That green is all the rage lately is hard to disagree with. Not only are businesses discovering the vast financial benefits of going green; they’re also noticing that doing it for the right reasons has a lot more going for it than joining the party for the fun of it. If you’ve completed the tour of electronics around your office already, banned hard copies, and found ways to use less energy in general, you’d probably love to see your company celebrated by your community.
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Don’t let your good deeds go unnoticed; here is a useful guide to how you can market your business as green and show it off from its best side.
Green is the most complex color
It should be easy enough to get the word out there when you know for a fact that you’re green through and through – yet, green marketing is no easy challenge. Do it for the sake of profits and the community is likely to punish you for selfishness; do it for the sake of the environment, and you could still risk being avoided.
It seems overly complicated, but there is a simple explanation to this. Sometimes, marketing yourself as green doesn’t speak to your target group quite as it should – and it all depends on what sort of business you’re in.
Think about it this way; when you hear that a business is green, what comes to mind first? Most likely, you’re not settling on luxury and comfort. The truth is that a luxury resort that is marketing itself as eco-friendly is likely to scare pamper-seeking guests away. They’ll think cold and short showers, going to the toilet outside, and sleeping under the stars; kind of romantic but not always comfortable.
As a business owner who offers comfort and luxury to their target audience, you should still be green and eco-friendly – just be it quietly. It saves you money in the long-run and is wonderful news for our planet, so don’t let snobbish customers who think eco equals discomfort steer you in any other direction.
It’s a good idea to think about who sustainability is important to, since certain demographics seem to care more than others. As a general rule, women tend to focus on soaps and cleaning detergents that are free of chemicals, especially when it comes to cooking and products for their children. A label of being green won’t sell your products, though, so don’t expect your business to bloom just because of this.
What do you mean by green?
Sure, we use it as an umbrella term for being conscious of the environment – but going green could imply various things to your customers. It’s important to communicate exactly how you’re contributing to keeping our planet healthy; with vague and imprecise boasting of being green, you risk confusing or even disillusioning your community.
The companies who are marketing themselves as such but fails to inform the consumers on the specific measures they’ve taken so far might be seen as dishonest. Especially when their competitors are successfully marketing themselves as green and provide detailed explanations of how they do it; by reducing carbon footprints, using solar energy, banning papers, and steering away from hazardous chemicals.
Go green but tell them how you do it and, even more importantly, why you’re doing it.
Find ways of incorporating this message without explicitly using the word ‘green.’ People are able to connect the dots themselves, and the positive message will shine through without the use of vague umbrella terms. To falsely show off one’s business as eco-friendly is known as greenwashing and you’d want to avoid this by all means.
Although you’re likely to find other guides online that tells you to incorporate your green vision in every part of your business – as well as the logo, we wouldn’t take it that far. Ask a marketing agency to help you with finding the right solution for your company; Cardinal Digital Marketing is a good place to start or have a look at this detailed guide.
When deciding on how to market yourself, remember that transparency and honesty are keywords to happy customers. Consider your target group, however, and figure out how you can tailor the message of eco-friendliness to fit their needs and wants.
Use online marketing
Whatever you do to promote yourself as green, make sure you do it online. It’s common sense, in a way, as thousands of leaflets on sustainability is both ironic and irritating to your customers. Plus, online marketing is a lot more cost-effective than the old-school traditional methods, which is excellent news for small businesses.
You can use recycled paper, by the way, which is also cheaper and more eco-friendly than regular printing paper. Concentrate on less paper and more digital, however, and you have vast opportunities for expanding your social media marketing as well as growing your email database. Less is certainly more when it comes to green marketing, so any signs of extravagant spending will be bad taste for your eco-conscious customers.
Make a point out of it
A part of being liked is to be predictable – and people don’t like businesses who say one thing and do another. Someone who is truly passionate about the environment and wants to make the world a better place by starting with their own business should be rewarded, but they should also be honest. We expect you to carpool, to have incorporated a green company culture, and we certainly expect you to be consistent.
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Make it fly by allowing this green thinking to shine through every corner of your office; it’s excellent PR, you know. Engage in local environmental causes, make donations to charities in your community, and source your produce or products from local farmers. As a household, you’d be good to nature by investing in your community; as a business, you’d do the same.
Get your employees on board
To be consistent, you’re going to have to spend some time on figuring out your company culture. It’s such a buzzword these days but for good reasons; a company works as a team where you happen to be the leader. That means that the message of eco-friendliness and sustainability needs to come from the top and work its way downwards; nobody’s going to follow your lead unless you show them that the green culture is here to stay.
Start by reaching out for suggestions. It’s an ideal way of making them feel involved – plus, you’re likely to get a lot of great ideas. Happy employees are listened to and taken into consideration; when you ask for the opinions, make sure you put them into life. It might mean investing in more natural cleaning detergents or successfully incorporating meatless Mondays into the cafeteria menu – but it’s all worth it.
Next, find ways to remind them of your green vision in a non-intrusive way. Tell your team to turn off their computers at the end of the day, install a water dispenser to eliminate plastic bottles, and put up a few friendly reminders in the bathrooms to make sure no taps are dripping.
These are small but effective ways to be a more sustainable business while also keeping it real. Don’t lose their respect by preaching sustainability and driving to work every day; they’ll look up to a leader who takes the bus or carpools like the rest of us. Market your business as green for the right reasons, and you’re in for reduced costs as well as a happier community.