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Marketing Automation

5 Genius Girl Scout Cookie Selling Tactics That Can Be Applied to Email Marketing

You just can't say no to a cute kid in a green getup peddling Thin Mints, can you? Learn their secrets to ramp up your email campaigns.

6 mins read time
Andrew Page
Andrew Page

May 04, 2022

We recently heard that the Girl Scouts' cookie-selling model generates $800 million each year. We don't know about you, but we think that's pretty impressive, given a box of Thin Mints sells for just $4 to $5.

Wish you could achieve similar sales volumes for your brand? You're in luck: It turns out that many of the same tactics the Girl Scouts use can be applied to your email marketing strategy.

And while we can't guarantee you'll see hundreds of millions in revenue as a result, we can promise these Scouts-approved strategies will help you better nurture, convert, and generate leads.


5 Girl Scout Cookie-Selling Tactics to Upgrade Your Email Marketing Strategy

You don't have to sing songs around a campfire or become a troop leader to enjoy the same marketing and sales success as the Girl Scouts (although both sound like a blast, TBH).

Instead, just implement these Girl Scouts-inspired tactics to take your email marketing strategy to the next level.


1. Go Where the People Are

Think about the last time you saw a group of Girl Scouts selling cookies in the wild. Where were you? Chances are, it was a grocery store, farmer's market, fair, sporting event, or another busy place.

It's not hard to see why: Those types of locations see lots of foot traffic, and the ones that revolve around shopping (such as grocery stores) guarantee that everyone walking by is already planning on spending money anyway.

In other words, one reason Girl Scouts are able to generate so many sales is that they meet people where they are, and you can apply the same principle to your email campaigns.

To understand how, consider two scenarios:

  • Scenario A: You're browsing through products from a brand whose email newsletter you've already signed up for. You add a product to your cart, but you never click "purchase." Later that night, you receive an email from the site asking if you forgot the item in your cart and offering a discount code. You appreciate the discount (and you do want the product, after all), so you go back to the site and complete your purchase.
  • Scenario B: Everything happens in the same order as in Scenario A, but the email you receive is simply a generic newsletter advertising the brand's top-selling products. You have no interest in the email's contents, so you simply put it in your trash folder and move on with your night.

That's the difference that meeting people where they are can make: In Scenario A, you got a personalized email that gave you the final push and incentive you needed to make your purchase. But in Scenario B, you got no personalization whatsoever, and you felt totally unmotivated to finish checking out.

The lesson? Take a page out of the Girl Scouts' book and go wherever your email subscribers are in the marketing funnel to achieve the best results.


2. Set SMART Goals

One hallmark of the Girl Scouts' selling strategy is that each troop (and even individual Girl Scouts) sets clear goals before and during cookie-selling season.

For example, one troop might aim to sell 2,000 boxes of cookies from their local booths over the course of the entire season, while an individual Scout could set out to sell 100 boxes within four weeks.

Even if the Scouts don't 100 percent meet their goal, chances are they'll sell more cookies than they would have if they didn't set goals to begin with.

Their goals are so effective because they are SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based




So when you're setting goals for your email marketing strategy, don't choose vague targets like "increase subscribers" or "make more sales." Instead, create SMART goals that your team can easily track and feel proud of when they're met.


3. Make Data-Driven Decisions

Any troop leader can tell you that some cookie-selling tactics are more effective than others.

For instance, it stands to reason that selling cookies at a booth located outside a bustling farmer's market would generate more sales per hour than selling them door-to-door in a sleepy suburb.

The same applies to email marketing tactics: Instead of getting frustrated that your emails aren't getting more opens or clicks, take a look at what the data tells you.

For example, perhaps emails with images perform better than those without, or perhaps those with a certain CTA drive more clicks than others. If you don't examine your data and use it to inform your next steps, you'll never know.


4. Give Your Team the Tools They Need

When cookie-selling season begins, the Girl Scouts aren't simply winging it and hoping things work out. Instead, they're operating based on the guidelines of the central Girl Scouts organization, their local Girl Scouts council, and their own troop leaders.

For example, the Girl Scouts of Colorado provides a Booth Basics guide that includes safety tips, rules of etiquette, booth set-up guidelines, and a handy checklist:





In other words, the Boy Scouts aren't the only group of Scouts that know how to be prepared.

And if you want your email marketing strategy to reach its full potential, you need to make sure your team is equipped with the tools and knowledge they need, too.

For instance, your staff will likely be able to drive better results if they have:

Remember, the more prepared your staff is, the more successful your email marketing tactics will be.


5. Play to Your Staff's Strengths

The Girl Scouts are clear in their mission to imbue all its Scouts with courage, confidence, and character, but that doesn't mean they all have to perform the same tasks and follow the same path.

Instead, Scouts are encouraged to discover their own unique strengths and interests. For example, some might find that they love making signs and booth decorations more than anything, while others might learn that they have a talent for convincing potential customers to make a purchase.

Similarly, your team members will each have particular strengths that they can play on in order to deliver better results.

So if one of your writers is also a talented graphic designer, then by all means, encourage them to take a stab at creating some beautiful graphics for your next newsletter. And if one of your in-house SEO specialists seems to have strong writing skills, they might just be your new best copywriter.


Want a Better Email Marketing Strategy? Learn from the Scouts

The Girl Scouts are more than just skilled Samoa-slingers (though they certainly are that) — they're sales and marketing experts with more than 100 years of collective experience, and we could all learn a thing or two from their tactics.

Next time you find yourself wishing for a bigger email list or more clicks, there's no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, take a cue from your local Girl Scouts troop — your sales numbers and subscriber count will thank you.


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Andrew Page

Andrew has worked with brands such as Oracle, Intuit, and Samuel Adams to help increase sales through email and marketing automation. He enjoys hanging with his two children and obsessing over crafting the perfect pizza.

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