As the World Turns Green on Earth Day
April 22 is Earth Day. It’s a perennial story, with its roots firmly planted in 1970. An estimated 20 million people nationwide attended festivities that day. Earth Day’s goal this year is to generate a billion "green" acts before the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012.
You might be wondering what this has to do with marketing. Here's the connection: Direct mail has a big carbon footprint. According to 41pounds.org, 42 percent of timber harvested nationwide becomes pulpwood for paper. The pulp and paper industry is the single largest consumer of water for industrial activities in the developed world. It’s also the third largest industrial greenhouse gas emitter (after the chemical and steel industries).
No trees are cut down to send an email. No plastic cartridges are manufactured, used and tossed in a landfill before someone can read your e-newsletter. No trucks burn fossil fuels to transport an email campaign. All it really takes to run a successful email marketing program is a bit of ingenuity and a computer. Yes, even your laptop has a carbon footprint. But if you turn your computer off when you’re not using it, you lower your carbon emissions output.
If you decide to replace even a part of your direct mail program with email, make sure to share your act of green on the Earth Day site noted above.
Other things you can do to make your email marketing green include the following:
- Promote your good deeds in your email campaigns. While it may not make a difference to everyone on your list, there are many consumers who prefer to develop relationships with businesses that participate in the green movement. They'll be more likely to buy your products or services because of it.
- Remind your subscribers that instead of printing, they should consider forwarding your email, news or promotions to friends. If their network of friends and family choose email over direct mail, we'll be that much closer to reaching the goal of a billion acts of green. You may even want to pass along the Earth Day link to them so they can pledge an act as well.
- Add a barcode to your email instead of relying on paper coupons. If your subscriber has a smartphone, they can scan the barcode at the cash register. That means no one used paper born from a tree, printer ink or a printer to purchase something from your business.
- On the subject of barcodes, QR codes are a hot trend in marketing right now, particularly via mobile devices. QR codes can drive traffic to your online store without asking users to type in a URL. You can place QR codes on any web page to link to your email opt-in sign-up form. Subscribers can then read your emails on any device.
Email marketing isn’t just green for the environment. Reports estimate that 1 percent to 3 percent of all corporate revenues are spent on printing. So while you're performing your acts of green this year, you'll also be bringing green to your bottom line.