How Email Marketing Can 10x Cannabis Dispensary Growth

I had a long conversation with Torge Janiesch, co-founder of emailtoolreviews.com about email marketing for cannabis dispensary growth, the value of email sequences, and how to find your best customers.
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What are email sequences?

Email sequences are a series of emails sent based on preset time intervals or if there was a trigger based automations. To say it another way, it’s a process of sending people emails at a different stage as they move through the sales funnel. So the sales funnel is basically like someone’s coming through the site. So the sales funnel is basically like someone’s coming through the site.

What happens in between until they buy something?

Instead of what a lot of people do when they talk about email marketing or like, emails is that they send out a newsletter over and over and over, like maybe once a week, maybe once a month, this is what people usually do. And they either promote something or share something or talk about something. And you prepare like a newsletter, like once a week, spend some hours to do that, and send it out. You do it over and over and over again and it takes some time every week or every month. The difference between normal email newsletter and email sequence is that you prepare an automated email sequence with a certain goal to send out to your prospects when they sign up for your email newsletter. So instead of every week, let’s say like here, I made like a very small but super cool sequence. Let’s say they sign up here at the first part of the landing page, get a free freebie and they get through your thank you page and they confirm something. What you then do is you prepare the email sequence and then depending on which topic you choose, it’s always different. Well if we are in the cannabis industry, for example, we might talk about the benefits of certain products, of using cannabis in a certain way, or so. You’re going to talk about this, give the people some knowledge, for example, maybe some topics you teach them something. In the next email, you’ve chosen to give them some more depth and knowledge about something specific about cannabis. You do this; maybe, two, three times and then at the end of the day you can offer them something because now after a few emails, they get to know you a little bit better than not knowing you at all. And this can lead to a sale or whatever your goal is it actually does not need to always be a sale.

The point is that you don’t write this every single day for these people, but you prepare these emails. The people coming into your email funnel, get a few emails, and then you can sell them whatever you want to sell them, or whatever you want to offer them based on, and you warm them up basically, based on the previous emails. So this is a very, very basic example of what we in the email marketing industry called Product Launch Formula, which is one of the most known sequences where you basically would try to sell email, through email marketing.

Why would I use email sequences?

One of the main benefits, you set it up once, and then you forget about it. Well, it’s not completely true, because if you’re a professional email marketer, you want to twist this here and there and you want to optimize it and you want to do some things like optimize to make better sales or to increase conversion rate. But basically, the idea is you set it up once and the person gets email, and email, and email over and over and over. And, and it’s a one time task for you to do. So you actually save some money, not only money but also time, because you only set it up once and not for every single person multiple times. One of the biggest benefits of email sequences is that you can really laser target your audience, depending on triggers and interactions, yeah? So depending on how your prospect or your subscriber interacts with you, if the person is clicking on a link on the email, if they are reading it, if they are doing something then you can send them very, very specific offers which are specifically for them.

I’ve seen a lot of things. For me, who has been in the market, this is one of the biggest benefits of email marketing, and especially email sequences. Now you can, depending on what they want, send some videos, some ebooks, some special information, some webinars, whatever. So, it’s actually a journey, it’s actually a journey for subscribers, to become your customer, or eventually even a raving fan of you just because you are able to target them very specifically and give them exactly what they want.

How do I figure out who should be sent an email sequence?

Well, that’s a good question and it depends on your goals. Honestly, in a perfect world, I would say you should target everyone, in general, but it can get complicated. So the idea is, I’m gonna show you some more practical things like how to make your email sequence in a way that you can target different people with different goals and hopefully, make more sales or whatever your goal is.

How do you determine email sequence stages and goals?

When we are talking about email marketing, I would say in general about marketing, the first step is to set goals, to define some stages, and some goals in your pipeline. The question to you is like, are you selling online courses, do you sell some certain products, maybe you want to sell, if you’re in the cannabis industry, some specific type of hash or some specific type of things you can use for smoking cannabis. Maybe you want to upsell a product. And yeah, for everything which you want to sell, everything you want to have a focus on, spotlight on, in your online shop you should create a specific campaign for each relevant product or product category that you have. So first, define your goals, what do you want to achieve. Which price do you want to sell? Then I would recommend you to decide what kind of sequences you want to create.

Now, there are different types of sequences for different purposes, different goals. You could make a sequence for if someone’s just signed up for your newsletter. This is what we had before where we had like someone signed up for the newsletter, and then we made some contact here. And at some point, we can sell them something.

If someone is in your online shop and didn’t purchase even for that you can make a sequence. A re engagement sequence is a sequence where you where you try to re engage people who have been in your email list, but they don’t interact with you, you can try to reactivate them and get you into the sales funnel again. You could try to do some upsells if someone bought something from you. You can also use sequences for cold outreach and for lead nurturing sequences, for example, that you give them some value, until you have some new products you want to sell to them or you have some webinars, online training. These are just some examples. There’s way, way, way more, but there are different types.

Where do we start?

So when you’re making a decision what is your goal, what do you want to achieve, what type do you want to do, where do you want to get in? And very often, we use welcome sequences to try to get people from the newsletter to they buy something. What I love about emails and what is probably the one of the things which I just love to do and which really makes email marketing so powerful is to segment customers into segments and in tags. You can basically put a stamp and say, “Oh wow, this guy, he just bought my product.” He’s now tagged with “bought my product”. This is what we are talking about when we talked before about this laser targeting. That you can really begin to focus on and segment people based on how they behave, where they are from, what they bought, which website they were reading, which content they were downloading, what we’ve innovated, and so on and so on and so on. And based on that, you can really become very specific like if they were reading about vaporizing and then you can make a special offer for different types of vaporizer, which is specifically good for this condition and that strain.

Yeah, and this is what I personally have been into in this industry for quite a while. I just love it.

Planning an email campaign

So what I usually do, I go to the old fashioned way of not being so much online at this stage. I like to create a workflow chart on a paper or post-its when thinking about an email campaign; how to reach people, and how to engage them and how to sell it to them. Here we have like a welcome email, and you make them feel okay, what can happen with it?Okay, they can either open it, or they cannot open it. So what do you do next? Okay, when they open this, they will get the next email. What will be the next email about? Make some ideas through a list of “Okay, what could be the next topic and the next topic, and the topic of the next time. It’s that straightforward that you just make yourself. But you can also just write it down if you want. And if they don’t open it, what do you do next? Well, then we can try to, for example, resend the same email to them, maybe with a different angle, or slightly different subject line or something like this, to see if they engage. This is something which I learned works pretty well, just to resend the same email when they didn’t open for some time. That’s a small Pro tip. But if they don’t open them, I will get them into a new campaign, which could be our re engagement campaign. And then you can make a new campaign based on “Okay, well, for example, you haven’t seen my emails, please read.”

For Example

Let’s say my first email in cannabusiness, like I’m writing about this special new cannabis and they are in a very special way and if and I have a blog article, for example about it, and you can see how some people were clicking on this link to the blog article about this new cannabis plant you can see, okay, they clicked on this. So they might be interested in the topics, I can tag them and say, “Alright, they are now also in this list, they are not only getting the next email, but they are now also tagged and targeted, basically. And you can then think about some new campaigns in the future at some point, but for now, we can go to the next email and send them some new information, blog article, white paper, etc.

Every time you send an email, a certain person opens the email. Let’s say 60% opens the email. That means if there are 60%, opening your email, only 40% will not open it and will not get the next email. Over time, this will lower the amount of people who get the next email and the next email and the next email and that’s why it’s important to not to wait too long to sell them something. In the classical Product Launch Formula, which we talked a little bit about in the beginning they recommend, or like Jeff Walker, the person who invented it, he’s talking about three, maybe four emails before you send them a special offer. And all these emails beforehand you want to target are the preparation for the sale. But the idea here is and in my opinion, this is probably the most important part.

It takes some time for you to think this through like, “Okay, what will happen next? Someone is opening this email then they will get the next demo. How can I target them? How can I segment them? More thought process you put in there then the better you can target them later on.

How we can be more precise in our emails

One of my favorites, I like to tag and segment people if they bought something and ask myself if they might be raving fans, because someone who’s buying not only once but twice or three times and engaging every time you send an email and they are like clicking on every link and these are the people who will give you most money because they just love what you’re doing. So I would always want to check when they download something when they buy something and after maybe two or three buys I know this person he’s such a raving fan I can offer him a special access on a special thing which is a higher price and this person might be willing to go with you because they are such a fan because they are reading and clicking on everything you’re offering.

Test to get more engagement

In general, what I highly recommend everyone is to create an A/B split test for everything. So basically, when you send out an email as a newsletter, a blog post, as well as email sequences, you want to A/B split test, at least the subject line. Split testing is basically the idea that you are sending out to like 1000 subscribers an email. The idea is 50 people get an email with the subject line A and 50 people get an email with subject line B. Depending on which performs better the rest of the emails get sent with the better performing subject line. The reason here is the more you can split-test you will know is this subject line working, or that subject line working? Is this offer working or that offer working? Is this text working or that text working? This makes a difference in the response rate and the opening rate in the conversion rate at the end of the day. But for me, it’s more important to give you the framework behind what you’re doing before using email software like MailChimp, like Active Campaign. I want to visually see what’s going on here. I want to, it’s for me, personally, it helps me better. And my personal preference is a drip campaign, or like drip.com or MailChimp.

Cannabis email marketing tips

I recommend you to create a few campaigns, a few goals, a few things you want to sell, and combine them. So, instead of sending out one campaign, and then it’s over, and then you just put them into your default newsletter sent out every week or once a month to keep them engaged. And you want to keep them running. I recommend you to create more than one campaign to combine these. For example; someone bought a cannabis vaporizer, maybe the next campaign could be to sell them, I don’t know, a special strain. Even for a coach, you’re selling one online course and next time you’re selling something like an e-book and you prepare a campaign for an online course when you prepare a campaign for ebook. And what you do is once the first campaign ends, just make sure that they get into the next campaign so that they get the new emails. By doing this, you’re able to send them on a regular basis every day or on average every few days new things about you which you only prepared once. The professional email marketers who have a lot of products online, who are selling products for thousands of dollars, they have so much material, so many sales topics, so many products that you will get emails over and over and over from them. And if you’re not interested in buying this product, maybe you’re interested in buying the other product, or the next product, or, and so on and so on. This is the idea of email marketing at scale, basically that you keep them engaged for a long time, not only for the next week or two weeks, but you create over time, so many campaigns that they will get busy. People will get emails for months and months and months.

How long is a good sequence?

I would say three to six months, I said it already. The main problem is that over time, let’s say 1000 people get an email 60% open says that 600 people open that email, they will get the next email 60% open this again, that’s only 400 people get the next email. And the next night and the end of day there are only 100 people getting your offer. The important thing is to not wait too long. I think six is the maximum, I prefer to say three to four, before you offer them something.

Will an email sequence help me during a holiday sale or a special promotion?

Well, the simple answer is yes. Well, just that’s just another campaign actually, like for example, let’s say it’s Black Friday, and you want to sell something, something specifically on Black Friday, you can make a Black Friday campaign you send an email sequence which goes out maybe a week before that Friday that you’re going to offer this and there are some benefits about this product and then there’s the special date where you can buy it or not. So making sequences you can do it for anything; holiday sales, fire sales, Christmas sales, whatever… there are unlimited possibilities.

What have you seen as far as a rise in lifetime value of a customer based on using email automation sequences versus not using email automation sequences?

Huge. This is like I mean, this is a big game changer. But the difference between just selling a newsletter and if you’re, for example, an online shop and just sending out some 10% off newsletters to really be focused and just promote one product or a specific product category and do some preparation before it makes a spike? Well, it depends. I’ve seen different industries in my life and it’s between a few hundred… I’ve seen 1,000% difference, but sometimes only 30-50%. So, it obviously depends on the product and what you do, but in my opinion, if you are serious about email marketing, there is no alternative to email sequences. Now that it’s available it makes a huge, huge, huge difference in my experience.

*Transcribed notes have been edited

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