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How can I make my marketing more sustainable?

There is no doubt that digital direct mail marketing such as email is more environmentally friendly than offline traditional postal campaigns. Email marketing, search ads, online content and social media posts are all very effective and inexpensive online marketing tactics.

What does offline marketing include and is it still relevant?

Traditional offline marketing involves more than just direct mail it involves all promotional or advertising through media such as television, radio, newspapers, billboards, in-person events, posters, fliers, business cards and PR in paper based publications and packaging of goods. These can all complement and enhance digital marketing campaigns and may be difficult to avoid.

Before dismissing Postal direct mail completely it is important however to note that there are still a few cases where it is still relevant. Audiences such as the older generation may not use digital channels and cannot not be reached with online tactics.

Reducing our use of paper in marketing and packaging

The use of paper in our marketing and packaging can dramatically reduce our carbon footprint. The world consumes around 400 million tons of paper each year, accounting for 70% of global warming. The demand is only increasing. FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper is a good option but even certified forestry supply chains are not perfect or far-reaching enough for proper forest biodiversity conservation.

‘Piggy backing’ another delivery to reduce the carbon footprint of its delivery could make postal DM more planet friendly. For example a newsletter delivered with a vegetable boxes or a little note or flier added to a postal order.

What paper friendly alternatives are there?

Here are just a few paper alternatives that are more environmentally friendly;

Hemp based paper

This requires less chemicals, water and energy to turn into pulp and is extremely sturdy as a fibre. Production has less impact on the environment. Hemp is more sustainable to grow compared with wood.

Recycled cotton paper

This looks great when used for business cards or in packaging as a more environmentally friendly alternative to paper. It has a soft tactile texture. Colours printed on cotton paper have a rich, crisp quality. I particularly like the cotton business cards made by moo.com

Straw based paper

It has a warm yellow hue and is made by using reclaimed straw and wheat. This eliminates the need for burning crops to prepare the field for the next cycle, reducing CO2 emissions. The production of straw paper requires 25% less water and 70% less energy than traditional paper so again a good alternative.

Bamboo paper

Bamboo paper is extremely fast growing grass, and grows almost anywhere (unlike trees) but the process of turning bamboo into paper is similar to paper.

Seed paper

Seed paper is made from a post-consumer pulp and seeds . It is possible to see and feel the embedded seeds. This paper is only suitable for digital printing. The seeds may not grow that well if they are subject to high temperature which damage the seeds and affect their ability to grow. I love the texture and unusual leaf shape on these ‘plantable’ business cards

What else can we do?

We need to find a more ‘planet friendly’ approach to all our marketing. More environmentally alternatives are becoming available such as these pvc free pull up banners. Instead of printed business cards get a QR business cards app on your phone. This app can be saved as a screensaver. The added advantage is that you are never caught out without a business card. In addition they are no touch which means they are so much more hygienic for our post pandemic world.

How can our digital marketing be more sustainable?

We can reduce our carbon consumption in our digital marketing too. Images and graphics on our websites and email campaigns can give a better visual experience and grab attention but unfortunately, they will increase the file size. This in turn takes up more storage space and requires more energy to send and receive. Cutting out GIFs, reducing the size of your images and compressing them will speed up websites and improve load times, leading to a better customer experience and using less energy.  See the blog on how to make your email marketing more sustainable here

At Little Green Marketing Company we want to put people and planet above profit. Why not give Rebecca a call to see how we can help you make market your business in a more ethical and sustainable way on 07795 567 531 or email rebecca@littlegreenmarketing.co.uk

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