By on October 28th, 2020

Text Marketing Tips for Dispensaries & CBD Brands in 2021

Cannabis Dispensary SMS Marketing Strategy (PrograMetrix)

Ed. note: We’ve teamed up with the crew at Leafbuyer to bring you these key considerations for adding a SMS or text marketing program to your cannabis dispensary’s digital marketing strategy. From deliverability to content diversification, learn about best practices for dispensary text marketing in 2021 below.


2020 was a wild year full of unpredictable challenges for every cannabis brand. If you made it far enough to read this message, congratulations! Now, as you look ahead to 2021, what is your mission? For most dispensaries, deliveries, and product companies, the primary goals are to acquire new customers and develop a rich relationship with current ones in order to increase customer loyalty.

Over the past few years, many cannabis brands have realized that texting (sending SMS and MMS messages) is one of the most effective ways to connect with customers. Research shows that 99% of SMS marketing messages are opened within 20 minutes, an open rate that is leaps and bounds ahead of email marketing. However, with this great power comes great responsibility and some scary side effects. Inexperienced marketers can quickly develop a high opt-out rate, a low message deliverability rate, or even be sued for sending text messages.

To help you avoid the pitfalls and get the most out of your CBD, cannabis, or dispensary text message marketing, here are three things to keep in mind.

1) Deliverability Matters

As you develop your marketing strategy for 2021, you will have your hands full with planning your pricing model and branding campaigns. High-level discussions like these are vitally important, but focusing on them can sometimes cause you to miss the little things. In the world of text message marketing, the most overlooked detail is text message deliverability.

See also: SEO Best Practices for CBD Companies

No matter what a texting provider tells you, clicking “send” does not mean that every customer on your list will receive that message. Carriers like Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T have advanced algorithms that they use to filter out messages that they believe are spam. If you are not careful, you could be wasting hundreds or thousands of dollars paying for text messages that do not reach the intended recipients. At Leafbuyer, we are proud to have an incredibly high deliverability rate because of how we structured our platform and because of the advice we give our customers. For example, we have learned that repeatedly sending a long list of menu items with pricing in a SMS message can lead to lower deliverability.

2) Diversify Your Dispensary Text Marketing Content

Diversified Dispensary Marketing Strategy (PrograMetrix)

After you launch your text message marketing program, you will realize that sending an exciting deal directly leads to purchases within hours. At that point, it will be tempting to send a similar message every single day of the week. Resist that urge! Just because your customers opted in doesn’t mean they want a deal every day. This tip may sound like common sense, but it is an easy trap to fall into.

We dove into our texting platform analytics and found that sending special offers more than four times per week tends to lead to more opt-outs and lower deliverability. However, clients who send a diversity of text messages (e.g. an SMS deal, followed by an MMS about an in-store promotion, followed by an SMS about a holiday, followed by an MMS about a deal) can often get away with sending messages every day without experiencing the negative side effects.

3) SMS Marketing Is Not Just for Dispensaries

Who texts? If you look up cannabis text message marketing advice, you’ll mainly find articles providing advice to dispensaries and deliveries. However, product manufacturers are catching up and realizing that this powerful marketing method can work for them too. Sure, retail marijuana businesses can capture contact information with in-store kiosks or POS integrations, but other brands have ways to capture sign-ups as well. For example, our clients get access to the Lead Catcher tool, a customizable website pop-up that captures consumer phone numbers while staying TCPA-compliant.

See also: Digital Ad Compliance Guidelines for Cannabis & CBD Brands

Some brands worry that they don’t have enough content to text about. Unlike dispensaries who carry hundreds of SKUs, e-commerce or THC brands usually only have a handful of products to promote. In our experience, these companies can still develop a rich relationship with consumers. In addition to great deals, brands can send links to product reviews or to videos produced by fans and influencers. Texting is the new email, so with enough creativity, the sky is the limit.

What’s Your Plan?

Texting is a versatile and powerful tool that modern cannabis brands should consider adding to their arsenal in 2021. As with every marketing tool, there are clear guidelines that you can find online (if your cannabis texting provider doesn’t offer them already), but ultimately it is up to you to experiment and discover what will work best for your business. Happy texting!

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