Since dial-up gave way to broadband, we haven’t seen an industry take off as the cannabis industry has in nearly twenty years. Unfortunately, this incredible expansion hasn’t caught up with every aspect of our industry. Media and government regulations such as interstate commerce, banking, and the FDA have been particularly slow to evolve with the times, which can make running your canna-business all that more challenging. Even though Facebook appears to be opening up to the industry, many publically traded businesses such as banks and media platforms, simply refuse to work with anything cannabis-related.
These roadblocks are real and make advertising your business that much harder, but all is not lost. While social and search ads are verboten and remain largely off limits to the cannabis industry—there are other creative approaches one should consider for reaching your customers. Let’s talk about some of them.
Did social media kill email?
Email marketing might feel like old news and obsolete compared to social media, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. With nearly 3.5 billion people using email around the world, it’s a valuable, and incredibly effective tool for any business to consider. In fact, a 2018 survey found that 59% of respondents are influenced by marketing emails when making purchase decisions. Here are a few things to consider when crafting a great marketing email:
- Subject lines matter, a lot: Yes, it’s the smallest part of the email, but it is also the mightiest. It is often the first thing your customer reads, and more importantly, how they’ll decide when or if they open your email at all. As a general rule, subject lines between 45 and 65 characters have the best open rates. And a well-placed emoji can go a long way depending on the subject.
- What you say matters, too: Once your reader has opened your email, they’re going to expect something of value in return. For most marketing emails, that often means a promotional incentive or coupon, but it doesn’t end there. Quality content that educates and entertains, like a good newsletter, can also build your brand image and highlight thought leadership, reinforce your capabilities and highlight accomplishments.
- Don’t forget mobile: Mobile devices account for nearly half of all email opens, and that number is rising. It’s important that your email takes mobile into account and that they are functional both on desktop and mobile devices.
- Importance of video: 50% of consumers are likely to read emails that include videos. Matter of fact, 1 in 4 consumers lose interest if a company doesn’t have a video.
Building loyalty through SMS
Loyalty programs are as old as commerce itself, and the cannabis industry can benefit just as much from them as any other. Not surprisingly, 57% of customers want loyalty programs. Whether you manufacture cannabis products or run a dispensary, you should be collecting contact info, both email and phone numbers, from as many customers, as you can. A short message service (SMS) allows you to keep your business at the forefront of their minds by sending them promotions. Keep in mind, 90% of text messages are read in only 3 seconds, so here’s what you should remember when using SMS:
- Get to the point: These messages shouldn’t just be short. Your customers joined your loyalty program to gain value, so your messages should make that value apparent. Regardless of the content of your messages, the promotion you’re pushing should be front and center.
- Timing is everything: There’s a fine line between rewarding loyalty and spamming your best customers. We recommend sending no more than one message a week.
To Blog or Not To Blog
In some circles, there is a discussion as to whether blogging is required in today’s social media widespread influence, but the fact of the matter is, blogging should be an essential game plan to communicate with your audience so keep these pointers in mind:
- You should be blogging: Not just a digital alternative for journaling, as some suggest, blogging can be instrumental in reaching your customers and growing your business. A good blog comes with a host of business benefits such as:
- It makes you more relevant: Your blog plays a pivotal role both in search engine optimization (SEO) and in driving web traffic. A well-updated blog keeps your site at the top of the search results with fresh content. Additionally, it increases the number of entry points into your site and plays with Google’s improved algorithm to focus on content and frequency of posts (updates).
- It reinforces thought leadership: Blogging about your industry, product and or service will enforce your brand as an expert in your particular field. If you are a retailer, for example, you should blog about the products you sell. Interesting and relevant content is one of the top 3 reasons people follow brands on social media.
- It makes you more relatable: Your blog is not just a way to reach your customers, it’s a way for them to understand you better and develop the confidence to trust in you and your brand as an expert in your particular field. A good blog lets you demonstrate your expertise, share your values, and build stronger relationships with your customers.
Conclusion: Don’t forget to work that word of mouth
All of these communication strategies have one specific thing in common: they each leverage your most precious resource: your customers. These strategies reach out directly to your prospective customers and give them a reason to share your brand with others. Remember, there are few customer acquisition strategies more effective than personal recommendations and having scores of advocates promoting your brand. Your communications strategy should be designed with that in mind.
If you want to know more about how MediaJel can help you with developing alternative strategies to promote your brand, drop us a line. We’d love to chat.