Whether your business is just starting or you’ve been in the game for some time now, how you reach and influence your customers is essential to your success. Keeping an eye on marketing trends is a great way to stay relevant, and green marketing is sweeping the business scene.

Showcasing your sustainability efforts and eco-friendly stances can be a great way to engage your earth-conscientious consumers. How you display that stance is up to you, but there are many platforms and avenues to consider when creating your green presence, and it all starts with honest claims. Making a false or exaggerated statement about your business’s environmentally positive choices can be detrimental, and the consumer masses will react unfavorably to greenwashing.

Greenwashing refers to businesses that spend “more time and money claiming to be ‘green’ through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact,” according to the Greenwashing Index.

Simply put, you have to back your words with actions.

That doesn’t necessarily restrict marketing your business as being green, but those implementations will have to be based on truth.

One way to do so is to use sustainable methods to advertise, rather than advertising about sustainability.

There are two proven methods to use eco-friendly methods in marketing: packaging and campaigning.

Packaging

Packaging can be an effective way of presenting your customers with tangible proof of your sustainability efforts. A study by the Carbon Disclosure Project found that businesses using eco-friendly packaging options saw an increase of their ROI “by as much as 18% over companies not making these efforts.”

One of the best ways to make your company more green as well as to shave expenses is to minimize the amount of material needed in the packaging process. Examine your product packaging and determine if you can cut out any unnecessary or excess materials, or if you can change the material to something more efficient altogether.

You should also incorporate more sustainable materials, such as post-consumer recycled options. This way the customers who receive your product will see that you’re making environmentally savvy choices. Encouraging your customers to recycle the packaging after use is another positive way of creating a progressive statement about your business’s green position.

Over half (52%) of people around the globe make their decision to buy a product partially based on whether or not the packaging makes a positive social and/or environmental impact. That accounts for the majority of consumers and isn’t a statistic that should be taken lightly.

Campaigning

While there are many eco-friendly options when it comes to reaching your customers, such as digital marketing, older methods can actually be more effective.

If done right, direct mail marketing can not only be a successful marketing strategy but an eco-friendly choice as well.

Even though sending emails and having digital display ads and social media advertisements can be influential, many people still love to receive physical mail. Actually, an astounding 92% of shoppers will still make purchasing decisions based on direct mail.

So there are a few options when revamping your direct mail campaign.

The obvious choice is to use recycled paper, but there are also other types of paper available that are considered eco-friendly, such as paper made with alternatives to wood.

Paper isn’t the only place you can go green, though. Ink, adhesives, and your general printing process are all areas that can be environmentally overhauled. As much as you can, revisit your process to ensure it’s as productive and sustainable as possible.

Don’t get sucked into greenwashing, make positive environmental impacts in your business choices.