ARTICLE

Sustainable marketing: 9 ways to make your marketing more environmentally conscious

Sustainable is a buzzword that has become commonplace in our modern-day vocabulary. As more and more of us make a concerted effort to do more to protect the planet, there has never been a better time to capitalise on the popularity of sustainable, eco-friendly products and to adapt your marketing strategy accordingly.

Nielsen polled 30,000 consumers in 60 countries around the world. They wanted to know more about what influences how people feel about brands, and how those feelings impact buying behaviour.

One overwhelming conclusion of the report: across the board, people are willing to pay extra for one thing: sustainability.

In line with this demand, there is significant growth in the markets for environmentally-friendly items and services.  Your business can benefit from making marketing more sustainable. If you’re serious about going green and not just ‘greenwashing’, here are 9 ways you can make a difference at the same time as enhancing your brand reputation and attracting new customers. 

Let your website do the talking

There are few investments that are more crucial in this day and age than a brilliant website. Rather than spending more on traditional marketing techniques, focus on driving traffic to your website and enticing online clients and shoppers. Online shopping is booming, and even if you don’t sell products online, you can use your site to convey key marketing messages, provide contact details, and inform interested parties about who you are and what you do. Concentrate on delivering a website that will appeal to your target buyer, and make sure it is visible and accessible. A mobile-first attitude is essential, so all your pages must be mobile-friendly. Once you’ve got the aesthetics pinned down, make sure the navigation is stress-free and seamless, include a call-to-action on every page, and ensure that it takes seconds to either complete a purchase or make an enquiry. 

Switch to sustainable promotional products

Promotional products are a great way to get your brand noticed at trade shows, fairs, and corporate events. If you’re used to handing out gifts made from plastic, now is the time to switch to more eco-friendly alternatives, such as those made from recycled materials or reusable freebies. Buyers are interested in greener living, and you can utilise your products, not only to get people talking about your brand but also to ensure they have a positive perception of your business. Highlight the fact that the promotional items you’re giving away are eco-friendly, and make sure the products you choose will appeal to your target audience.

Harness the power of social media

Social media is one of the most effective and environmentally-friendly platforms for conveying design communications and marketing communications. With social networks, you can promote your brand and upsell your products and services in a much greener way than posting flyers or paying for print adverts. If you do want to get more out of your online marketing campaigns, it’s a great idea to link your social accounts to your website and to focus on creating content that is relevant to your ideal customer. Consider the age of your followers, their interests, the kind of content they like to encounter online, and how they spend their time on the net. Here’s 5 inspirational instagram accounts to inspire you.  

Use recycled paper

Digital marketing is all the rage, but sometimes, businesses prefer to combine techniques and mix the old with the new. Printing on paper isn’t the most sustainable means of promoting your business, but paper is one of the few truly sustainable products. The paper industry has a number of respected certification schemes ensuring the paper you use has come from a sustainable forest source. The two most recognisable certifications are the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™), check for these when you buy your paper.

Put sustainability projects into your marketing message

If you’re on a mission to make your marketing campaigns more sustainable, let your customers know. People have an active interest in the environment, and highlighting the changes you’re making will help you enhance your brand reputation and find common ground with your clients. By adjusting the way you employ marketing techniques and choosing specific methods or channels, you can create a greener selling-point for your business.  Be wary of ‘greenwashing’ though, don’t make the mistake of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of your product, service, technology or company practice. Trying to make your company appear more environmentally friendly than it really is, can easily backfire.

Make the most of SEO

Tradition marketing used adverts, leaflets, brochures, and word of mouth to drum up interest, our marketing mix was much smaller and more expensive in many ways. Today, it’s easier and quicker to use the Internet to create a buzz and make your brand more visible. SEO, search engine optimisation, is an effective means of attracting customers without increasing your carbon footprint or using resources that aren’t sustainable. The primary aim of SEO is to improve your search ranking to encourage more web users to click on your links and visit your website. Optimise web content, use social media posts to attract attention, and make sure the content you produce is original, fresh, useful, and engaging. Use keywords naturally and subtly and add catchy titles and informative, succinct descriptions. 

Supporting environmental projects

There’s a huge amount of interest in the environment, and more and more brands are using the relationships they have with charities and projects to market their products and services. If you have partnerships in place, shout it from the rooftops. If people can contribute to a cause by supporting your business, this could set you apart from competitors.   Major current environmental issues include climate change, pollution, environmental degradation, and resource depletion. The conservation movement lobbies for protection of endangered species and protection of any ecologically valuable natural areas, genetically modified foods and global warming.  Make the most of local press coverage for your business and look for a cause close to your heart and aligned with your business ethics to support.

Team up with local businesses, suppliers, and vendors

If you sell products, and you source supplies, your marketing strategy could benefit from joining forces with local providers and suppliers. Many customers prefer to buy local, and you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint in the meantime.

Greenwashing is the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice.

Swap mail for email

With access to an inbox 24 hours a day, we are bombarded with messages fighting for our attention. Email marketing is obviously a more environmentally-friendly means of staying in touch with customers, and it’s much faster, cheaper and more popular than traditional mail. It takes a matter of seconds to send a message, it’s free of charge, and the recipient will receive your communication instantly. However, you don’t want to end up in the spam folder or bin, so make sure you include links, share news of discounts, and make sure the title is captivating and intriguing. Personalised emails have a much higher open-rate than standard messages. 

If you can reduce your carbon footprint, invest in recycled and reusable products, and prioritise online marketing methods, you could save time and money, whilst ensuring your customers have a positive perception of your brand. 

Talk to Peek to find out more about sustainable marketing principles and practices for your business.