Crafting SMS Marketing Strategies

SMS marketing (Short Message Service marketing) allows businesses to reach their target audience instantly via text message. Dispensaries leverage this strategy to send out promotions, announcements, special offers, and other marketing content directly to their customers’ mobile devices.

SMS marketing

SMS marketing is a powerful tool to add to your marketing stack because of its immediacy and high open rates, which allows for faster conversions when compared to other marketing channels. This SMS Local article offers some compelling stats: 

  • SMS marketing reaches Over 98% of smartphone users
  • On average, over 95% of SMS messages are opened and read within the first 3 minutes of delivery. Compare this to email open rates which average around 20-30% for most businesses.
  • SMS messages have a click-through rate of over 36% on average

Still, cannabis companies must adhere to relevant compliance and privacy regulations. Most importantly, individuals must opt-in before receiving any SMS message from your dispensary. With stringent restrictions on social media and television advertising, businesses in the cannabis industry rely on SMS messaging to deliver targeted and compliant messages directly to consumers.

Our partner Leafbuyer Technologies builds custom engagement solutions, including an SMS marketing platform. With the highest delivery rate in the industry, they provide SMS/MMS and push messaging, audience segmentation, mobile app solutions, lead catcher technology, and programmatic solutions. Empowered by the ubiquity of mobile devices, Leafbuyer enables cannabis brands to engage directly with their audience on a personal level.

SMS Marketing Strategy Best Practices

Of course, the success of your SMS campaign hinges on more than a message being delivered and opened. Here’s how to integrate text marketing into your existing strategy for higher engagement, improved customer satisfaction, and brand affinity for your dispensary.

Leveraging SMS for Targeted Promotions

Audience targeting in text marketing offers several benefits for cannabis businesses aiming to optimize their efforts. This strategy is all about personalized and relevant communication. By tailoring messages to specific demographics, interests, or behaviors, businesses can create content that resonates with individual recipients, increasing the likelihood of engagement. 

Strategic targeting also enhances the efficiency of SMS campaigns. Instead of broadcasting one message to your entire audience, regardless of relevance to the individual, you send customized messages that will be most interesting to the audience segment. This approach maximizes the impact of promotions and uses your precious marketing resources more effectively.

Trying to improve customer relationships? Audience targeting helps with that, too! By sending targeted and meaningful content, businesses demonstrate an understanding of their customers’ preferences and needs. When your customers feel seen and understood, they develop a sense of connection and loyalty.

Creating targeted SMS campaigns enables dispensaries to track and analyze conversions and sales more accurately. By honing in on specific audience segments, marketers can gather valuable data on customer responses, helping them refine future campaigns and optimize their overall marketing strategy.

Personalization and Audience Segmentation Strategies

There’s more than one way to cut a pizza and more than one way to divide your audience into segments. The best segmentation strategy will depend on your goals for the SMS campaign. Here are 8 of the best strategies for segmenting your audience. 

Demographic Segmentation

This approach is handy when a brand wants to craft messages reflecting varied lifestyles and preferences within its customer base. Demographic segmentation includes:

  • Age: Craft messages tailored to different age groups and generational preferences. Are you finding that the younger generation prefers discounts and older generations prefer premium products? 
  • Gender: Recognize and cater to specific gender preferences. Are you finding that women respond to text-based messages while men respond to image-based messages? 
  • Location: Sending region-specific promotions allows businesses to consider local regulations, inventory, and discounts. An MSO can’t promote a new strain to its entire contact list if that strain is only available in half the locations. Sending a text to the right audiences about products and deals only available in specific locations creates valuable incentives for engagement.

Behavioral Segmentation

Behavioral segmentation proves invaluable when the goal is to understand and respond to customer actions. 

  • Purchase History: Understanding past buying behavior to provide personalized recommendations, promotions, and loyalty rewards. Why recommend cannabis extracts to a customer who only buys edibles when you could tell them about your new gummy line?
  • Engagement Level: Sending different messages to active and inactive customers allows for a more nuanced approach, re-engaging inactive users with incentives while delivering exclusive content to those who regularly interact with the brand. A “We miss you” text can go a long way to improve customer retention. 
  • Website/App Interactions: Tailoring your SMS strategy for online conversion means you can provide relevant information based on browsing habits and preferences. Noticing they keep looking at a product but never convert? A discount on that product type could close the deal. 

Preferences and Interests

In this approach, brands seek to foster community among like-minded individuals, creating targeted content inspired by the segment’s passions and tastes.

  • Hobbies and Interests: Creating segments based on shared hobbies and interests to tailor promotions that resonate with a specific lifestyle. Do you see a large number of crafters or hikers in your dispensary? Develop promotions that will support their hobbies. 
  • Product Preferences: Sending promotions related to specific product categories optimizes conversions by presenting customers with offerings aligned with their tastes. If you know a particular segment has a history of purchasing strains that aren’t mainstream, they’ll respond well to getting new product updates. 
  • Content Engagement: Tailoring messages based on the type of content customers engage with ensures that promotional material aligns with their preferences. What solution have they previously sought (from stress relief to sleep to a popular energizing strain purchased on a Friday)?

Timing and Frequency

This strategy balances staying top-of-mind with mitigating the risk of message fatigue.

  • Optimal Time of Day: Sending messages when recipients are most likely to engage increases the chances of immediate interaction and response. Who wants to read a text message right as they go to bed or wake up in the morning? 
  • Frequency Preferences: Segmenting based on how often customers prefer to receive messages prevents message fatigue. A customer associating your messages with spam is the kiss of death. 

Customer Journey Stage

A customer journey segmentation strategy helps build a cohesive and personalized customer experience, enhancing the overall effectiveness of the buyer’s journey.

  • Prospects vs. Customers: Potential and existing customers should receive different messages, introductory content for prospects, and exclusive offers for loyal customers. A long-standing customer won’t appreciate a “discount upon first purchase” message.
  • Onboarding vs. Loyalty: Crafting messages based on where customers are in their journey ensures that the content aligns with their current relationship with the business. Do they need to learn about the benefits of the loyalty plan (segment the audience that has never redeemed points), or how many points they have available (segment the audience that has enough points for a satisfying reward)? 

Transactional History

This strategy benefits dispensaries looking to strengthen connections with their most valuable clientele.

  • High-Value Customers: Offering exclusive promotions to high-value customers rewards their loyalty and encourages continued patronage, fostering appreciation and strengthening the customer-business relationship. 
  • Recent Purchases: Sending follow-up messages or complementary offers after recent transactions enhances the post-purchase experience, providing additional value and potentially driving repeat business. Something as simple as a text receipt can keep you top of mind. 

Promotion Preferences

The promotional preference approach ensures that SMS messages are well-received and more likely to drive desired customer actions.

  • Discount vs. New Product: Segment based on customer responses to discounts or new product launches. Even though you think everyone wants a discount, sometimes delivering a different value is better. 
  • Exclusive vs. Public Promotions: Identifying customers who prefer exclusive deals enables businesses to provide a sense of exclusivity, rewarding loyal customers with special offers while maintaining a broader appeal with public promotions.

Device-Specific Segmentation

Every mobile device has its own requirements for optimized messaging. Customizing messages for each device type can significantly improve your customer’s experience when interacting with your content. 

  • Device Type: Tailoring messages based on the type of mobile device the customer uses ensures that content is optimized for their devices’ specific features and capabilities, enhancing the overall user experience and engagement.

Integrating SMS Strategies with Other Marketing Channels

To build consistency across your SMS strategy, social media, email, and website platforms, you must align branded visuals, messaging, and promotions for a unified brand identity. You can reinforce those campaigns across various marketing channels by distributing messages that look the same, sound the same, and say the same thing.

  • SMS Marketing and Email Synergy: Use SMS for time-sensitive updates and email for more detailed content. When implementing cross-channel promotions, you encourage subscribers to engage on both platforms. Put simply: send emails that enable customers to opt-in to text messages and send text messages that promote email subscriptions. 
  • Social Media Integration: Send SMS-driven campaigns that encourage social media participation. For instance, send SMS-exclusive codes for discounts that customers can share on social platforms.
  • Personalized Retargeting: Utilize SMS for personalized retargeting based on customer behavior on other channels. For example, send SMS reminders and exclusive offers to customers who abandoned their online shopping carts. 
  • Event-Driven Campaigns: Sync SMS Auto-Connect with time-sensitive milestones. With Leafbuyer, you can send SMS notifications celebrating a customer’s birthday, upcoming product launches, or exclusive social media contests, creating anticipation and driving cross-channel engagement.
  • Drive Web Traffic: Deliver SMS campaigns that send traffic to specific landing pages through a clickable link.

Advantages of Leafbuyer SMS Marketing

Leafbuyer Loyalty is a comprehensive, flexible, and scalable customer loyalty platform for dispensaries to increase revenue, boost traffic, and cultivate a loyal customer base. The platform seamlessly integrates with select POS systems to create a multifaceted solution that builds and rewards customer loyalty. 

Learn more about Leafbuyer’s SMS Marketing Platform

Custom Branded Loyalty Apps

With LeafyBuyer, dispensary customers can sign up for your loyalty program through in-store kiosks, POS integrations, or online plugins. Once they join, engagement options include loyalty benefits such as points per visit, points per spend, and a convenient wallet feature for point tracking.

This tailored loyalty program becomes a direct channel for personalized interactions, utilizing data to provide recommendations, promotions, and direct communication through Leafbuyer’s texting tool.

Highest Delivery Rates in the Industry

SMS is more effective at converting customers than other channels, but filtering and message failures are still common. LeafBuyer’s customers profit from the industry’s highest SMS messaging delivery rates. In addition to their success in deliverability, LeafBuyer also offers MMS (multimedia messaging) texts. These texts, which contain photos or video in addition to copy, are so well received by customers that their MMS campaigns have 80% fewer opt-outs, 15% higher click-through rates, and a 25-25% increase in same-day foot traffic. 

Comprehensive Reporting

Comprehensive reporting provides detailed insights into SMS and MMS campaigns. Dispensaries can track key metrics such as delivery rates, open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to assess each campaign’s success and scalability. Reporting can also support future campaign strategies.

Segmentation and targeting features identify groups of people who are most responsive to specific types of messages and the times when they are most likely to open those messages. Using data-driven decision-making, dispensaries can combine their segmentation and success data to make incremental improvements in campaign effectiveness and ROI (Return on Investment).

Tips for Effective SMS Marketing Messages

Recipients open more than 9 out of 10 text messages. Email open rates hover around 20-30% for most businesses. Still, that doesn’t mean every text campaign will be successful. First, you must understand best practices for SMS marketing before you can drive conversions and sales.

Crafting Compelling and Concise Messages

Incorporating personality into SMS messages can be an effective strategy for some segments, but we caution you against being overly verbose in SMS marketing. Here are some tips for keeping your messages short and sweet. 

  • Use direct language that gets straight to the point. Recipients should quickly understand the purpose of the message. Avoid unnecessary details that can clutter the message.
  • Focus on the value proposition. Communicate what’s in it for them: a special offer, important information, or exclusive content.
  • Take advantage of language that creates a sense of urgency. Phrases like “limited time offer” or “act now” can encourage immediate action.
  • Personalize your messages with the recipient’s name and tailor the content based on their preferences or past interactions. 
  • Avoid Emojis when possible and only choose emojis that enhance understanding. Overuse can dilute the impact.
  • Include a call to action that incentivizes a response. Whether it’s directing recipients to redeem points, make a purchase, or redeem an offer, the CTA should be actionable and easy to follow.
  • Don’t use abbreviations and acronyms. While brevity is essential, avoid confusing abbreviations to ensure your message is easily understood. 

Given the limited character count in SMS, balancing personality with brevity is necessary. Your challenge is to convey a meaningful message while keeping it concise.

Timing and frequency considerations

Discovering the right time and frequency for SMS messages is crucial to ensure that your messages are well-received and effective. Here are some tips to help you send messages right on time:

  • Consider your audience’s daily routines and schedules.
  • MSOs should adjust their delivery times according to recipients’ local time, avoiding early morning or late-night interruptions.
  • Conduct A/B testing with different time slots and days of the week to identify when your audience is most responsive. 
  • Send relevant and timely information to increase the chances of engagement. For example, send promotions before a sale ends or appointment reminders ahead of scheduled times.
  • Leverage data and analytics to analyze open, click-through, and conversion rates. Adjust your timing strategy based on this data.
  • Take seasonal trends into account and adjust your messaging schedule to align with these trends.

You can refine your SMS messaging strategy by continuously monitoring performance metrics to hit the right timing and frequency for optimal engagement.

Compliance with Regulations 

Consistency with SMS compliance requirements and cannabis marketing regulations is crucial for dispensaries. Here are some tips to address the compliance challenges of cannabis marketing:

  • Follow the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the United States, which includes obtaining consent, providing opt-out options, and respecting “Do Not Call” lists.
  • Implement robust age verification so that your cannabis-related messages are delivered only to individuals of legal age.
  • To avoid sending unsolicited messages, obtain explicit consent by implementing clear opt-in and opt-out procedures, where consumers voluntarily subscribe to receive updates. 
  • Partner with a reliable texting provider that provides compliance consultations, understands the complexities of cannabis marketing regulations, and offers comprehensive compliance tools. We’ve partnered with Leafbuyer to do just that!

There are serious ramifications for violating compliance regulations. Avoid unnecessary risks by taking these laws seriously.

Using Analytics for Continuous Improvement

Using analytics is crucial for continuous improvement in SMS messaging campaigns. Here are some valuable tips for leveraging analytics effectively and enhancing the performance of your SMS marketing efforts:

  • Define specific goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) for your SMS campaigns. Having clear objectives will guide your analytics efforts, whether it’s increasing open rates, click-through rates, or conversions.
  • Monitor the conversion metrics related to your SMS campaigns, such as the number of recipients who took the desired action (e.g., purchased or signed up). Analyze which messages and strategies lead to the highest conversions.
  • Employ analytics to understand the performance of different audience segments. Identify which segments respond best to specific types of messages and update your campaigns accordingly. 
  • Implement A/B testing with variations in message content, timing, or calls-to-action. Analyze the results to identify the elements that contribute most to campaign success.
  • Keep a close eye on opt-out rates to gauge engagement and satisfaction among your audience. High opt-out rates may indicate messaging frequency, relevance, or content issues.
  • Analyze the geographic performance of your campaigns. Understand where your messages are most effective and tailor your strategies based on regional preferences.
  • Analyze data related to the devices and platforms your audience uses to access SMS messages. Optimize your content and formatting based on the predominant devices and platforms.
  • Assess message performance for different times and days of the week. Identify optimal times for sending messages based on when your audience is most active and responsive.
  • Identify keywords, phrases, or types of content that resonate most with your audience and replicate successful elements in future campaigns.
  • Monitor Click-Through Rates (CTR) to understand how often recipients are taking action on your messages. Optimize content based on correlations between message content, calls-to-action, and CTR to optimize for engagement.
  • Track the customer journey to see how SMS messages contribute at each phase. 

By consistently leveraging analytics and deriving actionable insights, you can refine and optimize your SMS messaging strategies for continuous improvement, leading to more effective and engaging campaigns.

Getting Started with SMS Messaging 

SMS holds a powerful position to differentiate your business in the cannabis industry. It is a direct and immediate communication channel, allowing dispensaries to connect with their audience in real-time. With most individuals carrying their phones at all times, SMS will enable your dispensary to tap into a highly accessible and responsive audience, capturing attention with segmented strategies rooted in preferences and behaviors. SMS adds a dynamic layer to a brand’s communication strategy, whether used as a standalone tool or in conjunction with email, social media, or loyalty programs.

Looking for a partner who can support your SMS marketing ideas? Leafbuyer has the highest SMS delivery rates in the cannabis industry, which provides an edge over other dispensaries. With comprehensive reporting and analytics, including intricate details of SMS campaign performance, Leafbuyer’s custom-branded loyalty app helps you incentivize and reward customer loyalty. Features like points per visit, POS integration, and personalized communication based on specific actions keep customers engaged and returning to your dispensary. 

Now is the time to connect directly with your audience, deliver timely and relevant messages, and stay ahead of your competition. Embrace the future of marketing with Leafbuyer’s leading SMS solutions by reaching out for a free demo of their powerful platform today!