send”. Within minutes, your database will be reading your latest marketing message.
How Effective is This Type of Marketing?
If Walmart and the Coca-Cola Company are using group messaging by SMS, it is fairly safe to say that it must be effective in their particular industries. With respect to legal cannabis business marketing, group texting is an unknown quantity. What is safe to assume - regardless of whether your particular jurisdiction allows the advertising of marijuana and marijuana-relate goods and services - is that SMS messaging is a great way to engage customers, build brand awareness, and increase sales.
- 91% of mobile phone owners keep their devices within reach at all times.
- 83% of text messages are opened and read within 90 seconds.
- SMS marketing produces engagement rates six to eight times higher than email.
- 48% of consumers would prefer to receive details of VIP loyalty programs by text.
- 31% of consumers respond to surveys sent by SMS text (on average within six minutes).
- 29% of consumers click on links within SMS messages leading to the advertiser´s website.
- 47% of these consumers subsequently make a purchase.
- Coupons attached to SMS marketing messages have a 30%-50% redemption rate.
Please note, not all jurisdictions allow marijuana-related VIP loyalty programs, surveys, or coupons. In order to market a cannabis business legally, you may not be allowed to mention cannabis at all in your marketing messages. Nonetheless, group messaging by SMS can still be an effective and compliant way for companies in the regulated marijuana industry to conduct legal cannabis business marketing, and to avoid your company´s products and services becoming “commoditized”.
Legal Cannabis Business Marketing and Commoditization
Commoditization is when products and services become indistinguishable from each other. In relation to the regulated marijuana industry, many consumers in your area might be of the opinion that pot is pot. Without the brand awareness that can be created with group messaging by SMS, “uneducated” consumers are likely to choose the cheapest or most convenient option available to them.
One of the key benefits of using an SMS messaging service to market a cannabis business legally is that customers have to opt into your service in order to receive your marketing texts. Your customers have already made a conscious decision to give you their business and are interested in what you have to say. Consequently group messaging by SMS helps your business avoid the potential for commoditization.
Compliant and Effective - and Easy
One of the biggest advantages group messaging by SMS has over other forms of marketing is that it is easy. The process for attracting potential customers to your service and obtaining their consent is one that everybody is familiar with. You do not need technical or design skills to send a text message, and you do not even need a catchy title for your customers to pick up their phones and read your message.
The text messaging platform from which you send your text marketing messages receives replies from your customers. If you are able to use surveys and run sweepstakes in your jurisdiction, the platform will compile the responses and answers for you. It will also produce reports on open rates and spikes in engagement so you can fine-tune future marijuana marketing campaigns, if necessary.
Find Out More about How to Market a Cannabis Business Legally
If you would like to find out more about legal cannabis business marketing and how to use group messaging by SMS to market a cannabis business legally, do not hesitate to contact us. Our team of dedicated Client Success Managers will be able to answer any questions you have and advise you what laws relating to legal cannabis business marketing apply in your jurisdiction.
Provided that there are no regulations preventing you from running an SMS messaging service, we will also invite you to try group messaging by SMS for free. All you need to do to in order to qualify for our free offer is sign up for an account with your email address. We will provide you with the keywords and “click-to-join” widgets you need to develop your database of customers, give you free access to our group texting platform, and feed your account with ten free credits.
By taking advantage of our offer, you will be able to test the ease and effectiveness of group texting in your own environment without a contract, a credit card, or commitment to continue using our service once the free credits have been used. Contact us today and you could be increasing brand loyalty, customer engagement and sales with legal cannabis business marketing in less than fifteen minutes.