I’ve created this guide based on the Pareto principle of 80/20
The steps that will bring you 80% of the potential value from 20% of effort.
You can definitely go much deeper in segmentation and separate your customer list by customer type (young, old, male, female), types of products they use and so on – but I’ve never met a dispensary team with that type of time.
Once you see the value, you’ll be ready to hire.
You never know whats going to work with cannabis
I remember the first time I had a Instagram account shut down. I was pissed. so much efforts in engaging with users and building good photography and now all that work out the window.
All because I decided to use an Instagram bot to get more followers. Big Mistake.
In fact out of everything that I ever tried, it was SEO, ads and email that produced the most noticeable impact on sales.
Email created a clear path to connecting to the consumers and it was also an opportunity to grow,
Our fans now had a way to share the products and information with their friends, which in my experience was more likely to happen on email than on Facebook because its Cannabis.
Not everyone is ready to voice how they live their lives publicly, however all users have some friends that they do share with and the discrete way to share is email.
You can also set up referral programs which give your customers benefits from your store (They love that) – as well as invite them to give you reviews so others can learn about you.
If you’re not growing – you’re dying
Email is also the best way to discretely reach a mobile audience – everyone is always on their phone and where SMS could be intrusive, emails sit in their inbox until they’re ready to be read – you need to be there.
BUT… I hate emails
Granted, not everyone wants your email this is true and those users will unsubscribe, however the ones that do open them and are excited to see whats new with your store will not only become more engaged but this is the tribe that will help you grow and be there for you long term.
By the numbers
Step 1. If you don’t send emails yet, this is how to start
Grab an account on Mailchimp (Its free to use if you have less than 2000 email addresses) and upload your customer list (they have step by step videos).
Create your first campaign. The first email you send should be a simple text email, welcoming your members to your “Newsletter” and letting them know about the emails they’ll be receiving, how often you will send (remember to keep this promise) and what type of info they can expect to see. Maybe even include a gift, like a discount coupon.
Let them know how to unsubscribe as well as the purpose which is “to help them be most informed from the comfort of their inbox.” (feel free to use that – no copyright. 😉 )
Also set up this initial email as an automated message to the next set of users that sign up to your list – Here is how to set up a Mailchimp automated welcome email
I can guarantee you’ll be surprised to see how many people are excited to receive emails from you going forward – If they buy their cannabis from you often, they’re your fans.
Step 2. Designing your emails
Design matters but there is no value on someone that is not a designer to spend 3-4 hours setting up an email. (I learned that by wasting a lot of hours myself)
The best use of your time and money is to go on Fiverr and run a search for Mailchimp Templates, on the page you’ll see a big list of freelancers that offer to create your mailchimp templates in an inexpensive way.
I recommend you use someone whose previous work you like and matches the feel of your brand + has 25 or more positive reviews and a 4 or higher star rating, thats usually a good sign.
If you’d prefer to create the templates yourself, Canva provides you a free way to create images for your emails and the design options on Mailchimp are very easy and flexible to use. Give it a try.
Step 3. What should you talk about?
All you need are 4 different email types
– Product release (Once a week)
– Special offer/Discount (Don’t over do it – once or twice a month max so you don’t cannibalize your list)
– Releasing a Blog post or video with info (Once a week – Ideally for your SEO) – if you need help writing blog posts I’ve used this service in the past and had good experience with Cannabis content or if you’re ready to go up to the next level then these guys are the ones. Just know that great writing comes at a price.
– Special message/Holiday Hours/Special Event/run a survey/etc. (as needed)
These should cover 98% of your needs.
If you’re just getting started, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, so keep it simple.
Start with one email a week which includes an image and info on new products at your store. Thats it. These were the type of emails that received the highest readership and response rate on average.
Like Foodies, Cannaseurs want to know when there are new products to try Or if you’ve got great products back in stock. So send us that info and let us know how we can get our hands on it.
This email alone will not only grow your sales and customer engagement but it will also create the habit for you to be sending emails on a weekly basis.
Once you’re ready to expand you can up your schedule to 2 times per week, just remember the magic formula. send 2 emails giving value before the one where you sell.
Step 4. How to write for your audience
Point #1 – Over time you’ll learn the importance of your “voice” and that the goal is not to talk to yourself about yourself but to talk to your consumers about the information they want to learn.
Pay close attention to the tone of your emails, if your audience is younger then feel free to use slang, however if you have a more mature clientele then a more toned-down approach will likely work best.
Make it personal – don’t pretend to be anything other than honest. Imagine how you want your members to feel when they receive this email.
Point #2 – remember that most people don’t deeply read emails, they scan and scroll down to get to the point.
Keep your emails short and with minimal text. Make them easy to read. if you’re sending a new product email, just add a photo of it and short blurb with the description of the feeling, price and how to get it.
Keep it to one or two points only – people just scroll over the middle of your email, so give them one thing to focus on.
Step 5. The subject line
Sounds simple but it might be the most important part.
Picture 30 emails in an inbox, how do you make sure your email stands out and its read?
Be creative with your headline, add emojis to attract the eye to the colour or keep them hanging with a teaser, here are some examples I’ve tried in the past that worked:
– “The power Indica is back and its better than ever!” (Mystery)
– “Our big event, this weekend only!” (urgency)
– “Don’t Open This EMAIL!!” (reverse psychology)
– “Don’t make this mistake when picking up edibles” (Teach)
– “Our strongest sativa is finally here” (Curiosity)
Step 6. Growing your list
Your list should grow every time a new member signs up to and anytime someone that is not yet a member wants to learn more about you.
Every time I was going to send an email I would go through the process of merging my member list with mailchimp, testing the sign up form on the website, blog and social accounts to make sure it was working and after doing that I would look for other places where we could potentially grow our email list by providing value.
I would entice non-members to join the list by offering a discount – maybe 15% on their first order. Gifts proved to almost double the sign up rates!
Again, If you’re not growing you’re dying and the practice of growing your email list is one of the most profitable ones for your business.
It adds an audience to your products.
Step 7. Getting better at email
There are many tools that will show you detailed information, but the best way to learn is through your members that read them.
Ask them what they think of your emails, how can you improve, what type of information do they want to read, what do they think of the design.
Don’t be shy to send one email (after you’ve sent at least 15) and ask what they think of your email and anything else you’d like to know. (out of the opened emails we would get 5% response on those questions)
The goal is to make your customers happy, and there is no better way to learn than by asking them. If they love your cannabis they’ll be happy to help you.
More tips: Look at your competitors to see what they do, think outside the box, look at brands that you like from other markets like Whole foods, or a supplement company or maybe a pharmacy and see what they do with their emails. Copy and try it!
We’re in a mobile first world and if you can reach your consumer while they’re going about life, they’ll be excited to have a reason to stop in and say hi and pick up some of your finest of the finest.
If you have any questions or if you need help getting started, reach out to us, our goal above all is to make sure cannabis dispensaries succeed. If you succeed, the whole industry succeeds so we’re happy to help you in any way we can.