Common Email Marketing Challenges for Cannabis Businesses

Be Aware of These Email Marketing Challenges in the Cannabis Industry

Email marketing is a tried-and-true tactic and is considered one of the most effective methods in the marketing toolbox. In the cannabis industry, email marketing is particularly essential because of restrictions on cannabis advertising for many online platforms. However, email marketing may not be as simple as it seems; on top of traditional concerns like increasing subscribers and improving email open rates, there are additional challenges associated with cannabis businesses.

Here are some common email marketing challenges to be aware of in the cannabis industry:

Stay on top

The cannabis market is constantly evolving, as are the laws regulating it. CBD alone is estimated to earn $16.32 billion in the United States by 2026.[1] As the industry grows, laws will continue to change as acceptance of cannabis products becomes more widespread. This means that the cannabis industry is almost guaranteed to continue to grow and change shape as new innovations and marketing opportunities become available. To avoid getting smoked out by the competition, you have to stay on top of market trends and innovations, which can be a particular challenge in the ever-changing world of cannabis products. Make sure your emails stay relevant with all the latest in cannabis products to show that you can be a leader and trendsetter, even in a rapidly changing market.

Follow the law

It’s also important to remember that the legality of cannabis products varies in different states and territories, and that cannabis remains illegal at the federal level.[2] Furthermore, even for products like CBD that have been removed from the Controlled Substances Act, businesses are still federally regulated as to what they can (and can’t) say about their product.[3] It’s essential to keep abreast of all legal changes that may impact how and where you can market cannabis products. Always checking to ensure your email marketing complies with local laws is one of the unusual but unfortunately necessary email marketing challenges for cannabis businesses.

Cite your sources

Another common email marketing challenge for cannabis businesses is that you must back up all cannabis-related claims you make with reputable sources and citations. This includes consumer reviews, testimonials, social media posts—anything a potential consumer could see to convince them to purchase your product. Particularly avoid making disease or health claims; as the FDA states, it may cause some consumers not to access appropriate medical treatment for serious or even fatal diseases.[4] It can be tricky to inform consumers of the many potential benefits of cannabis products without making direct claims that must be backed by evidence, but it’s best to avoid the lawsuit. Make sure to read and reference scientific studies of cannabis to support your product, and to discuss potential benefits instead of promising direct health or wellness effects.

Getting the word out

One of the biggest challenges in any kind of email marketing is growing your subscriber list, but it can be particularly difficult for cannabis businesses. Social and advertising platforms such as Facebook and Google AdWords have historically prohibited CBD advertising.[5] This is why email marketing can be so vital, but also so difficult. Without paid advertising, it’s hard to get the word out about your business: email marketing can be the answer. But how do you grow your email list without being able to advertise? This is probably the most difficult of the email marketing challenges unique to cannabis products. To overcome it, use SEO, content creation, and influencer product placement to help drive organic traffic to your website even without the paid advertising aspect. Then, consumers can sign up for your email list and be informed directly of all the exciting developments in your business.

Want to give your cannabis email marketing a boost but don’t know where to start? For email and all your cannabis marketing needs, reach out to our team at Herban Creative for help with everything from packaging to web design for your cannabis business.


[1] “Cannabidiol (CBD) Market to Reach USD 16.32 Billion By 2026.” Globalnewswire.org, 6 May 2019, https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/05/06/1817668/0/en/Cannabidiol-CBD-Market-To-Reach-USD-16-32-Billion-By-2026-Reports-And-Data.html.

[2] Berke, Jeremy, and Skye Gould. “Legal marijuana just went on sale in Illinois. Here are all the states where cannabis is legal.” BusinessInsider.com, 1 Jan. 2020, https://www.businessinsider.com/legal-marijuana-states-2018-1

[3] “Statement from FDA Commissioner.” FDA, 20 Dec. 2018, https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/statement-fda-commissioner-scott-gottlieb-md-signing-agriculture-improvement-act-and-agencys

[4] “Statement from FDA Commissioner.” FDA, 20 Dec. 2018, https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/statement-fda-commissioner-scott-gottlieb-md-signing-agriculture-improvement-act-and-agencys

[5] Rose, Bethan. “CBD Advertising Restrictions in 2019.” BigCommerce.com, https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/cbd-marketing/#cbd-advertising-restrictions-in-2019

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