We’ve all heard about ‘thinking green’, but have you ever thought to apply environmentally friendly practices at your organization? According to a study by Cone Communications, you should! The study shows that when “companies support social or environmental issues…96% of global citizens will have a more positive image of that company” and “94% will be more likely to trust that company.” Becoming an eco-friendly organization can seem daunting, but one easy step is to transition to green marketing. Green marketing “focuses on the triple bottom line of profit, people, and planet. It takes into consideration the availability of resources, the environmental impact of manufacturing and packaging, and the consequences of consumption,” according to Florida Tech. By shifting your current outreach and fundraising strategies you can help save the environment and build your followers and supporters.
Here are 5 tips to shift to green marketing:
1.) Utilize Social Media
Not only is social media a great (free!) way to reach out to your community and potential clientele, but it is also a way to use less resources in your day-to-day business practices. One non-profit was able to decrease its paper use by a remarkable 22% by switching to online modes of communication! MediaDesk recommends the use at least one form of social media, if not more, and it is important to update these outlets often. In a previous blog post, 5 Tips For Non-Profits on Instagram, we emphasized that it “is sometimes better to have no representation on a platform than a dated or poorly executed account. With a clear direction you can reasonably post a couple times a week, if not everyday.” This can seem like a daunting task, but it’s important to make your online presence a priority, especially if you want to use it as sustainable marketing strategy.
2.) Ditch Direct Mailing
This is the most straightforward way for your organization to transition to green marketing. Switching to targeted email campaigns means that there’s less cost to create a connection to your potential client because you don’t have to pay for the physical flyer and mailing costs. This low overhead cost is a financial beneficial to you, and the fact that that it creates less waste is a benefit for the environment. Unless you have a campaign that has a highly targeted audience or you are trying to feel out a new area to expand to, direct mailing can be a waste of time, paper, and resources. If your business currently relies on direct mailing, you should work on procuring more emails from current clients and potential future clients.
3.) Eco-friendly Handouts
If you are giving out brochures, flyers, or gifts as a way to spread your brand image and take on new clients, it could be worthwhile to use a more environmentally friendly option. A couple of quick tips are to avoid putting gifts in plastic bags and instead use a biodegradable alternative and to use recycled paper whenever possible. Be sure to promote the fact that you’re using green alternatives in your marketing, as this will show the community and your future clientele where your priorities lie.
4.) Use Local Vendors and Businesses
Shopping at local businesses is a movement that has gained substantial traction in the past few years. This is an easy way to create community impact while also making an eco-friendly decision. If you shop local or use local vendors, you are cutting down on the amount of carbon emissions that it takes to run your organization. Additionally, according to the Huffington Post, “more than 40 percent of millennials preferred to buy from local businesses, even if the goods or services are more expensive than mass-market alternatives.” So what does this mean for you? It means that people care about where their goods and services are coming from, and you can use that trend to make informed decisions about what products and firms you decide to use for your organization.
5.) Donate to Nonprofits and Charities that Help the Environment
While this isn’t directly cutting down on paper use or carbon emissions, it does show that your organization cares about its community and the environment. Keep in mind that donating doesn’t necessarily mean giving money – it can also mean volunteering your time or services. If you don’t have the resources to donate money, you can coordinate a volunteer day for you and your staff or donate goods or services to environmentally friendly organizations who need them. Volunteering can even be better for your image than donating money because it shows that you and your staff are willing to back up the fact that you care about the environment with positive action.
These are just a couple of tips to help you initiate green marketing into your organization, but there are countless other things you could do to achieve eco-friendly marketing. If you’re interested in fully committing to eco-friendly work practices, you can have your organization federally certified as eco-friendly by following their rules and regulations. It is a tedious process to have your organization federally certified, but according to the Kellogg School of Management, eco-friendly business practices “over the long run can become a competitive advantage and generate more business,” so it’s important to start making the transition now.