Green Marketing Has Big Benefits
Green marketing is an effective way to promote your business, with benefits for everyone involved. And though you may think of “going green” with your small business as difficult or even expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised at how extensive those big benefits can be.
Marketing is an excellent area to work on making your small business more environmentally friendly. Just a few changes can make a big impact on your public image, and believe it or not, they can have a positive impact on your revenue, and your business as a whole.
Green Takes Planning & Time
You don’t have to tackle everything at once. Just like you would make a change to your lifestyle, making an adjustment here and there as you go along is the best way to get started. Just keep at it, making adjustments when and where it’s convenient or most beneficial, and you’ll eventually find yourself “Green” all across the board.
Green Products and Services
Green marketing has two primary aspects. Firstly, product and service creation and selling are focused around environmental considerations. Not only does todays’ savvy consumer look more fondly towards businesses that clearly have the environment in mind, as we will discuss a bit later there are benefits when it comes to taxes too.
What is “Green Marketing”? Well, “going green” means taking the environment into consideration when making decisions about your business. To begin with, just take a good look at your products, services and day to day operations.
Identify areas where you could be more ecofriendly, like using non-chemical options for cleaning and product creation. You may even find that chemical alternatives are actually less costly than their chemical counterparts while being just as effective. Or maybe you can start by giving customers incentive to return things like glass bottles, plastic or wire hangers etc.
Again, you don’t have to do a whole makeover of every aspect of your business, and you don’t have to go for the most expensive and extensive changes first; simply start making some changes where you can. For example, a laundromat could start by using cold water for washing instead of hot water, offering gentle, chemical free detergents, and re-usable laundry bags. This will go a long way towards helping reduce your impact on the environment, long before you ever go to the extent to install water and energy-efficient machines.
Green Marketing Approaches
As the name implies, green marketing also involves changes to your marketing efforts. You can choose options that have a lower impact on the environment, like producing your sales materials digitally instead of on paper. Since digital marketing is now a must for any serious business, you’ll want to start marketing on the web anyway. This single alteration can have a huge impact on the environment, as well as your bottom line.
When you absolutely have to have printed materials, choose ink and paper that use less resources to produce and/or are more quickly and easily biodegradable. Options like recycled, non-glossy paper, and soy ink make a significant difference in comparison to shiny, coated paper and chemical-based inks.
When it comes to packaging if you sell tangible goods, your choice of packaging has a major impact. Use more paper and less plastic in your product packaging, and make efforts to use recycled materials whenever possible. Keep packing materials down to a minimum, yet enough to ensure that your products arrive undamaged. Here again, paper and ink will affect how recyclable the packaging will be. If you use plastic, choosing a recyclable plastic that can be repurposed will help ensure that your packaging is not helping to fill up landfills all over the world.
Super Green Products
If possible, you may want to check into producing digital products rather than physical ones. These are entirely environmentally friendly items because there is noly shipping, no packaging, no warehousing…and these products are incidentally far cheaper for you to get into because there are no costs to create them. You simply create the product, like an eBook, graphic, music etc. and when your customers buy it they can instantly download it. Simply Green!
Now, if you currently sell only physical products or services you may be wondering how in the world you could switch to digital goods instead. Fact is, if you have a successful business then you most certainly know your industry or niche well, and you are obviously qualified to create digital items in regards to it. You may even find that you can offer your service more effectively and efficiently by switching to some sort of digital delivery rather than personally delivering that service.
For instance, if you teach a crochet class in addition to selling hand-made, crochet items, you may find that digital training products would not only help you reach more customers, but boost your income as well. And if you manufacture physical goods like organic essential oils for instance, you may be better off selling video courses on how to make those oils, showing the ingredients and the procedure for making them etc. This could seriously increase your sales while lowering your environmental impact.
So if you would like to make an even bigger change to your business, you may think to add some digital products to your product line, or even switch to these super green items entirely. I discussed digital products over at Western Slope Web Design Co here if you would like more information, or you can Download the How To Create Digital Products guide here for FREE (Video Graphics Edge is my new graphics eStore). So be sure to download this beneficial guide for free and read it if you are interested In going to Green Digital products!
Those little things that go on every day, coffee, cleaning and so on, those are excellent places to go green with ease. You can make big changes in lowering your operating costs, and help the environment by changing just 1 thing each month around your office.
Set up hard drives and cloud storage so you can make good back-ups instead of hitting “print” to save on paper around the office. And you can change to online billing to reduce even more paper product usage. This is easy with the Paypal invoicing/billing feature – your customers will enjoy the convenience, and it’s free for you to use! This “paperless office” method saves tons of money on ink and paper, tons of time and man-power filing paperwork, and makes a huge difference in your eco footprint.
And how about other things around the office? Those paper cups and disposable coffee filters or pods can be easily changed to standard, energy-efficient coffee maker machines and re-usable or stainless-steel filters. And instead of throwing them out, coffee grounds can help keep your office plants vibrant and green. Use hot air blowers for drying hands in the wash room, and provide recycled paper towels instead of regular white paper products. Use energy-efficient bulbs for lighting, and make sure to purchase energy-efficient computers next time around. Small though they may seem, changes like this will start to make a big difference after a while.
When choosing cleaning products for your office or facility, opt for green cleaners without harsh chemicals to cut down on pollution and risk of allergic reactions.
Green Tax Breaks
The benefits of Green Marketing extend to your taxes too. Recent years have seen big changes in tax policies, with tax incentives for everything from installing energy-efficient lighting and heating in your facility to turning to digital billing.
Be A Green Influence
While we will discuss ethics further in just a moment, you should take the time to consider your influence on other businesses, like your competitors and your customers. If your company is already a major authority in your industry or niche, you’ll be helping to encourage your competitors to go green too. Because your (wise) competitors will look to you for direction when it comes to marketing and everything else, they will follow suit when they see you make moves towards being Green Minded. And your customers are likely to be motivated by your eco-minded policies as well. So it could be said that, as a major influencer, you have the responsibility to go green and be a good role model in your niche or industry, for your customers and clients.
Ethics Of Going Green
Once you start down the path of green marketing, you will find that it links to personal values and other ethical considerations as well. For instance, it is common for green-minded marketers to source raw materials or buy wholesale from “fair trade” co-ops and small businesses, for both their office goods as well as products.
This ensures that the businesses get quality, natural and/or organic ingredients and goods. Meanwhile, they are helping sustain small suppliers, like coffee farmers, through fair trade so that they get paid a fair wage for their produce and goods. This helps farming communities and families keep their way of life, and keeps those green products flowing into the market. So you can buy your office goods like coffee, tea, and cocoa through fair trade, and re-sell Fair Trade clothing, jewelry and other goods.
Your customers will appreciate you sharing your Green mindset with them, whether you help them discover it, or they were green-minded to begin with. Because it’s not just about selling, Green is a way of life. In fact, as more and more people come to understand that we are all connected through the environment we live in, and we must take steps to protect our environment, it’s an increasingly popular mindset these days.
Basically, the Green mindset helps you communicate and make deep emotional connections with your eco-friendly customers. And there are a lot of those out there these days, with more coming on board each day. So putting the planet first is not only a considerate way to do business, it can lead you to greater profits and boost your business.
I can tell you that I have been extremely happy with Green Marketing. I have sold fair trade products from some of my eCommerce sites for years using only organic traffic. And I have moved into digital products in the past 2 years, which has allowed me to expand my reach as a web coach, and help more people. Everyone seems to enjoy the convenience and affordability of the digital products I create, and that makes me happy. All of my businesses utilize digital billing and correspondance, something I know my clients and customers also appreciate. As far as I’m concerned it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of how Green Marketing Has Big Benefits. Once you make a few changes and see the difference Green Marketing can make, perhaps you’ll decide it’s time to take a good look at your entire business and make larger changes for an overall Green Business.