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.
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.)