The cannabis business is a very competitive but also “high-touch” business. Your customers want to have a relationship with you. They want to be understood. They want you to communicate with them.

One very effective strategy for keeping in contact with your customers is text messaging. These messages can range from personal, “Hope the gummies are helping relieve your pain. Feel free to call if we can be of further assistance.” To informational, “We just received a fresh supply of Blue Dream. Call to place your order and we will have it waiting for you.” To sales, “Thursday Special! Buy 1 Get 1 40% off on edibles and flower! Limit 3, Mix and Match!”

One benefit of text marketing is that it doesn’t always have to shout a call to action. Being in communication with your customer so your business is top of mind is the goal. Sending your customers texts that are relevant to them, are timely, and give them something they can’t get anywhere else will keep them coming back.

Text message marketing is one of the least-expensive and easiest to use tools in your marketing tool-kit. It is a form of immediate contact: 97 percent of text messages are read within 15 minutes. The key to utilizing this type of communication and it being an effective marketing tool is to really understand your existing customer base and those customers who you want to reach. One way to think about those customers you want to reach is to examine specific demographics. One of those key demographics is the Millennial generation. The questions are: who are they, how do they behave, and how do you communicate with them?

These digital babies, who received Apple computers as shower gifts, have been immersed in technology since birth and from that, they grew into multitasking, interactive, sensory learners. They possess quick minds and flashy gear. Millennials are confident, optimistic, civic minded, liberal, social, inclusive, and open-minded collaborators. They are receptive to new ideas and ways of living. Millennials are the most diverse generation and take diversity in stride. It is simply part of who they are. They value and fiercely guard work-life balance and will choose having a great experience over making lots of money.

According to the Pew Research Center 69 percent of Millennials favor the legalization of marijuana far out-pacing Gen Xers and Boomers but that is not the most significant way Millennials stand out. Millennials are one with technology. If you want to reach them your best method is via their mobile phone. Millennials view this equipment as essential to their existence. More and more they access not only text but they email, manage social networks, and surf the internet on their mobile phones and nearly all of them (96 percent) have mobile phones. Millennials are so attached to their mobile phones that Zipcar’s annual millennial survey shows that 40 percent of Millennials believe losing their phone would have a bigger impact on their lives than losing their car (up 10 percent from the previous year’s study).

Millennials are more likely to accept a trusted friend’s recommendation or advice than a stranger, company, or institution (though they have a  favorable view of business). You can become a trusted-advisor to a millennial by being the shopkeeper or dispensary owner that shares your knowledge while respecting theirs. The fact is, your adult millennials are a sophisticated, knowledgeable customer demographic. Not only are the majority of adult millennials in possession of a four-year degree, those who use marijuana and marijuana  products are typically well-steeped in marijuana knowledge. Your messages, which not only deepen their knowledge, but give them something to share with their friends will be valuable to them.

Millennials are demanding customers who expect experience beyond mere service. Since coming of age, Millennials have had access to carefully developed strains, hydroponically grown plants, and have been educated in subtle differences like leaf length, flower size, shape, and composition, and northern cool climate growth versus southern dry environs. Sending that extra bit of information or a deal on something really special via a message will give them a reason to chose your shop or dispensary.

Millennials want to know where and how their cannabis is raised. They are very brand-aware and know what they like. Specific messages keyed to their favorite brands helps increase loyalty not only to the brand but to your business.

Preferences seem to stem from geographic influences rather than being socially based. In other words whether your customer smokes splifs, joints, or blunts, uses a bong or a piece, prefers vapor or hash oil, or just wants edibles may come down to geography more than social indicators like race, occupation, education, income, and wealth. Gathering information in your customer database will help you better understand your Millennial customers’ preferences and then tailor your messages to them.

Millennials can be a difficult demographic to reach out to. If you are a shopkeeper or dispensary owner of another generation these who were born carrying MacBooks and iPhones can be hard to love. Yes, these young upstarts can seem overly confident, behave like they feel entitled, and perform as if they are unenthusiastic about working for things. You may believe they are too attached to their iPads and their free-time. But like the Boomer cohort, Millennials are altruistic, family-oriented, motivated to succeed, and concerned with making money and just like the Gen-Xers who came before them, Millennials are independent, self-reliant, global thinkers who value balance, fun, and informality. So if you look beyond the dizzying technology and the t-shirts, you may find Millennials aren’t the aliens they appear to be and they will become your most true and loyal customers.