By Jennifer Faus
The cannabis business is a very competitive, but also “high-touch” business. Your customers want to have a relationship with you. They want to be understood. They want you to communicate with them.
One effective strategy for keeping in contact with your customers is text messaging. These messages can be personal: “Hope the gummies are helping relieve your pain. Feel free to call if we can be of further assistance.” They can be informational: “We just received a fresh supply of Blue Dream. Call to place your order and we will have it waiting for you.” Or they can promote sales: “Thursday Special! Buy 1, Get 1 40% off on edibles and flower! Limit 3. Mix and Match!”
One benefit of text marketing is that it doesn’t always have to shout a call to action. The goal is that being in communication with your customers will keep your business on their mind. Sending your customers text messages that are relevant to them, are timely, and give them something they can’t get anywhere else will keep them coming back.
Text message marketing is one of the least-expensive and easiest tools in your marketing tool-kit. It is a form of immediate contact: 97 percent of text messages are read within 15 minutes, according to several studies that have been done in recent years. The key to utilizing this type of communication and it being an effective marketing tool is to understand your existing customer base and those customers you want to reach. One way to think about those customers is to examine specific demographics. One key demographic is the millennial generation (generally people born between 1980 and 2000). Who are they? How do they behave? How do you communicate with them?
These digital babies, who received Apple computers as shower gifts, have been immersed in technology since birth. They’ve grown into multitasking, interactive, sensory learners. They possess quick minds and flashy gear. Millennials are confident, optimistic, civic-minded, liberal, social, inclusive, and open-minded collaborators. They are receptive to new ideas and ways of living. Millennials are the most diverse generation and take diversity in stride. They value a work/life balance and guard it fiercely. They often choose having a great experience over making lots of money.
According to the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of millennials favor the legalization of marijuana, far out-pacing Gen Xers and Boomers. But even more significantly, millennials are one with technology. Nearly all of them — as high as 96 percent — have mobile phones. If you want to reach them, that’s your best method.
Millennials view this equipment as essential to their existence. More and more, people are using cell phones for emails, managing social networks and surfing the internet, in addition to talking and texting.
Millennials are so attached to their mobile phones that Zipcar’s annual survey showed that 40 percent of them believe losing their phone would have a bigger impact on their lives than losing their car (up 10 percent from the previous year’s study).
And they are more likely to accept a trusted friend’s recommendation than advice from a stranger or a company. You can become a trusted advisor by being the business owner who not only shares your knowledge, but also respects theirs. The fact is that adult millennials are a sophisticated, knowledgeable customer demographic. Not only do the majority of adult millennials have a four-year degree, but those who use marijuana are typically well-steeped in cannabis-related knowledge.
They are demanding customers who expect experience beyond mere service. Since coming of age, millennials have had access to carefully-developed strains, hydroponically-grown plants, and have been educated in subtle differences like leaf length, flower size, shape and composition, and northern, cool climate growth versus southern, dry environs. Millennials want to know where and how their cannabis was raised. A text message that conveys that extra bit of information, or a deal on a special product will give them a reason to choose your retail shop or dispensary.
Specific messages keyed to their favorite brands helps increase loyalty, not only to the brand but to your business. Preferences seem to stem from geographic influences rather than being socially based. In other words, whether your customer smokes joints or blunts, uses a bong or a piece, or prefers flowers, hash oil or edibles may come down to geography more than social indicators like race, occupation, education, income and wealth. Gathering information in your customer database will help you better understand your customers’ preferences and allows you to tailor your messages to them.
Millennials can be a difficult demographic to reach out to. If you are a shopkeeper or dispensary owner of another generation, those who were born carrying iPhones can be hard to love. You may believe they are too attached to their electronic devices and their free time. But like the Baby Boomer cohort, millennials are altruistic, family-oriented, motivated to succeed, and concerned with making money and just like the Generation X that came before them; millennials are independent, self-reliant, global thinkers who value balance, fun and informality. So if you look beyond the dizzying technology and the ubiquitous t-shirts, you may find millennials aren’t the aliens they appear to be. Remember, they could become your most true and loyal customers.
Jennifer Faus is a freelance writer and journalist working in the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland. She frequently writes for the cannabis industry, most recently generating articles and content for SingleSeed Payments (www.singleseed.com).