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Transform Your Online Green Marketing by Focus on the Boring Stuff

The following is a post by Paul Hannam of Bright Green Leadership (a 3p sponsor) – offering internet marketing strategies for responsible businesses. This tips and observations in this series are aimed at green entrepreneurs looking to understand how internet technology can benefit them more.

For the last few years I have regularly heard from colleagues that 95% of internet marketing campaigns fail to achieve their objectives. I would say this number might well be higher in green marketing!

There are many reasons why the rate of failure is so high. It is often due to simple marketing mistakes such as choosing the wrong product or market, or failing to match the message to the target audience. Often, it is down to poor execution of a specific strategy such as sending out an ineffective email or a poor quality landing page.

The basics of online marketing are simple and straightforward, yet time after time green business marketers ignore them or try to take short cuts. One of the biggest mistakes that green marketing professionals make is over-reliance on the creative aspects of their work, and paying insufficient attention to the boring stuff like measuring and evaluating their results.

In simple terms, successful internet marketing needs both our right brain to come up with the great ideas, and our left brain to implement these great ideas in a logical, measurable and achievable process. Here are five strategies I recommend to ensure you increase your odds of success.

Copy a successful campaign

If you are planning a campaign to market your green business consulting firm, look at what has worked for you in the past and copy parts of it. Then, make a list of 10 other green consulting competitors and check their website to see how they promote their services. You can even look at non-green consulting businesses to discover innovative ideas.

Plan meticulously

I would recommend that you plan every aspect of your internet marketing campaign very carefully and test each part separately and also in conjunction with each other part. Set a schedule of tasks and events leading up to the launch, and then the milestones afterwards. Just setting and sticking to deadlines will have a significant, positive impact.

Check the concept first

Before you even launch a new campaign check out the concept with friends and colleagues who you know will give you honest feedback. You could even go a step further, and assess your idea with a more formal group of 10-20 users.  Run a pilot campaign to get rid of the glitches.

Leave your ego at home

Please do not fall in love with your idea, as it will prevent you from accurately assessing the quality and impact of the initiative. We do not like to see our big ideas collapse in front of us, and this is sometimes worse in the world of green marketing as we also believe that everyone else should be as passionate as we are. Unfortunately, passion is a double-edged sword and only the market will decide if your flash of genius has any substance.

Test, measure and optimize everything

In the last four posts I have written about market research, traffic generation, email list building and sales. Yet, perhaps the most important skill needed for top quality marketing online is testing, measuring and optimizing everything you do.

The good news is that Google Analytics is a tremendous tool that enables you to do this very effectively. With this tool you can track all online activity including the number of visitors, where they come from, how long they stay and what they do on your site. You can set up goals to measure the conversion of visitors to email subscribers. When you get this right with the other strategies that I have outlined in this series of posts, you will join the elite 5 percent of successful internet marketers who deliver the goods!

Paul Hannam is president of Bright Green Leadership that provides internet marketing services to responsible organizations. Paul is also Chairman and co-founder of Bright Green Talent and taught environmental business at Oxford University. You can get Paul’s free Green Marketing online evaluation for your own website or contact him at Paul@brightgreenleadership.com

Read more Green Marketing stories here.


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  • Divyesh Shah

    i agree with you about – information is more important than looks – is worked with some of the information – http://www.divyeshweb.com/marketing.html

  • tkovach

    Thanks for the article, Paul. I agree with you that it is essential for businesses, especially small businesses, to produce strong marketing campaigns. Green businesses need to explain to customers and consumers what sets them apart from their competitors – whether that is that their products have a small carbon footprint, that they have fewer deleterious effects for the health of the consumer, that they are fair trade certified, locally produced, etc. Businesses need to make sure that when they undertake their marketing efforts that they are accurate, transparent, common sense, and done in an effective manner.

    At COSE, we provide our small business members with a number of products that help them stand out from the pack in their marketing efforts. For instance, we have created a comprehensive social media how-to guide, know as Social Media Leaps (http://www.socialmedialeaps.com), which allows small businesses to ease their way into social media in an effective and user-friendly manner. It gives them a 60-day plan so that they can get into the field at their own pace, and it provides them with resources to help answer their questions and alleviate their concerns. We also partner with the Institute for Sustainable Development to provide the Green Plus sustainability certification program to our members. Businesses that take part in Green Plus are provided marketing & PR through COSE and Green Plus that highlight their achievements and allow them to brand themselves as a sustainable business. One of our member businesses – the Taylor Companies – for instance, has been featured in our monthly COSE magazine, has been used as a case study for several events and marketing efforts, and recently won an award as the Green Plus People's Choice for sustainable business of the year.

    Ultimately, marketing is an essential component of any business' portfolio, but especially so for small businesses and sustainable businesses. They need to leverage their efforts to show what makes them unique and help them to identify better with their customers. This article gives some great advice on how to do that effectively.

    - Tim Kovach
    Product Coordinator, Energy at COSE
    http://www.cose.org/blog
    http://www.twitter.com/COSEenery

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