Always design with “green” in mind. Direct your designer at the beginning of the project to use “green” initiatives when creating your marketing materials. This would mean that you will have certain constraints applied to your marketing piece, but these shouldn’t affect the efficacy of the project as a whole. For example, not having inks or photos that run to the edge of the paper is one “green” technique to cutting down on paper as well as trimming time. Another is to not use any kind of laminate or UV coating. These coatings are used when you want to add a shiny or dull element, prevent scuff damage to the piece or you need to cut down on drying time. While both of these coatings prevent the paper from damage, they don’t break down quickly in landfills, and the UV coatings are known to contain carcinogens. Not good for us much less the planet. Aqueous coatings would be a better option, but they don’t hold as much shine as their counterparts.
Choose recycled paper and soy inks for marketing materials. Recycled paper content varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, you should be able to get free paper samples from your graphic designer who can help you pick the best paper for the project. Soy inks are a great alternative to the traditional inks since they contain no toxins that can be damaging to the environment. Soy inks have come a long way and their vibrancy now can evenly match their traditional cousins.
Choose a “green” printer to produce your materials. Ask your designer to look into local printers as well as “green” online printers. The cost of shipping may not be worth the price if you can find a better deal in town. Be sure to compare apples to apples because not all printers are alike. Your designer should know what to look for so you receive the best deal available. Why a ‘green” printer? Green printers go through a rigorous process in order to receive certification. This certification process includes items such as: type of inks used, type of printing plates used, how much waste is accrued in the printing process, and how materials are disposed of after a project. Greener Printer takes this certification process even further by using wind power as their main power source. Work with your designer and together you’ll find the best match for your project.
Utilize eco-friendly packaging materials for your product. Paperboard and recycled paper are obvious choices, but did you know that there is a plastic made from corn? Great option for those who need to use plastic for food packaging and want a clear container. Cellophane bags and sheets are another option since they biodegrade in landfills with zero waste.
Choose promotional products that are eco-friendly and truly useful to you and your customers. Focus on your customer’s needs before purchasing promotional product giveaways. Will they use the item beyond the campaign or event? Can it be recycled? If you’re unsure of what to pick, then let us help you find the perfect match. These are critical questions a responsible marketeer should ask themselves before placing an order.
Look for eco-friendly and recycled products in your local office supply store. Examples of eco-friendly office supplies would be: recycled copy paper (We use the Office Depot brand), pencils made from denim or currency, paper clips from aluminum like Acco’s, and reusable printer ink cartridges.
Use electronic media as your workhorse. Electronic media not only cuts down on paper, but today’s connected culture demands with smart phones, tablets, and pads almost beg to be used as marketing tools. Coordinate any offline marketing with your online presence to get “more bang for your buck” so to speak. Marketing is fueled by synergy so the more you plan and orchestrate your marketing efforts to include all your tools, the better chance of success.
- Web site marketing- Make your web site your main business hub. Include links to all your social media accounts so folks know where to find you. Include a newsletter sign-up box so customers can receive updates on new products/services as well as company news. (Remember, people buy from people so don’t forget to put a face to your business.) Don’t forget to optimize your site, simplify your navigation, and place your “Calls to Action” in plenty of white space so your customers don’t miss them. It could mean losing a sale!
- Mobile marketing - If you have an extra $30,000 laying around that begs to be used then develop your own app. However, I believe the smartest thing a small indie business can do for mobile is to make sure your web site looks good on all the latest devices.
- Social media marketing - Facebook, Google+, and Twitter are all tools to increase your reach within your audience. Use them as frequently as you can by scheduling most of your postings through a program like HootSuite. These accounts should all look polished and professional with your company’s branding and language across the board. If you don’t have a Twitter background or Facebook page that makes your business look polished and professional, then email email@example.com and we’ll talk about next steps. We also work with several copywriters who can help polish up and optimized that Linkedin account for you as well.
- Email marketing – Email allows you to deepen your relationships than social media since you can communicate so much more information. We are big fans of MailChimp since you can mail up to 2,000 names for free. If you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free. There’s no expiring trial, contract, or credit card required. There is a catch – you don’t have access to all of MailChimp’s features on this plan. If you can live with that, then you’re golden. If not, check out their affordable plans.
About the Author
Dara is a brand identity and marketing design strategist at 7 Lucky Dogs, a leading consultancy in marketing to “pet parents”. Through customized marketing and brand identity packages, 7 Lucky Dogs helps you discover what makes your company, product or service different from your competitors. We then translate this differentiation visually into a logo, product packaging, an E-commerce site and promotional materials to reflect those unique attributes. We make our clients look credible and memorable to their prospects while they increase their bottom line. As the owner of 7 Lucky Dogs, Dara is passionate about helping independent pet businesses stand out in front of their competitors and attract more clients. She blends business smarts with creativity with formal education in both graphic design and marketing.