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The concern about climate change has gone global in the past decade. It was about time – sea level is rising by 3.3mm each year, the planet’s polar ice sheets are losing huge masses, and Earth’s temperature has reached an all-time high increase by 2.1% since 1880.
The need for change in environmental behavior has never been more urgent and customers across the globe are finally waking up to the fact that they’re a part of the problem.
Lo and behold, the rise of consumer awareness takes a toll on companies too. The accountability for their green actions grows stronger; in fact, they don’t stand a chance against environmental activists who are always ready to call them out on the lack of commitment to the environment.
You can observe this change of perspective in the shift in values held by customers. Presently, 71% of them find environmentally-friendly business practices to be superior to the price of the products the companies set and their support of social movements.
With Earth Day coming up – mark your calendars for April 22 – the motive for spreading the word about the state of ecological imbalance and engaging consumers in green efforts couldn’t be any clearer.
So, why not use this event to connect with your audience on the basis that both of you share? Read on to find out what you can do in preparation for the holiday that would propel your customers to take action.
1. Collect customers’ ‘green’ stories and include them in your digital campaign
There’s nothing more inspiring than real-life stories of those who’ve decided to make changes to their lifestyle for the better good of humanity. That’s why they work so well in prompting others to join the movement and stick with the new habits for the long run.
Consider sending out surveys or asking your customers to send their journeys to sustainability directly via email. Once you get a hold of them, organize these stories in an advocacy-type campaign. Then you can finally share them with everyone else on your email list before Earth Day.
Don’t be afraid to have some fun with your newsletter. Use content creation tools available on the internet and, if you want to take it a step further, make it personal.
2. Hop onto social media to share your stance on environmental issues
It’d be wrong to not leverage the greatest invention of this century that is social media. With 3.96 billion active users – roughly half of the population – using it regularly, you have good chances of catching the attention of your followers and sparking conversations around environmental issues on platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
Use this occasion to share with your customers what steps you’re taking to minimize your carbon footprint as a company. It can be a recycling program you’ve adopted or a change of suppliers from international to local with the intention of reducing waste.
Regardless of what you choose to share, keep it truthful and don’t resort to greenwashing. You don’t want to receive a backlash that could destroy your business.
3. Make your customers feel included by donating a part of profits on Earth Day purchases to sustainability-focused organizations
Make donating some (or all) of the profits even more interactive: ask your customers to cast a vote for the organization they deem to be doing a good job at protecting the environment and pick the one that receives the majority of the votes.
In turn, you can partner up with the organization you’ve donated to and send ‘thank you’ notes back to the customers that decided to participate by making a purchase and voting. This is guaranteed to make them feel like they’ve made a difference while also giving them a positive impression about your company as a whole.
4. Host an online sustainability-themed seminar for your customers
In the era of virtual meetings and over-the-phone interviews, digital seminars are the only logical addition to the mix. Hosted on a digital platform of your choice, it has the potential to reach thousands of people located all over the world. Efficiency at its finest!
In the advent of Earth Day, invite sustainability experts who have extensive knowledge of the topic and are able to share their tips and tricks on how to incorporate green habits into your life. If you have the means, it’d be even grander to have a panel of speakers with varying expertise on the subject.
By the end of the seminar, don’t forget to gather feedback from the participants and thank them personally for coming to the event.
5. Take it outside and have a community clean-up party
Aside from having employees join you to sort out the trash on the streets, encourage your customers to step in. They can dress up in second-hand clothes and bring their own recyclable trash bags to help the local community keep the surroundings clean and tidy.
A public announcement on social media or an email a week in advance should do the trick of notifying everyone about the upcoming clean-up party. Bonus point if you manage to incentivize those who show up with a discount coupon or a gift with their next purchase.
Reaching big heights is easy when you’re not alone. It’s even easier if done alongside like-minded people who share the same values.
To appeal to your customers and make them follow your lead, show, don’t tell. Inspire them by sharing what sustainable goals your company stands by beyond Earth Day and promote an eco-friendly way of living along the way. Together, you’re more likely to foster the change and be the reason climate change stops being a burning issue.
Author: Torben Lonne
Torben Lonne is an entrepreneur, dad, scuba diver, and ocean lover who is deeply concerned with how we are treating our planet. He is the co-founder of Divein.com, an online travel magazine focused on aquatic and outdoor sports that he runs with his brother Nicolai. Torben has been featured in media publications all around the world including The Washington Post, Dell Technologies, Business.com, and Greenpeace to name a few.