It’s a truth as undeniable as our desire to refuse it. Progress, for the business owner, is a dangerous word. It forces complicated hours and torturous compliance. And the new environmental philosophy (green is no longer the color of profits. It’s instead the color of public awareness) has you worried. You want to make a difference. You just don’t want that difference to be challenging.
It doesn’t have to be.
A small business can offer a great effort to the world — just by following five simple tips:
1. Replace the company brochure with a website:
Face it, no one reads brochures anymore. Beautiful glossy brochures are expensive to update. Add a new product, change a product, and all of the sudden, you have reams of paper that are now obsolute. Brochures end up in the trash. However, the Internet lives on. You will save beaucoup bucks by eliminating the brochure from your marketing mix and the great news is, you can launch a website for a fraction of the cost. In fact, you can launch a beautiful website for practically free, using free WordPress software, and a free professional small business theme.
2. Go digital advertising:
Cut back on print advertising and direct mail marketing, because most of this marketing collateral ends up in a landfill. Embrace digital advertising – create a website, launch email marketing campaigns, do pay per click advertising and display advertising. Digital advertising not only allows you to reach a wider variety of customers, these platforms empower you with better targetting and campaign tracking. Not only will you reduce waste, digital marketing is much cheaper than print.
3. Socialize your coupons:
Coupons are essential. You want to offer the best deals and the best incitements. And what’s better, you can do this all paper-free, through social commerce and social couponing. Promote your offers on Deals.com, Groupon, and through popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Offer discount codes to anyone who checks into your store through a location based app like Foursquare. Make sure your offers can be shared through social networks, which helps with the viral distribution of your coupons. Far more effective than paper coupon cut-outs, no?
4. Green your office.
You’ve greened your advertising. Now. incorporate the principles of sustainability into your business operations. Consider finding used office furniture, recycled materials, power-saving electronics and biodegradable wares. Check out Freecycle.org, Craigslist and the Green Office.
5. Lose the office.
Maybe you don’t even need an office? Why waste all that money on rent and transportation, when your employees can telecommute instead. Virtual workplaces are great for employees with kids, and less commuting does wonders for your company’s carbon footprint. Free tools like Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Apps for Business make online collaboration and communication easy, so physical proximity is no longer required to get the job done.
Creating a business was no easy feat but you managed still to succeed. Greening your business is not only easier, it can save you a great deal of money which will positively impact your business bottom line.
This is a guest post by Lorna Li, a marketing expert for a global CRM company by day, and green business enthusiast by night. Visit her green marketing blog for tips on social enterprise and green business marketing.