5 Ways to Engage Green Customers with Your Green Business

Small business owners face many challenges, but we don't stay in business long without finding green customers to purchase our positive product or service. A 2009 Edelman survey found that 83 percent of consumers would change their consumption habits if it could help make the world a better place to live – and 61 percent of people have chosen to buy a brand that supports a good cause even if it wasn't the cheapest one. So, how to connect with these consumers?

Mother and baby

1)  Partner up with a green non-profit

What kinds of joint projects will benefit the community you live in and benefit both partner organizations? Can you set-up a joint internship program or youth training events? For instance, if you sell coffee, you could pair with a local fair trade group to teach students about supply chains and coffee growing conditions. 

2)  Help your customers recycle

Can you make your place of business a destination to recycle or learn about recycling? Back to our coffee store as an example, they could teach their customers how to compost their used coffee grounds and filters. They also could accept and recycle old coffee makers.

3)  Invite customers into your creative design process
Collaborative creation is a wonderful and engaging process through which business owners ask their customers to help them design new products people will actually purchase and use. You can do this type of customer engagement through the social media channels you're already using.

4)  Use social media to increase your transparency

I'm always encouraging business owners to be completely transparent about their efforts (and the challenges they face) to be more environmentally friendly. Why not use your Facebook or Twitter accounts to discuss the ways in which you green your business?

5) Ask your customers for help to green your business

If your facing a truly inscrutable dilemma about which is the best path forward for your business, put the situation out there and ask the crowd to solve it for you. For examples, should you buy local conventional apples if local organic apples aren't available, or should you buy organic even if they are grown in another country and shipped a thousand miles?

In his book, "We First", Simon Mainwaring advocates for a “We First” economy. Unlike the current economy, the "We First" economy “is a comprehensive system of mindful consumerism in which every single transaction for products and services would include a contribution toward building a better world,” Can you imagine what the world will look like when we get there?

~ by Sarah Manski for PosiPlanet, the blog of the founders of PosiPair.com

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