It is a well-established fact that the world needs to act on environmental protection now. The awareness about sustainability and environment-friendly products is on the rise. Both governments and common people are moving towards eco-friendly behavior. At this point, businesses also need to pull up their socks and enter the green marketing arena. This is essential not just to do their parts towards sustainability, but also to stay relevant in the market. The consumer demands are leaning towards green products, and there is no way businesses can thrive while ignoring social and environmental responsibilities.
What is green marketing?
The green marketing definition is promoting a product or service, by highlighting its eco-friendly attributes. The green element may be in the actual product or the raw materials used in producing the product, or the packaging materials, or even the way the business is run. For example, if you are a restaurant, you can promote your water use efficiency and the selection of organic vegetables and groceries used in your recipes. If you are an ecommerce business, you can use recycled materials while packaging the products for delivery.
Even if your product or service is not directly contributing to environmental sustainability, you can still leverage the green marketing strategy, by bringing small changes in the way you run your business. You can email invoices to your customers instead of sending a hard copy, and thereby save paper usage. You can avoid use of elevators and air-conditioners in your office.
The scope of making a business eco-friendly is so huge that we can make a whole quiz asking ‘Which of the following is an example of green marketing?’. That would be an interesting exercise indeed.
World-wide, consumers are becoming aware and woke. Green marketing will help you attract those consumers who want to contribute to a good cause.
It will help you in positioning your product as a superior brand compared to other competitors. Even if your services are very similar to that of your competitors, you can differentiate yourself through your sustainability initiatives.
Consumers tend to be more loyal to a brand, when it not just fulfills a functional need, but also brings a mental satisfaction. Eco-friendliness is a definite recipe for giving consumers a sense of pride and gratification, while they spend on their daily needs.
More and more consumers are getting ready to pay a premium price for green products. Irrespective of whether the cost of production increases due to eco-friendly practices, you can charge your consumers more and tap the enthusiasm in the market to your advantage.
Initiatives such as collecting the packaging materials back and reusing/recycling it, cutting down on energy consumption, emailing invoices, etc. can actually save you money.
If you are a startup, looking for funding for your business, then green marketing can definitely make a difference in the way your company is perceived by potential investors. In fact, in recent times, it is difficult for companies who don’t have a sustainability quotient in their business, to get any investment at all.
Tips to do green marketing right
While green marketing sounds so simple, it is important to get it right in the first go. Remember, consumer memory is strong and if you get caught in a bad PR row, it will be very difficult to set it straight again. Here are a few tips to help you sail through the nuances of green marketing.
While eco-friendliness of a business builds consumer loyalty, lack of it destroys your brand image. On top of it, if you are doing green marketing without actually following sustainable practices in your business, the damage will be even more. The act of falsely promoting a product or service as green is called green-washing. It is wise to stay away from this malpractice if you don’t want to risk your reputation.
Along with sharing information about why your product is green, you can also inspire consumers to go green in other ways. While you can educate your customer that the act of buying your product itself is a contribution to sustainability, you can also share knowledge about other ways of protecting the environment. For example, while telling the users that your product is manufactured with minimum consumption of water, you can also share with them some tips to save water in their daily activities. The ‘Turn Off the Faucet’ campaign by Colgate is a good example of building a deep relationship with consumers through green marketing.
One efficient way of doing green marketing is to show how much carbon emission the consumer has reduced by choosing to buy your product rather than your competitor’s. For example, suppose you are running an online platform that connects people who commute daily by cars and encourages them to car-pool. Every time a user shares a ride with another user, you can congratulate him by calculating the number of carbon emissions he just saved.
You can also ask the consumer to explicitly donate to an environmental cause, that your business is working on. This comes under corporate social responsibility, which is mandatory for businesses in most of the countries. Once you decide the issue that you want to work on, create awareness among your consumers about it, and every time they buy a product from you, you can give them an option of donating a meagre amount, as little as one dollar, towards that cause.
In green marketing, it is crucial to get the numbers right. Quantify the impact of your green initiatives, and trumpet it on your website and social media pages. And, don’t forget to add some lush green images to your mix.
Examples of green marketing
While green marketing can be seen all around you, here at Strikingly, we have chosen a couple of really innovative and effective websites that are committed to environmental sustainability in letter and spirit.
Confarm is a novel initiative towards helping farmers to take up organic farming, and consumers to enjoy healthy foods free of pesticide residues. This is achieved by connecting the consumer directly with the farmers, and sponsoring the organic cultivation. As the consumer is involved in the crop production from the beginning of the season, there is a good trust between the consumer and the farmer.
Confarm promotes its service, not just as organic but also as a natural way of farming. The emphasis on cultivating local crops and varieties, rather than hybrids or GMOs attracts consumers who want to go back to their roots. Confarm recognizes its clients by listing them on their website and honoring them for their contribution.
In addition to environmental sustainability, the company also works towards another sustainability goal, which is women empowerment. Most farmers who benefit from Confarm are women from marginal communities. The website greets the users with a photograph of a happy woman farmer who has benefited from their business. This is a sure way of giving the user an idea of the change they can bring in an individual’s life and the community as a whole.
Trashange is a consumer product company that sells eco-friendly cutleries. The world is moving at a fast pace and everything including cutlery has become ‘use-and-throw’. While it is environmentally taxing to produce such large quantities of one-time-use plates, boxes, spoons, etc., after eating, they are mostly dumped in landfills and stay there for an eternity. Trashange is solving this problem through its biodegradable cutleries.
The website is fully focused on green marketing, and the stage is set clearly right from the landing page. The message and picture in the landing page will definitely strike a chord with customers who want to reduce their carbon footprint.
The site shows appropriate Calls To Action (CTA) such as ‘Save the earth now’ and ‘Subscribe’. Trash age makes good use of Strikingly’s green marketing products. One such example is the newsletter feature, which enables Trashange to keep in touch with its users and share its achievements without adding to the environmental burden. Social media sharing buttons have been added at the footer, to encourage users to share the web page with their friends and connections.
Ace green marketing with Strikingly
Strikingly provides you ample green marketing solutions, that will pull the right kind of audience to your platform. First of all, by hosting your website with Strikingly’s free web hosting service, you can leverage the power of cloud computing and reduce the carbon footprint of an on-premise server.
When it comes to website design, Strikingly offers you a host of templates suitable for green marketing. With nature and scenery themes, you can give your website the eco-look. Through online payment integrations, digital billing, and e-newsletters, Strikingly cuts down your consumption of paper, thereby reducing deforestation.
We hope you would have got your inspiration from the green marketing examples and ideas that we discussed here. Launch your Strikingly website today, and make your business truly green.