Small businesses need every edge they can get to succeed and making sustainability part of your mission is an important factor to embrace.
Authentic marketing strategies of green credentials or sustainability aspects of your business have become very prominent lately. But tread carefully and strategically. Be thoughtful in how you present your sustainable credentials.
There is little doubt that consumers care about sustainability to the point where if they are is a choice between you and a competitor, if you have the sustainable edge, especially if you market and promote it professionally, that customer will most likely land with you.
Showcasing your sustainability street cred is seen as a strong way to get customers’ attention. Unfortunately, this is taken too far by some small businesses overselling their green claims. Green credentials are about getting consumer trust so it important to be transparent and honest.
If your claims are credible then that goes a long way to marketing your small business. There are some simple guidelines, and if followed, it goes a long way to winning the customer’s trust.
- Keep the claim simple and if possible, use statistics in how you can back up your claim.
- Do not embellish any aspect – transparency is king. You will find that those customers are not only looking at your product or service, but your small business as a whole.
- Never, and I mean, never, fake your claim. Lying about your sustainability credentials or exaggerating your small business’s sustainable efforts may lead to dire consequences. The truth will creep up on you.
It is fundamental as a small business that you do not omit to tell the whole sustainable picture as that could weaken your argument. For example, if you sell a product and say it is ‘compostable’ to garner green favour then you also need to tell where to dispose of it. With no disposal instructions, the item is likely to be treated as greenwash.
You have probably seen it all before in a suite of online or traditional advertising claiming products are ecofriendly, earth-friendly or the world’s greenest. These generic claims without backing can be detrimental for your small business’s reputation.
Slowly all businesses are going green, so if you want to stand out, get there faster and to a greater level. Look at promoting it in a professional way and not making it look like a marketing gimmick. That unsophisticated strategy will not be left unnoticed, for the wrong reasons!
If you feel that you are getting left behind, , now is the time to ramp things up, and it won’t cost you a fortune. If your company’s products or services are nothing to do with sustainability, you need to still make internal changes in your offices to behave more environment friendly. For example use recycled toilet paper, recycled copier paper, paper bin liners for dry bins, biodegradable liners for kitchen bins, LED lighting, buy green power, encourage staff to not go out to get coffees in disposable cups, remind them to take their reusable ones.
Talk to your staff about their plastic footprint and see if they can get it down.
Once you have made these internal changes then you can start to promote your business as an environmentally conscious business. Be prepared to provide a list of things you have changed when you get asked to justify your claims. If you have only made minor changes then you will look like you are greenwashing your business and that will harm you. However, if you can produce a long list of changes you have made and why then you will attract customers’ favour.