Email marketing remains one of the most effective tactics for cannabis brands looking to engage with customers and drive sales. With the right email strategy, cannabis companies can cut through the noise and connect meaningfully with subscribers.
This article will provide 11 powerful yet practical email marketing tips tailored specifically for cannabis brands who want to triple their business.
Whether you’re just starting or looking to improve an existing email program, these proven ideas will help you boost open rates, increase conversions, and take your cannabis email results to new highs.
The Importance of Email Marketing for Cannabis Brands
Given email’s affordability, profitability, and ability to precisely target key customer segments, it simply makes smart business sense. Second, email helps cannabis brands build direct, trusted relationships with customers in a highly regulated industry where rules limit advertising options.
By directly engaging subscribers, brands make an emotional connection while owning their audience data.
Finally, with ever-changing cannabis laws and new products always launching, email keeps customers informed.
Whether announcing a new strain, a holiday sale, or progress with legalization, email enables consistent and efficient consumer communication in a unique market. For all these reasons, email marketing fuels growth for cannabis brands in ways no other medium can match.
1. Build Your Subscriber List by Incentivizing Signups
The first step for successful cannabis email marketing is building a solid subscriber base. Since advertising options are restricted, you must get creative with ways to incentivize customer signups to grow your list.
Consider offering a 10-15% discount at your dispensary for customers who subscribe by text or email. Or give a free cannabis-themed eBook, guide, or recipe book in exchange for signups on your site.
Tools like exit-intent popups and scroll boxes also prompt signups unobtrusively. Offering valuable perks like these will quickly help you build a base of truly interested subscribers and set the foundation for email marketing success.
Remember – quality over quantity, so focus on capturing loyal customers rather than as many emails as possible. An engaged, targeted list always outperforms a huge, disinterested one.
2. Segment Your Lists Based on Customer Attributes
Once you have subscribers, resist the urge to blast your entire list with the same messages. Instead, segment your lists based on customer attributes like demographics, purchase history, and website behaviors.
For example, create segments for new vs. returning customers. Send welcome series for the former to orient them, while sending loyalty promotions to the latter. You can also group high-value “VIP” buyers and reward them with exclusive offers. Other segments may include:
- Purchase Recency
- Order Value
… and more.
Getting granular with segmentation enables sending hyper-targeted messages that resonate at an individual level. The analytics make it easy to see which segments engage best with different campaigns too.
Just ensure your ESP makes list segmentation simple; some even use AI to handle it automatically. Taking this tailored approach is proven to boost open, click-through, and conversion rates compared to basic batch-and-blast emailing.
3. Ensure Emails Are Mobile-Friendly
With over half of emails now opened on mobile, having a mobile-friendly design is no longer optional – it’s mandatory.
Start by using a responsive email template that automatically adapts layouts for mobile screens. This ensures content is readable regardless of device.
Next, confirm templates render well in the most popular email apps by testing across iOS and Android platforms. Previewing on actual devices versus just the webmail client gives added assurance.
You should also optimize copy for scannability by keeping paragraphs concise. Use ample white space between elements so content isn’t crammed on smaller displays.
Finally, simplify navigation by having clear calls to action that are easy to tap for fingers. Following modern responsive design and copywriting principles tailored to mobile will substantially improve engagement from cannabis consumers checking email on the go.
4. Personalize Email Content
Personalization remains one of the best ways to boost open, click-through, and conversion rates. As the graph below shows, there are many ways to use email marketing personalization to boost your campaigns:
With each send, incorporate the subscriber’s first name along with customized product recommendations based on past purchases.
For example, if someone bought a hybrid strain, suggest complementary edibles or vape pens with relaxing effects. You can even personalize based on location, recommending delivery services near a customer’s neighborhood.
Personalized subject lines also perform better by referencing past interactions. Instead of “New deals just for you!”, try “Sarah, your favorite Sativa strain is back in stock.”
This precise relevancy echoes helpful one-to-one sales advice rather than a generic blast. Just ensure to only personalize with data subscribers expressly opt-in to share for privacy compliance.
Dedicating time to tailor emails pays off tremendously though, with personalized messages driving over six times higher transaction rates according to Experian. Treat subscribers like VIPs and they’ll eagerly reward your brand loyalty.
5. A/B Test Subject Lines
The subject line is the first and possibly only thing subscribers see before deciding to open an email or not. That’s why continually A/B testing different subject line versions is invaluable for improving open rates.
For example, try emotive phrases like “Relax with our new Indica strains” against urgency cues like “24 hours only – 20% off storewide”.
You might also test questions like “Are you paying too much for CBD?” versus authoritative stats like “Market experts predict cannabis legalization in 2024”.
You can even use emojis to increase your open rates. According to Mailchimp, these are the :
With a quality email service provider, running A/B tests is simple using their split testing tools. Most systems let you specify the percentage of recipients who get each version, and then track open and click-through rates on the back end.
Testing at least 2-3 subject line variants per campaign generates the data needed to refine what resonates best. Just be sure to keep options relevant to the content rather than random phrases.
Following the data to craft compelling, high-performing subject lines is one of the easiest email optimization tips for cannabis brands.
6. Integrate with Social Media
Email and social media marketing go hand-in-hand for amplification. Start by promoting new email content across your brand’s Facebook, Instagram, and additional social channels.
For example, post an image of a popular new strain arriving soon along with a call-to-action to join your mailing list for launch updates. Adding email sign-up links, forms, and calls-to-action to social media bios and posts makes enrollment seamless.
You can also embed social sharing buttons directly inside email content to get better visibility. Enabling subscribers to easily share product announcements, deals, and articles to their networks expands your marketing reach.
Lastly, repurposing popular email content on social media, like an educational guide, doubles its exposure.
Just ensure branding and messaging stay consistent across channels. Following these email and social media integration tips will help cannabis brands expand audiences and drive better results across both platforms.
7. Send Welcome and Onboarding Emails
Making strong first impressions with new subscribers via welcome emails sets the foundation for ongoing loyalty. Start by sending an immediate automated “double opt-in” email confirming subscriptions.
This establishes trust and legitimacy right from the start.
Follow quickly with a series of 3-5 welcome emails sent over the customer’s first two weeks. Cover your products, services, dispensaries, order options, and core differentiators. Educate subscribers while promoting avenues for purchases.
Onboarding emails also introduce loyalty programs and ways subscribers can save like joining your dispensary text list.
Providing multiple enrollment options caters to subscriber preferences while priming referral opportunities. Just ensure welcome/onboarding emails strike an informative yet friendly tone. Steer clear of overly sales hooks at the onset while nurturing new contacts.
Following a structured onboarding flow dramatically boosts longer-term engagement and conversion potential from cannabis email programs.
8. Send Timely, Relevant Content
With any email program, the content itself fuels results. Sending emails just to hit frequency metrics without considering subscriber value spells disaster. Instead, focus on timely, relevant messaging aligned to customer needs.
For example, promote new product releases or strains via email as they become available. This precision captures interest and positions your brand as an insider resource.
Timely outreach also means leveraging trends like holidays and events. For example, promote cannabis gift guides or edibles ahead of 4/20. You can even align content to cultural moments like TV premieres.
Just ensure timely hooks always lead back to subscriber value, not blatant promotions. Entertaining, enjoyable content that respects audience time builds durable engagement. Meanwhile, tone-deaf or overly promotional emails cause unsubscribes. Ultimately if content quality is lacking, no amount of email best practices will overcome.
9. Automate Drip Campaigns
Beyond one-off sends, setting up automated email drips or workflows is invaluable for cannabis brands. Email drips automatically send a predetermined series of messages based on time delays or customer actions.
For example, create a 5-email nurturing series focused on educating leads who haven’t purchased yet. Each message guides subscribers, addressing concerns while positioning your products as the solution.
Post-purchase drips are also extremely effective. Set up a 30-60-90 day win-back campaign targeting customers with time-delayed offers if they haven’t repurchased. Birthday, loyalty, and VIP drips further incentivize ongoing purchases from top-value segments.
Just remember – the beauty of drips is front-loading creative work for automated execution. Set the right mix upfront based on typical buying journeys. Limit any ongoing manual intervention to focus time on crafting new drip campaigns that fuel long-term results at scale.
10. Track Engagement Metrics
Understanding email performance requires digging into key engagement metrics beyond vanity opens and clicks.
- Start by reviewing email bounce and unsubscribe rates regularly, aiming to keep both under 2%. This confirms your lists and content remain healthy.
- Click-to-open rate is another vital benchmark, with higher-performing emails driving clicks from over 50% of recipients who open.
- Conversion rate is ultimately the True North metric that matters most.
Set up tracking to match email sends with eventual purchases. Consistently monitor which messages and segments yield the highest conversion rates.
For example, exit intent pop-up signup converters may become your best buyers. Let data guide decisions on list management and send optimization.
Major ESPN platforms make A/B testing and metrics analysis simple, but manual CSV exports work too. If cannabis email success metrics ever plateau or decline, revisit this analytics step.
11. Focus on Driving Engagement
Ultimately, the cannabis email marketing strategies delivering the biggest wins center around engagement. Lifting metrics like open and click-through rates are proven to have direct positive correlations with revenue growth.
But chasing vanity metrics alone rarely cuts it. You must dig deeper to truly understand audience behaviors and preferences fueling results.
Survey subscribers directly and monitor social media comments to gather feedback for enacting engagement-focused changes.
Ramp up personalization and segmentation even further based on what you learn. Double down on the types of content and offers sparking the most interest while pulling back ones that miss the mark.
Let engagement analytics and insights shape everything from subscriber onboarding to lifecycle campaign creation. Reader enthusiasm indicates you are providing value. Keep centering emails around tangible relevance and subscriber delight to turn once-passive contacts into vocal brand champions.
Implementing even a handful of the email marketing best practices covered can significantly move the needle for cannabis brands. Whether perfecting subject lines via A/B testing, automated engagement campaigns through drips, or optimizing deliverability rates, properly executed email strategy delivers unmatched ROI.
Heed these 11 tips for subscribers ready to buy, brand awareness that improves exponentially, and profits reaching new highs. With quality over quantity and value over vanity as guiding principles, cannabis email marketing succeeds by putting people first.