This is a little bit of a rant, I’m afraid…I just read an article in GreenBiz News about an EcoPinion survey that found “Consumers Don’t Understand Green Terms.”
To quote the key paragraphs of the article: “a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted the first week of November, on communications and language commonly used by companies and stakeholders in the energy and environment space. The EcoPinion Survey confirms a green gap exists around terms such as energy efficiency, energy conservation, demand response, smart energy and clean energy, and customers’ understanding, acceptance and perceptions of value around those terms.
The green gap in communications is contributing to a growing misalignment between customers’ stated intentions, e.g., their desire to be more green or frugal with energy consumption, and their actual behavior.”
My judgment? It all boils down to something I tell my clients over and over: “Your customers don’t care what nifty bells and whistles your products or services have. What they care about is – what difference will those bells and whistles make in their lives, what real benefits do they offer?”
Bottom line – It’s not about you! If your customers/clients don’t understand why your green services are better – not just how, but why – if the difference is wrapped up in green industry-standard terms that mean nothing to John and Jane Doe – it doesn’t matter if you win every eco-award in the book. The customers will sail right past you to the company that speaks their language.
So what can you do to change this? Assume nothing! Start with the idea that visitors to your site have no clue whatsoever about the technologies you use and the standards you work so hard to meet…that the terminology that’s so easy and intuitive to you means less than a torrent of Japanese would to a monolingual English speaker.
Assume that they don’t know, say, the difference between “green business” and “sustainable business”…that they may or may not recycle their trash, much less know the difference between pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled content…that “green building” may signify more about the color of siding on a house than the LEED standards that governed its construction…you get the idea! Define your terms. Explain your concepts. Look at your marketing content with “beginner’s eyes” – if you’d seen this when you were first learning about green business, would it have made any sense to you?
It’s up to you to pass on this information, share your passion about it – why does it matter, why is it better for your customers and the planet? What is your commitment to improving your customers’ lives and changing the world in the process?
And after all, what better way of gaining their interest and trust could you have, than providing the education that turns an incomprehensible wilderness into navigable territory? Create a blog and fill it with key concepts…send out marketing articles to distribution services…write a special report or e-book that introduces key concepts of the work you do…make it your mission to teach the world about your work, so your visitors will share your passion!
Yes – it’s a bit more work – but think of the talks you give to the Chamber of Commerce and your professional networking groups. How many more people will your information reach on the Internet?
If you’d like more information on ways of educating your visitors, demonstrating your expertise, and building your business through social networking and information marketing, and why a green copywriter can save you valuable time and money in crafting this information, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, and if you’d like to check out that article and the study (it’s available free of charge), click here.