Many cannabis medical dispensaries avoid SMS marketing. It’s seen as a rec-only marketing tactic that’s all about deals and promos like “Hey! 20% off Gorilla Glue today! ” But in reality, SMS can be used in a variety of ways that are beneficial for medical dispensaries.
Instead of discarding SMS as a marketing tactic, medical dispensaries should explore the capabilities it has and what it can offer their patients. This article will show you how medical dispensaries can design SMS campaigns to connect with their patients, build relationships, and drive engagement. First, let’s look at why SMS marketing is essential for medical dispensaries. Then, we will share some examples of how medical dispensaries have successfully used SMS as part of their medical dispensary marketing strategy.
Medical patients are responsive to texts
The first reason we know that SMS marketing is not just for rec is that it’s also been widely adopted in the medical industry. Take for instance, the many pharmacies that send us an SMS when our medication is in stock and available for pickup. So why wouldn’t a medical dispensary send a message when their patients’ medicines are back in stock?
There are many other benefits to SMS marketing too. Here are a few of the reasons that cannabis businesses love text marketing.
- High Open Rate - 98% of text messages are opened.
- Instant Deliverability - It only takes seconds to send and deliver an SMS message and 90% of those messages are read within 3 minutes.
- Easy Tracking - Using SMS analytics, you’ll be able to determine how many people clicked the link in your text. Paired with Baker Checkin, you can even see how many people checked into your dispensary as a result of that text message.
- Action Oriented - Clicking the link in an SMS message is very easy, which makes them great for sending calls to actions like, “Order this product now” or “Reserve your product now and pick it up on your way home from work.”
SMS Campaigns Every Medical Dispensary Should Try
Once you’re ready to start SMS marketing for your medical dispensary, you can begin crafting your messages. To help you with this, I’ve put together some text message basics, and examples of some of the more creative and successful messages we’ve seen our medical dispensary clients use.
Every medical dispensary should send a ‘welcome’ text to patients that sign up – whether it be in-store or through your website. When crafting your message, it is important to keep in mind that some of the recipients will be first-time patients, but some may be repeat patients that just signed up. An example of a welcome text is:
“Hi Mary, welcome to [ Your Dispensary Name] community! Our patient specialists will send you product recommendations and promotions whenever they are relevant to you.”
The goal of this type of text message is aimed at informing your patients of the various ways they can interact with your dispensary, hours of operation, how they can buy from you, or any new announcements. Here are a few SMS template examples:
“Did you know we run a loyalty program that rewards our regular patients with exclusive coupons, discounts, and freebies? Register here: Link.”
“Did you know you can also order your meds online? And pick them up when it’s convenient for you. Try ordering now: Link”
“Introducing express delivery: order your product online now, pick it up at your convenience without the long wait.”
"We will be open on [Holiday X] from [X am to Y pm].”
Tip of the week
Tip of the week messages help patients learn about how they can benefit better from cannabis or from the particular products they use. For example, you can send a text message to the patients on the list that has purchased a rechargeable vape pen:
"Hey! Did you charge up your [Product X] vape pen yet? Just want to make sure it's ready for your use when you need it. And don't worry - it doesn't overcharge."
Another example is, “Did you know that strains with high concentrations of the terpenes pinene and myrcene are known for pain relief and helping headaches? Click to search our products with this terpene profile.”[tweet text="Did you know that strains with high concentrations of the terpenes pinene and myrcene are known for pain relief and helping headaches?"]
It’s important to note that these don’t have to be sent on a weekly basis. Some patients may prefer the consistency so they know when to expect it. This can be similar to a newsletter… it’s just sent in a format that’s often more convenient for patients – through a text message on their mobile devices.
IDEA: Instead of a customer newsletter, try sending a tip of the week text to your dispensary patients.
Product restock notifications
These text messages alert the recipient that a product is back in stock. It is very important to medical patients that they get the medicine they need. If you run out of a product, they should know right away. But the ‘pen and paper’ method, of writing down phone numbers and calling everyone on that list, is not efficient.
As we have noted before in “Marketing Tips for Medical Dispensaries,” product restock notifications are particularly important for the medical patients that have to travel long distances to reach your dispensary. Some examples of product restock notifications are:
“[Product X] is back in stock and we wanted to let you know first! You can reserve it now here: Link.”
“Just wanted to know if you need to refill [Product X] — you last ordered on [Date]. Thought you might be running out! Buy here: Link”
Product inventory status - running low
These messages alert patients when their products of interest are running low. Using a product restock notification list, you can let patients know you’re running low on a specific product before you actually run out. These helpful reminders should also prompt patients to order or reserve the product immediately, while it’s still available.
“We're running low on [Product X] so if you're running low too, we recommend you go online and reserve it now!”
Another type of product notification is a product recommendation. These are a great way to introduce your patients to products that are similar to what they currently use, or are interested in. You can either use a product restock notification list, or other patient data you collect from your customer relationship management software (CRM) such as the Baker CRM. Here's an example of a CRM-powered recommendation that is personalized by product interest:
"We noticed that you love CBD products, so we wanted to let you know that we just started carrying [a new CBD brand] today! You can explore these new products here: Link.”
If you collect customer data in your CRM about patient ailments (which you should) you can use this information to send customers helpful information about how cannabis can help them. This may include studies and findings, tips or recommended products. For example, you may send a patient with Parkinson's disease a message about pain relieving gel for arthritis – another age-related ailment.
Another approach to ailment-specific content is similar to the ‘tip of the week’ message. You can send patients updated studies and information about using cannabis for their ailment, as it’s released.
While these messages may not always show a measured return on investment, we’ve found that when medical dispensaries provide helpful and thoughtful information to their patients, they see high rates of patient loyalty. Therefore, not only is it helpful, but it has business value too.
Cannabis events — the ones you hold at your dispensary or the ones you attend — are great opportunities for connecting with local patients. Remind customers of any upcoming events such as cannabis education discussions or patient appreciation days. Here is a selection of text examples you could send.
Patient education - “We’re holding our weekly education day this Wednesday. Our patient specialists will be available to answer all your questions. Join us & RSVP now: Link.”
Attending an event -“We’ll be at [Event X ]on Wednesday. Do stop by booth [#000] to say Hi! We’re always happy to connect with you. Details: Link“
If you go to an event for patient acquisition purposes, you can also collect their information through the Checkin App.You should always follow up with new subscribers you’ve added at these events with a simple text inviting them to your dispensary.
“Great meeting you at [Event X]. We’d love for you to come check out our dispensary! Take 10% off your first visit with us!”
When planning or sending SMS messages, be mindful of the frequency you’re sending them in. Space them out and avoid sending more than three a week. Too much texting can feel like spam and trigger unsubscribes.
Wrapping it up…
Any cannabis dispensary — medical or recreational — can use texting to drive customer engagement and build patient loyalty. It is a powerful engagement tool for medical dispensaries to have meaningful conversations with their patients.
If you’re a medical dispensary and are looking to try SMS marketing, check out how Baker’s Connect can help. You can use Connect for everything from building your subscriber list to sending pre-scheduled SMS campaigns that feel like personal messages. To see Connect in action, book a free Baker demo with our customer success team.