Figuring out what step to take first or where to start with implementing green marketing can be a lot to take in. There are so many things to consider, steps to take, and information to absorb. Start with these 10 ways to go green with your marketing, and you’ll have green marketing practices in several aspects of your business before you know it!
Offer sustainable marketing and promotional materials
Think about how many leaflets you’ve received in your life that you’ve thrown away as soon as you got home – probably quite a lot. According to the EPA, plastic and paper account for close to half of all waste in landfills in the U.S alone. Now think about what marketing materials your business has produced within the last 12 months. Could any of those materials be pivoted to solely digital campaigns?
Have an ‘office audit’ and ask yourself whether there are materials within your office that you could make more eco-friendly? Business cards can be printed on recycled or seed paper, with plant-based biodegradable inks. Flyers and print marketing campaigns can also utilize recycled paper and planet-friendly inks, and you could buy refillable pens instead of single-use plastic pens.
This is arguably one of the biggest areas you can have an impact, and there’s a whole lesson dedicated to this in the Academy because it’s not a quick fix! So don’t worry about ticking it all off at once. Start small with something as simple as your business cards, or buy reusable post-it notes for your office.
Be transparent with your efforts
Being transparent about your green efforts online is important, not least because a lack of transparency is linked to greenwashing. We all start somewhere, so don’t be afraid to share the areas you need to improve as well as the things you’re doing well.
This also applies to social media – focus on educating your audience as much as is reasonable for you, and only sell your products/services after you’ve given value. The key thing to remember with social media is that it can be draining if not used in a way that is aligned with your values, and it’s important to develop a strategy that is sustainable for you as well as for the planet.
Increase reach via collaboration
Learning from others in the green marketing space and sharing knowledge freely and openly is one of the best ways to make your marketing greener. We can all come together and uplift one another, sharing our highs and lows, and supporting other green businesses so that we can reach more people and ultimately increase our positive impact on the planet.
This is why we bring in so many expert guest speakers, both within the Green Marketing Academy and as standalone paid partner events, so we can continue to learn from the best in the industry and support our peers.
Optimize your email marketing
When was the last time you unsubscribed to those emails you never read? There are probably a ton of emails sitting in your inbox that are going unread, from businesses you don’t even remember subscribing to.
All emails in your inbox are using energy to be stored in a database, so one of the easiest things you can do to green your email marketing is by deleting anything you don’t need, and unsubscribing as and when you receive an email no longer relevant to you.
Being a mindful email sender is also important both for your energy and the recipients. Keep your email communications straightforward, and segment your list so that you’re not sending emails to people who might not benefit from them.
Switch to a green website host
A green website host uses either renewable energy to power their servers, or they buy carbon offsets to mitigate their impact. Unfortunately there is a lot of greenwashing in the industry, so before you decide to change your hosting provider….
- Are they using 100% renewable energy?
- Are their data centers running as efficiently as possible?
- Are the data centers close to you so that the data doesn’t have to travel far?
- Are they supporting other environmental initiatives?
Clean up your website
Images make up a huge amount of weight on our website – and for those of us who live in urban areas with high-speed internet, the size of images may not even cross our minds. But for people who live in rural areas, having large images on websites will cause the loading time to slow and they might miss out on the full experience of our websites.
But it’s not only images that contribute to a website’s carbon, it’s the whole thing. So what can we do to clean up our websites and reduce their footprint?
- Get rid of any old pages you no longer use or that may be out of date. Make sure they’re fully deleted and not saved in your drafts.
- Compress your images using an online tool such as tiny PNG or tinyjpg.com. These tools will remove any unused image data and reduce the file size of your images without affecting their quality at all.
- Remove and avoid adding any unnecessary plugins that are no longer being used
- Make sure the layout and the user journey of your website is as efficient as possible
Cleaning up your website to make it have less of a footprint may feel very overwhelming right now, so start small. And if you’re not sure where to start, check out Digital Beacon, which is a free tool that’ll break down the weight of your website and show you where you can reduce the size.
Turn off video during online meetings/conferences
Of course the pandemic taught us the power of online meetings, and they produce far less carbon than flying to meet with others. But, nothing is free of having an impact – an hour of zoom emits the equivalent of carbon as an area the size of an iPad!
Being able to see someone’s face is an important part of building relationships, which is why we wouldn’t recommend having your camera off all the time. A happy medium for us is to have the first few meetings with cameras on, and then as the relationship progresses and we feel more comfortable, we turn our cameras off now and then to save energy.
Publish an impact report
An impact report or sustainability statement is a great way to increase transparency, and trust in your brand, and also serves as a method of accountability. It’s important to start with all the changes you’ve made to become more sustainable, so you can recognize how far you’ve come.
You don’t need to overwhelm yourself. Your sustainability page can be basic, you don’t need loads of data or a huge list of all the things you’re trying to do. Start small and be proud of your accomplishments.
The key thing to remember is that whatever claims you make need to be specific rather than generalized, and you need to make sure you can uphold what you say you’re going to do.
This is a great opportunity to share your efforts on your social channels and via your other marketing channels, too!
Increase marketing efficiency
Develop a marketing plan that is manageable for the business – if your marketing isn’t sustainable for those carrying it out, it will be difficult to stay consistent. Sustainability is important in all senses of the word.
Find an accountability partner
The best way to actually implement things is to have an accountability partner – someone else in a similar position as you who is trying to begin their journey towards greener marketing practices. Having someone there to help you along the way is the best way to make this journey sustainable for you.
We’d love to share more tips with you!
If you have a tip to contribute, leave a comment for us. You can also join our email list and we’ll keep you informed with more tips, resources and educational opportunities.