Did you buy Girl Scout cookies this year? If so, you aren’t alone. An estimated 200 million boxes of the delicious sweet treats are sold every year.

The Girl Scouts have been selling cookies as a fundraising tool for more than 100 years. But it was only recently that they extended their marketing efforts online. Now, in addition selling cookies door to door, Girl Scouts can now use the Internet to send customers emails inviting them to place their cookie order.

There’s also a mobile app Girl Scouts can use to handle credit card transactions during face-to-face purchases. The group has come a long way since the days of knocking on every door in the neighborhood.


Girl Scout Lessons

If there’s one thing you can’t say about the Girl Scouts it’s that they aren’t good at what they do. The market penetration of their cookie product is the envy of the industry. Honestly, is there anybody who has ever said “no” to a Girl Scout selling cookies?

Here, then, are some lessons we Internet marketers can learn from the Girl Scouts:

– Most People Respond to Human Interaction – In an age where most people are buying products and services from their smart phones, a face to face interaction with a real person has more meaning than ever, especially when that person is an adorable 8-year-old.

Making that type of personalized connection with your customers is what’s ultimately going to make the sale for Internet marketers and Girl Scouts alike.


– Know Your Audience – Let’s face it, the vast majority of Girl Scout cookie sales are made to relatives, friends, co-workers and other acquaintances of the parents of Girl Scouts or the girls themselves. Part of the reason for their success is that there already is a built-in customer base that they can reliably return to year after year.

Your Internet marketing can benefit from the same model. Your best customers are going to be the ones who buy whatever you are selling over and over again. Building lasting loyalty bonds for a series of smaller sales is generally better than making a single larger one.

– Friendships Matter – Girl Scouts know that friends are the most important thing in life. Social media marketers and other web-based entrepreneurs are learning the same life lessons.

Creating lasting relationships with your customers can guarantee that they are going to be open to our next offer … and the one after that. But they aren’t going to see you as a friend if you are always trying to sell them something. Alternate your promotional messages with ones that share something personal about yourself. Include free helpful, high value content that your contacts can use in their everyday lives and you can strengthen the genuine bonds you create with your customer base.

– Learning Is Better than Teaching – Girl Scouts is centered on continually learning new things: Crafts, activities, how to do different things. Sharing information and teaching others is fine, but learning something new is even better.

Your communications with your customers shouldn’t be a monologue. It should be a dialogue, with them telling you as much about your business as you are telling them. Make a point of letting your customers know that you value their opinion and are genuinely interested in what they have to say.

Marketers who are always preaching at people, rather than listening to them, usually aren’t as successful as those who value learning as much as they do teaching.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a couple of boxes of Girl Scout cookies to eat.