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As an entrepreneur, creating a sustainable business can be a great experience. There are significant benefits, ranging from cost reductions to improved brand reputation. Let’s not forget that you’ll be contributing to protecting the planet at a time in which industry is responsible for a large percentage of waste and emissions. This is, of course, to say nothing of the potential profitability of your venture. An increasingly environmentally-conscious public is making more ethical purchasing decisions. Some estimates put the market for sustainable products at around $2.65 trillion, which is a tempting draw for any business owner.
Nevertheless, your company can’t make an impact on the planet or your bottom line if the public doesn't know you exist. Indeed, one of the challenges of engaging with the sustainability market is that your business is far from the only player. You need to create marketing campaigns to cut through the crowd and show what you have to offer the community.
We’re going to examine a handful of tips you should implement to market your sustainable business effectively.
Be Mindful of Your Methods
The first thing to be aware of when marketing your sustainable business is the techniques you choose to use. The public is far savvier about how green methods are than in previous decades. They also have far less patience for half-measures in ethical practices. As such, your approach to your marketing needs to mirror the sustainable standards your business’ products represent.
Wherever possible, minimize your use of traditional and physical marketing methods. If you must utilize paper advertisements or even billboard posters, ensure these are produced using recycled and renewable materials. If you’re using mobile advertising methods in local communities, make sure your vehicles are electrically powered or hybrid fuelled. The last thing you want is for your top-of-funnel marketing to immediately be questioned as hypocritical.
Your packaging can also be a vital form of branding and helps to make immediate consumer connections in stores. However, you still need to reduce the amount of material being used. It’s also wise to go a little further than this. Include instructions on your packaging about how customers can most responsibly dispose of or even reuse the material. This provides practical advice for consumers and communicates your commitment to green practices.
Nevertheless, it is preferable to lean into digital marketing methods rather than traditional, more resource-heavy approaches. You need to bear in mind, though, that digital doesn’t necessarily mean green. Marketing teams or information technology (IT) professionals should seek out sustainable cloud platforms and servers on which to host online marketing materials. Your business should use clean energy providers so your activities aren’t damaging the environment. Even marketing staff themselves should use refurbished computer equipment where available.
Showcase Authenticity and Transparency
It isn’t just the sustainable nature of your products that will ensure they sell. There are plenty of green producers on the market and this alone isn’t a reason for the public to engage. One aspect that does draw attention, though, is how authentically your business is committed to the sustainable values of your demographic. Indeed, a recent survey found that 90% of consumers consider authenticity important when making purchasing decisions. As such, it can be wise to market your sustainable brand on a platform of authenticity.
Perhaps the most effective way to be authentic in your sustainability is by being transparent. Create marketing materials that give customers the tools they need to review the actions of your business. Create pages on your website outlining how your ethical and environmental standards factor into your activities. Importantly, provide access to the studies and reviews your company performs on where you’re succeeding in sustainability and where you fall short. Post links to these on social media, inviting your consumers to get an honest look at what you do.
Video marketing can also be effective here. Provide behind-the-scenes looks at your manufacturing and logistics processes. Perform interviews not just with executives but with regular staff about their sustainable activities. Even small businesses today can create professional-looking videos with accessible video editing tools. These software platforms can also allow you to easily adjust the format of content to fit social media tools like TikTok and Instagram. This empowers your marketing team to showcase your transparency to a wider audience and younger demographics.
Connect with the Community
Sustainability is, at its heart, a community issue. Unless we all work together, it’s going to be difficult to create lasting change. As a business, you can be a powerful tool in making a difference in your community. Similarly, the connections you make with locals can boost your marketing efforts. So, you need to find ways to engage meaningfully here.
Creating events can be an excellent place to start. Something fun yet educational tends to be effective. Provide local entertainment but also host booths with information on sustainability efforts in the community. This also strengthens the association the public has between your brand and the subject of sustainability. It’s vital to plan thoroughly so your event stays organized and achieves a positive impact. Make sure all staff and organizers are aware of the goals for the day and that they’re clear of their responsibilities. Make sure any vendors for the event maintain high sustainability standards, too.
Even if you can’t host a full event, get involved with local and national sustainability initiatives. As a marketing tool, this is really only effective if you approach it in a meaningful way. Simply providing funding isn’t likely to be enough. Offer staff and practical business resources to have a direct effect on projects and connect with the community. Make sure you post about these efforts on your social media channels. This both drives further community involvement and highlights your association with such initiatives.
A growing marketplace of sustainable businesses is a positive shift, but it also means you need to consider how you market your company. Remember to only utilize methods that conform to high green and ethical standards. Demonstrate your authenticity to the public through transparency. Establish stronger community association and engagement with events and initiatives. With genuine commitment and mindful communication of your efforts, you can help your business thrive while making a positive difference.