How to reduce the environmental impact of your CRM strategy?

Multichannel CRM programs have a considerable environmental impact that can be limited by adopting a few good practices. Discover our 3 best tips to optimize the carbon cost of your CRM strategy.

Avatar Mathilde Hamy

Customer Success Director - Southern Europe

Time to read9 min read
February 15, 2021

The environmental impact of our marketing actions is a topic I truly care about.

I also know it is becoming more and more relevant to many marketers.

To this end, many of us strive to bring the best practices that we try to implement daily in our personal lives, to our professional lives.

But also because companies are increasingly aware of their impact on the environment and are looking for ways to integrate environmental thinking into their long-term vision.

So, if reducing the environmental impact of your CRM strategy is part of your objectives for 2021, read on!

I wrote an article a while ago to help you evaluate the carbon cost of your CRM program.

This article is a follow-up and will help you identify relevant opportunities to reduce the carbon cost of your CRM program.

Here are my top 3 actions with the strongest impact, that are quick and easy to implement 🏆

  1. Reduce the number of recipients
  2. Optimize the weight of campaigns
  3. Educate your base on best practices

Reduce the number of recipients, without impacting your turnover

One rule applies to all channels: one of the main factors that affects your environmental impact is the number of recipients in your campaigns.

Your challenge, then, is to find the right balance of reducing your mailing volumes, without overly impacting your turnover.

On certain paid distribution channels, the impact of downsizing your campaigns will be doubly beneficial. By optimizing your volumes, not only can you reduce your carbon footprint, but you can also reduce the financial cost of your actions!

To do so, you need to find a relevant way to identify the customers in your database who will not be interested in your campaign, or who will not engage with the channel you’re planning to use.

You can then eliminate all the profiles you’ve identified for this campaign, as they will have very little chance of generating revenue for your company.

The benefits of the Tinyclues solution to reduce your environmental impact

By exploiting your rich, first-party data, Tinyclues allows you to sort through your users in a few clicks, while incorporating your marketing campaign topic and the requirements of its distribution channel. The Tinyclues algorithm categorizes your entire database from the most to the least interested customers, and will only propose the best profiles for a given campaign.

You can carry out concentration tests to precisely measure how much you can reduce your sending volumes by, without impacting your turnover.

CRM turnover distribution chart

The 80% of most interested users in your database generated 96% of the revenue on this campaign. Therefore, in reducing your sending volume by 20%, you could reduce your carbon footprint by the same amount, with very little impact on your turnover.

How to reduce your environmental impact without Tinyclues?

If you don’t use Tinyclues, you can use traditional segmentation rules just as well.

Here’s how to do it, depending on the channels you’re using for your campaign.

Email campaigns

I advise you to exclude all the users who have not interacted with your emails for more than 6 months.

This time period will, of course, depend on the seasonality of your product purchases–the purchase frequency of a mattress is not the same as cosmetics, for example. But 6 months is a good average.

The users you have identified could be the target of a specific reactivation campaign, but you can easily exclude them from your regular communications because they will have little chance to open and react positively to them.

Print campaigns

It will be a little more difficult for you to identify the customers you can exclude from your database without impacting your sales.

Based on my empirical observations with the Tinyclues customers I work with, the exclusions most often concern non-buyers older than 12 or 24 months—again—depending on the sector.

SMS campaigns

If you use tracked links for your campaigns, you can set up activity rules, just like for email.

That said, the SMS channel remains a rather ecological channel compared to email, where user bases are generally smaller.

Therefore, you won’t necessarily have the greatest impact on this channel, when it comes to reducing the environmental impact of your CRM strategy.

Optimize the weight of your campaigns

The “weight” of a campaign mainly relates to emails. We indeed speak about “digital weight.” But it is also an interesting measure for your print campaigns, where the weight of a shipment and its transportation method will have a literal impact on its carbon and financial cost.

What levers can you then use to optimize the weight of your emails?

  • Image weight: JPG, PNG, TIFF, compression, resolution… The optimization of digital images is a real science. A poorly optimized image can quickly amount to many unnecessary kilobytes sent through networks. However, there are many methods to optimize the weight of your images and thus reduce the carbon cost of your campaigns, as well as their loading time for the slowest connections.
  • Number of images: the more images an email contains, the heavier it will be—makes sense!
  • Email length: images are not the only factor to make your emails heavier. A wordy email, with a lot of text, will also be more costly for the environment.
  • GIF usage: gifs, animated images that are very popular on the Internet and increasingly used by brands, are actually a sequence of images and therefore weigh much more than a fixed image, adding to the carbon cost of your emails.
  • Font style: yes, the font style of your emails can also influence their carbon cost. A native font, accepted by all email providers, will have a limited carbon cost. On the other hand, if you force your users’ browsers to import a specific font, then you will be using many servers, increasing the cost of your email exponentially!
  • Limited storage time of mirrored versions: in case you are not at all technical experts, the mirrored version of an email is a version hosted on one of your servers. It is useful for people who do not have a sufficient bandwidth to display the images in your campaigns. We advise you to limit as much as you can the storage time of this version on your servers to reduce your carbon cost.

By reducing the weight of your emails, you will also optimize your deliverability, as well as loading time and the probability they’ll be read.

Today, more than 50% of emails are read on mobile. Depending on the quality of your users’ connection, emails can load very slowly.

Think about your own personal experience: how many times on holiday have you opened emails on your mobile, only to close it immediately because the images didn’t load?

Educate your user base to best practices

If marketers like you have a significant impact on the carbon cost of your marketing strategy, so does your customer base.

And it can be tremendous.

Let’s take one last time the example of email campaigns.

The longer an email is stored in the inbox, the higher its carbon cost.

For several years now, a best practice adopted by most companies has been to put a footer in their business emails, reminding users not to print their emails. To tell the truth, I wonder today who would have the idea to print off their emails! But this footer was revolutionary at the time.

I think that today we could do the same thing and make our users aware of the carbon cost of email storage.

For example, we could encourage them to check, from time to time, which newsletters they do or don’t read. This could be dangerous for a company, but it’s a responsible approach that will encourage all marketers to produce the best possible content, to ensure the loyalty of their user base.

We could also invite them to delete an email after reading it, or to regularly empty their trash, in order to limit the storage of useless data.

A few words of conclusion

These tips are not meant to be exhaustive, but I hope that they will nonetheless give you some ideas on how to dive deeper into this topic and implement good environmental practices within your CRM organization.

If you feel there is anything to add or comment, drop me a line and I’d be happy to discuss further!

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