Spam and bulk emailing have become a real problem for the Cannabis Industry.
Not a day goes by where I don’t receive an unsolicited email from a cannabusiness owner or employee looking to sell me something or provide me with some kind of service.
Whether cannabusiness owners are buying email lists, lifting emails from seed-to-sale software, pulling addresses from group emails that have not blind copied the recipients, or simply finding emails on various websites, spamming is happening at an alarming rate in this industry.
Guess what? It’s highly illegal to send unsolicited emails and this could lead to serious trouble for your business.
So don’t do it! Even if it’s tempting to reach out and offer your services to someone who is on a group email with you, please don’t do it. Your sales messages will not only get overlooked, but the FTC could slap you with a hefty fine.
Trust me when I tell you that the Cannabis Industry is still under a microscope. The last thing you want to do is violate the U.S Federal Trade Commission’s CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.
What is the U.S Federal Trade Commission’s CAN-SPAM Act of 2003?
According to the FTC website,
Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email. That means all email – for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law.
Here’s a rundown of CAN-SPAM’s main requirements:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
- Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
- Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail-receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible”
Now that you know what NOT to do, let’s focus on the positive and how to use email marketing responsibly and effectively.
I know that sounds obvious but it’s something that’s being overlooked in our industry. Many cannabusiness owners do not have an opt-in box above the fold on their websites. Meaning, that they are not asking for their prospects’ names and email addresses upfront and center. If your prospects have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of your site to opt-in for your newsletter or to receive your free content, you’re likely to lose out.
What is an opt-in box you might ask?
An opt-in box is a place where your prospects and customers can enter their name and email address in return for something of value from you or your company.
Trade your valuable information for their valuable contact information.
Want people to opt-in?
Give them a great reason to! We are in the age of information and your prospects are hungry to know how your company can help them achieve their goals. Whether you are a dispensary owner or a lawyer, you have a solution to your prospects’ needs and you need to show them right away that you are their number one choice.
A few great ways to deliver value are via your newsletter, a free report or a video training series. The key is to balance your sales messages with free valuable information that actually helps your prospects with their most pressing issues. Once you have mastered this balance you will become the go-to-expert in your field and you will have developed the trust required to close the sale.
Balance Sales Messages With Free Information
As I just stated you want to be mindful that you’re not just overloading your prospects with sales and promotions. It’s easy to achieve what’s known as ad blindness (or deafness) in this modern day where we are bombarded with noise and clutter at every turn.
If you provide valuable and relevant information to your prospects and customers you will demonstrate that you are the number one solutions provider in your field. Once you do this you will easily rise to the top of the pack and people will absolutely want to do business with you.
How You Can Provide Value
Here are a few ideas on how you can provide value to your prospects and customers.
- Offer a free report on the ways in which medical cannabis can help alleviate various symptoms.
- Offer a free newsletter with monthly tips on different products and how they work in the body.
- Offer a free report about the rapidly changing laws both locally and nationally.
- Offer a monthly newsletter filled with tips and techniques for cannabusiness owners to stay in compliance
- Offer a free report on the local laws and how cannabusiness owners can start off on the right foot in terms of security and compliance.
- Every single one of us needs a constant update on 280-E, so give it to us! Start by offering a free report on the state of the current laws and then offer a free monthly newsletter that keeps your prospects up-to-date on the goings on within congress and the IRS as it relates to taxes and 280-E.
Garden Supply Store Owners:
- Offer a free monthly gardening newsletter that features the latest scientific approaches to pest control or the best nutrients for different types of gardens.
- Offer a free report on how to build out an amazing grow site that includes tips on AC units, proper temperature control and combatting annoyances like powdery mildew.
The main takeaway here is this; your prospects want to trust you and want to know that you care about their most pressing problems. Email marketing is a fantastic way to get your sales and promotions across to your prospects but you must A) have their permission; and, B) provide more than sales messages to position yourself as a trustworthy industry leader.
If you can build your email list in a sustainable, permission-based way you will not only increase your sales but you will develop lasting relationships with your customers.
Remember! It’s a heck of a lot cheaper to keep a customer than it is to acquire a customer.