Perhaps the biggest challenge to any small business is how to effectively spend a limited advertising budget. Here’s what ecopreneurs say is the most effective use of their money.
I interviewed several hundred ecopreneurs about their business when writing a book about how to become an ecopreneur, and one of the questions I asked was, ‘Besides word-of-mouth, what is your most effective marketing?’ It is worth noting that if I hadn’t prefaced the question the way I did, each and every one of them would have said “word-of-mouth”.
The answers varied across industry, but there was some great information that emerged. Companies in the green building sector, including remodelers, new construction, and retail operations, all mentioned lunch & learn sessions with tradespeople. Several in this sector mentioned Educational Workshops with the general public and local green publications including directories.
Networking events turned out to be prime advertising for…
communications/PR firms, Lawn Care companies, SRI Investment firms, and green publishers. Trade shows and direct mail worked best for Computer and Electronics companies, with coupons also mentioned. Home & Garden Shows worked well for Natural Pest Control and Lawn Care companies. Weekly alternative newspapers were chosen best by consignment shops and used bookstores. PR events and community workshops worked well for green restaurants.
The diversity of responses clearly indicates ecopreneurs must spend wisely for advertising that works in their industry and that there is not just one effective marketing method for green businesses in general. The level to which many of my respondents dragged their feet on answering something other than ‘word-of-mouth’ clearly indicates that many ecopreneurs have had some bad experiences with advertising, and the one tried and true method is still the way to go.
Scott Cooney has worked for Saatchi & Saatchi S as a project manager for the last year, and previously was publisher of a green business directory, and thinks the world of green advertising is incredibly fascinating and frustrating.
Photo credit Thingermejig at Flickr Creative Commons