Many businesses are going green, and more and more customers are siding with environmentally-conscious businesses. A green initiative is a marketable aspect of your business and its products. However, slapping a green label on everything with the words “environmentally-friendly” won’t really cut it anymore. In order to market the best of your environmental practices – also known as green marketing – there needs to be a bit more thought behind how it is marketed.
Be specific and transparent
It is not sufficient to just have a sustainable idea. What about your products or business practices are green? It can be very hard to make every business process as environmentally safe as possible. Marketing a blanket statement of environmental sustainability masks the aspects of your business that are not as environmentally sustainable as others.
Marketing specific points of your practices will draw attention to your green initiative practices without making it seem as if other aspects are being hidden behind said initiative. For example, if you have switched ingredients to ones that are more sustainable, mention that specifically instead of shouting out how environmentally responsible you are being. It is easy to point out aspects that may not fit with the sustainability image. While the ingredients are sustainably sourced, is the packaging sustainable?
It is a subtle difference, but focusing on what is specifically sustainable instead of using blanket statements gives off a sense of transparency. This is what green customers want from businesses. Transparency builds trust between the business and its customers and makes your efforts seem more authentic.
Actually aim for sustainability
Authentic efforts are what green customers want to see. If you are only driving home one sustainable factor, but everything else about your business screams the opposite, be prepared to be taken to task for it. Social media has become a platform for people to voice their concerns and call others out. You don’t want to be called out for greenwashing.
What is greenwashing? Greenwashing is the process of conveying misleading information about green practices that make your business seem more environmentally conscious than it actually is. Being called out for greenwashing makes your business seem manipulative and uncaring about the environment. You can try to sugarcoat things as much as you want, but data-savvy customers will be able to see through your facades and you will lose their trust. Even if you eventually do decide to genuinely follow green practices in the future, it will be harder to regain that trust.
A business’s sustainability efforts should be built into the business itself. Consider the context of the issue your business wants to address and how it fits in with your already established brand.
Green marketing should be green
Yes, green marketing itself should be green. It does not make sense to promote environmental practices on flyers that produce so much waste. That is why digital marketing fits well with green marketing; it reduces expenses while also producing less waste in the process.
The visuals itself is just as important as other aspects of your marketing. There is an association between green and sustainability. There is a reason it is called “green marketing” after all. Green colours immediately hint at green practices.
However, sometimes green practices can increase business costs. Studies have shown that on average, many green customers are okay with paying about a 35% premium for environmentally-friendly products. Thus, if you can justify a price increase well, your business can cover its green initiative costs. Be careful though, green itself won’t sell if it is all you are offering. Core expectations such as price, convenience, quality, and performance need to be addressed first. If going green requires a big sacrifice by switching from better products to yours, you are not going to attract many customers than if you otherwise provide the same quality products and services but with an added green touch. Green marketing works best when it attracts more than only the most devout environmentalists.