During the Girl Scout Cookie Program, Girl Scouts can sell cookies through traditional booths and door-to-door sales, and through their very own Digital Cookie page. Did you know that Girl Scouts who use Digital Cookie and other online resources, in addition to traditional methods like booths and door-to-door sales, sell more Girl Scout Cookies than Girl Scouts who only use traditional methods? It’s true! Girls who learn how to brand themselves online average an additional 48 packages per girl nationally.

Every time your troop of #cookiebosses deliver a sales pitch, answer questions about cookie varieties, or show off a poster at a cookie booth, they’re using marketing to promote their product to potential customers. And these marketing skills are easily adaptable to their online cookie businesses, too! With some tried and true digital marketing tactics, your girls can create the ultimate Digital Cookie storefront, level up their modern business skills, and reach their cookie biz goals in no time! Here’s how:

Build a Brand Identity

Thanks to the incredible G.I.R.L.s (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leaders) who have blazed the trail for today’s Girl Scouts throughout our 100+ year history, most customers already recognize our iconic brand. But that’s doesn’t mean your girls can’t take it one step further and develop a unique brand identity for their cookie business!

Brand identity is how a business represents itself to the world—it speaks to your values, helps you stand out from the competition, makes your business memorable, and it builds loyalty and trust with your customers. A strong brand identity for a Girl Scout’s cookie business might look like: consistent color choices, using a uniform writing style and tone, promoting a memorable and unique slogan, developing a logo or visuals that show off her goal, or even using a theme throughout all aspects of the business (booth, door-to-door, and digital).

Try it with your troop: Encourage your girls to research their favorite brands. Visit the brands’ websites and review some of their advertising campaigns or social media profiles. Why do they stand out? How does the brand make the girls feel? Why do they feel inspired to buy their favorite brand’s products over another brand’s? How can they implement good branding practices in their own cookie business?

Write a Punchy Sales Pitch

As your troop prepares to setup their Digital Cookie storefronts, they should start by developing a sales pitch, which will set the tone for the rest of their marketing efforts! A good sales pitch answers the questions that a potential customer might ask, like: “Why should I buy cookies?” “How will you spend the money you earn?” “What do you like about Girl Scouts?”

Are they dreaming of the ultimate troop backpacking adventure? Or perhaps they’re counting down the days until they can roast s’mores over the campfire at Camp Bothin? Did a STEM badge capture their imagination and inspire them to take their interest to the next level with an awesome Take Action Project? Every Girl Scout is unique and has a wide range of passions and interests, and this is the time to let their personality take center stage! An engaging and effective pitch on their Digital Cookie storefronts will have customers tapping that “Add to Cart” button faster than your troop can keep up!

Try it with your troop: Every brand has a “voice.” If your Girl Scouts are playful, encourage them to come up with puns about Girl Scout cookies or include other funny material in their brand identity.  See if they can write their pitch as a haiku, song, rap, or other type of poem. This is the place for your troop’s creativity to shine, and it’s an opportunity to show potential customers why they should purchase from your troop (especially if they have a Girl Scout at home or have already purchased several packages this year)!

Create Visuals that Make Customers Stop Scrolling

You know the age-old saying: a picture is worth 1,000 words. And in today’s scroll-obsessed digital landscape, it’s so true! The average human today has just an eight second attention span—that’s shorter than a goldfish! That’s why any effective digital marketing piece includes photos and other visual content to capture the reader’s attention.

Similar to their written pitch, your girls can tell their Girl Scout Cookie story through the photos and other visual content they share. A great Girl Scout uniform selfie is a classic, while action shots (think: your last troop camping trip) are a sure-fire way to help their customer visualize why they should support your troop. And I know you’ve seen the seemingly-endless Girl Scout Cookie memes or parody videos that seem to overtake the internet from January through March! If your girls are a creative bunch, this is their golden ticket to a viral marketing strategy.

Try it with your troop: Host a troop photo or video shoot! Include classic photos with their cookie booths and in their uniforms. Show the troop participating in their favorite Girl Scout activities, or doing something related to their cookie money goals. For extra pizzazz, use graphic design tools like Canva, Photoshop, or even simple photo editing tools on your phone, to make the photos as eye-catching as possible.

Explore Social Media Marketing

If your girls are old enough (13 and older) to have their own social media accounts, they can use them to share their Digital Cookie storefronts and reach more customers! One of the best parts of Digital Cookie is that friends and family from all over the country can help support their business. Customers can have cookies shipped to them or hand-delivered by the Girl Scout herself, and if Grandma is diabetic or doesn’t want to pay for shipping, she can always donate boxes through the Care to Share program to local food banks and the military. It’s a win-win!

Whether your girls share on their own page or ask a parent to help, they should consider their audience and platform and tweak their sales pitch and messaging to make sure it’s as relevant as possible. Are friends or family members gluten free? Your girls can send them a message about Toffee-tastics with a link to their Digital Cookie storefronts! Do Dad’s coworkers ask him every year for that Samoas fix? A quick email with a photo, the pitch, and—of course—that Digital Cookie link is the way to go.

Try it with your troop: Have your troop research social media marketing best practices. What’s the best time to post online? Would hashtags like #girlscoutcookies, #thinkoutsidethecookiebox, or #cookieboss help them expand their reach? What drives users to click on a link?

Add Offline Tactics to Your Marketing Mix

Digital marketing and traditional marketing aren’t “either-or” tactics—it’s “both-and”! All forms of marketing are designed to persuade customers, donors, and community members to buy a product or make a donation. Whether it’s through social media posts or a really great in-person exchange, your girls are using tried-and-true marketing techniques to convince their customers to purchase cookies and help them achieve their goals. Displaying her pitch on her Digital Cookie storefront can help her determine how to confidently deliver it in person. Be there when your girls rehearse their pitches, so they can confidently and creatively tell their customers why they should purchase Girl Scout Cookies. If your girls are young or a little shy, Little Brownie Bakers has games and other resources to make sharing her pitch easy and fun!

Try it with your troop: Help your girls research how to design and print business cards that include a link to their Digital Cookie page. Tape them to the orders they hand-deliver or pass them out to customers at booths. That way, after their customers inevitably finish off that box of Thin Mints in one sitting, they know where to go to restock!

These digital marketing tips will bolster your girls’ sales, and help her develop skills that are essential for this digital age! We hope your go-gettin’ Girl Scouts think so too, and that this guide can inspire them to come up with new ways of promoting their businesses and crushing those goals!

What to do next:

  • We have tons of other resources for cookie season, including tips from top cookie sellers, tips for new troop leaders, and even fun recipes that use Girl Scout Cookies as a key ingredient!
  • Stay safe and review the Girl Scout’s Guide to the Internet! There’s one for girls and one for adults.
  • We love to hear from Girl Scouts and leaders. Let the GSNorCal marketing department know what’s worked best for you. Share your photos, your pitches, and your goals with us! You can even enter one of our 2019 Cookie Challenges: Bling Your Booth, Perfect Pitch, or Goal-Getter!

Christiana Oatman—Christiana is the Communications Specialist for the Girl Scouts of Northern California. She is responsible for a wide array of marketing materials, with a focus on The Trailhead, the GSNorCal website, and emails. Christiana is excited to work for an organization that is women-led, and builds girls of courage, confidence, and character. She majored in history with a minor in gender studies at the University of the Pacific. When not working hard or dreaming of all the delicious cookies she’ll eat during cookie season, Christiana enjoys exploring everything the Bay Area has to offer, attending plays and musicals, and reading. She is working on her annual goal to read 100 books in a year.