How to Sell Using Green Marketing
As some of you know, I am the founder of this company, and also some years back, I started the World Green Business Association (WGBA), which only survived a few months. I learned a lot in my journey as founder of the WGBA, and learned even more when it ultimately was crushed under the weight of too-high expectations and overhead. I’d like to share some of those lessons with you, and help you reach a better outcome for yourself and your green business aspirations, whatever they may be. Let’s talk about green marketing.
Know Your Market
As much as it pains me to say this, the green movement is a niche market. As a planet-conscious person, I truly hate admitting that the concept of taking care of our planet is a niche concept, but it really is. I found this out the hard way. The fact is, not everyone cares about the planet, or wants to acknowledge the truths of what the human race has done and continues to do. Additionally, there is an abundance of media noise and misinformation that diverts true information from getting to people, and inspiring action. Sad but true. Acknowledgment of this truth helps us to refine our efforts and focus on the “low hanging fruit” to achieve more.
You’ll have little effects in your sales or green marketing efforts until this unfortunate truth is acknowledged and worked with.
Lesson in a soundbite: Speak to those that want to listen.
I love talking. No big secret there. I’ve got a huge Type A personality that can suck the oxygen out of a room. Know what’s better than that? Listening and letting other people shine. As a young CEO, it admittedly took me a few years to drill that into my thick skull. Oops. Well, I get it now.
Know what else took me a while to learn? Read this part slowly to savor every nugget: Everyone that IS listening to the green movement and their fellow enthusiasts has different reasons for being on board with it, and has been a student of different teachers, approaches, facts, and philosophies. That being said, in order to market to the people that are listening, you need to know why they’re listening and the personal impact to them of the green movement. Your job is to ask many questions and to understand that market segment within the niche market.
Wait – first it’s a niche market, and then there’s segments within that niche? Yes. It’s kind of like a continent with different countries. Like all countries are unique, so are your targeted segments. See my handy dandy drawing to the right.
So. Ask questions, and lots of them. When it’s your turn to talk, or create green marketing material, you’ll know what to say or respond with because your prospects have told you themselves what will get their attention.
Lesson in a soundbite: Ask more questions, take more notes.
Channel Your Passion
Like a kid with a new toy that wants to show it off to the world that knows it’s the best toy on the whole planet and knows everyone needs one… we greeniacs (can I use that term?) can be a little overzealous in our commitment to the cause. I raise my hand in as a recovered overzealot, and I’ll ask you to give yourself a good hard look and see if your hand should be in the air too for past or present sins. Nobody likes that guy. Nobody likes buying from that guy.
This isn’t to say you can’t inspire change and get tons of people on board. You can!! With knowing your market, active listening, inspired question asking, detailed note-taking and being cool, calm and collected, you can get people to meaningfully listen to you and your message, and in turn, buy.
We’ve all seen met one of these people… the person that’s deeply and passionately committed to the cause and…
- uses it as a club with which to beat people over the head with
- gets outright offended and angry when people don’t “see the light”
- get judgmental when people don’t engage and “buy in”
- is insistent and pushy and never seems to back down
Yikes. At one time, I was one of those people myself (cringe). I learned a great deal from being that way of what not to do, and then being on the receiving end of it years later.
So if you’re the person that’s deeply and passionately committed to the cause, let’s channel it positively. Here are a few thoughts on how to do exactly that.
- Create a detailed sales strategy that identifies the right questions to ask that will engender conversation about your prospect’s true motivations and reasons for caring
- Ask questions to discover what would help to capture the most attention from other prospects, by asking your existing prospects. Yes, it’s good to include the consensus in your marketing decisions.
- Create marketing materials that don’t sell, but rather educate and inspire questions from your prospects toward you
- Ask yourself: how can you inspire someone? After all, didn’t someone at one point inspire you to set you on the path you’re on?
Lesson in a soundbite: Get to your prospect’s “why” and seek to inspire.
You’ve Got This
At the end of the day, the central point of a green service or product is to do some good for our one and only home. The planet doesn’t need us; we need it. You can inspire incredible change and action with the right approach, and I hope I’ve given you a few helpful philosophies to help you do that.
Green Marketing Ideas
Oh wait, you thought you were going to get some green business marketing ideas? Of course you are. 🙂 I can’t disappoint my readers! Here you go:
- Social Media – you could get a group going on Facebook or LinkedIn to identify like-minded people and build a small collective of evangelists that will help spread the good word, and use it as a platform to educate. Once you educate, you can let people come to you about how you can help them.
- Public Relations – you can do some good in your community, and then write a press release, then release it to the media editors that are a good fit for your brand and message (following up of course).
- Blogs – you can create a blog that talks about lots of things that are tied to your green product or service, such as: saving money on your heating bill, urban farming how-to’s, etc. Pro tip: don’t sell! Teach instead.
- Events – you can create an event with a partner or multiple partners that the public would want to attend that focuses on the broader group that would likely be interested – such as an Eco-Savings event. Save money, do good.
- Partnerships – what sister concepts are a great compliment to what you do? Can you partner with an energy supplier if you’re a builder?
As always, if you need help with your green marketing, please ask us! We’d love to help you. You can ask us to create your green marketing plan, help you with your sales approaches, create green marketing content for you, produce green marketing materials and so much more.
A few green links to chew on:
- A great TED talk from Al Gore: https://www.ted.com/talks/al_gore_the_case_for_optimism_on_climate_change
- A dear friend’s Viridian business. If you haven’t signed up, please have a look! Green energy that’s cheaper than non-green energy! WIN: https://berrygreen.viridian.com/ Yep, I signed up. Very happy.
- A whole lot of inspiration and useful links in one spot: https://greenlivingideas.com/2015/04/16/top-10-most-inspiring-sustainability-leaders/