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Sorting Through the Kaleidoscope of Green Consumers

While it seems everyone says they’re interested in going green, the word means widely different things to different people – or sometimes different things to the same person in different situations.

I’m a painter as well as a writer, and it’s always seemed to me there are more shades of green than any other color.  Not only that, but shades of green vary more in their psychological impact than other colors.  Think about how you react to a deep forest green versus olive, grass green, sage, mint or shocking lime.

So when I read the recent blog post by Jane Tabachnick on the incredible diversity of Green consumers, I found myself nodding my head.  She compares them to shades of green paint – an apt description indeed.

“Green” has become such a trendy hot button  it’s hard to put your finger on it.  While it seems everyone says they’re interested in going green, the word means widely different things to different people – or sometimes different things to the same person in different situations.

For example, my hybrid Honda Civic gets 50 miles per gallon.   So when I’m comparing my gas consumption to my friends’  I feel pretty good about it.  But after all, I’m still burning fossil fuel when I drive it.  And if I ever find myself driving when I could have ridden my bike, it really gets the guilt gears grinding in my head.

Same product.  Same consumer.  Different situation = different conclusion.

It all depends on the context. And that’s what copywriters need to be aware of when writing copy for green products.

You’ve got to figure out what shade of green your particular prospect is wearing, and tint your copy to complement it.  If you’re writing to hard core Greenies like myself, be sure you’re not saying something that’ll trip the guilt line in their heads.  Or worse, anything that sets off the humbug alarm.

But for a more mainstream audience just beginning to think green, you’ll want to make sure your product doesn’t come off as too far out.  (Honda knew this back in the early 2000’s when they first came out with their hybrid.  Their tagline was, “You don’t plug it in.”  Kept it within the realm of the known.)

Bottom line:  do your research, and know your prospect!

Anne Michelsen is a freelance writer specializing in helping Green and renewable energy companies enjoy increased attention and greater sales through dynamic sales copy and insightful content.

Subscribe to Anne’s bi-weekly tips and insights into marketing, sales writing and sustainability, and get a complimentary copy of her Green marketing report, Making Sense of the Green Sector: What Every Marketer Should Know About Selling Sustainable Products and Services.

Support the proposed wind farm in Columbia County, WI

Wind energy needs your vocal support in Wisconsin! Comments are due regarding the Environmental Impact of a proposed wind farm project by September 4, 2009. Now is the time for those of us who believe that wind power is good for the environment and good for Wisconsin to speak out and be heard.

Just got an email from Ed Blume of RENEW Wisconsin.  Here’s what he has to say:

Wind energy needs your vocal support in Wisconsin!

In October 2008, We Energies proposed the Glacier Hills Wind Park in the towns of Randolph and Scott in Columbia County – approximate 45 miles northeast of Madison. The Glacier Hills Wind Park would consist of 90 turbines and generate 162 megawatts of electricity – enough capacity to power approximately 45,000 homes.

Comments are due regarding the Environmental Impact of the project by September 4, 2009. Now is the time for those of us who believe that wind power is good for the environment and good for Wisconsin to speak out and be heard. If opponents are successful in their quest, the future of wind energy in Wisconsin will be seriously called into question.

You can lend your support by clicking here.  If you’d like, feel free to model your comments after mine:

I support the proposed wind farm in Columbia County. The future of affordable fossil fuel availability is uncertain. Wisconsin must import 100% of its fossil fuel, but we have abundant renewable resources. We need to tap into those resources to safeguard our energy future, as well as create jobs here in the state and protect our environment.

Wind Power

It was a real thrill to skip across the lake powered by the wind – not to mention watching everyone trying to flip the boat back up after capsizing it!

Me with my daughter Clara trying to figure out that sailing thing...
Me with my daughter Clara trying to figure out that sailing thing...

In case anyone was wondering why I haven’t posted for a while, I’ve got a great excuse:  I was out enjoying myself!

Just got back from a family reunion up in Michigan’s U.P.  Yes, they actually do have summer there, sometimes, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it!  I spent most of the week bundled up in a sweatshirt.

We did get one day warm enough to don a swimsuit (if you were willing to keep moving!) and by happy coincidence the wind was right to take my dad’s boat out for a

My dad and brother having a little more success at it than I did.  What a pretty sight!

sail.  He owns a VERY small, VERY cantankerous little racing sailboat called a Force 5.  (They’re named that because the nutzoids who race them like to take them out in a force 5 gale.)  Personally I was happy the wind stayed at the gentle breeze level.

Well, we all had fun and it was a real thrill to skip across the lake powered by the wind – not to mention watching everyone trying to  flip the boat back up after capsizing it!  I’m looking forward to next year, though – Dad says he’ll be looking for a Sunfish (a much tamer and more tractable little sailboat) for the grandkids to learn on.  Count me in, too!

Anne Michelsen is a freelance writer specializing in helping Green and renewable energy companies enjoy increased attention and greater sales through dynamic sales copy and insightful content.

Subscribe to Anne’s bi-weekly tips and insights into marketing, sales writing and sustainability, and get a complimentary copy of her Green marketing report, Making Sense of the Green Sector: What Every Marketer Should Know About Selling Sustainable Products and Services.

My dad and brother having a little more success at it than I did. What a pretty sight!

A Copywriting Tip From Kindergarten: What Little Kids Know About Getting the Sale

“Wait here, ” I said.

I found my purse, made out a check for $10, and handed it to the boy.

“Thank you!” they chimed in unison, then tripped off to hit up the next door neighbors.

What just went on there??? I’d never seen these kids before in my life. Heck, they didn’t even have a good idea why they were there. Yet they got me to fork over a chunk of hard-earned dough.

Brownie scout selling cookiesThe doorbell rang.

On the porch were two little waifs, not much more than three feet tall.

“Do you want to give us some money?”  the smaller of them peeped.

Uh, no.

“What for?” I asked.

“For our class,” said the other one, a pink-cheeked boy in a red checked scarf.

Isn’t that why I pay property taxes?

“So your class is raising money for something?” I ventured.

“Uh huh.” “Yeah.”

I looked around for the parents.  Nowhere to be seen.

“Um…what is your class going to use the money for?”

They looked at each other.  Clearly they had no idea.

Back in the kitchen, something sizzled on the stove.  I didn’t have time for this.

“You can write a check,” suggested the smaller one. Little wisps of blonde hair floated angelically above her impossibly large, round eyes.

“To Franklin school,” added her brother helpfully.

Sigh.  They had me.

“Wait here, ” I said.

I found my purse, made out a check for $10, and handed it to the boy.

“Thank you!” they chimed in unison, then tripped off to hit up the next door neighbors.

What just went on there???  I’d never seen these kids before in my life.  Heck, they didn’t even have a good idea why they were there.  Yet they got me to fork over a chunk of hard-earned dough.

It didn’t hurt that they were adorable.  (Remember that.  It’s OK to use your kids and your pets as marketing gimmicks.  After all, they cost money to keep, they might as well help earn it.)

But I’ve turned away kids selling candy bars and such many a time.  What did these kids do to get me to make out a check and hand it to them?

Simple.

THEY ASKED FOR IT!

It’s so incredibly basic, a couple of snot-nosed elementary school kids did it without even thinking.

But it’s amazing how many times otherwise savvy salespeople and copywriters forget to ask for the sale.  It’s so easy to do – after all, we’ve been trained to be polite, and asking for money just seems so… well…  unsophisticated.

Unfortunately, sophisticated doesn’t put money in the bank.

Always, always, always ask for the sale.  Don’t be shy.  Give people directions and they’re WAY more likely to follow them.  If you have a good product and you’ve qualified your prospect well, you’re doing them a favor.

When you’re writing a sales letter or any other piece of persuasive copy, tell them exactly what to do.  Don’t leave anything to chance.  “Call 123-4567 for your free estimate today.”  “Go right now to www.whatadeal.com to download the seven super-secret money-making tips of the Trumps.”  Or even, “Buy now.”

Just ask.

And if you need coaching, go down to your local elementary school and hang out with the kids at lunchtime.

By the way… can I have your cookie?

Anne Michelsen is a freelance writer specializing in helping Green and renewable energy companies enjoy increased attention and greater sales through dynamic sales copy and insightful content.

photo credit: Kurt Wagner via photopin cc

Marketing with a medium as old as dirt (and as clean)

Dirt and water usually lead to nothing but mud. But for clients of the Dutch advertising company Green Graffiti, mixing the two could be a recipe for profit. Whether or not you can ever see yourself hiring Green Graffiti to blast your logo onto sooty sidewalks, it’s food for thought. Many people are critical of advertising efforts as a waste of resources. What other creative ideas can we come up with that get the message across without leaving dirty footprints?

GreenGraffiti
With Green Graffiti, a business can spray their logo around while performing a public service.

Dirt and water usually lead to nothing but mud.  But for clients of the Dutch advertising company Green Graffiti, mixing the two could prove to be a recipe for profit.

Green Graffiti uses pressurized water to blast logos and simple ads onto dirty city sidewalks.  The result is an attention-getting message with minimal environmental impact.  In fact, it actually makes the sidewalk cleaner.

The company’s been around since 2006 but is just beginning to make waves in the U.S.  Earlier this month, Domino’s Pizza had their logos sprayed on the sidewalks of New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.  They even turned the event into an interactive experience:  the first 250 people who turned in photos of the logos won a $15 gift certificate for a pizza.  (A challenge for you – and for me:  How can we take our next great marketing idea and make it even better?)

Whether or not you can ever see yourself hiring Green Graffiti to blast your logo onto sooty sidewalks, it’s food for thought.   Many people are critical of advertising efforts as a waste of resources.  What other creative ideas can we come up with that get the message across without leaving dirty footprints?

Anne Michelsen is a freelance writer specializing in helping Green and renewable energy companies enjoy increased attention and greater sales through dynamic sales copy and insightful content.

Subscribe to Anne’s bi-weekly tips and insights into marketing, sales writing and sustainability, and get a complimentary copy of her Green marketing report, Making Sense of the Green Sector: What Every Marketer Should Know About Selling Sustainable Products and Services.

A blog about green marketing

My idea here is to respond to the incredible growth of the Green marketplace and the Green marketing and copywriting questions that are springing up on all sides. It’s a pretty fertile topic and one that a lot of people (myself included) seem eager to learn more about. How about you?

Hi!  Welcome to the Green Inkwell.

Starting a new blog – like starting a business – is a lot like planting a seed.  You start out with a pretty good idea of what it’ll look like, but so much depends on circumstance.

Is the seed viable?

A blog seed is nothing but an idea.  My idea here is to respond to the incredible growth of the Green marketplace and the Green marketing and copywriting questions that are springing up on all sides.  It’s a pretty fertile topic and one that a lot of people (myself included) seem eager to learn more about.  How about you?

Does the young plant recieve the careful tending it needs to thrive?

Guess that’s my job.  As the co-founder of a renewable energy business, a long-time Greenie, a Green copywriter and student of marketing, I’ll do my best to pass my observations on Green marketing, Green copywriting and sustainable business practices on to you.

How do passersby influence it?

That’s up to you.  Any farmer welcomes help.  I hope to write a blog worth reading, but even the best blog in the world can be made richer with your input.

So, guess I’ll start with  a question or two:

Do you have unanswered questions about marketing?  Copywriting?  Sustainability?  Green living?  If so, what are they?

How do you define Green?

How do you react to companies that portray themselves as Green?  Think back to the last ad you saw from such a company.  How did you react?

Anne Michelsen is a freelance writer specializing in helping Green and renewable energy companies enjoy increased attention and greater sales through dynamic sales copy and insightful content.

Subscribe to Anne’s bi-weekly tips and insights into marketing, sales writing and sustainability, and get a complimentary copy of her Green marketing report, Making Sense of the Green Sector: What Every Marketer Should Know About Selling Sustainable Products and Services.