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March 3, 2020

Cannabis Friendly Email Marketing Platforms : The Hunt Is On

​With so many marketing options closed to cannabis businesses ​​email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels available to cannabis businesses.

After speaking with clients and having my own issues with marijuana email marketing platforms in the ​past, I thought I’d set out to solve this issue definitively - at least for the ​time being.

​I asked 18 ​Email ​​Marketing Service ​Providers ​About ​Their ​Stance on ​Cannabis ​Dispensaries and ​Other ​Related ​Cannabis ​Businesses ​Was . ​Some of the ​Responses were Surprising

​The first thing I did was send them all the following message via their websites. Some didn't have contact forms on their websites (WTF?), so I spoke to a few on the phone. A few of them didn't respond to my inquiries so I left them out of the list. If they don't respond to sales inquiries then one shudders to think what their support will be like.

Here is the message I sent them

Hi,
I own an agency specializing in marketing for cannabis dispensaries and I was wondering if you allow campaigns for cannabis businesses on your platform.
Thanks - Dave

​Here ​are the results:

UPDATE 2020-03-06 : Due to feedback from clients I have moved Active Campaign to the "Maybe" column. Apparently they have put a freeze on new clients in the cannabis industry. I will try and confirm this.

​Yes - Cannabis Friendly

Not - Cannabis Friendly

​Maybe - Cannabis Friendly

Click the Links to Read Their Responses Below - * Denotes platforms I have actually used

​Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you cl​ick through to their site and make a purchase we get a commission. This costs you nothing extra but may help pay us for the time spent writing and researching this post. 

​Cannabis Friendly Email Marketing Platforms

Sendlane

Sendlane Logo

Hey Dave, 

Glad to connect here. It's cool to see a cannabis focused agency niche down even further to specifically dispensaries. I'm sure many others do just that but in my experience, it isn't front and center. 

We work a lot in the space and I'm looking forward to finding out what you guys need in an email and sms and see if we matchup.

Do you have time next Thursday or Friday to connect? I'll be out of town for the first few days of next week. 

Thanks,

After speaking with their rep Amir, I was very encouraged. ​I was given the most definitive answer about using their platform for cannabis related businesses. Sendlane actually runs their own servers which is surprisingly rare in this space. You’d be amazed how many ​ESP's are using Mailgun (Rackspace), Sendgrid or Amazon for their infrastructure and have to ultimately bow to their infrastructure provider needs. In short they’ll take your money until their provider says you have to go. This is not the case with Sendlane.

​Sendlane are not at the cheaper end of the spectrum but they are very feature rich. In the higher service levels they offer SMS and other Multichannel marketing. Their level of service is unmatched. Once youhave enough contacts you get an account manager that is only a Skype chat away.  For their feature set and level of service, they are very competitvley priced.

​Klayvio

Klayvio Logo

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your patience here. We do allow campaigns for cannabis companies. 

You may find our partner program useful if you intend on managing accounts for your clients.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Cheers,

Dan

Klayvio

I have never used Klayvio but their response is encouraging and I will be checking them out and adding them to part ​two of this post where I review the cannabis friendly platforms. They have a full marketing automation suite ala Ontraport with SMS messaging as well. Definitely on the higher end of the pricing scale, but they also have one of the more robust feature sets.

Pricing for 15000 emails $350

5000 emails $100 / month

SMS is very expensive  6-7cents

​​Drip

Drip

Hi there Dave,

Katella from Drip Support here. Thanks for reaching out to us. I hope you're doing well!

To answer your question, yes you can use Drip for this need! As long as you advertising in a legal way, you should have no issues in getting the information out to your customers using Drip. 🙂

If you'd like to test Drip out first hand and better understand how it could benefit your team, you can do by taking advantage of our 14 day free trial. You can also request ademo from our sales team to see how Drip and help your business.

I hope this information helps! If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask Dave!

Cheers,

Katella

Customer Success at Drip™

I really wanted to like Drip. I tried to use them when I first set up my sales funnel.

 But they wouldn't give me API access without a lengthy probationary period which makes them almost useless. I want to use my own forms from day one, not convert everything over after they have deemed me acceptable. Their in house forms are terrible.​

They are however a pretty good choice for eCommerce sites.

​MailerLite

MailerLite

Hi Dave,

Thanks for reaching out!

Cannabis related content is welcome on our platform.

Let me know if you need anything else!

Erin from MailerLite

I suspected I would get a positive response because we have used MailerLite for our mailing list and they have never had an issue, but I am an ancillary business and don’t sell any cannabis products directly - a distinction that some platforms fail to make…

Pricing is good but features are lacking compared to some others. ​The feature​ set will be fine for most people.​ If you are new to email marketing then MailerLite is a great place to start. For small business blogs they are a great choice.

​They lack SMS and don’t have the segmentation and tracking of some of the others​, but they are very easy to set up and use.

​​Hubspot

Hubspot

no contact form - an email provider that doesn’t have a contact form or an email to contact them posted on their site… really?

After speaking with them on the phone I found that they are OK with cannabis businesses as long as you are compliant in your jurisdiction. They have one of the more robust feature sets and offer other services as well. The starter plan for 15000 contacts would be $570 a month.

A little confusing. They offer a full suite of services. You can start for free. Looks more geared to large organizations. I’m already confused about “Marketing Hub” and “Sales Hub”. 

 I just want to collect addresses and send emails! This is overkill for the needs of me and my clients, but is probably good for a very large organization.

​AWeber

Aweber

Hey Dave,

Thank you for contacting AWeber Support! 

Yes, you can send that content with AWeber as long as it is legal where you are distributing it and as long as the subscribers opt-in with you. You can also look at our full terms of service with the link below:

https://www.aweber.com/service-agreement.htm

 As long as you follow our terms of service, you should be good!

If you have any other questions in the meantime, do not hesitate to reach out. Have a great day!

Regards,

Amanda H.

Senior Customer Solutions Specialist

AWeber.com

Email Marketing Delivered


Aweber have been around for a long time. This means their interface is not the most modern. They are a solid system though. The pricing is pretty competitive.

​​Re​efer Mail

Reefer Mail

​No Reply after 2 emails

Cannabis specific. Probably a white label for one of the others. I sent them a slightly different email because they already bill themselves as cannabis friendly.

​I didn't see a list of integrations. They seem to be a white label for MailChimp… at least that’s who they use for their list. If so I would not go there.

​While they do have pretty strict sending limits they are fairly affordable if you stick to those limits. They also offer a range of services that are tailored for the cannabis industry. 

​Not Cannabis Friendly Email Marketing Platforms

​​Campaign Monitor

Hi Dave,

Thanks for sending through some additional detail on the type of content you would like to share with our platform. Unfortunately Campaign Monitor won't be a good fit for you as deliverability for our clients is of the utmost importance to us and we've found that emails containing content on drugs are at high risk for being marked as spam, and as such are prohibited by our terms of use.

This also ensures our server ratings are protected which means high open rates and low spam rates for our clients. 

Good luck with your search. 

Kind Regards,

Anna

​​​Content on drugs? Did she imply I'm a spammer?

​​​SendPulse

Hi Dave,

Unfortunately that topic is forbidden https://sendpulse.com/legal/terms#antispam

Have a nice day

Kateryna ​

SendPulse

​​FORBIDDEN!

 I checked at the link she provided and didn't see any explicit prohibition against cannabis. Alcohol and religion we're on the naughty list though.

​Send In Blue

They would not allow me to use them for transactional emails for a client.​ This is part of what prompted this whole quest in the first place.

Possibly Cannabis Friendly Email Marketing Platforms

​Active Campaign

Active Campaign

UPDATE 2020-03-06: Apparently Active Campaign have put a freeze on new clients in the cannabis business. This is sourced from client feedback. I have not confirmed this directly with them.

Cannabis friendly because one of their reps reached out to me.  I'm surprised hey haven't got back to me because their reps were hounding me relentlessly at one point. I have clients on their platform but they have not been allowed to use SMS, so not as cannabis friendly as one would like.

Robust platform that has SMS on the higher tiers. Not the cheapest but pretty competitive for the feature set. ​Definitley one worth considering.

​Mad Mimi

Mad Mimi Logo

Hi Dave,

Tom here. Thanks for reaching out to us and your interest in Mad Mimi. We don't have any policy specifically prohibiting the marketing for cannabis businesses.

Below is a list of prohibited content.

  • Pharmaceutical products

  • Work from home, make money on online, and lead generation opportunities

  • Online trading, day trading tips, or stock market-related content

  • Gambling services, products, or tips

  • Multi-level marketing (MLM)

  • Affiliate marketing

  • Credit repair and get out of debt opportunities

  • Mortgage and loan content

  • Nutritional, herbal, and vitamin supplements

  • List brokers or list rental services

  • Counterfeit or "knock off" products appearing to be another brand

Additionally, Mad Mimi, like most bulk email providers, is a permission-based sender, which means that we can only support sending to contacts that have signed up directly and explicitly with your organization to receive emails.  

Let me know if you have additional questions.

Best,


​MadMimi is owned by GoDaddy​ which is a dealbreaker in my book. There is a lot of room in that list of prohibited content to fit cannabis into. Personally, I want a clear answer, that isn't it.

​​​MailChimp


​Hey Dave,

My name's Trevor - I'm with the Business Development Team for Mailchimp (sales team).

As long as cannabis is legal in your state and you are sending marketing emails to those within legal places, you should be good to go. You can only send promotions though regarding your brick and mortar store - you cannot sell cannabis via an ecommerce platform. For all details regarding what you can and cannot do with Mailchimp regarding cannabis - I highly recommend you reach out to our compliance team at compliance@mailchimp.com. They are responsible for the rules surrounding this.

Best,

Trevor ​
Business Development Representative

An always-on marketing platform.

Fair enough, at least I didn’t get the “We must protect our sending reputation” schtick...

Mailchimp is one of the biggest and most famous email platforms around. They took a long time (nearly a week) to reply to my ​inquiry.  I’ve used them in the past for non cannabis projects and while they have expanded their feature set since then I have to say I never really liked them. ​They are so big they tend to rely on automated systems to enforce their terms. After reading the following article I think I would steer clear of them no matter what their rep might say.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/monazhang/2017/10/06/marijuana-industrys-mailchimp-woes-highlight-marketing-challenges-for-businesses/#6e9130791761

​They have been known to close accounts of cannabis companies in the past, seemingly without reason. ​

http://www.socialmediaunicorn.com/despite-legalization-anti-cannabis-marketing-censorship-still-full-effect/

​​ConvertKit

ConvertKit Logo

Hey Dave! 

“Helen here, one of our product specialists. Thanks for reaching out! All situations, specifically involving businesses in such markets as yours are dependent to the structure of the business. We are not able to work with companies that currently sell cannabis, however, we can in most situations work with companies as long as nothing involving cannabis is sold. Of course, this would be a situation our approvals team would need to review in depth. Does this help answer your question?

Thank you,

Helen

Convert Kit is a nice platform specifically geared toward blogging, however their response would seem to rule out dispensaries. While they have a reputation for being easy to use I had a hard time setting up a very simple follow up sequence with them. To be fair that was a number of years ago and I haven’t been back since. ​Their response indicates that they may be ​a decentoption for ancillary cannabis business blogs.

iContact

iContact

Hi Dave,

Thank you for reaching out to iContact. We accept clients in the marijuana industry on a case by case basis. To move forward, I would need you to send me your client's websites for review. 

Thanks,

Sarah

​I don’t want to ask permission every time I set up a client. That makes them a poor option for me, but they may be a good fit for some businesses.

GetResponse

Get Response Logo

Hi Dave-

Thank you very much for your inquiry with us!

It always depends on our compliance team, but we don't have a problem with cannabis businesses on GetResponse - I'll try my best to help you. 

To help me connect you with the right resource to discuss the platform in more detail/receive a demo, I have a couple quick questions for you:

  • What’s your current mailing list size? How frequently are you emailing them?

  • How did you build your list? For example: online form, existing customers, cold-outreach etc.

  • What are you currently using for email marketing? What is the main reason for changing it?

  • Do you have a current timeline and budget for this project?

I’ll direct you to the right resource as soon as I hear back from you. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Thank you so much,

All in all a pretty encouraging response. GetResponse are one of the OG players in this space, a pretty solid platform so worth a look.

​Who is the Best Choice for Cannabis Fr​​​iendly Email Marketing?

​While there is a lot to consider when choosing an email marketing platform and there is no one size fits all solution, we feel that Sendlane offers the best balance of features to price with an extremely good level of service. It alll depends on your needs.

In our next post we will be reviewing the cannabis friendly providers and comparing features to help you make an informed choice.

Let us know in the comments if there are providers you think we should add to the list.

Related Posts

Email Marketing For Cannabis Dispensaries

Davis Winn


Davis has been involved in SEO and Digital Marketing since 2004. SEO campaigns he has managed generated over 10M in sales last year.

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