Actions your marine business can take to promote eco-friendly business practices in marketing messages and strategies
Green marketing is a trend for many businesses, but it seems to be an especially relevant way of doing business in the boating industry. As consumers of the environment, the boating industry as a whole has a vested interest in protecting our most valuable asset.
From protecting our waterways to adopting everyday environmentally friendly business practices or offering green marine products, there are many ways that boating businesses can demonstrate their commitment to green and eco-friendly actions. And this committment should be front and center in your consumer-focused marketing strategies.
Creating a Green Marketing Strategy
The global strain on our environment and waterways, coupled with a consumer desire to choose eco-friendly products for healthier living, creates opportunities for businesses to market themselves as environmentally conscious.
Aligning your business with green practices is a meaningful way to make a difference with the environment, but can also be a great selling point or differentiator for businesses. And in some cases the concept of “green” has created whole new line of marine product and service opportunities for boating businesses to explore.
Whether you are running a business entirely focused on green products or services, or you are a marina simply looking to connect with boaters interested in doing business with eco-friendly marinas, green marketing can be a positive tactic to incorporate in your overall marketing strategy.
Boating Industry Green Marketing Ideas
Here are some green marketing ideas for boating businesses to demonstrate how they care about the environment or offer a green solution for customers.
Create an Eco-Friendly Selling Point
Your green marketing strategy should be a business strategy and not just a marketing gimmick. The most thoughtful green marketing strategy and idea is to actually create real eco-friendly selling points for your business. If needed, determine how you can alter your business practices or your product line to be more green and eco-friendly.
The Clean Marinas Program is one of the best examples of a meaningful initiative that offers an eco-friendly selling point for marinas to market to boaters. There are extensive resources for marinas to learn how to protect their local waterways, from pump-out facilities with spill clean-up kits to recycling centers and waste collection sites. Most states have individual requirements for clean marina status. Participation in this program demonstrates an enormous commitment to the environment, for boaters and the community.
Whether your business offers a green product line or services that should incorporate green best practices, you’ll want to be sure your eco-friendly selling points are front and center in your marketing messages.
Key selling points for green marketing may include phrases like:
- Low-energy solution
- Sustainable product
- Non-toxic ingredients
- Low waste (or emissions)
- Chemical free
- Recycled materials
- Clean marina
Brand with Green Logos or Insignias
If you offer a green marine product, or if your business participates in eco-friendly practices, you can make use of a variety of logos and insignias for your marketing and company branding. This includes your website, advertising, marketing materials, signage, business cards, packaging and vehicle graphics. Logo examples include the standard recycling arrow logo, Clean Marina logos, Energy Star Rating logo, or membership logos (such as U.S. Green Building Council or EPA).
Businesses can also consider designing a custom logo that is specific to their business or industry as an effective tool to communicate their green offering and stand out from the competition. Creating a new logo specifically for your green initiatives can be a great way to market your business and really stand-out as eco-friendly.
Print on Recycled Paper
A well-known way to conserve resources, recycled paper is an easy way to subtly demonstrate that your business is environmentally conscious. Choosing to print your marketing brochures, sales flyers or business cards on recycled paper is a very important first step in a green marketing strategy. Most online printing companies, like VistaPrint, offer recycled paper options on most of their print products.
Invest in Online Marketing
Online marketing (like online ads or email newsletters) is much more environmentally friendly than offline marketing like direct mail or printed advertising. The good news is that it is also much cheaper to use online marketing, and much easier to track your return on investment. Placing an online banner ad is a low-cost alternative to a print ad and produces no printed waste or negative impact on the environment. Social media or email newsletters are also very cost-effective ways to communicate to customers and prospects, as opposed to direct mail.
Promote Local Vendors
Support your local community while helping the environment by using local vendors and suppliers. Using local businesses will reduce the impact of carbon emissions on the environment by having local delivery of products and supplies. Promoting your use of local businesses shows you support your local economy. If you run a waterfront restaurant make sure to use fresh ingredients, seafood and produce from local farmers and anglers is also a big selling point.
Operate Fuel Efficient Vehicles
The vehicles you use for delivery, sales and service can have a big impact on your brand image. Operating hybrid or FlexFuel vehicles will not only save your business in gas expense, but will send a clear message that your business is also eco-friendly. Electrically operated golf carts are a popular choice for maintenance and dock hands to run about a marina property, offering a cleaner and quieter mode of transportation.
Environmental Causes, Events and Charities
Supporting your local waterways is one of the biggest ways boating businesses can make a difference with the environment and expand their green marketing strategy. There are many ways to get involved in local environmental initiatives, from donating or sponsoring preservation efforts to assisting local clean-up or environmental events.
These green marketing ideas are small steps boating businesses can take to demonstrate to customers their commitment to eco-friendly practices and preserving their boating environment.
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