Case Study – E-Mail Marketing for Consumer Education

Jacqueline Schwestka
ppa // Senior PR-Consultant


foodwatch counts on solution provider CleverReach

The anti-consumer practices of the food industry are hard to understand for those affected. The non-profit organization foodwatch has set itself the task of informing consumers about abuses and fighting for their rights. An undertaking that required a direct communication channel for unadulterated information.

In order to reach interested consumers and possible sponsoring members, foodwatch decided on the direct communication option of newsletter marketing, in cooperation with the email marketing solution provider CleverReach.

The challenge

The consumer rights organization foodwatch, which was founded in 2002, was looking for a communication channel to present its own work and special projects and to attract members and interested parties to participate in campaigns. The overriding goal was to generate permanent supporting memberships.

Without the integration of further products or possible discounts, the acquisition of new members turned out to be a challenge, which was to be solved with a personal and direct approach. The recipients were to be enthused about the work and goals of the non-profit organization and, if possible, convinced to become a supporting member - without any further incentives.

Tip: Read on our blog how you can support your non-profit organization through email marketing.

The solution

Personalized solutions for direct customer contact

With the combination of different communication channels, customer loyalty should be completed by the direct contact of newsletter marketing. The approach should take into account the different recipient groups on a personal and target group-specific basis.

Gabriele Richter, Head of Fundraising at foodwatch, explains, "Sustaining members and interested parties should be addressed differently in the newsletters. For example, fixed sustaining members no longer receive calls for donations, but continue to be informed. This management of the interests of our target groups had to be ensured with an e-mail marketing tool."

The recipients are separated from each other in the distribution list by segments. An evaluation shows exactly who has joined for the first time or who has taken out a subscription. The target group approach can thus be adjusted, depending on the status of the individual recipient or supporting member.

In order to get to know the target groups even better and to increase the click rate, foodwatch also regularly tests different subject lines using the A/B test feature. These newsletters are sent to both members and interested parties. To introduce new members on the mailing list to the work and goals, foodwatch uses the automation tool THEA.

With a welcome flow route, every new newsletter subscriber is welcomed the very next day. After that, subscribers receive a newsletter every Friday in which participation in a current campaign, for example in the form of an online petition, is advertised. Once a month, a fundraising newsletter is sent out, which tries to convince interested parties to join foodwatch with a particularly exciting topic.

Richter adds, "Our overriding goal is to get the targeted readers involved and to sign and support the campaigns and, in the best case, agree to make a monthly donation."

Follow-up newsletters for success

Follow-up newsletters, which are sent to all non-openers of the original mailing, are an important means of repeated targeting. In addition, active readers should also be targeted further in order to increase the reach of a campaign. This target group receives so-called "share-asks" that call for sharing the content with friends and acquaintances.

According to Christian Beeck, Online Campaigner at foodwatch, this is a valuable part of the communication to make other potentially interested parties aware of the campaigns and the work of foodwatch: "The first mail always goes to all recipients. The goal is first: take a look at our project and support it, for example by signing a petition. After that, we can see in the system who has participated and ask these people directly to share our newsletter with friends. In this way, in the best case, we generate more participants in our campaign and additional new recipients if they also sign up for our newsletter."

The result

A communication equation that works

Case Stdy Foodwatch Beispiel Newsletter CleverReach

With a distribution list that now includes 400,000 interested parties and 45,000 supporting members who are committed to consumer protection, healthy food, pollution and sustainable agriculture, foodwatch has built up a sustainable communications network.

By optimizing the targeting of its newsletter campaigns, foodwatch can mobilize tens of thousands of supporters for its online petitions.

In addition, foodwatch is able to finance itself almost entirely from regular funding donations, thereby maintaining its independence from the food industry and government and EU funding.

An outlook

Case Stdy Foodwatch Beispiel Newsletter CleverReach

Consistently sending important content to target audiences has not only continued to increase awareness and helpfulness toward the consumer advocacy organization, but has established it as a reliable and strong organization among returning readers.

As an important pillar of customer loyalty and the most active path for converting interested parties into supporting members, addressing them via newsletters forms an indispensable communication channel for the non-profit organization.

foodwatch continues to hope that interested parties will be convinced of the political plans and campaign goals through the regular sending of newsletters and that further supporting members can be acquired in this way. In the future, the approach to the target groups will be further refined and reflected within the layout and content and the subject line.

"Thanks to the work with CleverReach, we reach hundreds of thousands of people and can move and inspire them to fight with us for the good cause," concludes Gabriele Richter.


Branch: non-profit association

About foodwatch

foodwatch exposes the anti-consumer practices of the food industry and fights for the right of consumers to good quality, safe and honest food. foodwatch is independent of the state and the food industry and is a non-profit organization.