Are your emails bad for the planet?
🚨 The UK has officially declared a climate change emergency. According to scientists we have an estimated 12 years left before we will have caused irreversible damage to the planet. From ocean warming to coral bleaching, extreme weather and mass extinction, the future is looking pretty post-apocalyptic if we continue with current trends of carbon and greenhouse gas output.
Not to put a downer on your day but we all need to start taking responsibility and doing our bit - we don't need a handful of people doing sustainability perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.
International activist group Extinction Rebellion recently turned its focus to the advertising industry, with an open letter that called out Founders and Decision Makers saying "You didn't think we'd forget about you?" [...] “One of the reasons we’ve got here is because you’ve been selling things to people that they don’t need. You are the manipulators and architects of that consumerist frenzy.”
As marketers we need to be aware of the impact we are having. At Araminta Marketing our foundations of #consciousmarketing are always present in our campaigns; we aim to educate and empower consumers. We are selective about working with clients who share our values and are looking to make a positive impact.
In my personal life I have been putting a lot of effort into (imperfectly) doing my bit to reduce my impact on the planet and I'm trying to find ways to bring these changes into my work too.
French energy regulators recently asked companies to cut back on emails in order to save energy. It got me thinking about how much energy it actually uses to send an email; the infrastructure behind every message and the carbon footprint produced when we store and transmit this information.
The answer is not straight forward it varies massively depending on different factors but on average each email has a footprint of 0.3g of carbon dioxide emissions (according to carbon footprint expert Mike Berners-Lee's 2010 book How Bad are Bananas: The Carbon Footprint of Everything.) Longer emails with attachments can have a footprint of up to 50g CO2e.
To put that into perspective, Berners-Lee estimates that a typical year of incoming mail adds 136kg of emissions to a person’s carbon footprint, or the equivalent of “driving 200 miles in an average car”.
Obviously avoiding email is an impossible task but I've got some not-impossible tips that I'm using for myself and my clients, to reduce the impact of emails I send on the daily.
1. According to a poll by The Telegraph, 74% of people email colleagues that they sit next to at work... ngl this seem ridiculous and yet thinking about it, I'm guilty of doing exactly this just yesterday! No more emails to my work-neighbours.
2. Apparently checking your email is making you less productive. A recent study found the average person checks their email about 15 times per day. Our aim at the AM office is to get this down to just 3 times a day. We've found that doing our email admin in batches has made us much more efficient in-between. We're not the only ones to have found this; the University of British Columbia study found that people who limited their email checking to 3 times a day experienced:
- Significantly lower stress levels
- Felt more able to complete their most important work.
- And felt a greater sense of accomplishment at work.
3. Create mail that matters. Email marketing is a seriously valuable tool to communicate with your customers and clients. We are big fans of the GDPR changes that came into place last year because now instead of having thousands of subscribers who could care less, our clients have a database of brand-loyal subscribers who are interested and engaged. Our goal is to create emails that your readers want to open now not later. We do this by approaching it with three key goals:
- the right message
- to the right audience
- at the right time
4. Speaking of the right audience are you sure you are emailing the right people? Try asking your readers what and when they want to hear from you. There are some really helpful tools that we use on Mailchimp which allow you to group, segment and tag your subscribers so you can target your emails. That way you reach the right group of readers and avoid spamming the rest.
If you need a helping hand in optimising your next email campaign, we've got you covered with our new online shop for all your marketing needs and 'genius bar' style drop in sessions to give you the tools you need to email better.
Drop me an email (I know, how ironic): firstname.lastname@example.org
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