UPS e-mail marketing effort promotes carbon offset initiative

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UPS is using an e-mail marketing effort to promote an initiative to offset carbon dioxide emissions generated by the transport of packages. The shipping company is targeting environmentally conscious consumers and businesses with the campaign, which launched October 6. UPS began offering some US shippers the opportunity to pay a small fee to offset the environmental impact of their shipments this week.

“This is really a targeted awareness campaign to inform consumers about the benefits of carbon-neutral shipping,” said Bill Williams, e-mail marketing supervisor at UPS. He added that one goal of the initiative is to further engage existing customers. 

The company is sending one e-mail message to a select group of consumers and businesses, most of which are in states with environmentally friendly policies. Elizabeth Rasberry, PR manager, described their locations as “more blue states than red.” 

UPS is initially making the offer available to 1 million US customers, but plans to extend it to more consumers next year. Per-package price for the optional service is 5 cents for UPS Ground service and 20 cents for UPS Next Day Air, 2nd Day Air and Three Day Select. The company decided to offer customers a flat fee, which it says covers the costs of calculation and administrative fees, based on research. UPS is matching the offset purchases up to $1 million.

The company also launched a microsite, which encourages consumers to take a survey. UPS will use the site to post responses and other initiative data for public viewing.

The shipper created the e-mail marketing portion of the effort internally, but worked on the campaign's creative with Austin, TX-based digital advertising and marketing firm T3. It is also running paid search advertising for the initiative and posting information about it to its UPS news feed on Twitter. The e-mail marketing effort will conclude October 20, according to Williams.

After its completion, UPS will measure click-through and message-open rates, site visits and other metrics to measure the campaign's success, Williams added. 

The US Postal Service launched a campaign in April to increase awareness of energy conservation at its “Turning Over a Green Leaf” Earth Day event. The agency said then it wants to reduce its energy use by 30% by 2015.

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