There are many different ways to be “green” these days. Environmental sustainability can be applied to nearly every aspect of our lives from the cars we drive to the light bulbs we use. Aside from selling “green” products, how can your business make a difference for the environment? Green marketing is one way to achieve this goal.
E-marketing is a great idea for many reasons. E-mail, social media, blogs and online news sources have supplanted printed communications in many people’s lives. So in order to reach some target audiences, e-marketing is an important component of today’s marketing plans. Going electronic is also a green marketing tactic. Replacing printed materials with electronic versions, whenever possible, eliminates the environmental impact associated with paper production and printing. It also cuts out any energy required for delivery of the materials because there is no physical marketing piece to mail, ship or otherwise distribute. Finding an electronic replacement for communications with a short shelf life, such as newsletters, invitations and direct mail postcards, prevents them from falling into a landfill as well. E-mail blasts, e-newsletters, e-mail invitations and blogs are all great marketing tools that have proven effective. Like many green tactics, going electronic has a secondary benefit of eliminating costs associated with traditional marketing, such as printing and shipping, as well.
Using recycled paper is a start, but have you ever considered designing a printed piece to be reused? For example, a stitched brochure might work just as well as a pocket folder with inserts. The inserts can be printed in small quantities so they can be updated as necessary. Since the pocket folder doesn’t go out of date, it continues to be usable as it is filled with new inserts. Some companies even encourage customers to help them recycle packaging such as pizza boxes. Customers receive a discount for bringing back their pizza box for recycling. It effectively sends the message “we are a green company,” and the customers have to return to participate in the effort. Even adding a simple reminder such as “Please Recycle” to printed marketing materials and packaging can go a long way to communicating your commitment to sustainability with customers.
If you’re a business to business (B2B) company and enjoy frequent meetings with clients, you can be greener by teleconferencing with them instead. In situations where it is appropriate, it saves gas, not to mention travel time. The further you would have traveled to meet your client, the greater the energy, time and cost savings. Be sure to make it clear that the suggestion to teleconference is part of your commitment to environmental sustainability.
When it comes to event planning, webinars and podcasts are a very impactful green alternative. Rather than holding an event that requires people to come to you and utilizing all the energy required to air condition, light and set up a space for them, hold a webinar or podcast to bring your message to their mobile device, home or office computer. As with teleconferencing, they’ll appreciate the time and costs savings, and you’ll realize your goals of being greener. At the very least, you could opt to have a keynote speaker teleconference their presentation to avoid the energy impact of flying them in for the event.
Take full advantage of your green marketing program by crafting key messages about these efforts. Share the launch of new environmental initiatives where appropriate. Perhaps it is part of the About Us page on your website. Share the news on your blog, and ask customers to “like” your ideas for sustainable marketing in social media posts. Engage your customers by asking them for feedback about customizing green marketing tactics for your business. As with all marketing initiatives, authenticity is critical. Don’t overstate your commitment to being green, and respect the fact that even small steps to a more environmentally sustainable marketing program will be appreciated by customers.
If you’re interested in developing a greener marketing plan, let us know. The team at Priority Marketing would be happy to help you evaluate your current program and customize it to meet both your marketing needs and your green goals. Also, if you have any cool green marketing ideas, please share them. The possibilities are endless!