Regardless of whether your business operates within the medical cannabis industry or the recreational cannabis industry - or both - you will often have two issues to overcome with respect to marijuana marketing - regulation and commoditization.
The restrictions imposed on legal marijuana marketing - particularly legal medical marijuana marketing - are intended to protect minors and other vulnerable members of society from exposure to cannabis-related products and services.
These restrictions often have the effect of reducing the opportunities businesses have to market their products and services through mainstream advertising channels such as TV, radio and the Internet. Even social media marketing is often prohibited.
The second issue is potentially more serious - commoditization. Commoditization is a process in which products and services become relatively indistinguishable from each other. In most consumers´ eyes, pot is pot, however it is labelled.
This creates an issue because - unless there is only one grower, dispensary or service provider in a particular area - consumers will likely have no brand loyalty, thus choosing the most convenient or cheapest option available.
The Regulations for Medical Marijuana Marketing
In states that allow only medical cannabis, the regulations for medical marijuana marketing are much stricter than in states that also allow the use of recreational cannabis. In some states – Montana, for example - no advertising of cannabis or cannabis-related products is allowed at all.
Other states have a more relaxed attitude towards medical marijuana marketing. Although remaining restrictive on where advertisements can be placed, and the content of marketing material, there are opportunities for businesses in the medical cannabis industry to promote their goods and services.
Due to having to remain discreet, these opportunities are often limited. Mainstream advertising channels and advertising in places of public access are still generally impermissible, but direct mail, email marketing and SMS group texting are possibilities.
Of the three, SMS group texting is the most effective. It is quicker than direct mail and - because more people have access to mobile devices that can receive SMS texts than those that can receive emails - it has a broader reach than email marketing, making it ideal for advertising to a whole consumer database in just one click.
In a 2016 survey, 75% of consumers expressed a preference for receiving promotions via SMS text messaging and, as 91% of mobile phone owners keep their devices within reach at all times, 83% of SMS texts are opened and read within 90 seconds. 29% of consumers click on links within SMS text messages to find out more about advertised promotions, with 47% of these consumers subsequently making a purchase.
How SMS Group Texting for Medical Marijuana Marketing Works
If your business is located in a state that allows SMS group texting for medical marijuana marketing, the two conditions that have to be fulfilled in order for text message marketing to be successful are a database of consumers and access to an SMS mass texting platform.
As SMS group texting is a permission-based activity, you cannot simply purchase a list of cellphone numbers and start sending text marketing messages. Consumers have to opt into your bulk texting service and give their permission for you to send them promotions by text.
The easiest way to attract consumers to a bulk texting service is by using keywords. Keywords are short, memorable words that consumers text to a dedicated number. When they text the keyword, the consumers are automatically opted into your service and are added to your database.
Keywords and dedicated numbers are usually supplied by a bulk texting service provider. The service provider will also assign you a unique username and password so you can access and log into their web-based SMS mass texting platform.
Once logged into the platform, you simply upload your database of consumers, write your medical marijuana marketing message and click send. Within minutes your contacts will be receiving and reading your message wherever they are, whatever they are doing.
How Legal Marijuana Marketing is Relevant to Commoditization
Most people will have been exposed to SMS group texting in one form or another. Although they may not have opted into a bulk texting service, they will have seen advertisements inviting them to text [keyword] to [number] in order to receive a discount, free product or enhanced service.
This type of advertising sinks in and helps build brand awareness. Although in many states it is prohibited to claim that one brand of cannabis is better than another, the brand awareness factor can be applied to individual growers, dispensaries and service providers.
Businesses can build on that brand awareness with legal marijuana marketing in order to increase brand loyalty, consumer engagement and sales. This can be achieved in a number of different ways using the features of the SMS mass texting platform to their best advantage. For example:
- SMS mass texting platforms enable businesses to personalize their text marketing messages. Even though the messages are sent in one group text, the facility exists to start each individual text with the recipient´s name.
- The platforms also provide the opportunity to conduct polls and surveys. Polls and surveys are a great way to engage consumers and seek their opinions. The results of polls and surveys can also be used to tailor future legal marijuana marketing campaigns.
- An extension of the same feature enables businesses to run competitions and sweepstakes. Although not allowed for medical marijuana marketing, competitions and sweepstakes can also be used to increase brand loyalty and consumer engagement.
- An increase in sales can result from attaching coupons to text marketing messages. Again, marijuana marketing of this nature is not allowed in every state; but, where it is, coupons have a redemption rate of 30% - 50% - up to eight times higher than email coupon redemption rates.
Legal Marijuana Marketing is Not Only Effective, it is Easy
One of the biggest advantages that SMS group texting has over other forms of marketing is that it is easy. You do not need any technical or design skills to send text marketing messages, nor do you need to write catchy titles in order for consumers to pick up their phones and read your marketing message.
Because SMS group texting is a permission-based activity, consumers who opt into your service want to hear what you have to say. This means they will likely respond to your polls, enter your competitions and redeem your coupons.
Replies to surveys and competition entries are compiled by the SMS mass texting platform - saving you the legwork. The platform also produces reports on delivery rates, open rates and spikes in engagement, so that you can use these analytics to fine-tune future text marketing campaigns.
You can divide your consumer database into groups based on their specific interests for easier database management. It is not necessary to do this manually, as new groups will be created automatically by the platform as you ask consumers to text you using different keywords – one for each group.
One further feature that makes SMS group texting for marijuana marketing easy is the scheduling feature. With this feature you can write your text marketing messages when it is most convenient for you and send them to your consumer database at a time when they will achieve the most impact.
SMS group texting for legal marijuana marketing is so versatile it can even be used to build brand loyalty in states - like Montana - that do not allow the advertising of cannabis or cannabis-related products. Simply refrain from commercially-focused messages, and use the other features of the SMS mass texting platform to develop and engage your consumer database.
Find Out More about Using SMS Group Texting for Marijuana Marketing
If you would like to find out more about using SMS group texting for marijuana marketing, do not hesitate to contact us. Our team of dedicated Client Success Managers will be able to inform you about what legal marijuana marketing restrictions apply in your state and answer any questions you have about running text marketing campaigns with our SMS mass texting platform.
If you feel that SMS group texting would benefit your business, we will invite you to sign up for a free account. We will supply you with keywords and dedicated numbers in order to develop a consumer database, provide access to our SMS mass texting platform, plus credit your account with ten free texts so you can test the ease-of-use and effectiveness of SMS group texting in your own environment.
It only takes fifteen minutes to get started with SMS group texting for marijuana marketing and, until you choose to purchase additional text messaging credits, there are no credit cards required, no contracts to sign and no obligation to continue with our service once you have used the free credits in our trial offer. Don´t miss out on your opportunity to increase brand loyalty, consumer engagement and sales. Contact us today.