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Why Your Ecommerce Website Needs to Be More Than Just a Shop [Part 1]

Marketing a sustainable brand used to be difficult because people didn’t understand the value of sustainable products. Now, people see the value in sustainable products but marketing them isn’t easier. There are a few unique problems eco-friendly, ecommerce businesses face when it comes to their marketing. 

For example, you’re trying to tell your sustainable story to make the world a better place. But you’re competing with large corporate organizations who are using green marketing to increase their profits. Plus, with sustainability being seen as a trend, many businesses are greenwashing. What’s a small, genuine, eco-friendly brand to do when they’re competing against Huggies, Windex, and our least favorite, green diesel?

There is a way to set your marketing apart in the eco-friendly marketing space and attract the conscious consumers who will champion your business. An organic marketing strategy can help you establish trust, increase your traffic, make more money, and make a bigger sustainable impact. 

But in order for your organic marketing to really return results, eco-friendly ecommerce brands need to have a strategic, optimized website that’s more than just a shop.

What is Green Marketing?

Green marketing is, “selling a product or service by highlighting its environmental benefits.” To take this further, green marketing is also:

  • Showcasing the sustainable materials that your product is made of
  • Demonstrating how your products are made using best practice techniques for sustainability in your industry
  • Sharing your eco-friendly supply chain 
  • Including environmental certifications like No Animal Testing, Certified Organic, Vegan, Climate Neutral, B-Corp Certified, etc. 
  • Sharing how your product helps people live or work more sustainably
  • Explaining how to sustainably dispose of your product at the end of its life cycle, like recycling, composting, or repurposing) 
  • Talking about the sustainable nonprofits or organizations you support, like 1% For The Planet and One Tree Planted
  • Lobbying or supporting local and/or global environmental causes and issues 
  • Sharing sustainable practices at your business, like composting, recycling, or the ways you measure your carbon output

Be advised, that if you do one of the last three bullets and your products aren’t sustainable, you could receive criticism. Environmentalists and savvy consumers won't care if SmartWater has composting in their office given their product is sold in a single use plastic bottle. 

What is Organic Marketing? 

Organic marketing is, “a strategy that generates traffic to your business over time rather than using paid methods.” Customers are often inspired by brands that create meaningful content in line with their thoughts and values. Brands who execute organic marketing well tend to develop deep brand loyalty amongst their consumers and increased conversions without needing to rely on paid advertising. Here are some examples of organic marketing strategies:

  • Writing SEO optimized content, like blogs 
  • Creating infographics, videos, or podcasts
  • Sharing reports and educational information
  • Email marketing
  • Posting to your social media channels
  • Being a guest on other people’s platforms (social, blog, podcast, etc.)
  • Intentional design with your branding
  • Optimizing your website 

Your website is your #1 space to host your organic marketing. It’s important to make a strong impression because your content and design elements are important to conscious consumers. One study found that 75% of users make judgements about a company’s credibility based on its web design. 

The Benefits of Organic Marketing vs. Paid Marketing

While organic marketing takes time (often months to years), it’s pay off can be much higher than paid marketing. This style of marketing drives traffic to your website long after the content is created. Paid marketing stops working for you the moment you stop feeding it money. 

Paid marketing stops working for you the moment you stop feeding it money. 

Organic marketing is educational and can help your business build stronger relationships with conscious consumers. It’s more about giving someone information they’re looking for rather than making a sale. People come to you in search of helpful information or entertainment, rather than you pushing your product on them. A good example of a brand creating helpful and educational eco-friendly content is The Last Object’s website. This online zero-waste store writes blog posts about sustainability 101, going zero waste, and taking action. 

You’re also able to establish yourself as an industry thought leader. People will look to you for answers on issues when they know your business is reliable and helpful. Creating long form content, like blogs, videos, reports, or podcasts can develop this thought leadership. The best example of this is Patagonia. This business has earned a reputation of regularly supporting environmental activism and sustainable causes. While they previously used their catalog to share information, they’ve also found they can utilize their website to host information on saving the planet. They funnel people to their website via organic marketing channels and use very little paid advertising compared to other major brands. 

Graphic illustration of a pie chart titled "Which Digital Marketing Channel Has the Highest ROI for Your Website?"Pie Chart shows that Organic Search is 49%, Paid Search is 19%, Social Media 18% and Email 14%

 

By creating engaging and meaningful content you can send increased traffic to your website. Just how much traffic? If your content lands on page one and in the first three search results, your returns can be significant. The #1 result on Google gets 31.7% of all clicks. The same study found that ranking in the top 3 results gets 75.1% of the clicks. Great website content that ranks well on search engines creates great results. Blog posts, videos, or infographics that land on the first page of Google will consistently send extra traffic to your website.

As we mentioned before, if you’re going to get all that traffic, be sure to make strategic and thoughtful decisions with your website content and design. The last thing you want is to finally get someone to your website only to have them leave because they believe your brand lacks credibility, is unclear in mission or purpose, or lacks substance.

Your organic marketing can attract the right customers to your website. Your website then acts as a platform for conscious consumers to take action and develop a passion for your brand and eco-friendly products. Your content has the power to leave consumers wanting to tell everyone, everywhere about your brand. And no marketing is trusted more than word-of-mouth referrals.  

This isn’t to say there’s no use for paid advertising. We recommend coupling paid advertising with organic marketing once you have the budget for both. However, it is almost worthless to run ads to a website that isn’t optimized with great content. 

Start with a solid and strategic brand design first to communicate who you are consistently to ideal conscious consumers. Your intentional branding will act as a guide to create a website to host your content on. Once your brand and website are in place, you’ll be well equipped to begin your organic marketing plan.  

To learn more, read the second part to this blog post, titled “How to Create an Organic Marketing Plan for Your Sustainable Businesses” read it here.

 

If you're looking for a powerfully strategic Shopify site, strong branding, and If you feel like I'm the right designer for you, I would love to be considered for your project. Check out my portfolio, book a call, or contact me to discuss your project.