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It’s one thing to be selling green products and it’s a completely different ball game to be running an eco-friendly business. The first requires you to source your inventory from sustainable places while the second demands that, on top of that, your business ethos is just as environmentally conscious as your offer.
How do you comply with the ever-increasing expectations to operate sustainably? You start from the bottom. This means getting to the core of your belief system as a company and basing your manufacturing, marketing, and selling processes on it.
In this article, we’ll go into detail about the second bit — marketing and the strategy that could help you stand out.
Forget about print advertising — as a consumer-centered eco-friendly business that keeps up with the current trends, your main focus should be on getting across the message that would be aligned with your business’s core values. That is, resorting to digital marketing and pairing it with a branding style that highlights your commitment to sustainability.
Below is your blueprint on how to effortlessly transition into or start promoting your eco-friendly business with sustainability in mind.
1. Make sure the company’s mission statement matches its unique offer
Before you set in place any marketing strategy, you need to double-check what your company stands for. Besides, you should verify whether this set of values matches the existing Unique Selling Points (USPs).
Does the mission statement cover the sustainable practices you carry out? Does your ‘about you’ page mention your company’s core values and the eco-friendly certifications you received? Perhaps there’s more to carbon-neutral shipping you offer and the packaging of your products is biodegradable too?
Once you determine what policies you stand by and what environmental issues you advocate for, it’ll be easier to create a marketing message that will resonate with your customers. It’ll also prevent your company from becoming the hub of greenwashing and losing the trust of your loyal shoppers down the line.
Patagonia sets a great example with its website page dedicated to showcasing the company’s footprint on the environment and the measures it takes to tackle some of the burning climate crisis issues.
Finding an influencer that matches your conscious brand values is a major part of successful advertising. Check out our free influencer search tool that you can use to filter for eco-friendly influencers here.
2. Develop a branding style that would help convey the sustainable nature of the business
On par with the USP that helps differentiate you from other companies in the industry, the other factor influencing your image is the company’s branding style. The more sustainable it is — and the less polluting the components of your chain supply are — the higher is the likelihood of your business being perceived as eco-friendly.
Here are some of the ideas for a sustainable branding style that could then be used in your digital marketing strategy:
- Pick colors and hues that are suitable for an eco-friendly business. Whites, greens, blues, yellows, and purples are considered to be the most fitting for designing a logo and the product packaging.
- Go for recyclable packaging or no packaging which is also known as ‘naked packaging’. This minimizes the negative environmental impact of your company and puts it in the first row of sustainable businesses.
- Develop an authentic tone of voice for your company and stick with it. MailChimp is, for example, notorious for its friendly, dry-humored voice that’s supported by a clear and informal tone.
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3. Explore blogging and social media as ways to spread the word about the company
Now that you have the technicalities sorted, you can start using the foundation you built in designing your very own digital marketing strategy. We recommend you to look into blogging and social media first as these are methods of advertising that, along with SEO and newsletters, continue to rank high year after year.
For blog posts to drive a good amount of organic traffic to your website, they have to deliver value. They also have to be well-researched, well-written, and offer information relevant to the niche your business is in. If they’re optimized for SEO too, new leads are guaranteed.
The same approach applies to social media. Used to create communities around a brand, platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter help bridge the gap between the customer and the company. They allow you to create content that will resonate with your target audience and keep them engaged at all times.
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Toyota does it best with their green Facebook posts that give customers car-related tips and tricks while also encouraging them to participate in conversations about how certain car models can reduce CO2 emissions.
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4. Create marketing campaigns raising awareness about the magnitude of your green efforts
To earn the trust of your newly-built brand-centered community, you should build a reputation for yourself as an eco-friendly company with a sustainable approach to running a business. Enter digital marketing campaigns.
Start by issuing press releases that show your support of green causes that align with your company’s beliefs. Share them with your followers in your weekly or monthly newsletters and on social media. When you get a response, engage with those customers and, on occasions like Earth Day or Plastic Free July, invite them to donate to environment-focus organizations of their choice.
Bonus tip: Don’t shy away from organizing green-themed webinars and workshops on behalf of your company. Topics like zero-waste living and environmentally-conscious consumption are trending for a reason — they struck a chord with consumers that care about the environment and want to make a difference. And if your business can help them on their journey, you’re both winning.
5. Collaborate with influencers and brands with similar values to scale faster
It’s hard to make it on your own and it’s even harder to become among the best in your industry without outside help. This is where influential digital personas and other companies come in handy.
To find your tribe and establish long-term relationships with others, do your research and consider reaching out to local businesses first. Just like diving locally and eating at restaurants that serve food made from local ingredients, supporting what’s within a 30-minute distance is much smarter from the environmental point of view than what’s across the ocean.
By finding manufacturers that aren’t as competitive and influencers with smaller but still just as loyal audiences, you’re making it easier for your eco-friendly business to create partnerships that stand the test of time.
Looking for some local eats? These top NYC food bloggers have got you covered. Check out the full list of influencers here.
From this point on, customers won’t only demand businesses to manufacture and market their products sustainably but also turn away from those that refuse to do so. This sets a certain standard regardless of the industry the company is in that forces it to think outside of the box and come up with sustainable solutions to the old issues.
To stay on top of the competition and not be swallowed by businesses with bigger budgets that will comply with the new ‘normal’ straight away, start working on designing your digital marketing strategy today. Don’t wait until someone shows you how — take the lead yourself.
Author bio: Torben Lonne is an entrepreneur, dad, scuba diver, and digital marketing geek. He is the co-founder of Divein.com, an online magazine for eco-friendly travelers. Torben likes to write on the topics within his specialty and has been featured in media publications such as The Washington Post, Dell Technologies, Business.com, and Greenpeace to name a few.