Since the birth of the Internet, email marketing has been a core marketing channel for businesses of all sizes.
Despite the recurrent concern that the rise of social media networks and mobile apps threaten to render email obsolete, email marketing appears to be very much alive and well.
There’s no denying that businesses still receive a relatively strong return on investment with email marketing, and owners of cannabis businesses should consider increasing their email marketing budgets in 2016.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a process of communication with the purpose of building on relationships between a business and its customers. This could be achieved by providing after-sales customer service, by providing valuable information, or by simply reminding customers of your brand. The end goal is to develop customer loyalty, repeat business, and new customer acquisition.
Email marketing is best marketing tool
Email marketing is still the most effective marketing tool. There are several reasons why it’s preferred to social media marketing, search engine marketing and other channels.
- You have complete control of your message. Communicating with your target audience via email allows you to control the content of your message, when it’s received, and who it’s received by. This allows you to effectively personalize messages, engaging your customers and encouraging sales.
- Email marketing provides the best return on investment (ROI). When you compare the time and resources that go into the various marketing vehicles, email marketing still provides the greatest ROI. (see image below)
- Email marketing is no longer just about email. It allows you to truly deliver value through the informative content of your message, and encourages your customer to engage with you via other marketing channels.
Email marketing is particularly useful for cannabis businesses as it provides a mostly unregulated means of communication. In comparison to marketing on Facebook or Google, which ban cannabis businesses from advertising, email marketing allows you to communicate with your audience unrestricted. Your emails can include whatever content you want, including photos of cannabis and marijuana products.
It is important to be aware, however, that email marketing requires more thought and strategy than simply hitting the send button.
Elements of a successful email marketing campaign
It must be permission-based
It may be tempting to simply add email addresses to your email list, but sending sales emails without permission will not only risk your reputation, but you also run the risk of being approached by the Federal Trade Commission.
The marijuana industry is still relatively new and given its controversial nature, the authorities have it under a microscope. You don’t want to run the risk of violating the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.
It’s not good enough to simply assume that your customers and prospects want to receive emails from you. You must first ask their permission. The best way to do this is by outlining how the recipient stands to benefit from your email, through exclusive promotions or informative content, for example.
It must provide value
With the volume of emails being sent daily continuously increasing, it’s not enough to simply bombard your recipients with sales messages. Instead, you must engage your audience by providing informative content that provides value to the reader.
For example, a medical marijuana dispensary could send out a monthly email newsletter to their email list, providing useful information to its customers. Such an audience may be interested to know about how marijuana works on the body, or which strains are particularly effective for specific medical conditions.
Providing insightful information in this manner allows you to demonstrate your expertise and build trust with your target market.
It must be optimized for mobile displays
You’ll have figured out by now that mobile is the future. With that in mind, take note of the following recommendations while planning you next email marketing campaign.
- Use a clean, simplistic, mobile-friendly design.
- Use concise headings and content that immediately get to the point.
- Utilize fonts that are easily legible on mobile.
- Avoid large images with slow load times.
Email will continue to evolve into the future, and it will likely remain the most effective tool for marketing communication. With the unrestricted nature of marketing messages, the ability to engage customers directly, and its inexpensive cost, email marketing allows marijuana business owners more value for money and ROI than any alternate marketing channel.