How To Start Business With Eco-Friendly Marketing Techniques
So you want to start a business but aren’t sure which direction to go. The answer is easy: go green with ECO-preneurship. Protecting the environment is vitally important, and with the right business plan, you can help preserve it. From attaining capital to marketing through ads, this guide from Techie Moon will help you turn your business into an eco-friendly success.
What “green” means and options for your business
As Sage explains, “Going green for small businesses means considering your company’s overall ecological friendliness.” One great option is to create or sell a sustainable living item. The goal is to reduce the imprint your business leaves on the environment, and even better, improve conditions. Thinking green should be a part of every step: production, distribution, the overall impact of the product, and how the product will be disposed of at the end of its life.
Creating your own small business with green intentions can look a lot of different ways. A few business ideas to consider include:
- Upcycling furniture
- Writing environmental publications
- Organic catering
- Sustainable construction materials
- Creating organic products (e.g. lotion, soaps)
- Eco-friendly landscaping
- Eco-consulting for homes and office spaces
Take into consideration your passions and interests; what would make you excited to work every day? Should you chase that dream you’ve had in the back of your head, or leap into something totally new? Whatever the case, bring your enthusiasm to work every day; businesses tend to be more successful when they’re run by someone who’s excited about what they’re doing.
The other green: money
Starting a green business of course comes with expenses. You might opt to go the traditional route and apply for a business loan through a bank, but you have other options as an ecopreneur. Fundera outlines grants and loans you can receive for going the green route in your business. As it describes:
- National Science Foundation (NSF) grants focus on providing funding and support for scientific research. They are a great option if your business is based on research, education, or training projects.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants look for companies related to clean diesel programs, improving air quality, and environmental health issues, to name a few.
- Department of Energy (DOE) loans are focused on large-scale energy infrastructure projects — think solar panels and the like.
Crowdfunding is another great way to raise money for startup costs. Not only can you get direct support from family, friends, and neighbors, word will spread about your company. It’s free advertising that directly brings in funds. When posted on social media platforms, the marketing can boom.
Whatever you decide to do, make a point to go over your credit report before submitting any applications. If you have any sort of negative mark, it could hinder your ability to access the necessary funding you’re looking for.
Marketing your business
If no one knows about the good, green work your business is doing, then what’s the point? Having a strong marketing plan is key.
In addition to creating an informative and helpful website, try maintaining a blog. Topics should be relevant to your business and easy for a novice to understand. You can feature other local sustainable businesses, share and comment on articles, or have guest authors contribute. Update it regularly — once a week, maybe — and enable comments so your customers (and potential customers) can engage. Respond as much as you can, especially when it comes to questions. Readers will appreciate being able to easily connect with you.
Another excellent option is social media. These days, it’s hard to imagine running a business without some sort of social media presence. With platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can reach a large audience with minimal effort and expense. In fact, social media is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools available, making it an essential part of any marketing strategy.
The trick is to make social media work for you. To do this, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Make sure to keep your promotional efforts at 20% to avoid alienating potential customers, adopt a posting calendar you can stick to, make sure the content you provide is valuable and always make sure your brand is obvious. By engaging with your customers and followers on a regular basis, you can build loyalty and goodwill that will lead to more sales down the road.
Incorporating green practices into your business
As an ecopreneur, you must look for every opportunity to apply sustainable practices to your business. GreenBiz offers several ideas for green practices as a business owner:
- Seek second-hand equipment — Office couches and chairs can be purchased (at a lower price) at places like the Salvation Army. This avoids creating carbon emissions with brand new equipment, plus it keeps these items out of landfills.
- Work with other green businesses — Carbon-neutral companies stretch across every industry, so be sure to ask flat-out what their footprint looks like. This is also a great point to emphasize in your online ads, as many people prefer to buy from sustainable companies. Extra points if it’s another local business.
- Consider going remote — Rather than spending money on office space, see if remote working is right for your company. With all the technological advancements like conference calling and video conferencing, you might discover that you don’t actually need everybody in one place to get work done. This means fewer cars on the road and making a big cut in your business’s carbon footprint.
When you start a green business, you want to practice what you preach. Studies have shown that not only would 57% of consumers change their shopping habits to reduce their carbon footprint, but 71% would pay more to shop at sustainable businesses. This allows you to consider higher price points, which can cover extra green costs on top of helping the environment.
With these tools, get ready to dive into your new green venture. Be prepared to put in the work and dedication. Choose your business, find funding through grants and loans, use online marketing on social media, and seek every opportunity to use sustainable practices throughout your business. Reduce, reuse, recycle, and get ready for success!