The desire to protect the environment and be green is something that has been close to the heart of west coast Canadians for many years. Even in the current economic climate, the market for green products and services is gaining momentum. All you need to do is look at big national brands promoting how socially and environmentally friendly their companies are to see the growth in popularity.
If you are planning to introduce a green product or service and jump on the green bandwagon, make sure you follow these three essential steps before taking that leap.
1. Prove Your Claims
Your clients will want proof that your products or services are actually environmentally friendly. Customers are not only a lot more skeptical of green claims, they are also a lot more savvy on finding out if they are true or not. It is important that if your customer chooses to research deeper into your product by reading consumer reports, reviews, recommendations, as well as your certifications, that these reflect the information you are already providing.
How well you tell the green story of your product can have a lot of influence over your shoppers’ decision making process, so make sure your marketing collateral, like website, packaging, advertising, social media and public relations go the extra mile to validate your green claims.
Remember with the growth of social media and review websites, one customer’s sphere of influence is greater than ever before. Providing green “proof” to a single individual will affect what they tell their social network.
2. Get Your Pricing Right
Price is one of the most important factors in the average customer’s decision making process. While many green shoppers are willing to pay extra to do the right thing, they still want good value for their money.
Take a look at your competitors pricing structures on their equivalent non-green products and try to challenge them. This will give those customers who have previously been held back by price an incentive to take that step and buy from you instead.
When you are not able to compete on price think about your value add. For example, an energy efficient light bulb might be more expensive than a traditional light bulb, but it will last for X times longer, therefore creating longer term savings.
3. Offer Personal Benefits
Customers might care about the environment, but they care about themselves more. By making a claim that a product will not only have an environmental benefit, but a personal one too, such as health or saving money, then your pitch will have more of a bite. For example, organic food is better for the environment because it uses less pesticides and herbicides which damage the environment, but the selling point for the customer is that those same harmful chemicals will also harm their health or their family.
The Points to Remember
- Be truthful, genuine and transparent. Make sure you and your employees are clear about who you are, what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and who you are targeting.
- Establish credibility. Seek out other businesses, associations and networks that are focussed on green products and services. If associations and membership groups have certifications, then consider applying for them and displaying them on your marketing collateral.
- Research your market. Do your homework and make sure your product is relevant and useful. Research your competitors and look for companies who may have fallen short in the information they provided and the effect on their reputation. And make sure that your suppliers, partners and distributors are making legitimate green claims themselves.
- Educate your target market. Just because you know about the benefits of green products, doesn’t mean that your target market does. It is your responsibility to educate your customers on both the money saving and green aspects of your products.
- Carry the green philosophy through your business. Use recycled containers and packaging, even for your non-green products, recycle every possible container and product used to make it, and switch your business to energy saving appliances and lighting. Practice what you preach and invest in the concept you are selling.