Why do you need this Green Marketing Guide to tell you all about marketing for eco-friendly business in 2021? Well, as the great Bob Dylan once said, “the times they are a’changin’.” The world is quickly “going green” and modern consumers are demanding eco-friendly products from eco-friendly companies like yours! In fact, 90% of millennials say they are willing to pay extra for products that are better for the environment. “Green marketing”—marketing for eco-friendly businesses—is a trend that has sprouted up in recent years, and it just keeps growing (pun totally intended)!
The appeal of green marketing isn’t really that hard to understand: It’s profitable for your brand and showcases your efforts to be a responsible business. However, companies wanting to hop on the granola-crunchy bandwagon sometimes need to be cautious. If you aren’t genuine, green marketing can easily backfire. Your customers want to see that you truly care about your supply chain, where and how you source your materials, the impact of your carbon footprint, and generally having as little negative impact on our planet as possible. To be an effective green marketer “going green” can’t just be a slogan–your business needs to truly commit to adopting sustainable practices.
Are you a green, eco-friendly business that wants to spread the word about your products and commitment to sustainability? Here are 3 simple steps with actionable tips to help you craft a green marketing campaign that will truly blossom.
Step One: Determine If Your Brand is Truly Eco-friendly
Okay, duh. So this part may seem obvious. But, if you want to use marketing for eco-friendly business to it’s fullest, then you need to have genuinely “green” products or products that are made in an eco-friendly way. So what makes a product “green” and how do you know if you fit the bill?
Your Product is built to last
Single-use plastics, fast fashion clothing, and products developed using petroleum products: these easily disposable (and NOOT easily repurposed or recycled) items are the opposite of green products are not great candidates for eco-friendly marketing. A green product should be intended for long-term use so that it’s less likely to end up in the landfill. Same for services. If you provide a service, are the products and materials you use to perform it sustainable? Can you guarantee your supply chain is clean and eco-conscious?
If you can’t answer yes when asking yourself if your product is “green”, then you may need to reevaluate your priorities and do a bit more research into becoming eco-friendly before you launch a green marketing campaign.
Your Products or Packaging are Recyclable
If your product is single-use, or even parts of it are (like the packaging), make sure those parts are biodegradable or else stamped with three triangular arrows. Check out Sustainable Packaging Coalition for more information on how to achieve this standard—it’s a super important selling point when marketing for eco-friendly business!
You Use Recycled Materials or Packaging
Green products are often recyclable, but alternatively, a green product could also be one that has been ABR–Already Been Recycled. If you want to greenify your merchandise, look at the materials you are using and see if any could be swapped out for recycled paper or plastic. Plenty of startups are sourcing recycled materials, and you can, too!
Your Supply and Distribution Chains are Eco-friendly
The way you manufacture, package, and distribute your product or service is squeaky clean. Or you are at least making your best effort to reduce your carbon footprint. This can also be achieved by donating funds to organizations and non-profits that give back to the planet, participating in local energy efficiency initiatives, or volunteering your time to restoring the environment near you—like parks or natural areas. There are many ways to “go green”!
Step Two: Don’t Just SAY You’re Business Is Green—BE Green
So, you make and sell products that are good for the earth. Great work! But your job isn’t finished yet. Consumers looking for environmentally-friendly products are quick to spot hypocrisy. If you aren’t practicing what you preach in all aspects of your business, you may find yourself suddenly exposed by an angry mob of Twitter trolls.
Before you start a green marketing campaign, consider these ways your business can show it’s true colors behind the scenes.
Invest in a Carbon-friendly Fleet
When you drive to meetings with clients are you in a hybrid smart car or a sporty gas guzzler? While used cars actually have the lowest carbon footprint, if you want a brand new vehicle, the optics will be better if it’s a Prius not a Hummer. Consider updating your service or delivery fleet accordingly. Not only will this make you look great to investors, customers, and prospective partners, but it can also save you tons of money in operations costs!
Make Your Office More Energy Efficient
Are you aware of how much energy your office space is consuming? Think about the appliances you use, including computers, that mini-fridge, your coffee machine, and even lightbulbs. Are there any lurking energy vampires you could switch out for more efficient alternatives? Even small changes like these can have a big impact, and it’s easy to identify more sustainable appliances through the Energy Star program or similar initiatives in the countries where you have physical locations. You can also make sure your office spaces are LEED-certified.
Get Involved Locally
What environmental programs are there in your community that could use your help? How can you leverage some of your resources for the greater good? Look for charities to donate to or causes to support; show up with your wallet and possibly your entire team! Consider offering your employees paid time off to serve in the community, or designate a day of service when your whole company can participate and give back. You can leverage images and media coverage from these types of events to further marketing for eco-friendly business, FYI! More on this below.
Step Three: Tell the World!
If you’ve made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back because you’ve done the hardest part! You’ve committed to doing your part to take care of the earth, and you may have made significant changes in your business in order to do so. Great work! Now it’s time to get your green self out there and tell the world. It’s time to actually get into the nitty-gritty of marketing for eco-friendly business. If you’re feeling confident that your company is authentically green, here are a few ways you can communicate that to the public.
Host a Conservation-themed Event
Hosting a branded, company-sponsored conservation event in your community is a great way to get local news coverage. Make sure to send out a press release about your event and arrange for several news outlets to attend to capture key photo ops, like employees picking up trash in a cherished park or helping to restore a local wildlife habitat. Not only is this a prime opportunity to further your marketing for eco-friendly business. This type of positive news coverage is also a potent recruitment tool for new employees who share your eco-friendly values. Plus, press coverage is an excellent way to earn backlinks for your website for better SEO! Talk about a triple threat.
Validate Your Eco-minded Efforts Through Hard Data
Consider publishing a year-end report that summarizes your conservation efforts. Include plenty of graphs, charts, and hard data—like how many kilowatts of energy you saved this year and how much you pledge to save next year through improved efficiency. Craft a press release that outlines this with some feel-good quotes from leadership and send it out to your press contacts.
You could also publish a case study that delves deep into how you have improved a select business location or a certain segment of your business (like shipping). This type of collateral is marketing for eco-friendly business GOLD. And our Witty Kitty team specializes in green business case studies if you need any help!
Incorporate “Green” Packaging and Branding
Do your packaging, branding, and marketing materials broadcast that your product is environmentally responsible? If not, this is a huge missed opportunity. Are there enviro-friendly awards you have won? Sustainability initiatives that you comply with that allow you to use their logo on packaging, on your website, or in email signatures and press releases? Take advantage of this! The more “social proof” you can offer to substantiate your claim of being environmentally responsible the better.
…but don’t take this suggestion too literally. If you’re dead set on converting your logo to a bright shade of lime green, go for it! But it probably won’t help your marketing eco-friendly business campaigns succeed. Sorry, folks.
Offer Green Messaging Through Video and High-quality Visuals
Consumers are actively seeking companies like yours that are environmentally responsible. So make sure to tell your customers exactly how your product or service can make a difference, and show them what that looks like in their real life. Incorporate a solid video strategy, because your audience likely prefers to view a professional video rather than read an article or press release.
Maybe you have invented the world’s first solar-powered curling iron, and maybe you think the benefits of that innovation speak for themselves. But is there a way you can quantify those benefits through a visual? Or illustrate them clearly with an infographic or explainer video? The best marketing for an eco-friendly business strategy is to show the customer how you are helping them help the environment!
Shout It Out On Social Media
If there was ever a time to toot your own horn, this is it! Use your social media platforms to present the green work your company is doing. Post pictures of your team working on a service project, or announce to the world the big changes you are making to your product packaging.
This may feel self-aggrandizing or inauthentic, but remember that you are helping consumers make an informed decision, and possibly even influence them to make their own green changes at home! Social media is one of the best ways to inform and educate your future customers about how you are giving back and doing your part.
Step four: Reap the Rewards
That’s it! You’re done! Nothing left to do but sit back and watch your competitors go green with envy…right?
While you should take some time to celebrate your successful green marketing campaign, remember that this kind of work is never truly finished. You’ve made a commitment to your customers and to the earth, and that is an ongoing process. Continue to research ways your company can help the environment, keep taking small steps toward a more eco-friendly business, keep looking for ways to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle…then Repeat!
Witty Kitty loves to work with green, sustainable companies like yours! What can we say…we like to sleep soundly at night. Whether you represent a solar company or a sustainable brand that makes clothing, beauty products, or intelligently designs home decor, we want to help you succeed. Do you need help executing some of these practical marketing for eco-friendly business tips we’ve shared? Reach out to us!