GREEN: How to Promote Green Practices on Limited Funding
Column by Jennie Nevin
Green businesses have an inherent advantage to create a grassroots marketing campaign and gain clients. They have a common denominator that links them to other companies in all industries and attracts the same type of clientele. That common denominator is promoting eco-conscious practices through the manufacturing of their product or the implementation of their services. Consumers that are interested in one type of eco-conscious product or service -- such as a green dry cleaner like Revolution Cleaners, which uses non-toxic cleaning materials -- are probably also interested in another green product or service such as In Season Local Market, which is a market in the Highlands and Littleton that sells locally.
By joining together, you have instantly exponentially expanded your reach in a trusted way to potential clients. The clients of a business such as Revolution Cleaners have chosen a greener dry cleaner and have put their trust in Revolution. They will be much more likely to choose your green business if you are aligned with Revolution.
Through these partnerships, you have other advantages unique to this type of network. It is a new way of doing business, and if consumers are choosing to support green businesses, they are looking for ones that are not green washing and are eco-conscious. By partnering with a green company and tapping into its network, you also have gained the credibility of that company's network by its support of your business.
These businesses also tend to be more receptive to collaboration. The owners generally care about sustainability and are willing to help out other sustainably minded initiatives to grow the movement.
There are a number of ways to create these partnerships.
Join a green business networking group:
Along the Front Range, there are several networking groups. The Green Route, which is an outreach initiative of Green Spaces, the company I own, showcases top green businesses on our map, www.greenroute.com, and creates events to bring consumers to these businesses such as the annual Green Route Festival and Restaurant Tour.
The ReDirect Guide is an annual publication of local and sustainable businesses in Colorado. The guide is free and more than 60,000 are distributed each year. The ReDirect Guide provides one-on-one connections as well as showcasing your business to sustainable consumers throughout the Front Range. http://www.redirectguide.com/.
CORE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping companies understand and implement sustainability practices in their operations. Whether you're a small start-up or an established enterprise, from supply chain to clean energy to social responsibility, CORE is the primary resource. http://www.corecolorado.org/.
Denver Green Streets is Metro Denver and Colorado's green, eco-friendly and sustainable online magazine and directory featuring local events, news, local and national columns, Green Streets TV, jobs and more. http://www.denvergreenstreets.com/.
Co-promote marketing materials and logos
Swap logos for each other's websites with a hyperlink directing traffic to partner websites and ask them to do the same for your business. This not only increases traffic to your site and raises your visibility, it also ranks you higher on Google Search Engine results. You can also swap logos for a partner section on your brochure and other marketing materials. Ask your partners to do the same for you. Setting up an area in your business for partner materials is another great way for you to promote your partners and promote your business at their location. This is especially true for green businesses with a high amount of foot traffic such as restaurants and entertainment venues.
Create a newsletter and promote partners
Creating a online newsletter and sending out monthly updates is a great way to stay in front of your clients. By showcasing your partners, you are adding value to your newsletter by creating additional depth. It is a lot easier filling a newsletter with great news if you can include content by your partners. At Green Spaces we have monthly newsletter that announces our upcoming events and our partner events. We also announce all new members and partners of our space. Partners will be more likely to help promote your business the more you promote their business.
Host a combined networking event
By hosting a networking event with your partners, you are able to create momentum to market each other's business. All partners involved have an incentive to get the word out about the combined event to their networks. You also have an opportunity to meet face to face with partner clients. There are many combined themes that you can do better together. For example, we frequently partner with the ReDirect Guide on our EcoPreneur Workshops, these workshops provide practical knowledge for start-ups and are led by our member organizations.
These are just a few tips to get you started. We have built our client base at Green Spaces through partner networking and now have over 60 businesses that are members of our space. This marketing has been free and has created a network that has sustained and grown our business.