RelevanSi is a web design and marketing company dedicated to enhancing the online presence of the green community. Green Marketing TV caught up with the company’s staff to discuss green marketing strategies for small businesses!
Please tell us a little more about RelevanSi.
RelevanSi is a specialized business solutions company targeting businesses in the green community. Our mission is to enhance the online communication of our clients by using innovative technologies. Our three main sectors are web development, programming and marketing. Combining different amounts of each sector, depending on a client’s needs, we help to eradicate their problems and create a powerfully expressive visibility and message. As a small green business ourselves, we have an inside perspective on the needs and desires of our clients.
What are the top 3 challenges that green businesses face when trying to reach green consumers?
Visibility – Lack of visibility is the biggest challenge that most green businesses face when trying to reach their green consumers. Environmentally responsible companies often cannot afford the premium prices that many reputable web development and marketing businesses charge for their services. This translates into a lack of effective online communication and visibility at the level needed to showcase their business to green consumers.
Convincing Customers to Buy Green – Studies show that more and more people want to buy from sustainable companies, but the majority cannot overlook the higher price that they often have to pay for doing so. Green companies can overcome this with a marketing strategy that emphasizes other factors that are important to the average consumer, such as the higher quality and long-term savings that many green products and services provide.
Building Trust in Consumers – Along with the rise in popularity of green products and services, there has also been an increase in “greenwashing“, or falsely claiming to be sustainable. As a result, many consumers feel oversold or unsure of which “green” companies to trust. Truly sustainable businesses are at an advantage here because they have the practices to back up their claims. The challenge lies in communicating with consumers in a way that is as personal and transparent as possible in order to build trust and long-term brand loyalty.
What do you feel are the most important elements of green branding?
The basic elements of branding are the same for all companies: encompassing everything from a company’s logo and mission statement to their online communication and visibility platform (interactive website, social media, etc). However, branding really becomes unique at the individual company level. An effective branding strategy will communicate who the company is and most importantly, what sets them apart.
In the case of an environmentally-responsible company one of the most important elements that makes them unique is the fact that they offer eco-friendly products and services. A company’s green brand should not only communicate how they are environmentally friendly, but also emphasize why they are green and why the customer should invest in their products or services.
Many of the most well-known green marketing success stories are large businesses. What do you feel are the benefits small businesses can expect from a well implemented green marketing campaign?
The benefits of a well-implemented green marketing campaign for any company are very similar: greater visibility, more customers, and excellent communication of their products and services. However, the tools and methods used to implement such a campaign differ greatly between large and small businesses. Where a large business will typically invest huge sums of money in more traditional marketing methods such as advertising and commercials, small businesses tend to take advantage of newer and more dynamic marketing methods such as social media and pay-per-click advertising. In addition to being more cost-effective, these tools have the added benefit of allowing small companies to connect with their target market on a more personal, interactive level.
Green consumers often prefer to purchase from small, local companies, but they may not be aware that the option even exists. A well-implemented green marketing campaign for a small business solves this dilemma by connecting with consumers via the online platforms they are already utilizing on a daily basis.
What is the ROI in greener marketing when some of the sustainable marketing tactics may cost business owners more money, such as sourcing 100% recycled paper over commercial paper?
In an industry that is constantly evolving, thinking outside of the box is the key to benefiting from sustainable marketing tactics. Rather than thinking in terms of recycled versus commercial paper, the truly innovative companies today are asking themselves “why use paper at all?” Why not encourage people to check out your website and social media platforms, rather than just handing out business cards and brochures? Or try experimenting with blogging and viral videos to get customers interested in your products in services, instead of spending thousands of dollars on print advertising and PR. Online marketing is an exciting alternative for business owners who want to market themselves in a sustainable way.
How do you recommend green business owners green their marketing without breaking the bank?
Online marketing is the both the greenest and most cost-effective option available business owners today. Thanks to social media sites, pay-per-click advertising, and the countless other free and low-cost online marketing tools available today, a limited budget no longer means limited success for businesses with a small marketing budget.
In addition to staying active online, we really like to emphasize partnerships between small businesses and NGOs in the green community. Partnering with other startups, small businesses and non-profits can allow green companies to trade ideas, innovations, and even products or services for the mutual benefit of everyone involved.