Brad Bogus

Dispensary SMS Link-Gating: No-Good, Bad, and Worse for Retailers

When it comes to which cannabis text platform you choose to work with, delivery rates are of vital importance; particularly if you work with any of the other platforms that charge you for undelivered messages.

Those other companies choose to link-gate the messages you send to your customers. Often, if you’re on those other platforms, you don’t know transparently what your true delivery rate is, which is your delivery PLUS your clickthrough rate (CTR).

Why Link-Gating Kills Your True Delivery Rate

When the platform you work with link-gates, you have to consider BOTH of those numbers together to know how many of your customers are truly getting the message you sent.

Sure, a message might have been delivered to someone, but it says almost nothing and contains an iffy link they have to click to read it. Good luck getting any meaningful number of customers to do this in the age of scams, phishing, and malware.

Is that message truly delivered? The text was. But now you have to divide how many were delivered by how many people actually clicked the link and received your message.

Even worse, when the platform requires a pin code to read the message after clicking on it; you are introducing yet another point of friction between the customer and your awesome promotion.

EVERY click a customer must make to get to a message, an ad, a purchase, anything, decreases the final conversion rate exponentially. We’ll illustrate this simply below.

If you’re working on a text marketing platform that isn’t Happy Marketers, you need to multiply your delivery rate by your clickthrough rate (and you may have to pry that number from your provider). The final percentage is what we are referring to as your “True Delivery Rate” - the actual amount of people that saw your message.

So if you achieve a 50% delivery rate with one of those providers, and have an astronomical clickthrough rate of 10%, your final True Delivery Rate was only 5% (which is 10% of 50).

It gets way worse if the customer has to enter a pin also, but we’ll leave that out of it for now.

Here’s a very simple example of how this shakes out in the math:

If we are generous and set our competitors' delivery rate as the same as ours (for a true apples-to-apples comparison), set an astronomical clickthrough rate at 10% (averages are 1-5% at best), and equalize the average order value (AOV), you can very clearly see two distinct differences:

  1. Not link-gating produces 8,000 customers reached, vs 800 when you consider delivery rate + CTR of link-gated messages
  2. The resulting ROI difference is a MASSIVE 10X because of that True Delivery Rate

With even lower delivery and clickthrough rates, coupled with the fact that the other providers charge you for EVERY message sent, regardless of delivery, it’s likely that you’re losing money on your text marketing. The actual delivery rates we hear from clients fleeing their platforms are between 30-50%, some as low as 10%. The actual CTRs are nowhere near as high.

No wonder those competitors are abandoning their SMS products. They just don’t work.

In the above example, we set our delivery rate to the average our clients are currently achieving using Happy Marketers. It’s worth noting that over 55% of our customers are seeing above a 75% delivery rate, with many seeing 90% and above.

This is the True Delivery Rate because there is no link to click, there’s just a native message, texted as if it were from a friend. You can even read the message and see an image on the device’s lock screen!

The other reason our delivery rate is so much higher than the other providers is because link-gating activates telecom spam filters for many carriers or individuals. More messages are simply getting filtered out.

What’s worse, more customers are blocking you or reporting your messages as SPAM, because they are getting links with no special messaging to differentiate them. That burns your contacts for all platforms, not just the one you’re working with; meaning you won’t be able to message them again regardless of how you change up marketing in the future. 

Start demanding to see the CTR of your delivered messages from your texting provider if they’re using link-gates. Request that provider to show you the True Delivery Rate.

Then, plug your numbers into this calculator and see how many more messages, and most importantly, how much more ROI you can expect by working with us.

If you’re sick of seeing low delivery rates, losing customers to your competitors, and paying for undelivered messages, it’s time to talk to us at Happy Cabbage.