Seattle Community

Angela Ferraro-Fanning
graphic design, website design
Bernardsville, New Jersey
Very helpful
out of 10
4 votes

Promote Your Business In An Earth-Friendly Fashion

Here's a list of smart ideas that will help you run a greener business - and better promote your business at the same time.

Written Mar 06, 2008, read 4666 times since then.


Let's face it. It's trendy to "be green." Companies across the US are trying to sell customers with their green-washing; "we're eco-friendly," "good for the earth," "we've gone green", etc. With all of the slogans, it's hard to know which services and products are actually dedicated to helping the environment.

Consumers are listening to these messages and studies have shown that now-a-days, people are making more of an effort, as a whole, to be environmentally conscious. So you've decided to join in. Whether you're looking to give your company a green-overhaul, or are just doing your part here and there, I have a few ideas that may help. What if you could take part in the race to save the earth just by bettering your marketing materials? It's surely a small step in the right direction.

The following is a list of ideas that will not only help you to be a greener person/business, but they will help you to promote your business as well.

Email Campaigns, Not Postcard Campaigns
One of the best ways to help the environment overall, is to create less trash. As business owners, we can contribute largely in this area. Direct mail campaigns may be effective, but they're also costly. Between design services, printing and postage, the dollars really begin to add up. Furthermore, having a 7% response rate, on average, is considered "doing well." That means 93% of your postcards or direct mail pieces create little or no response at all. Where do you think they've ended up? Yep, most likely in the trash.

Not only are email campaigns paperless, but they've been proven to create better results. It's delivered directly to one's email inbox, it creates easy viewing, and there's a level of convenience. If the viewer wants more info, all they need to do is click and they're at your website. That's instant gratification, and consumers love that.

If You Have To Print, Print This Way
So you're really crazy about making postcards and you seem to get great results. Fine, but if you have to print, do it wisely. Print the quantity you really need; not enough to store on your bookshelves behind your desk.

A better way to print is to also notify your graphic designer. Your designer will be able to talk to your printer about paper options that are created from post-consumer content; options that also won't hinder your design or your project objective. Also advise your designer/printer to use soy or vegetable-based inks. Sometimes, some printers only have these inks in specific colors. Make sure the designer creates your attractive design with limited color options, if need be.

Better Banners
If you've decided to do a tradeshow, the most typical signage pieces are banners. There are actually printers out there that specialize in printing not only with environmentally-friendly inks, but on special, eco-friendly banner materials as well. A good example of such a printer is Green Banners.

Put Your Catalogs Online
If your company prints and distributes product catalogs, there's never been a better time to inspire you to sell your products online. Online shopping carts, or e-commerce websites, can be pricey and time-consuming to initialize. But once it's up and your products are listed, it will take less time to manage and advertise them, than it would to redesign and print them however often. Talk to a design and web professional about custom designing a website with a matching online shopping cart.

E-Coupons, Not Paper Coupons
Coupons are great and they tend to be very effective. You can cater to the lazy customer and to the earth by not printing and mailing paper coupons. This creates work for the customer (they have to cut!) and trash. Instead, feature your coupon on your website or in an email campaign with a promotional code. When the user buys a product on your new e-commerce site (wink, wink), they can simply type in their promo code. You have an effective coupon with no paper and no cutting.

So you'd like to maybe rebrand yourself. Work with your designer/printer about your paper and ink options and work with a green printer, as mentioned previously. There are a few that I recommend.

  • On A National Level: Greener Printer
    Very eco-friendly and easy to work with online.
  • On A Local Level: Graphic Design, Inc.
    Located in Hastings, Minnesota. A full print shop with lots of green capabilities.
  • On An International Level (label printing): Metro Label Group, Inc.
    I've never worked with them personally, but understand they actually run their business in an environmentally-friendly building. Located in Canada, this company offers label printing solutions.

Saying Thank You
A great way to network is to send thank you cards. Customers and colleagues really appreciate being appreciated. Why not make an impression about your business sense and your green-conscious mind with Grown-A-Note greeting cards? These attractive, handmade paper cards are also PLANTABLE. After reading your message, the recipient actually plants your card. A few months later, they have flowers or herbs based on whichever seeded paper you've chosen (this is my favorite tip.)

Learn more about the author, Angela Ferraro-Fanning.

Comment on this article

  • Seattle Floral Designer 
Seattle, Washington 
Heather Ziegler
    Posted by Heather Ziegler, Seattle, Washington | Mar 07, 2008

    I think this is a great article. I love the "thank you" cards and have already visited their website..I'm so excited about this product. Also, I like doing a lot of my communicating via the's easy to keep up with my customers and vice versa.

    It's amazing..Justin and I have slowly been making things around our shop more "green" and then the other day, it just feels like EVERYBODY decided to do it..even the little carpet place that's down the road from me. It does feel that everyone is jumping on the "green bandwagon" when in reality conservationists and the like have been "screaming" about it for years! Just now, people are listening.

    So listen up everybody and let's help Mother Earth so she will continue to help us back!

  • Interior Decorator | Redesigner:  Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Mercer Island 
Seattle, Washington 
Amy Woidtke (woid-key)
    Posted by Amy Woidtke (woid-key), Seattle, Washington | Mar 10, 2008

    I second the recommendation for Greener Printer. I printed cards for a client with them and they turned out very nice on 100% post consumer recycled content paper.

    What is post consumer content? It's the stuff we all put in the recycle bins. If you product doesn't say post consumer, then you are potentially purchasing paper with virgin paper content in it - they are the scraps at the plant that are put back int the process, which is good, it's just not as good as post-consumer, which can contain paper that has already been through the recycling system once or twice before.

    Locally, here in Seattle, MinuteMan press has been really good to us. We get soy inks for 4-color press and 100% pc paper by request. Neenah and Mohawk both make great 100% pc content papers.

    Great share! Thank you :)

  • Business strategist, globalization expert 
Seattle, Washington 
Nathalie Molina
    Posted by Nathalie Molina, Seattle, Washington | Mar 11, 2008

    Ditto here, great article. One thing I would say, if you have to print....print with people who know and if possible ONLY use green printing processes. Here is a good one in Portland that I've used:

  • Entrepreneur Coach, Business Consultant & Motivational Speaker 
Seattle, Washington 
Lisa Bradley, CPC
    Posted by Lisa Bradley, CPC, Seattle, Washington | Mar 14, 2008

    Thanks for your article Angela. We could all stand to be more green... every bit helps.

    I'd like to add, think green when you're shopping for other office supplies and school supplies for the kids. I tried to find green spiral notebooks and went to four stores during back to school season and no one had them - not Target and not PCC. I was shocked. If we as consumers ask for them and buy them...they will come. We make the difference.

    Great article. Thanks for standing for something.

    Great article. Thanks for standing for something.

  • Interior Decorator | Redesigner:  Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Mercer Island 
Seattle, Washington 
Amy Woidtke (woid-key)
    Posted by Amy Woidtke (woid-key), Seattle, Washington | Mar 14, 2008

    There is a sustainable office supply store in Ballard and I know that the college bookstores sell recycled content spirals. You don't have to be a college student to shop there.

  • Interior Decorator | Redesigner:  Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Mercer Island 
Seattle, Washington 
Amy Woidtke (woid-key)
    Posted by Amy Woidtke (woid-key), Seattle, Washington | Mar 14, 2008

    Here are links to eco-friendly office product suppliers:

    The Green Office (school supplies too!)

    The Sustainable Group (local in Ballard)

    Tell your favorite merchants where they can go to buy sustainable supplies - help make it easier for them! :)

  • Owner 
Seattle, Washington 
Susan Haggart
    Posted by Susan Haggart, Seattle, Washington | May 27, 2008

    Thank you for the link to Grow-A-Note® Greeting Cards.

  • Online Retailer 
Kent, Washington 
    Posted by CHEICK DIAKITE, Kent, Washington | Jul 13, 2008

    Very nice article..thank you.

  • President & CEO 
Issaquah, Washington 
Conrad Vernon
    Posted by Conrad Vernon, Issaquah, Washington | Dec 11, 2008


    Thank you for identifying real things people can do to promote a greener business. I'd like to add that all businesses can implement green practices by first identifying elements in their business that can they can impact. Things like energy consumption, recycling, etc. Keep up the good messaging. -Conrad

  • graphic design, website design 
Bernardsville, New Jersey 
Angela Ferraro-Fanning
    Posted by Angela Ferraro-Fanning, Bernardsville, New Jersey | Jan 08, 2009

    Thank you for all the comments and for taking the time to read this article. I'm glad it was helpful!

  • Alternative Mobile Power provider 
Fort Myers, Florida 
Jason Szumlanski
    Posted by Jason Szumlanski, Fort Myers, Florida | Oct 26, 2009

    Great article. I am really on the green printing bandwagon. I just posted a similar comment to another article, but I thought it is germane to this article as well...

    I decided to stop having so many business cards printed, despite the green options out there. It is far easier to ask for an email address, quickly type it into a form in my Blackberry, and instantly send contact information to new acquaintances by email. This shows real green commitment. I'll always keep a few cards on me for those who are afraid of SPAM (I assure people that they will not receive ANY other correspondence unless asked).

    I got the idea while scanning dozens of business cards after a tradeshow. I thought, why can't these people save me some time and save a tree at the same time?! Just email me your contact information!

    Jason Szumlanski AMP Systems (Alternative Mobile Power Systems)