Email marketing guide for CBD and Cannabis Marketers

13 minute read
Email marketing guide for CBD and Cannabis Marketers

If you aren’t using email marketing as part of your dispensary marketing strategy, you are missing an opportunity. Email marketing is more effective than social media and other online marketing channels at building brand awareness, generating sales, and driving traffic to your website.

Email marketing is the use of email to promote your dispensary in some way, and it’s an imperative piece of any strong digital marketing strategy. Plus, it’s an effective compliment for SMS marketing for cannabis.

Related: see our webinar on email marketing best practices for cannabis and CBD marketers.

91 percent of U.S. consumers use email

In fact, about 91 percent of U.S. consumers use email, and it is estimated that for every $1 spent on email marketing, an average of $38 is gained, making the ROI (return on investment) a potential 3,800 percent.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out these 48 email marketing statistics to better understand the true value of email marketing.

Dispensary email marketing is often overlooked

Email marketing is one of the most overlooked marketing channels available to cannabis and CBD marketers. In fact, most dispensary marketers tend to focus exclusively on SMS marketing.

Read more about SMS marketing best practices for cannabis.

And, while SMS marketing is effective, SMS marketing in the cannabis industry requires adherence to strict guidelines regarding compliance.

Using email marketing for your dispensary presents a fantastic opportunity because many traditional and digital marketing tactics are not allowed or are restricted for marijuana-related businesses. Most notably, Facebook advertising, Google AdWords and some social media marketing.

Unfortunately many marketers tend to use their own bias and decide that email marketing is not something their dispensary customers want. This is because most dispensary marketers are in their early 20s and they prefer SMS marketing. So, they think that this is what their customers want too.

However, the data, from hundreds of dispensary locations clearly shows the demographics of customers are not representative of the age of the marketing team!

Cannabis Customer Demographics

Start by building your dispensary email marketing list

Unless you already have customers that have purchased or opted-in to receive emails, you need to start by focusing on collecting a list of opted-in email addresses.

Remember, these emails don’t need to just be for customers, they can also be for prospective customers. And, it’s also important that you receive approval (opt-in) from customers to receive your emails.

Below are the 3 main ways you can collect emails:

Emails acquired from your website

Your website is your number one way to collect opted-in customer email addresses (and mobile phone numbers). You can collect emails in a number of different ways:

  • Contact us form
  • Newsletter
  • Popup offers
  • Events

Related: Double opt-in for dispensary SMS marketing

Emails acquired from your dispensary’s online point of sale

When customers use your dispensary point of sale system to add products to their online cart or in-store, make email or SMS opt-in part of the process.

It’s great practice to capture customers when they are going through your dispensary’s point of sale system. Because, you can give offers and discounts when they sign up for your loyalty programs in exchange for contact information.

For example, DailyStory integrates with Flowhub. Customers that opt-in through Flowhub are automatically added to DailyStory.

Emails acquired in your dispensary

Many stores have digital kiosks where customers can browse product. Encourage customers to sign-up for news and updates, even if they don’t purchase any products on that visit.

In all cases, make sure your double opt-in your email recipients. Not only is this a good practice, but if you are using DailyStory they’ll automatically get added to the opt-in audit log.

Segment your audience

Segments are groups of your audience organized together who share common attributes. For example, customers that have purchased more than $1,000 of product or customers that live within a 25-mile radius of the dispensary.

How segments are used for dispensary email marketing

Here’s an applicable scenario: a new campaign to offer exclusive discounted deals to your customers who purchased flower within the last 90 days and have spent over $1,000. And, you want to restrict this segment only to customers who are within a 25-mile radius of your location.

This type of audience segmentation ensures that the accompanying offer in the email is well targeted at potential customers.

Geolocation for targeting

Distance-based segmentation is especially important for both SMS and email cannabis marketing campaigns since out-of-state customers are not likely to be able to take advantage of a deal or offer (and you also don’t want to risk mass marketing in states where cannabis has not been legalized).

Bring data from 3rd party cannabis platforms

DailyStory brings in data for segmentation through either import or integration and is integrated with several platforms.

Flowhub, a modern point of sale system for dispensaries, is one example. Data from Flowhub flows into DailyStory and makes it incredibly easy to build segments based on customer data.

Example dispensary email marketing segments

Below are some examples of how you can segment your cannabis customers. (DailyStory also supports unlimited data segmentation.)

  • New customers to your dispensary
  • Never purchased from your dispensary
  • Have not purchased within last 30, 60 or 90 days from your dispensary
  • Engaged customers (clicked links or visited your dispensary’s website)
  • Disengaged customers (have not clicked links or visited your dispensary’s website)
  • Customers that have spent more than $1,000 at your dispensary
  • Customers with a medical license expiring in the next 30 days
  • Customers with more than 100 loyalty points
  • Customers that purchase flower, Kush, vape, or another marijuana or CBD product
  • Customers that are within a 25-mile radius of your dispensary’s location
  • First-order anniversary
  • Today’s birthdays
  • 10th transaction at your dispensary

Segmentation coupled with personalization gives you powerful tools for engaging your customers.

Personalize your cannabis email marketing

Personalization is your ability to use the data you have about your audience to understand how your content best fits their needs or interest. This ensures visitors and customers get messaging tailored to them.

Personalization of your email should include basic personalization, such as addressing the recipient by name. But, it can also include more advanced personalization:

Advanced personalization examples

Below are some of examples of how you can personalize your cannabis email marketing. DailyStory supports unlimited personalization fields.

  • Standard fields: first name, last name, city, state, etc.
  • Weather
  • Purchase history, e.g. flower, edibles, etc.
  • Loyalty points
  • Last purchase date
  • First purchase date
  • Product categories, e.g. flower, edibles, etc.

Using personalization in your dispensary email marketing ensures your email is unique and perfectly tailored to the recipient. This is especially useful as you can ensure a good “fit” with your email content to the recipient.

Build brand identity with dispensary email marketing

Many marijuana dispensaries and CBD businesses tend to focus primarily on SMS marketing. Because SMS marketing is both restricted and limited as to what can be included, the standard practice is to use SMS marketing to drive transactional behavior.

As an example, this includes sending the same “daily deal” SMS marketing to your entire customer list regardless of location, past history, and more.

Transactional versus branding

While these transactional types of engagements work, it doesn’t help the prospective customer with brand loyalty. For example, imagine getting the following SMS from a cannabis dispensary:

Today only get 15% off flower when you reply with the keyword FLOWER

Compare that to a branded message:

At [Insert Cannabis Brand], we believe in cultivating the best marijuana in the world. We’ll see you soon!

Use email marketing for brand identity

We strongly encourage all of our customers to use their dispensary email marketing to re-enforce their brand.

While you should include offers and deals, the email should use graphics and colors to convey brand identity. The content of the email also should talk about the brand and help cement that brand as the “go to” brand for cannabis.

Once you’ve acquired customers, segmented your audience and determined how to personalize content, it’s time to run campaigns.

Email marketing campaigns

A campaign describes a set of activities and content to engage customers to drive both inbound and outbound conversions.

An example is a campaign for new customers who have made their first purchase at your dispensary. The campaign may send them a thank-you email or SMS and then, 10 days later (for example), send them another email or SMS.

Campaigns should be set up for customers who haven’t purchased anything but have shown interest, as well as customers who have purchased from your location. Keep in mind that customers can be in multiple campaigns simultaneously.

At DailyStory, we recommend that everything you do as a marketer is thought of in terms of a campaign.

Dispensary email marketing campaign examples

We’ve put together a set of cannabis dispensary email marketing ideas. But  first, you may want to start by reviewing our article: Why email marketing is essential for cannabis marketers or watch the 30-minute on-demand webinar. These article provide more details as to how cannabis or CBD marketers approach email marketing.

Email marketing is great for brand marketing and transactional marketing. Whereas SMS marketing is better for transactional marketing because of the limited amount of content an SMS can contain.

Welcome to our dispensary

The welcome email should be a standard part of your cannabis dispensary email marketing. And, you can have multiple variations of the type of welcome email you send out. Plus, new subscribers expect a welcome email and therefore welcome emails tend to have a high engagement rate (opens & clicks).

Better yet, send them a welcome series using an automation. This is a series of messages over the course of days or weeks that are automatically sent. And, you can send both SMS and email marketing.

The content of your welcome message should use personalization and should vary based on how and where they signed up.

For example, someone that signs up using a popup on your website may get a different email than the person that signs up in your store.

Subscribe popup

As an example, in the popup above (shown when someone is visiting your website) the recipient expects to receive an email or text message containing product information, news, etc.

These could be new store openings, new products recently added to the store and more.

Dispensary Welcome Email

Newsletter and other content marketing

Your website has a lot of great, useful information for your consumers. Maybe it’s a detailed article on how to maximize your flower experience with best practices around storage and usage.

These types of articles are useful for a cannabis dispensary email marketing strategy and help people connect with your brand even when they aren’t buying something.

Your newsletter should be sent at least once per-month and more often if you have the content to support it.


Newsletter content ideas

  • Product announcements, discounts or special offers
  • Upcoming events (in-store or community)
  • Content from your website or blog: cannabis culture, industry news, etc.
  • Employee or a new product highlights
  • Location, hours of operation and standard contact information

Transactional emails

A transactional email is an expected communication, such as “Your order is ready for pickup” or “Thank you for contacting us” when a contact us form is filled out on your website.

Unlike a marketing email, transactional emails can still be sent even when people are opted-out of email (there are exceptions).

Take the time to include the same branding in your transactional emails that you use in your marketing emails. And, include links to subscribe to your newsletter or other marketing channels too.

Transactional email ideas

  • Your medical card license expiring
  • Thanks for contacting our store
  • Your order is ready for pickup
  • Flower is back in stock
  • Thanks for shopping with us, would you leave a review?

4. Loyalty and rewards

Loyalty and rewards are an important part of cannabis dispensary email marketing. This should include

For example, sending rewards based on purchases is a great start: “Thanks for spending $100 get free joint on us!”

Loyalty and reward email ideas

  • Happy birthday
  • One year anniversary together
  • You’ve reached 1,000 points!

5. Testimonials and reviews

Social proof, using testimonials/reviews, is great way to build trust with your brand. These can be included in your newsletter, on your website, or on review sites like Google My Business.

Testimonial and review ideas

  • Thanks for shopping with us, would you leave a review?
  • How would you rate our flower?

6. Surveys and net promoter feedback

Sending an email to your dispensary customers asking how you’re doing as a company can provide great insights into your performance, how your customers perceive you, and most importantly if you need to change business practices. Plus, surveys provide a lot of insight into who your customers are.

Surveys and net promoter ideas

  • Please rate your recent experience at our [store name]
  • How would you rate our edibles?

7. Behavioral-based emails

Behavioral-based emails are messages sent to your customers based on what they are (or are not) doing on your store or in your website. These emails are automated actions that are triggered when specific conditions are met.

Popular examples include:

  • Abandoned cart
  • Where have you been
  • Targeted promotions or offers based on in-store stock

Sending behavioral-based emails requires a marketing automation platform like DailyStory.

Behavioral-based email ideas

  • Offers for related products
  • Cart abandonment

Email marketing versus SMS marketing

At DailyStory, we advocate a multi-channel approach to marketing, orchestrating all of your marketing channels to present a seamless and consistent message.

However, it’s important to highlight the differences between email marketing and SMS marketing.

Email marketing has better deliverability than SMS marketing

SMS marketing is sent over a carrier network (such as Verizon, AT&T and others). Carriers monitor and filter SMS marketing content. And, if your SMS marketing content triggers a perceived violation from the carrier’s perspective, your SMS marketing will not be delivered.

Read more about carrier violations and how to avoid them.

Cannabis email marketing is not subject to carrier or ISP filtering. And while you still have to follow best practices for email delivery, email isn’t nearly as restrictive.

Read more about inbox placement tips for getting your emails seen.

Dispensary email marketing has better metrics than SMS marketing

SMS marketing does provide data around deliverability, but not open rates. And while DailyStory includes a built-in URL shortener for URLs included in SMS marketing, most SMS marketing platforms don’t provide this level of reporting insight.

Emails, however, provide you with metrics for delivery, opens, clicks, bounces and more.

Email marketing supports more content than SMS marketing

An SMS has a character-length limit of 160 characters, known as a “segment.” A segment is a hold-over from a time before smartphones. (These days, it’s common to send and receive messages that are more than 160 characters long.) However, the segment specifically affects the cost of sending. An SMS usually only contains three to five segments at most, depending on the overall length and content. Special multimedia (MMS) messages can be used as well. These messages allow both text and a single image.

Emails can contain virtually an unlimited amount of text (formatted as plain-text, HTML, or AMP) and images.

Email marketing is more cost-effective than SMS marketing

On average, each segment of an SMS message typically costs $0.0075 to $0.01. Sending a large SMS marketing campaign can cost close to $100.

SMS marketing platforms, such as DailyStory, include message credits with each license level, but additional credits for sending text messages may be required.

Using email marketing for your dispensary, on the other hand, is virtually unlimited in the DailyStory platform for no additional cost.

Email marketing is not a replacement for Dispensary SMS marketing

As a cannabis marketer, whether for a dispensary or a CBD store, you should use all the marketing channels you can. This includes both email marketing and SMS marketing.

Read more about cannabis SMS marketing best practices. and dispensary social media marketing recommendation.

Start your dispensary email marketing today

The cannabis industry is constantly changing (and growing). Leading cannabis marketers are starting to incorporate email marketing into their marketing mix.

Use email marketing to compliment your text messaging and other marketing efforts. The results will speak for themselves.

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