You don’t have to own a green-themed business to benefit from making your marketing efforts more eco-friendly. Implementing green marketing strategies will bring caché to your brand and will help streamline and make your company’s message more impactful, by leaving a lighter footprint on the earth and helping to educate everyone you come across in the ways of planet preservation. Many green marketing strategies can even help you save money.
Since I work in the eco publishing niche, I interact with small business owners on a daily basis who tout themselves as ‘green.’ I see some really effective and ecologically sound ways of marketing -- but I also fume when I receive thick paper press kits sent via snail mail, filled with stacks of paper and brochures (and CDs), sent by a company who claims to have the earth’s best interest in mind. Here are five green marketing strategies that will help you avoid waste while getting your message across loud and clear in a savvier fashion.
Hint: Many of these ‘green’ strategies are simply ways to use the internet and social media more effectively, while cutting down on schwag and useless paper.
1. Start a Blog About Your Business
Put a face behind your brand. Consumers will relate much more easily to your product if there is a personality or story to back it up. Think of your blog as a more elaborate extension of your “About” page on your company website. Share the inspiration behind your business developments, your thoughts on news that is relevant to your industry, and act as a resource and expert in your field -- in a way that enables your audience to relate to you on a personal level. Provide original content showcasing your expertise, that readers can’t find anywhere else; and make your blog a platform for discussion in the comment sections to encourage reader participation and camaraderie. If you’re new to blogging, visit WordPress to get started.
2. Utilize Social Media
Forget about the old school practice of blasting out press releases every quarter. Make marketing your brand a daily, even hourly, conversational event by using social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon, Linkedin, etc. According to Small Business Trends, “Alexa.com, the traffic ranking web information company, [which] highlights the top ten most used websites. 50 percent of them are social media sites with Facebook landing in the number two spot (Google is number one). Others on the list include YouTube at number three and Twitter at number 10.” Twitter enables you to bring traffic to your blog, and your company’s main website by linking to blog posts. And when you tweet relevant information to your Twitter followers and Facebook fans, break news, and give feedback on breaking news, voicing your opinion, you set yourself apart and market yourself at the same time.
3. Create an Electronic Press Kit
There’s no need to spend money and precious resources on paper, printing, cds and even thumbnail drives, when you can develop an electronic press kit at your company’s website to help journalists produce stories about you. Press will want you to walk the walk when it comes to treading lightly on the earth, especially if you’re a green business -- and that means doing away with the aforementioned fancy brochures, cd-roms and paper materials you may currently be using to spread the news currently Creating an electronic press kit is easy, and it’s a convenient way to distribute information to endless amounts of people and a far-reaching, global audience. Doing so also eliminates the cost of postage required to send snail mail, and the carbon emissions postal workers emit by delivering your mail. Finally -- take it from a journalist who hates sifting through stacks of press folders and cds, it is so much easier for a writer to put together a story about you when all the necessary photos and press materials can be found at your website instead of buried in a string of folders on a cd that is stashed in a box in their closet.
4. Get Creative With & Green Your Schwag
Handing out schwag is arguably the most wasteful method of marketing known to man, but it can be effective when done well. With some creativity and ingenuity, you can make your schwag enticing, compelling, and memorable by making it useful and green. A company called Eco Imprints specializes in eco-friendly promotional goods. They offer amazing schwag including a custom bean plant that displays your laser-printed message or logo across the bean as it sprouts, and postcards embedded with wildflower seeds so your logo can literally blossom. John Borg, the company’s founder offers, “We are trying a fresh approach, to get people to think about the products they use, and what happens when their useful life is over.” Being innovative with your schwag will make an impact on consumers, not landfills. Also, think hard about what your customers really want and need… Do they want a plastic stress ball or a lucite plaque with your logo on it? Probably not… Would they use and appreciate a pen or a mug or a reusable tote bag? Quite possibly….
5. Send Out Weekly or Monthly Email Newsletters
Sending out a newsletter regularly is an effective way of staying in contact with people who are interested in your business -- and cleverly marketing your newsletters also helps attract new customers. Offer subscribers exclusive news, promo codes and special discounts that they wouldn’t be able to access without receiving your newsletter. Organize giveaways that readers may only enter via your newsletter, and announce winners in the newsletter so recipients will eagerly anticipate the next installment as they have a vested personal interest in it. Embedding links throughout your newsletter, to your website, online shops, etc. will also help drive up traffic and sales. Mailchimp is a great resource for creating, delivering and tracking your newsletters creation delivery, and tracking. Just remember to be very careful and transparent (and get those double-opt-ins) when building your mailing lists.