Navigating Text Message Filters: A Guide for Cannabis Dispensaries

August 25, 2023

For cannabis dispensaries, connecting with consumers through text messages can be both a valuable and challenging task. Given the nature of the product, several carriers and platforms have filtering systems in place to prevent potential misuse or unintended marketing towards minors. However, with some strategic thinking and creative solutions, dispensaries can still engage their audience effectively. Here are some ways to navigate around text message filters:

1. Personalization is Key

Generic, mass-produced messages are more likely to be flagged by carriers. By personalizing your messages – using the recipient's name or referencing past purchases – not only are you increasing the chances of your message being delivered, but you're also enhancing customer relations.

2. Use Abbreviations and Slang Sparingly

Avoiding certain keywords related to cannabis can help dodge filters. However, overusing slang or abbreviations can look spammy and raise red flags. Be cautious and use language that sounds natural and authentic.

3. Educate Subscribers

Educate your subscribers on how to whitelist your number, ensuring your messages aren't mistakenly categorized as spam. An initial onboarding message that instructs customers on this can prove beneficial.

4. Use Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)

MMS allows for the sending of multimedia content. Including a relevant image or GIF with your text can increase engagement rates and sometimes bypass filters that focus solely on text content.

5. Maintain an Updated Opt-in List

Ensure that your messaging list consists only of customers who've opted in to receive messages. Regularly update this list, removing numbers that have opted out or bounced back. Respectful communication enhances trust and reduces the chances of being reported as spam.

6. Diversify Communication Channels

While text messaging is an effective marketing tool, it shouldn't be the only method. Combine it with email marketing, social media outreach, and even direct mail to reach your audience through multiple touchpoints.

7. Use Legitimate SMS Platforms

Always use legitimate SMS marketing platforms that adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). These platforms will often have features to help avoid spam filters and maintain compliance.

8. Stay Informed

Regulations and guidelines related to cannabis marketing may change over time. Stay updated with current regulations both in the cannabis industry and in mobile marketing. This will help in tailoring strategies that are effective and compliant.

9. Ask for Feedback

Regularly solicit feedback from your subscribers. If they're not receiving your messages, they can provide insights that might help pinpoint the problem.

10. Limit Frequency

While staying connected is essential, over-communication can be detrimental. Limit the frequency of your messages to prevent overwhelming your subscribers and risking being flagged as spam.

In conclusion, while challenges exist in SMS marketing for cannabis dispensaries, they're not insurmountable. By employing a mix of creativity, respect for the consumer, and staying updated on industry guidelines, dispensaries can effectively communicate and foster strong relationships with their clientele.