Sustainability is more than just a buzzword!
These days, there is more and more pressure on brands to reduce their impact and be more ethical in their practices. But that doesn’t only apply to their supply chain or their product packaging…It also impacts your online marketing choices!
In this article, I’m going to quickly go over exactly what is meant by the phrase “sustainable marketing”, how it differs from traditional marketing, why you should care, and how to implement your own ethical marketing strategy.
What is sustainable digital marketing?
So, what is the definition of sustainable digital marketing?
Essentially, sustainable marketing means the promotion of environmentally friendly, socially responsible practices, products, services, or brand values.
As a consumer, if you’ve ever bought something a little more expensive because it had eco-friendly, sustainability credentials, you’ve been influenced by sustainable marketing!
There are lots of different ways in which a business might utilise sustainability messaging. For example, it might be a one-off project, a specific and pertinent cause, or it might be used more generally to fit with their brand’s mission.
Sustainable digital marketing means promoting a business’s sustainable and ethical products/services in a way that profits the company itself, and also the planet long-term.
Why you should have a sustainable marketing strategy
It aligns with your business values
Whatever term you use to describe yourself (eco-friendly, green, sustainable, purpose-driven, mission-led, carbon-neutral, or environmental), you clearly are already trying to do your bit to have a positive impact in the world.
So, why should you approach your marketing strategy any differently?
Not including your amazing sustainability creds in your marketing copy is a huge wasted opportunity. Unlike so many other companies, talking about sustainability, or social causes will actually come across as authentic.
In our experience running a paid ads agency for sustainable brands, portraying your passion and knowledge for your positive impact USP in your messaging, and telling those stories effectively can seriously snowball your sales!
It helps you stand out from the crowd
The likelihood is, that you’re a sustainable option in a sea of traditional, unethical choices in your industry.
This is your niche – it helps you stand out from others selling the same kinds of products or services. Use this angle to differentiate your sales and marketing efforts from your competitors.
It boosts your reputation
As I mentioned at the start of this article. More and more brands are trying to keep up with the public’s demand for ethical products and businesses. Sustainable marketing can be a really effective way to improve and maintain your good reputation.
By including sustainability and purpose-driven messaging in your marketing, you’re reminding consumers of your connection and dedication to those causes.
It can bring in new audiences
If you’re pivoting your business to take a more sustainable approach, or you’re perhaps adding more eco-friendly practices, then taking advantage of sustainable digital marketing could help you to get in front of a whole new audience of conscious shoppers.
If you’re having a positive impact with your work, or you’re making people’s lives better – shout from the rooftops about it! You could attract a bunch of new customers who care about those things too.
It can help grow your sales
It’s simple. If you maintain a good reputation and brand image, you prove you’re honest about your practices, and you set yourself apart from your competition, then ethical marketing can scale your profits!
For example, with one of our clients in the waste management space, we helped them to focus their outbound marketing messaging on their cost-saving services AS WELL AS how they’re reducing waste to landfills. In their first year working with us, they saw over 420 leads worth over £1m in business come in!!
How to be sustainable with your digital marketing strategy
What is your WHY
Your values and mission as a company should be at the centre of all of your marketing strategies. In order to create and implement sustainable digital marketing strategies, you need to establish exactly why you’re different and how you’re purpose-driven. What does your audience need to know? Why is it important? How is it going to make your customers’ lives better?
This is key! Although we’re talking about the importance of incorporating sustainability into your digital marketing strategy, there is a BUT. You need to find a balance between the ‘selfish’ versus the ‘selfless’. In other words, your sustainability credentials, and why your product is better.
You don’t want to just focus on the selflessness and harp on about how socially conscious or green you are, and in doing so ignore why you’re product/service is better outside of sustainability.
Take a humanitarian charity for example. If you’re a non-profit focused on helping solve world hunger or access to clean water, you should be surrounding yourself with other business partners, media outlets, and online communities that share your values.
By forming relationships with others in your positive impact space, you can establish yourself as a fellow thought leader on your causes. By doing so you’ll also give yourself a much stronger position to justify things like higher prices.
Create a community around your brand and your cause and build a network of loyal like-minded customers!
You don’t want your customers to question your commitment, authority, or the transparency of sustainability claims. It’s vital that you’re honest in your journey to sustainability.
Customers these days want to know and deserve to know where their products are sourced from and who made them.
If you’re a B2B business, your clients deserve to know how you’re delivering on your promises. What are the KPIs?
Don't green wash
Greenwashing is defined as “disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.
In the world of social media and hypersensitivity, you don’t want to get sustainable marketing wrong. It could permanently tarnish your reputation.
Take a fossil fuel brand for example. This industry is notorious for greenwashing and claiming that they’re lowered their carbon footprint, or they’re improving their environmental impact. But often in reality they’ve just paid a lot of money to poorly ‘offset’ their dirty practices.
More and more businesses are jumping on the sustainability bandwagon, trying to capitalise off of the interest in and demand for green products/services. But customers are savvy, and they’ll quickly be able to spot deception.
Hopefully, you’ve found this article useful for understanding a bit more about sustainable digital marketing, and how you can start to use it more effectively for your positive impact business!
Sustainability really can help to grow your brand – it’s not just a trend!
If you’re looking for an agency partner to help snowball your mission-driven brand then drop me an email!