Going green is not only an environmentally responsible choice and a must for many consumers but also a highly sought-after competitive advantage for marketers. How can an eco-friendly marketing message increase your sales and attract more customers?

Many of us want to do what we can to slow down the detrimental effects of environmental pollution and climate change. Numerous studies confirm that environmental sentiment is high among consumers: according to McKinsey’s survey, 67% of European consumers consider sustainability to be an important purchasing factor, and 60% are ready to go out of their way to switch to green products that are better for the environment.

Environmental problems are the leading personal concern among Gen Z adults, according to eMarketer. Younger generations of purchasers seem eager to hold businesses accountable for their environmental impact. With growing calls to action, it suggests mindful purchasing is not a fad, but rather will grow in the upcoming years.

Brands can no longer ignore this demand for sustainability, and in this article, we will discuss green marketing nuances and tactics for consumer products.

Green marketing vs. greenwashing

The concept of green marketing refers to promoting products or services based on their environmental benefits and value. By buying the promoted products, users expect to be able to create a positive impact or lessen the negative impact of consumption on the environment. Some examples include Nike advertising their line of sneakers made from recycled polyester and Starbucks promoting their reusables.

The main motive behind green marketing is environmental protection, but these promotional campaigns may have different goals, such as:

  • reducing pollution or limiting waste;
  • promoting eco-friendly products that are manufactured sustainably or through renewable energy;
  • raising awareness about environmental issues and highlighting how the brand is tackling them.

By doubling down on green marketing, it can help you get your message across and get more users to see your product. However, the environmental benefits of the promoted product should be confirmed and proven. Otherwise, you are at risk of being accused of greenwashing. An unethical business practice, greenwashing is when a company uses environmental assertions to mislead consumers. In fact, these false claims can put your brand at a mass boycott. For example, some major banks have been recently accused of greenwashing because of vague climate targets.

To use ‘sustainable’, ‘ethical’, ‘organic’, ‘biodegradable’ and other anchor buzzwords consumers want to see on ad creatives and packaging, companies must have sufficient evidence, such as environmental credentials and certificates, to support their claims.

Basic strategies for eco-friendly marketers

Despite the growing demand for green and eco-friendly practices, creating environmental value for consumers and complying with regulations are not enough. Companies also need to market these products effectively. This process starts with defining your audience.

There’s no singular, homogenous eco-conscious audience. Moreover, choosing which sustainability-driven audience to reach and market can make all the difference. You should think of the following buyer personas.

  • Enthusiastic experts. They prioritize systematic and comprehensive environmental policies. Usually, they believe that any business harming the environment should compensate for this damage in taxes. They are typically older than 35 with a medium to high level of education. They are knowledgeable about sustainability matters and clearly express their position on social media.
  • Forward-thinking innovators. These consumers gravitate towards innovative know-how and progressive solutions. Typically, they are urban-living Gen Z and Millennials with a medium to high -education background.
  • Self-centered rationalists. These consumers are looking for value for themselves; for example, they buy upcycled backpacks because they are trendy, not for the sake of the planet. Demographically speaking, they resemble innovators — Gen Z, Millennials, and in some cases Boomers, living in urban areas who have medium to high education backgrounds.
  • Considerate conventionalists. They value transparent regulations, a deeper understanding of environmental issues and empowerment of communities. They are older than 45 and live in rural areas or suburbs.

Next, advertisers should alter channels, messages and tone, depending on the audience segment and their value proposition. For example, the best way to catch the attention of enthusiastic experts is to place contextual ads in relevant articles. Brands should be precise about their green benefits and highlight the efficiency of the product.

When speaking to innovators, surprise them. Encourage them to try out something completely new and become early adopters of trendy sustainable solutions. Brands can jump on popular TikTok or Instagram trends to showcase and present new products. Keep in mind that they are proactively seeking out and comparing sustainable brands, so contextual ads paired with retargeting can also work well. Employ thought-provoking messaging and show the most unusual products on creatives.

Appealing to rationalists, you should shift the focus from green benefits to how users look and are perceived by others if they buy the advertised product. They admit that sustainability is a good thing in essence, but they are not willing to invest in it above the regular price. The best tactic is to use paid advertising and highlight the material benefits of the product.

Conventionalists are somewhat knowledgeable about eco-friendly products, but they lack deeper expertise. Speak to them in simple technical terms and lead them to engaging editorials that will give background information on the subject matter. Even though they may be less proactive, they are willing to pay a bit more for products with environmental benefits.

Don’t forget to look up what’s hot in the sustainable market, on a regular basis. In fact, new types of eco-friendly affiliate and dropshipping programs have arrived on the scene recently. Established e-commerce niches like solar panels may also do quite well, but don’t forget to look up consumer demand for these products (e.g., look for relevant search terms via Google Trends and other tools).

Re-inventing growth opportunities

Despite the pandemic and economic crisis, consumer attention toward green initiatives grows, and the market for sustainable products is building momentum. Nailing eco-friendly marketing can benefit any kind of B2C niches — from solopreneurs to gigantic corporations — and help brands connect with consumers who share the desire to protect the environment.