How to attract customers with sustainability
Green seems to be the colour of the decade, or maybe even of the millennium. From solar-powered cities to the biodegradable “not-plastic” bags at your favourite organic grocery store, the world is overtly embracing sustainability. Not surprisingly, data collected in 2021 by Forrester indicates that “68% of highly empowered consumers plan to step up their efforts to identify brands that reduce environmental impact, 61% seek out energy-efficient labels when making purchases and 47% regularly buy organic products.” Like most other revolutions in our collective history, this movement is driven by the will of the common man.
To cut a long story short, consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental and social impact of their purchases. They are more likely to support businesses that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. If you are contemplating including sustainability in your marketing story, there’s never been a better time.
Here are some strategies to attract customers with sustainability:
Let the world know
Apple’s Mother Nature campaign is a sterling example of using marketing campaigns to let the world know about your green initiatives. Now if you don’t have the budget to go all out like the tech giant, you can still impress your customers by talking about your sustainability initiatives wherever you can.
Your website and social media handles would be the first port of call for any customer checking you out. Impress your eco-conscious online visitor with an ‘About Us’ page that showcases your sustainability mission and goals. You could also create a page dedicated to your sustainability efforts. This page could include key information like your company’s green mission statement and your short-term and long-term sustainability goals. The page should spotlight your sustainability initiatives and accomplishments.
Use social media and marketing materials to inform customers about what you're doing to reduce your environmental footprint. Ensure that your Social Media calendar includes interesting blogs and other resources focused on green trends in your industry.
Make your products and services your green ambassadors. Share the stories behind your products or services. Throw light on the people, processes, and values that make your sustainability efforts meaningful. If you work with partners or suppliers, include them in your sustainability stories. Showcase how you ensure that your vendors and suppliers are also committed to sustainability.
Your product packaging acts as your informal calling card with your customers. Adopt recyclable, biodegradable, or reusable materials for your packaging. Inform customers about proper disposal or recycling methods for your packaging. This emphasises your commitment to the environment.
Obtain relevant certifications like, The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Positive Luxury, 1% for the Planet, etc to prove your commitment to sustainability. Showcase them on all your digital assets, marketing material and packaging.
Walk the talk
Just talking about your sustainability efforts without backing them up with changes in your business process will make this just another marketing gig. Something today’s discerning consumer will see through quickly. The key is to make sustainability central to every aspect of your business.
Eco-Friendly products and services: Develop or source eco-friendly products and services. Use sustainable materials, reduce waste, and lower energy consumption in your production processes. If you are in manufacturing you can start going green by using alternative energy sources like wind and solar energy. You could move your email and data backup to the cloud. Even small changes like switching to low-energy light bulbs or optimal hours of heating can impact your green narrative. The key is to evaluate the cumulative impact of the changes you have made. It’s great marketing material and also great motivation for you and your team to continue the sustainability journey.
Implement the three Rs: Reduce waste, reuse materials as much as possible and effectively recycle in all aspects of your business.
Focus on a green supply chain: Work with suppliers who share your commitment to sustainability. Ensure that they follow ethical and environmentally responsible practices.
Go local with sourcing: Support local suppliers and producers. This can reduce transportation emissions and strengthen the local economy.
Focus on CSR: Engage in meaningful Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities and share these initiatives with your customers.
Invite your customer to the party: Empower your customers with information that will help them lower their carbon footprint. Provide information about the environmental and social benefits of your sustainable practices. Involve your customers in your sustainability initiatives. Encourage them to recycle your products or participate in your company's sustainability programs. This fosters a sense of community and shared responsibility.
Offer Incentives: Offer discounts, rewards, or other incentives to customers who choose sustainable products or services. People are more likely to adopt sustainable behaviours when they see a tangible benefit.
Track and Report Progress: Regularly track and report your sustainability progress. Show how your efforts have made a difference over time. This can build trust and demonstrate your commitment.
Remember that authenticity and transparency are key. Greenwashing, or making false or exaggerated claims about sustainability, can harm your reputation. So, make sure your sustainability efforts are genuine and well-documented.
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