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Mastering Cannabis SMS Marketing: Compliance, Strategies, and Best Practices


SMS marketing has emerged as a powerful tool for businesses, including those in the cannabis industry. With the ability to deliver direct and immediate communication, SMS marketing offers cannabis businesses an effective way to engage customers, drive sales, and build brand loyalty. However, navigating the legal landscape and ensuring compliance can be challenging. This guide explores the essentials of cannabis SMS marketing, from understanding SMS and MMS to implementing effective strategies and maintaining compliance with relevant laws.

What is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing involves sending promotional messages and updates to customers via text messages. It is a direct marketing strategy that allows businesses to communicate with their audience in a personal and immediate way. For cannabis businesses, SMS marketing can be particularly effective due to its high open and response rates.

The Difference Between SMS & MMS

SMS (Short Message Service) involves text-only messages with a character limit of 160, making it perfect for short, concise communications. In contrast, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) allows for multimedia content like images, videos, and GIFs, enabling more engaging and visually appealing messages. For cannabis businesses, these tools can significantly enhance customer engagement. SMS messages are excellent for sending quick updates, promotions, and reminders, while MMS can be used to share more dynamic content, such as new product launches or special event announcements.

The Benefits of Cannabis SMS Marketing

Text messaging offers several benefits for cannabis businesses, including increased customer engagement, direct marketing, and immediate response. Text messages have high open rates, ensuring that your messages are seen by customers. SMS allows for direct communication with customers, making it easier to promote products and special offers. Additionally, text messages are typically read within minutes, allowing for real-time communication.

Increased Customer Engagement

In 2024, 79% of consumers opted in to receive texts from businesses –– indicating an 11% growth in consumer opt-ins from last year. The immediacy of SMS ensures that your audience receives your communications promptly, keeping them informed and engaged with your cannabis business’ ‘s latest updates and promotions.

Direct Marketing

SMS allows for direct communication with your customers. Unlike other marketing channels that can be saturated with advertisements, text messages provide a direct line to your audience. This directness helps in creating a personal connection with your customers, making them feel valued and appreciated. You can send personalized messages, special offers, and exclusive discounts that cater specifically to their interests and needs.

Immediate Response

Text messages are typically read within minutes of being received. This immediacy allows for real-time communication, which is particularly beneficial for time-sensitive promotions or urgent updates. Whether you’re announcing a flash sale, a new product arrival, or an event reminder, you can ensure that your customers receive the information when it matters most.

Enhanced Customer Loyalty

Consistent and valuable communication through SMS can significantly enhance customer loyalty. By regularly updating your customers with relevant information, you keep your dispensary top-of-mind. Loyalty programs integrated with SMS can also boost engagement, as customers are more likely to participate in programs that offer tangible rewards and benefits.

Cost-Effective Marketing

Compared to traditional marketing methods, SMS marketing is highly cost-effective. The cost per message is relatively low, and the return on investment can be substantial given the high engagement rates. This makes SMS an attractive option for cannabusinesses looking to maximize their marketing budget while achieving significant results.

Easy Opt-In and Opt-Out

SMS marketing provides a simple opt-in and opt-out mechanism, ensuring that you are reaching an audience that is genuinely interested in your offerings. Customers can easily subscribe to your text updates by providing their phone numbers, and they can just as easily unsubscribe if they choose to opt-out. This ensures compliance with regulations and fosters a positive relationship with your customers.

Measurable Results

With SMS marketing, you can easily track and measure the performance of your campaigns. Most SMS platforms provide analytics that show delivery rates, open rates, and response rates. This data allows you to assess the effectiveness of your messages and make data-driven decisions to optimize future campaigns.

Cannabis Text Marketing & Compliance

Compliance is a critical aspect of cannabis SMS marketing. Businesses must adhere to various laws and regulations to avoid legal repercussions. Compliance with laws like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the CAN-SPAM Act is essential. These laws regulate how businesses can communicate with consumers via SMS and email. Always ensure that you have explicit consent from recipients before sending them messages. Provide easy opt-out options to allow users to unsubscribe from your SMS campaigns at any time.

Improving Marijuana Text Messaging

Creating an effective SMS marketing strategy involves several key elements. Use data to segment your audience into different groups based on their interests and behaviors. Tailored messages are more likely to resonate with recipients. Write clear and concise messages that grab attention. Avoid using prohibited words and phrases that might trigger compliance issues. Balance the frequency of your messages to avoid overwhelming your customers. Time your messages to align with your customers’ habits and preferences.

Cannabis Business Text Message Tactics

Engaging customers through SMS requires creativity and strategic planning. Here are some effective tactics to maximize the impact of your cannabis business’ text message campaigns.

At the Point of Sale

Capturing customer attention at the point of sale is a crucial opportunity to grow your SMS subscriber list. Train your staff to ask customers if they would like to receive updates, promotions, and exclusive offers via text message. Offering an immediate incentive, such as a discount on their current purchase or a small freebie, can encourage customers to opt-in.

Utilizing SMS for Notifications

SMS is an excellent tool for sending practical notifications that keep your customers informed and engaged. Examples include:

  • Order Ready Alerts: Notify customers when their online or phone orders are ready for pickup.
  • Delivery Updates: Keep customers updated on the status of their deliveries, including dispatch and estimated arrival times.
  • Loyalty Rewards Reminders: Remind customers of their available loyalty rewards and encourage them to redeem points during their next visit.

Creative Content Ideas

Incorporating creative content into your SMS campaigns can significantly enhance engagement. Here are some ideas:

  • Product Launch Announcements: Use MMS to send images and descriptions of new products, generating excitement and driving sales.
  • Event Invitations: Promote in-store events, such as educational seminars or product demonstrations, with engaging visuals and RSVP options.
  • Special Offers and Discounts: Send exclusive discounts and time-sensitive promotions to create a sense of urgency and encourage immediate action.
  • Educational Content: Share tips and information about cannabis products, usage, and benefits to provide value and build trust with your audience.

Segmentation for Personalized Messaging

Use data analytics to segment your audience based on their purchase history, preferences, and behaviors. This allows for more personalized and effective marketing campaigns. Tailoring messages to specific audience segments increases relevance and engagement. For instance, you can create segments such as:

  • Frequent Shoppers: Send them loyalty rewards and exclusive discounts.
  • First-Time Buyers: Provide educational content and welcome offers.
  • Inactive Customers: Re-engage them with special promotions or updates on new products.

Timing and Frequency

The timing and frequency of your messages can significantly impact their effectiveness. Here are some best practices:

  • Timing: Send messages at times when your customers are most likely to be receptive, such as late morning or early evening. Avoid sending texts during late-night or early-morning hours.
  • Frequency: Maintain a balance between staying top-of-mind and avoiding over-messaging. Sending too many texts can lead to opt-outs, while too few can result in missed opportunities. Aim for a consistent schedule, such as weekly or bi-weekly updates.

Interactive SMS Campaigns

Engage your customers with interactive SMS campaigns that encourage two-way communication. Examples include:

  • Surveys and Feedback Requests: Ask customers for their opinions on products and services to gather valuable insights and demonstrate that you value their feedback.
  • Contests and Giveaways: Run SMS-based contests where customers can enter by replying with a keyword or code. This can boost engagement and expand your subscriber list.

Leveraging Data Analytics

Utilize data analytics to enhance the effectiveness of your SMS campaigns. Analyze customer behavior and preferences to tailor messages more effectively. Data-driven insights can help in understanding what types of messages resonate most with your audience and the best times to send them. This approach can significantly improve engagement rates and overall campaign success.

Integrating with Other Marketing Channels

Integrate your SMS marketing with other channels such as email, social media, and in-store promotions to create a cohesive marketing strategy. Cross-channel integration ensures that your messaging is consistent and reinforces your marketing efforts across different platforms. For example, promote your SMS sign-up option on your social media pages and in your email newsletters to expand your reach.

Personalized Campaigns Based on Customer Journeys

Create personalized SMS campaigns based on different stages of the customer journey. For new customers, send welcome messages and introductory offers. For returning customers, provide exclusive discounts or early access to new products. For loyal customers, send personalized thank you messages and special rewards. Tailoring your campaigns to different customer segments can enhance their experience and increase loyalty.

Seasonal and Themed Campaigns

Leverage seasonal events and holidays to create themed SMS campaigns. For example, during 4/20, send special promotions and discounts to celebrate the cannabis culture. During the holiday season, send festive greetings and exclusive offers to encourage holiday shopping. Seasonal and themed campaigns can capture customer interest and boost sales during these periods.

Educating Customers Through SMS

Use SMS as a platform to educate your customers about cannabis products and their benefits. Share tips on usage, new product features, and health benefits. Educational content can build trust and position your cannabis business as a knowledgeable and reliable source of information.

By implementing these cannabis business text message tactics, you can create engaging and effective SMS campaigns that resonate with your customers, drive sales, and build lasting relationships.

Examples of High-Performing Marijuana Text Message Campaigns

Learning from successful campaigns can provide valuable insights into effective strategies and best practices. Here are some examples of high-performing marijuana text message campaigns that have achieved significant results. Please reference local rules and regulations to confirm what is possible for your business. 

Flash Sale Announcements

Campaign Overview: Announce a 24-hour flash sale on selected products, offering a 20% discount.

Message Example: “Flash Sale Alert! Get 20% off all edibles today only. Visit us at [Business Name] and stock up on your favorites. Use code FLASH20 at checkout. Hurry, offer ends at midnight!”

Results: This campaign saw a spike in store visits and online orders, with customers taking advantage of the limited-time offer. The urgency created by the flash sale drove immediate action, resulting in a 30% increase in sales for the day.

New Product Launch

Campaign Overview: introduce a new line of CBD-infused beverages, accompanied by a special promotion for early buyers.

Message Example: “Exciting News! Our new CBD-infused beverages are here. Be among the first to try them and get 10% off your first purchase. Visit us today or shop online at [Business  URL].”

Results: The campaign generated significant buzz and interest in the new product line. Many customers visited the business to try the new beverages, leading to a 25% increase in foot traffic and a 20% boost in overall sales.

Loyalty Program Promotions

Campaign Overview: Encourage loyalty program members to redeem their points for exclusive rewards and discounts.

Message Example: “Hey [Customer Name], you have [XX] loyalty points waiting! Redeem them for exclusive rewards and discounts on your next visit. Check your points balance and see the rewards at [Loyalty Program URL].”

Results: The personalized message prompted many loyalty program members to visit and redeem their points. This resulted in higher customer satisfaction and a 15% increase in repeat visits.

Event Invitations

Campaign Overview: Host a customer appreciation event featuring product demonstrations, free samples, and exclusive discounts.

Message Example: “Join us for our Customer Appreciation Event this Saturday! Enjoy product demos, free samples, and exclusive discounts. RSVP now at [Event URL]. Don’t miss out!”

Results: The event was well-attended, with many customers appreciating the opportunity to learn more about the products and take advantage of special offers. The campaign led to a 40% increase in event attendance and a 30% boost in sales during the event.

Educational Content and Tips

Campaign Overview: Share educational content and tips on cannabis usage, targeting customers who may be new to cannabis products.

Message Example: “New to cannabis? Discover our beginner’s guide to choosing the right products for you. Visit our blog for tips and recommendations: [Blog URL]. Have questions? Our experts are here to help!”

Results: The campaign successfully engaged new customers, providing them with valuable information and building trust. The informative content led to a 20% increase in website traffic and a 15% rise in new customer sign-ups.

Birthday Rewards

Campaign Overview: Send personalized birthday messages to customers, offering a special discount as a gift.

Message Example: “Happy Birthday, [Customer Name]! Celebrate with a special gift from us – enjoy 15% off your next purchase. Visit us today and treat yourself! Use code BDAY15 at checkout.”

Results: The personalized birthday messages were well-received, with many customers redeeming the offer. This campaign enhanced customer loyalty and resulted in a 10% increase in sales from birthday promotions.


Mastering cannabis SMS marketing requires a compliance-focused approach combined with innovative strategies. By understanding the nuances of SMS and MMS marketing, implementing the right tools, and adhering to legal requirements, cannabis businesses can effectively engage with their customers and drive business growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does SMS marketing mean?
SMS marketing involves sending promotional messages and updates to customers via text messages.

Is SMS marketing illegal?
No, but it must comply with laws like the TCPA and CAN-SPAM Act.

Can CBD companies use SMS marketing?
Yes, CBD companies can use SMS marketing, but they must ensure compliance with all relevant regulations.

What does SMS mean?
SMS stands for Short Message Service, which is a text-only messaging service with a 160-character limit.

Does SMS marketing really work?
Yes, SMS marketing is highly effective for reaching customers directly and achieving high engagement rates.

Do customers like SMS marketing?
Many customers appreciate SMS marketing for its convenience and immediacy, as long as it provides value and is not overly frequent.

What are the disadvantages of SMS marketing?
Potential disadvantages include message length limitations, compliance challenges, and the risk of appearing spammy if not executed properly.

What is the success rate of SMS marketing?
The success rate of SMS marketing can be very high, with engagement rates often exceeding those of email marketing.

Is SMS marketing spammy?
SMS marketing can be spammy if not done correctly. It’s important to provide value, gain consent, and allow easy opt-out options to maintain a positive reputation.

Picture of James Malvesti

James Malvesti

James Malvesti serves as the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Cannaspire, He provides services in insurance, cannabis, lead generation, and various other verticals, focusing on leveraging big-picture approaches integrating marketing best practices, automation, and AI.

Picture of James Malvesti

James Malvesti

James Malvesti serves as the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Cannaspire, He provides services in insurance, cannabis, lead generation, and various other verticals, focusing on leveraging big-picture approaches integrating marketing best practices, automation, and AI.