‘Eco-friendly’ is an increasingly popular buzzword that’s now used to sell all sorts of goods and services — and as a result, the market for sustainable products is becoming more and more crowded. So, how can you ensure that your eco-friendly business stands out from your competitors? In this article, Jonathan Birch, Creative Director with Glass Digital, shares some of his insider tips for designing a successful (and ethical) campaign.
The market for eco-friendly products is growing by the day, with the value of the ethical market rising to a staggering £83 billion in 2018 (Triodos). So, if sustainable policies and products are at the heart of everything you do, it makes sense to put them at the front and centre of your digital marketing campaigns, too. In this article, I’ll explain some essential tips for designing a successful strategy that will get your eco-friendly business noticed online.
Identify your sustainable USPs — but be genuine
First things first: why should ethical consumers shop with you? The answer to this question will form the basis to your entire marketing strategy, so it’s important to get it right, and be as specific as possible. So, kickstart your campaign by identifying exactly which eco-friendly USPs and sustainable policies you’re going to focus on in your marketing. For instance, are you careful to source organic, Fairtrade materials for your products, or do you go above and beyond to offer ethical labour or trading policies?
The most important thing about this is that your values are authentic and sincere, or it could backfire — as McDonalds learned the hard way. The fast food retailer attempted to capitalise on the changing habits of consumers by swapping their plastic straws for paper, only to be savaged in the press and on social media when it was revealed their new “eco” straws weren’t even recyclable.
Clearly, customers are becoming much more savvy when it comes to sustainable marketing, so it’s absolutely essential that any values you use to promote your products are a genuine reflection of your company ethos. But, assuming you are committed to eco-friendly policies, it should provide a strong foundation for your campaign.
Use content marketing and blogging
One of the best ways to boost your online visibility and connect with your target audience is to create original content marketing for your site. This is a fantastic strategy for a number of reasons: firstly, it gives you a chance to demonstrate your brand values and shows your brand is serious about its eco-friendly ethos. Secondly, it will give you a chance to promote your products by answering the sort of questions that people are likely to have about them. And lastly, it can boost your rankings on search engines across your entire site.
There are three key things to bear in mind when it comes to content marketing: it needs to be trustworthy, informative, and high-quality. It should also be relevant to your particular niche, as this will help to establish you as a credible expert in your industry. Finally, remember to focus on the sort of content that your target customers want to read — like tips and tricks for leading a more sustainable life (along with a few links to your products, of course). If you don’t have much of a way with words, you can always outsource this task to an agency.
Build links — in an ethical way
One of the biggest ranking factors that Google and other search engines use when assessing the quality of a site it its backlink profile. This is because search engines see links as a “recommendation” from one site to another —after all, why would a site provide their readers with a link if they didn’t think it was helpful? And when your site has plenty of high-quality backlinks, it can lead to an overall boost in rankings, particularly for those pages which are being linked out to.
You can engineer some of these SEO-boosting links by reaching out to other websites and publications and offering them a guest blog in exchange for a link. Relevancy is key with link building, so pick sites that are closely related to your brand, like eco-friendly living magazines or blogs, or complementary industries that are relevant to your target audience. And whatever you do, don’t give in to the temptation to use “black hat” link building practices, where you pay a dodgy website to generate hundreds of low-quality spam links — this will only hinder, rather than help, your rankings.
Another great way to build links back to your site is to get your products featured on other sites. Not only will this secure you that all-important backlink, but it will also provide some great exposure for your brand, and potentially drive sales for that product. If this is your first attempt at reaching out to other businesses and publication to ask for a feature, it can seem a little intimidating, so take a look at our guide to getting your products featured online to learn more about how to do this effectively.
These days, consumers are actively seeking more sustainable products, and a company’s eco credentials — or the lack thereof — can make or break a sale. So, you’ll want to make sure that your ethical brand values are at the forefront of your digital marketing campaigns. Try incorporating some of the strategies I’ve outlined here in your marketing, and you should be on track for success in 2020.