green marketing ideasShow your business cares about the environment by focusing on green product advantages and eco-friendly business practices in your marketing messages and strategies

Green marketing is a trend that many businesses have chosen to adopt, while for others it is also a way of doing business. The global strain on our planet and environment, coupled with a consumer desire to choose eco-friendly products for healthier living, creates opportunities for businesses to market themselves as environmentally conscious. Aligning a business with green practices is a great selling point for small businesses and, in some cases, the concept of “green” has created whole new line of product and service opportunities for small businesses to explore.

Whether you are running a business entirely focused on green products or services, or you are simply looking to connect with consumers interested in doing business with companies that are eco-friendly, green marketing can be a positive tactic for small businesses in their overall marketing strategy.

Here are some green marketing ideas for eco-friendly small businesses to demonstrate how they care about the environment or offer a green solution for customers.

Create an Eco-Friendly Selling Point

Your green marketing strategy should be a business strategy and not just a marketing gimmick. The most thoughtful green marketing strategy and idea is to actually create real eco-friendly selling points for your small business. Determine how you can alter your business practices or the product itself to be more green and eco-friendly. A strategy may be marketing that your product as a “low-energy” solution. Having a product or service that uses less energy or produces less waste than a traditional method is a great differentiator.

Promoting healthier living with fewer chemicals is also a great selling point for consumers – particularly those that have pets or children. This green marketing idea is ideal for businesses that offer services like carpet cleaning with non-toxic cleaning agents or lawn care with non-chemical weed killers.   If your business offers a green product line or service that is the main focus of your business, you’ll want to be sure your eco-friendly selling points are front and center in your marketing messages.

Key selling points for green marketing may include phrases like:

  • Low-energy solution
  • Sustainable product
  • Non-toxic ingredients
  • Low waste (or emissions)
  • Chemical free
  • Recycled materials

Brand with Green Logos or Insignias

If your product has a green offering, or if your business participates in eco-friendly practices, make use of a variety of logos and insignias for your marketing and company branding that represent green. This includes your website, advertising, marketing materials, signage, business cards, packaging and vehicle graphics. Logo examples include the standard recycling arrow logo, Energy Star Rating logo, membership logos (such as U.S. Green Building Council or EPA). Companies can also consider designing a custom logo that is specific to their business or industry as an effective tool to communicate their green offering and stand out from the competition.

If you are looking for a few good tools to help you with creating a green logo for your business, check out our branding and graphics tools for online logo creation companies. For example,  The Logo Company offers custom logo design services for just $149.

Print on Recycled Paper

A well-known way to conserve resources, recycled paper is an easy way to subtly demonstrate that your business is environmentally conscious. Most printing vendors offer an option to have marketing brochures, flyers or business cards printed on recycled paper that is almost as inexpensive as regular paper. If you have a business that is very focused on environmental concerns and green marketing is a big differentiator, than spending a few extra dollars on recycled paper is very important first step in a green marketing strategy.

Online printing companies like VistaPrint offer recycled paper options on most of their print products. VistaPrint also offers free shipping and 25% off first orders to make it more affordable for small businesses to choose printing on recycled paper.

Invest in Online Marketing

Online marketing, or e-marketing, is much more environmentally friendly than offline marketing like direct mail or printed advertising. The good news for small businesses is that it is also much cheaper to use online marketing. Placing an online banner ad is a low-cost alternative to a print ad and produces no printed waste or negative impact on the environment. Social media is also a very cost-effective way to communicate to customers and prospects.

The most obvious place to cut is printed direct mail, but replacing printed coupon mailers can be a challenge for small businesses that rely on coupon redemption to drive sales. Small businesses should seek to invest in growing their email database as a solution to reducing direct mail. There are also new online coupon deal offers with email marketing that can be a great way to increase sales for small businesses and reduce dependence on wasteful printed coupon mailers.

Promote Local Vendors

Using local vendors and suppliers is a very green business practice because you are reducing the impact of carbon emissions on the environment by having local delivery of products and supplies. Make sure your customers know that you not only support your local economy but your business is also minimizing gas consumption and carbon emissions by using local vendors. If you are in the food industry using fresh ingredients and produce from local farmers is also a big selling point. Be sure to cross-promote “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” with your local farmer’s markets as well.

Operate Fuel Efficient Vehicles

Believe it or not, the vehicles you use for delivery, sales and service have a big impact on your brand image. As your vehicles travel throughout your local market territory they make numerous impressions on your local customers and prospects. Operating hybrid or FlexFuel vehicles for your delivery or sales and service cars will not only save your business in gas expense, but will send a clear message that your business is also eco-friendly. Be sure to include your green marketing messages and/or logos on your vehicle car graphics and branding.

Environmental Donations and Charities

Another green marketing idea is to support environmental initiatives by making donations or taking actions that assist a local environmental cause. Customers can also support the cause by offering environmental incentives for sales – such as planting trees or donating a portion of a sale to an environmental organization. Be sure to communicate your green marketing actions to your customers to reinforce your eco-friendly business practices.

These green marketing ideas are small steps that small businesses can take to reduce their carbon footprint and demonstrate to customers that choosing their business can make a difference with the environment.

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With over 20 years of integrated marketing experience, Diane is author of the award-winning book PR Tools to Toot Your Own Horn. Diane also serves as the marketing director for SureShade, a growing small business that has become the new standard for shade on boats, and runs Marine Marketing Tools, a site that bridges her passion for boating and small business marketing.
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