For Effective SMS Marketing, Pick the Right Approach

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Image: AllaSerebrina / Depositphotos

Marketing email open rates typically average between 15 percent and 25 percent. While the method is the most widely employed means of customer contact, options exist. Text messaging, or SMS, is growing in popularity with consumers and brands, and research suggests it may be much more effective.


  • SMS messages enjoy an open rate of more than 90 percent.
  • 75 percent of consumers are comfortable receiving SMS messages from brands if they have opted in for the service.
  • 64 percent of consumers think businesses should contact them via text messages more often than by other means.
  • 77 percent of consumers have a positive perception of companies that offers SMS.
  • 83 percent of millennials open SMS messages within 90 seconds of receiving them.

SMS marketing is particularly useful for the cannabis industry. Many traditional outlets including search engines, social media platforms, newspapers, radio, and television are off-limits to this industry. But even if cannabis marketers had access to every tool other marketing professionals employ, springbig Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Harris would view text messaging as one of the best strategies for customer outreach.

“SMS marketing is vital for customer outreach in cannabis retail, and not just because other digital channels are off-limits,” Harris said. “SMS marketing isn’t simply the last alternative; it’s actually more effective than some of its more popular cousins. Text messages are opened within three minutes, while push notifications are often ignored or even muted permanently.”


For best results, keep messages short and begin with an attention-getter. Clearly identify the sender, and try to include the consumer’s name to make things feel a bit more personal. Additionally, marketers must be clear about why they are contacting consumers in the first place. Remember to include a specific call to action.

According to Harris, effective SMS marketing campaigns can help cannabis retailers and brands boost profits.

“By segmenting customers and targeting them based on their interests, cannabis companies can more effectively encourage each of their customer segments to make purchases and thus improve the bottom line,” Harris said.

Although SMS marketing offers an attractive way for businesses to engage directly with consumers, marketers need to keep a few dos and don’ts in mind. Do use terminology consumers will understand, avoiding jargon and slang while keeping messages conversational. Don’t include long URLs, because no one wants to receive a link that takes up an entire phone screen. Before sending, shorten links using a service like Bitly.

Perhaps most importantly, don’t bombard customers with too many messages.

“Recent data shows 52 percent of people said they opted out or would opt out of a dispensary’s text message marketing campaign if they found it disruptive,” Harris said. “Another 41 percent of people said they have opted out of a text message marketing campaign because it didn’t provide meaningful content.

“What does this tell us?” he continued. “Customers don’t want to be spammed. When you’re sending a text message campaign, make sure it’s bringing useful content to the customers, and also make sure it’s not the third message you’ve sent on the same day.”

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