Text messages are some of the most immediate and effective ways to reach customers. Here, Jeff Winaker, founder and chief executive officer, NorthText—which offers SMS text message marketing for businesses in the U.S. and Canada—shares how to make the most of your text-messaging marketing plans.
1. What are the read rates of SMS, and how does it compare to email?
Email read rates are about 15%, while SMS read rates are almost 98%. Not only are read rates six times higher with SMS, but 90% of messages are read within three minutes. Seventy-five percent of Americans rarely have their phone more than 3 feet from them, and this makes SMS the first choice for marketing—even ahead of social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook—when a business is trying to get a call to action to its clients or customers.
2. What are some features one should look for when shopping for an SMS service?
Remember when Twitter increased its maximum message length from 140 characters to 280? Having more space to convey your message is important. When comparing SMS services, make sure to check what the maximum character length of an allowed message is. Many services will allow you to create a message longer than 160 characters—which is standard SMS length—but will charge you for another message segment after 160 characters. Some innovative services give you longer messages—up to 240 characters, in fact. The user interface should be simple to use, but also allow for two-way communication, attaching images and the ability to forward responses from customers to another phone number or email address. Also, SMS software should make it easy to export text conversations to your POS or CRM system.
3. What else can one do with SMS, other than send plain text?
The fastest-growing marketing tool in cannabis is the use of images within a text message (referred to as multimedia message segment, or MMS). Recipients are 3x more likely to engage with a retailer who uses images in their marketing, instead of just plain text. QR codes, bar codes and links can be sent in a message, along with a branding image, to enhance response rates further for a specific call to action.
4. What are best practices for managing an SMS program?
First, always, always, always include your business’ name, address—and website, where applicable—hours of operation, and phone number. It is essential for consistent branding and clear and effective communication with your customers. Spacing within a message is also very important. The less cluttered the message, the more effective and impactful it will be. Second, monitor your text inbox. People will text you, and you need to text them back to get their business.
5. What sort of technical support should one expect from an SMS software provider?
Ask for live support as part of any agreement for SMS services. Some SMS vendors offer it as part of their included service, some won’t offer it at all without a minimum volume commitment, and for some, it will require negotiation. While SMS marketing software should not be complicated, at some point you will need assistance. The urgency of texting as a method of communicating also leads us to expect immediate customer support.
For more information, visit northtext.com
The vape industry has a responsibility to help customers understand the need to purchase vape products from licensed retailers to ensure safety and quality. Here, Greentank Technologies founder and CEO Dustin Koffler discusses how retailers can increase consumer confidence and provide them with high-quality vape products.
1. How can the cannabis vape industry bring consumers back to the space following last year’s vape scare?
In the U.S., there are no national regulatory bodies that oversee compliance within the cannabis vape sector. The onus is on vape manufacturers and oil producers to not only create safe products that have been through testing, but also to release the test and ingredient lists to the public. In Canada, stricter regulations and higher-quality manufacturing have already proven to be beneficial to consumer safety.
2. What are the disadvantages of purchasing cannabis vape hardware from direct overseas manufacturers?
More often than not, direct overseas manufacturers are more interested in selling you hardware than being your partner. Greentank has complete control over the entire supply chain as a way to guarantee that every material that goes into your hardware exceeds industry standards.
Not all manufacturers prioritize sourcing food-grade stainless-steel, high-caliber glass, and premium ceramic formulations that won’t leach heavy metals into the final product. Only those truly committed to the future of the cannabis marketplace are partners at our table.
3. What is the biggest mistake that cannabis vape manufacturers are making today?
The biggest mistake is relying on outdated technology, and those that are not leading in customization will be left behind. This is because no two concentrate formulations are exactly the same. Manufacturers need to be adapting their hardware to the needs of clients, moving past a one-size-fits-all approach. Our CTO, Pete Duckett, formally chief engineer at Dyson, is leading the way for us here at Greentank. The difference between hardware that performs on an elite level and hardware that leaves customers unsatisfied is all in the details. Adjusting heating elements, heat settings, airflow resistances, intake hole sizes or all of the above delivers a superior experience.
4. Why do a lot of cannabis vape companies utilize ceramics to heat concentrates?
Ceramic technologies provide far superior temperature control than many of the outdated vapes out there built off the back of wick-based e-cigarette technology. Generally speaking, ceramic heating leads to higher-quality vapor and elevated flavor profiles. Greentank is leading the way with several unique proprietary ceramic formulations that set us apart from the competition and deliver unprecedented taste profiles.
5. What does the future of cannabis vape technology look like?
The future of cannabis vape technology is being propelled forward by those taking the lead.
Every day, we strive to do better than yesterday as we uncover the full potential of the industry. Standardized safety measures, more accurate dose-control features and more transparency relating to ingredients and materials are game-changers. That’s why we have a new in-house, state-of-the-art device lab. As we all build toward the future, we identified the need to look at producing technologies that will take the user experience to the next level.
For more information, visit greentanktech.com
With cannabis still federally illegal, a lack of banking has become a pain point for many retailers that must deal with cash or find other unique workarounds. Eric Kaufman, chief revenue officer at Dama Financial, explains some ways cannabis-related businesses can navigate tough banking laws and achieve financial success through banking.
1. Why is it so difficult to access transparent banking in the cannabis industry?
Because cannabis is a high-risk industry, there are enhanced compliance requirements that, frankly, banks don’t know how to handle. Dama Financial and its partnering FDIC-insured banks offer compliant banking and payment solutions to cannabis-related businesses (CRBs). Dama Financial manages the compliance program, due diligence, customer support and operations on behalf of its partnering financial institutions.
2. If passed, how will the SAFE Banking Act affect the industry?
As written, the act has a lot of vulnerabilities that persons with less-than-ideal motivations could seek to exploit. That said, we need clear rules and regulations that recognize the high-risk nature of the cannabis industry. In this environment, banks would need to drastically bulk up their compliance teams, and many may not be equipped or willing to make that effort, which is where Dama comes in.
3. What are some workarounds to cannabis banking?
CRBs hear of quick fixes and workaround solutions that work until they get shut down for being noncompliant. And when the accounts are shut down, it’s incredibly disruptive to the business. For example, think about how infrequently you change your personal bank account because it’s such a hassle. Now imagine having to do this for your business. Other companies will hold your money or steal it, create shell accounts, or not provide you with bank routing numbers. Businesses need a sustainable, transparent and compliant solution to allow their business to run efficiently, which is what Dama Financial is providing.
4. Is it truly illegal for banks to serve CRBs since marijuana is federally illegal?
The U.S. Treasury acknowledged a relationship between financial institutions and legal CRBs through its release of the FinCen guidance. The guidance states that serving CRBs is a risk-based decision and that thorough customer due diligence is a critical aspect of assessing whether a CRB implements the Cole Memo priorities or violates state law. Dama exceeds the regulatory compliance requirements and can therefore offer CRBs access to transparent banking solutions.
5. What are the dangers of operating in cash?
Cash is not only inconvenient but can pose major security risks. Cash allows human error when counting, as well as the constant threat of theft. It’s also expensive. Moving from a cash-based economy to a banked and digital economy is the future of the industry and will allow businesses to thrive.
For more information, visit damafinancial.com
Cannabis businesses handle a lot of cash. It’s a fact of the times that this industry is so cash-heavy, and until that changes, cannabis companies need cash-handling solutions that are fast, accurate and reliable. Bob Gibson, vice president of branch operations at Cummins Allison, discusses why a quality, commercial-grade currency counter, like the JetScan iFX series, is so important.
1. How can commercial-grade currency counters help cannabis businesses?
Cannabis businesses handle significantly more cash than other businesses the same size, and this can be an immense pain point. Many cannabis locations started small and counted cash by hand. Now, this is impractical. Commercial-grade money counters help cannabis businesses process large volumes of cash faster and more easily than cheaper machines. Scan for counterfeits at the point of sale and save significant time in the cash office every single day. Cash is the center of your business, so don’t go cheap on such a critical tool.
2. Who uses commercial money counters?
Banks and credit unions are the biggest users of desktop commercial money counters. They go through a lot of cash every day and must balance to the single dollar, so they demand accuracy and reliability. If banks are confident in quality currency counters, you can be too.
3. Why get a commercial-grade money counter rather than something from a retail source?
Businesses go with commercial-grade products for a reason: they’re better. The high demand of business is greater than the capabilities of disposable, retail products. Money counters are no exception. Businesses, especially high-volume cash businesses, need equipment that is built for the task. Faster speeds, greater reliability, better accuracy.
4. Can quality money counters help with tax audits?
Nothing can replace due diligence and honest recordkeeping, and reliable and accurate money counters can help get you there. Counting significant amounts of cash with a quality money counter generates machine-produced records, something auditors want to see. Cannabis businesses also want tools that help them be seen as legitimate, buttoned-up businesses, and currency counters are an important start.
5. Can good currency counters help increase security and reduce shrinkage?
Yes. Any time you can reduce the time spent handling cash, it helps increase security. And having owners and managers count the cash reduces shrinkage. This is all accomplished only when you have a commercial-grade money counter that’s fast and accurate and allows owners and managers spend as little time possible dealing with cash.
Take the next step in getting the right tool for your cash-heavy cannabis business. Visit Cumminsallison.com/AskTheExpert to see how JetScan iFX series money counters can help you process large volumes of cash quickly and accurately and produce solid records.
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