10 Cannabis Industry Basics You Must Know Before Emailing Licensees
As the cannabis industry grows, business becomes more competitive, and that includes competition for being noticed in the email inboxes of cannabis license holders.
Today there are so many companies trying to convince cannabis licensees to buy their products and services that the days of simply sending an email expecting people to contact you and buy are long gone.
To get noticed in email inboxes today and build brand awareness and trust that leads to purchases, you need to show licensees that you know who they are and understand their challenges, problems, needs, and goals.
In other words, you need to personalize the content of your email marketing messages to speak directly to hyper-targeted lists of people.
One of the biggest mistakes email marketers make when sending campaigns to cannabis licensees is sending messages that people don’t want.
In the cannabis industry, the first step email marketers must take in order to have any chance of success is to learn about how the cannabis industry works in the markets in which they are promoting their brands.
Here are 10 basics you need to understand before sending email marketing campaigns to licensees.
1. Cannabis and hemp license holders are not the same
Yes, cannabis and hemp come from the same plant, but no, they are not the same industries. The cannabis and hemp industries have different laws and many different actors. If you send out email marketing messages aimed at licensees in both industries, those messages are unlikely to perform well.
Why? Because cannabis and hemp licensees don’t like to be thrown together. If you put them together, they’ll likely resent that you didn’t take the time to learn about their market and specific needs.
As a result, they either mark your message as spam or take a negative view of it by deleting it without opening it, ignoring it, or blocking you as the sender. All of these negative reactions affect the deliverability of your future campaigns that you do not want.
So segment your lists so that cannabis and hemp license holders are separate and send them personalized messages written specifically for their industry. Your results will be much better!
2. Laws differ by state
No state has identical laws for the cannabis industry. So you need at least a basic understanding of how each market works in which you want to promote your brand.
An example would be a company that emails cannabis cultivation license holders in all states to advertise a product for outdoor growers. Unfortunately, some states don’t allow outdoor cultivation. So sending a campaign to people in states that only allow indoor growing would affect the results of today’s sender campaign as well as their future campaigns.
As you learned in # 1 above, if people respond negatively to your email marketing campaigns, more of your future campaigns will be sent to spam than to the inbox. However, make sure that you only send messages that are relevant to recipients based on state laws.
3. Laws are always changing
States are constantly changing the laws of the cannabis industry, and now as more states legalize through laws, we see significant laws change frequently. It can be difficult to keep up with, but to get the best results from your email marketing investments, you need to make an effort.
Cannabiz Media’s daily news notifications help. As a subscriber to the Cannabiz Media License Database, you will receive daily message notifications sent directly to your email inbox. You can also log into the platform and read a variety of curated industry news for quick updates of any new changes.
4. Vertical integration – yes, no, maybe
Vertical integration refers to whether a state requires (or allows) a company or person to hold multiple licenses throughout the cannabis supply chain.
For example, some states require full license integration, which means that a license holder must be licensed to cultivate, manufacture / process, and pharmacy / retailer. In this case, the license holder controls the cannabis product from seed to sale.
In other states vertical integration is allowed but not required, and in other states vertical integration of any kind is not allowed.
These distinctions are very important. Knowing what each state requires or allows can help you develop better email marketing strategies and make sure you are targeting the right licensees in each state.
5. Multistate Operators (MSOs) are growing
Multistate Operators (MSOs) are the larger companies in the cannabis industry that hold multiple licenses in more than one state. Recently, there has been a growing number of acquisitions of MSOs looking to break into new states, and some MSOs have even gone public.
If your target audience is MSOs, there is some homework you need to do to identify them and understand what licenses they currently have and what licenses they want to get. Not all MSOs are created equal. Some only have two or three licenses in multiple states, while others have hundreds of licenses in ten or more states.
In other words, MSOs are growing, but they’re not all created equal and shouldn’t be treated the same in your email marketing campaigns. An MSO with three licenses in two states will likely need to hear different news from you than an MSO with 156 licenses in 13 states.
6. License types have many interpretations by state
The licensing process and structure of each state are unique, so both the nomenclature and the capabilities of license holders vary from state to state.
For example, many states offer a manufacturing license to companies converting cannabis plant material into products for sale in pharmacies and retail stores. However, some states refer to this as a processing license.
In addition, some states have separate distributor licenses, others do not, and some states have unique license types that other states do not have at all. You need to understand these nuances so that you can send the right messages to the right people!
7. Not all product types are permitted in all states
Just because cannabis is legal for medical and / or recreational use in a state doesn’t mean that all forms of cannabis are allowed. In fact, there are states that still don’t allow some of the most popular forms of cannabis.
If you don’t understand which companies are allowed to manufacture and sell, you can send an email marketing campaign to completely uninterested audiences who will likely delete them or mark them as spam. You don’t want this to happen!
For example, a cannabis packaging company could send a message to all 50 states promoting its food packaging products. However, some states don’t allow food, which means that the message is irrelevant to the people of those states and they are more likely to interact with it negatively.
8. The license application process can be very long
The deadline for applying for and obtaining a cannabis license can be very long. All states are different, and it is not uncommon for the process to take years. Some states are speeding things up, but for the most part it takes at least a year from starting the process to approving applications.
If applicants who have not won licenses are unhappy with the results, they can file lawsuits against the process and the deadline will be even longer.
Suffice it to say that a license can remain in pending status for a long time, and even after a state approves applications, those licenses can remain in pending status for many more months (or more).
9. Legal does not mean active
If a state legalizes medical cannabis or adult cannabis – either through voting or legislation – it does not mean that the state’s legal cannabis market will be operational immediately. As explained in # 8 above, the application process can take a long time, but before applications are accepted, the legal cannabis program must be developed.
It could take those responsible for creating the laws, rules, and everything else that goes into a legal cannabis program to finalize everything before business license applications are accepted. Some states have sped up the process in the past, and often the program development process is typically faster if a state has already set up a medical program and then legalizes its adult cannabis.
However, don’t expect droves of new customers when a state legalizes. It will take time for the market to actually be active.
10. Local rules can change everything
In many states, local rules trump state rules regarding cannabis. For example, some states allow local jurisdictions to prohibit licensed cannabis companies from operating within their borders, and others allow local jurisdictions to create zoning laws that prevent cannabis licensees from operating there.
Local rules regarding real estate, advertising, zoning, buildings, taxes, and more can affect where and how cannabis licensees can do business in local communities.
For the most part, it’s nearly impossible for email marketers to keep up with all of these local rules. Depending on the type of campaign you are sending, you may need to invest some time in specific research to ensure that your campaign has a chance to produce the results you want and need.
Important information about email marketing for cannabis licensees
In addition to training before sending email marketing campaigns to cannabis licensees, you should also work with experts who understand the nuances of the industry. In addition, you should use a reliable license holder database and email marketing platform to securely connect with the right people.
You can get it all with the Cannabiz Media License Database. Arrange a free demo and see for yourself!