By: Noah Rue
Eco-friendly businesses are gaining popularity among consumers who value companies that promote sustainability and corporate responsibility. However, the problem facing a lot of these companies is reaching potential customers who aren’t actively seeking out environmentally conscious businesses.
While the challenges of online marketing apply to every business, green organizations face other issues when it comes to sharing their brand. Let’s explore these issues, as well as offer some actionable tips for those looking to increase their brand awareness online:
Challenges Eco-Friendly Businesses Face
Climate change has serious negative effects on public health, from higher frequency of extreme weather events, like heat waves and major storms, to poor air quality and increased risk of insect-borne illnesses. Awareness and education about the issue of climate change is incredibly important. The fact that these companies also have to factor education into their marketing efforts puts one more hurdle between them and any potential new customers. Unfortunately, that puts environmentally friendly businesses at a disadvantage when it comes to marketing.
Conversely, eco-friendly products perform extremely well in the modern marketplace. While many of these products aren’t actually any better for the environment than their competitors, marketing them as green has been proven to increase sales. This can ultimately work against the efforts of actual sustainable businesses, as when various products are exposed as being less environmentally friendly than they claim to be, it reduces consumer confidence for green companies across the board.
Online marketing for eco-friendly businesses is similar to marketing any other product or business, save for the necessity for education and transparency. Knowing who your customers are and what they value is incredibly important, as it can help a business to create a more targeted marketing campaign that makes better use of the resources at hand. One advantage that sustainable organizations have when it comes to marketing online is that they are able to tie real-world issues and events to their brand, showing the importance of being environmentally aware.
Increasing Brand Value
Long-term sustainability is far more important to an environmentally friendly company than simply claiming a product or service to be green and doing the bare minimum. Fortunately, it is possible to leverage that focus on sustainability for increased profit and overall value for any given company. Both Apple’s new headquarters and Tesla’s massive Gigafactory both run on solar energy, and they miss no opportunity to share that information with the masses.
While most sustainable companies most likely won’t reach as high a valuation of Tesla or Apple, calculating the financial value of your brand remains important when it comes to marketing online. Brand value is a hidden marketing asset, as it allows for companies to easily determine what has and hasn’t worked in the past, helping them to make more informed decisions for future campaigns. Determining brand value helps CFOs evaluate the effectiveness of their company’s marketing efforts, which in turn helps them to decide how much of their budget should go to specific marketing channels.
Understanding brand value can help companies to increase it, and when armed with this knowledge, marketers can have more productive online consultations. Collecting and understanding data like brand value and who the customer is helps eco-friendly businesses be far more precise in their online marketing efforts, spending less money for a greater effect. This can help them reach the right people faster, getting the word out about their company in a more efficient manner.
Embrace Social Media
One of the best ways to increase your online marketing presence is to embrace social media on as many platforms as you can. Many small businesses don’t use social media to promote their business, and these companies are failing to capitalize on the benefits that social media marketing can provide to them. Maintaining a marketing presence on social media can grow brand awareness and value, increase traffic to company websites, and promote products and services in an easy way that allows companies to target specific groups with accuracy.
Employing a qualified social media analyst who holds a Master of Science in Analytics is a solid move for sustainable companies looking to break into online marketing. Social media analysts are wizards when it comes to market research, and they can determine the most effective way to engage with a business’ audience. Additionally, they can optimize online marketing campaigns and ensure that a business is reaching exactly who they want to market to.
Growing a company’s presence on social media platforms is also essential when it comes to online marketing. While many companies are content to pay for boosted posts or advertisements directly into consumer’s social media feeds, it is much more effective to have positive interactions with those participating in social media. Doing so makes a business more relatable and increases the likelihood that potential customers will remember the company.
However, it’s important to keep some legal concerns in mind when marketing on social media. When speaking about social issues, it can be easy to slip into broad, sweeping language, but it is important that you avoid unjustly defaming any particular company or individual. Furthermore, informal agreements on social media may constitute an enforceable, legally binding contract, so marketers need to be careful with their language during discussions. Finally, all marketing material needs to consist of original content in order to avoid possible copyright infringement concerns.
At the end of the day, online marketing for green businesses isn’t all too different from any other company’s marketing efforts. Focusing on brand value and social media is a surefire way to increase any company’s online marketing power, and while sustainable organizations face challenges when it comes to education, they also benefit from their ability to tap into current events to show the importance of their company. When it comes to marketing online, what matters most for any company is that they go in with as much knowledge about their own business and who it appeals to as possible.
About the author
Noah Rue is a writer, a digital nomad, an ESL teacher, and an all around good dude, if he doesn’t say so himself.