Online business tips for green companies
7 online business tips for green companies to get you noticedOne of the biggest challenges green businesses face is getting the word out about what makes their company special. Let's face it: there's a lot of competition and consumer spending is tight. Fortunately, the Internet is a natural when it comes to green business promotion. Web promotion means less paper, and that's a great match for your business philosophy.
But there are some things you need to know. To get the best results from your efforts, check out these seven online business tips for green companies tailored to your earth-friendly company.
Tell people what makes your company green
Okay, you say you have a green business. Now tell your customers and potential customers exactly what it is that makes your company green. Is it the organic materials in your t-shirts? The sustainable resources you're using? The solar powered manufacturing plant or the 100% recycled paper products in your restaurant? Whatever it is that sets your company apart from less green (or ungreen) competitors is the key to your online green message. Make sure it comes across loud and clear.
Keep it honest
A caveat to promoting your green-ness. Make sure it's all true. Sure, you may want to go 100% organic in the future, but if you're only half way there, be honest about your progress and goals. Once customers find out you're fudging on the earth-friendly facts, your credibility -- and your business -- will be shot. Better to bee seen as moving towards green, than to to labeled a "greenwasher."
Offer online versions of catalogs and other materials
One of the easiest online business tips to put in action is to create a virtual version of your catalog and order materials. If you're tech savvy, you can do it yourself. If not, even sophisticated online catalogs are now affordable -- shop around and you'll find companies who will handle uploading catalogs pages for a few dollars a page, then create a virtual catalog shoppers can flip through and search.
Allow consumer to select only the catalogs or other mailings they want to receive
Not all consumers will want to shop online, so offering a paper catalog is can also be a green option. Just be sure customers only receive the the catalogs and other mailings they request. The days of a full opt-in to everything a company might send out are nearly over... thankfully! A simple online form and check box will allow shoppers to customize the mailings they receive.
Creating a great website or online catalog won't help your business if no one find you, so count this among your most critical online business tips: optimize your website. For the neophyte, that means design the content and metadata like keywords and title tags so it's easy for Google to find you. Do some searches on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to get a better idea of what's involved.
You may wish to hire an SEO expert to get you started, or to manage the optimization of your site over time.
Partner with related green businesses
If you find other green businesses that offer complimentary products or services, see if you can arrange a promotional partnership. For example, if you offer eco-travel, partner with a company offering luggage in natural fabrics. Both companies benefit from the traffic and the association, and the overall "green factor" goes up!
Encourage recycling and reduced use
Actively encourage your customers and site visitors to participate in green activities. Offer links to community or global events and groups. Business to business companies might want to create a green B2B online business tips page, to help other businesses become more earth friendly.
Remember, it's a process
Just as going green is a process, so is creating your company's Internet presence. Take it one step at a time, try new approaches and solicit feedback from site visitors and shoppers. It will just keep getting better!