For many business owners, relying on green products and services as a key business strategy may not be an effective option. However, if you are already competitive in terms of price, quality, and performance, adding an environmentally friendly aspect to your marketing efforts can help increase your market share among the growing number of consumers concerned about the environment.
The following tips can increase the effectiveness of your green marketing campaign and make your products and services more attractive to environmentally conscious consumers.
Walk the green walk. You have to do more than just talk about being green or labeling your products as environmentally friendly. An estimated 43% of shoppers actively seek out environmental information on products, according to research by Cone Communications (Cone Communications 2012), and eight out of ten consumers do not believe companies are addressing all of their environmental impacts. To build and maintain trust, spell out exactly how your products or services benefit the environment compared to alternative products on the market, and follow up on all of your green claims. See regulations for green marketing claimsfrom the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
Get certified. Green labels and certifications provide consumers with evidence that your products have been tested according to a set of standards. When purchasing an environmental product, 81% of shoppers are likely to be swayed by eco-labels, according to Cone. Green certifications such as ENERGY STAR,WaterSense, and Green Seal can help your products stand out in the marketplace as goods that can help conserve energy and reduce environmental impact. Once certified, use the labels in your packaging and marketing materials to help consumers make educated choices.
Emphasize the personal. While potential customers may be concerned about the environment, green products and services often cost a little more so it helps to promote personal benefits they may receive. For example, organic foods or green cleaning supplies may be safer and healthier to consumer because they are free of pesticides or toxins. Energy-efficient appliances or electronic equipment may cost less to operate or last longer than standard models. By focusing on the personal as well as the planet, you can have a winning sales strategy.
Your green marketing strategy can go beyond your product and service offerings to branding your business as green. Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream is an example of a company known for being environmentally friendly. There are a variety of things you can do to enhance the green image of your organization. Restaurants for example, can include organic food choices or tout locally grown items. Laundromats can showcase their water conservation efforts.
For building owners, ENERGY STAR or LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification can demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency, as well as improve your overall public image.
By building a green brand, you can enhance your appeal to a growing and important consumer segment, making your products and/or services—as well as your organization—stand out in the market.
Clifford, Stephanie. "As Consumers Cut Spending, ‘Green’ Products Lose Allure". New York Times. April 21, 2011.
Cone Communications LLC. Cone Green Gap Gap Trend Tracker. 2012
Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA). "Despite Proliferation of Green Products, Over Forty Percent of American Adults Believe the Movement is Just Getting Started". Press Release. June 4, 2012.