The Best Email Marketing Tips for Dispensaries and Other Canna-businesses

The Best Email Marketing Tips for Dispensaries and Other Canna-businesses

Published on 12/14/21

A cannabis dispensary or business faces many unique challenges that its competitors can nimbly dodge. From the difficulty in getting first-time customers to the challenges of dealing with cash only, cannabis businesses have many fish to fry. One issue is marketing, because not all cannabis marketing is legal on a state-to-state basis. Some states outlaw cannabis marketing, while others allow giant billboards with a pot leaf to advertise available products. Email marketing is one advertising niche that has fewer restrictions, meaning that cannabis email marketing has been eagerly adopted by most major businesses in the industry.

One key reason is email marketing benefits, particularly return on investment. Every dollar spent on email marketing turns into $42 in revenue for a business, a reflection of how little it costs to come up with an email and fire it off to thousands or even millions of customers. Even if 99% of emails are quickly deleted, the remaining 1% who come into a dispensary can pay for the initiative many times over. Yet marijuana email marketing is not so simple as putting pictures of bud onto the web, and several best practices will help a business to thrive in this advertising field.

Brand Power

By far the most important aspect of cannabis email marketing is to ensure that your brand is advertised before the actual message. Most cannabis customers live in a highly saturated market, and still, others rely on the internet for most or all of their purchases. As such, a good marketing email has the brand first, and the products or deals second. The brand should be the first word to appear in the title, the logo should appear before any other content, and the email should have a footer containing more information about the company.

Eventually, customers will associate the positive aspects of the email campaign (lower costs, new strains, etc.) primarily with your brand. For dispensary email marketing, this has the dual advantage of creating loyal customers and preventing your competition from getting their money.

What's Worth Advertising

There's no point sending out emails that are a laundry list of what your company sells. Instead, cannabis dispensary email marketing should always have a target in mind. This target can be everything from a specific strain (perhaps one that's new, or one that's weighing down your shelves) to a specific customer group (such as college kids once the summer starts) to a specific holiday. This target, in turn, should be analyzed to determine the success or failure of an email marketing campaign meant to hit it. Did you do well getting more feet in your store, more bud off the shelves, or more interest in a new product? If not, you need to determine a better way to communicate this opportunity through email.

Most email marketing initiatives try to hit several points at once, turning an email into a newsletter of sorts that updates customers, partners, and affiliates on how they can benefit from your services. Use a hierarchy so that there is consistency across all emails: perhaps you want new strains at the top, deals in the middle, and blog post links at the bottom. No matter how you organize it, try to direct the customer either towards your brick-and-mortar shop or towards your website, so that it is very clear where they should go to spend their money.

When to Send


As with so many other aspects of marketing, it can be hard to know when is the best time to appeal to customers. Some big brands prefer not to inundate customers with more than one email per day, arranging their best deals and offers in one place. Indeed, unless your dispensary or business has unexpected offers pop up at the last second, it's not recommended to exceed the once per day rate. While you can and should vary the times you send these emails, to measure when is the most efficient in terms of conversion and customer development, a good idea is to send them either early in the day (when people are first checking email) and late in the afternoon (when people are getting off work and may head for your dispensary).

Picking a Platform

Email marketing has never been easier, but that doesn't mean that a dispensary can snap its fingers and get it done. Some platforms, like MailChimp, are well-loved by small businesses but do not want the legal liability that comes with advertising cannabis. As such, a third-party email platform like Sendgrid can give you the capabilities the cannabis industry specifically needs, without concerns that the plug may be pulled at any one time. Although free platforms are tempting, remember that they may lack the versatility, volume, or appeal of a cost-structured platform, and saving a few pennies may leave you out many dollars.

Have you ever been involved in the cannabis industry? What were your responsibilities, and how did you adapt to the industry's challenges? Let us know in the comments below whether you have done great work to advance the cannabis industry!

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