It is fashionable to be “green” these days. The Prius, corn syrup cups, low-flow faucets… all of these are examples of how popular it is to be eco-conscious. But, going green with your marketing accomplishes two goals:
- Helps the environment, lowers waste and conserves resources (this is obvious)
- Gets a better return on investment
So, I guess it can be “green” in more than one way. We can save the planet and save our wallets at the same time. How does that work? Well, technological marketing tools allow us to target our audience, use inexpensive resources to reach them, and to measure our results to perfect our approach over time.
Target your audience
Behavioral marketing has been used for nearly a decade. Some websites (like newspaper sites) follow each registered user’s behavior. They can tell what kinds of stories appeal to you and therefore target your marketing accordingly. A good example is if you like stories about golfers and golf facilities, they might target you for country club ads or golf supply ads. This can be more expensive than other forms of marketing, but that is because you are using more sophisticated resources.
Opt-in email marketing also allows you to speak to a “warmer” or more targeted audience. If someone has said “yes, please send that to me,” we can surmise that they find the information (and your services) useful. You can also create different content for each audience. So, if you have geographic differences and can have opt-in users identify those, you can write/curate your content for their specific geographic area.
Online marketing is dramatically less expensive than print or other traditional forms of marketing. Don’t believe me? You can have a website that runs 24 hours per day, seven days per week and it will cost you under $100 per month. If you have a tiny advertisement in a local paper, it will cost you a LOT more than that. Blogs are often free, unless you want to buy a blogging platform feature to be integrated into your website. Email marketing tends to cost under $50 to reach over 1000 people.
The difference between this method and the old traditional methods is that you have to build an audience. That can cost money. But, it can also be done with some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease. If you regularly write original content and tell your sphere of influence where to find it, you will gather an audience. You can also use free social media platforms to build an audience more quickly.
Measure results and adjust accordingly
Google Analytics is a free service (one of dozens from Google) that allows you to measure the activity and traffic on your site. You can see where your visitors are coming from (geographically) and what sites are referring them to yours. You can see what content is most popular.
Email and social media marketing reports are available from the service providers (like Facebook’s Insights or Mailchimp’s reports) and from third party companies like Hootsuite. This will, once again, tell you what people liked, if they shared it with their friends, how many opened your email blast and how you stack up against the industry standards.
Online marketing click reports are also available if you purchase online ads. These will tell you if and when people clicked on your Google Adwords or Facebook ads, for instance.
So, how do you use that information? Figure out what attracts your audience and make more if it! That content is appealing and is driving traffic to your site. Therefore, go where the energy takes you. If you were a baker and your chocolate chip cookies sold out everyday, you would make more… right? (Now I’m hungry… darn it.)
Here are 7 green marketing methods
- Website – these can be made for $20 or $20,000.
- Email marketing – this can be done for free on Mailchimp for under 2000 recipients.
- Social media – free – check out the latest craze, Pinterest.
- Phone calls – this is the most active way to generate business.
- Blogging – this can actually be a lot of fun. I met with a Realtor yesterday who actually giggled when she realized she could take pictures of and talk about her favorite neighborhoods as blog posts. It’s stuff she loves that will be useful to someone who is new to the area (and maybe looking for a house.)
- Online ads – to decide on the best venues, think about where your audience is already going.
- SEO – this takes care of itself once you create a good website with an integrated blog. Just remember, you need to create original and useful content for the reader on a weekly basis.
For more information on how to market yourself or your business, contact me.