By Carli Morgan & Alina Prax
Being eco-friendly is more than an expression for certified Greener Photographers: it’s about choosing practices that have less negative impact, and more positive impact. Leveraging your greener photography business attracts like-minded consumers and builds ties within the environmentally conscious community. Here are some ways you can expand your green business network.
Act Locally! Identify other eco-friendly vendors in your area. A simple internet search can turn up local companies that have green business practices and products. Establishing working partnerships with local companies and organizations can help you reach many more eco-minded consumers than you can reach on your own.
Identify potential businesses with whom you can partner to reach eco-minded clients
• Are they are doing a beach clean-up with Surfrider Foundation?
• Volunteering for their local private school with the environmental focus?
• Are they members of the Sierra Club?
After identifying the companies and/or organizations with whom you want to partner, foster community by offering your services. For example:
• Photograph their Board of Directors
• Photograph their events
• Provide images for their website
• Photograph and provide prints and albums for green wedding venues, florists, and bakeries
Strengthen your greener partnerships and mutually beneficial marketing by coordinating campaigns and cross-promoting. Rising tides raise all boats! For example:
• Team up with your favorite local eco-organization to donate a portrait session to help them raise money (and bring in new clients for yourself).
• Offer to photograph an event or outing for them, and have participants sign up for your e-newsletter.
• Promote reciprocal discounts. For example, agree with a green partner that both companies will offer a 10% discount to each other's clients to celebrate Earth Day, or save 10% off your photography by using two of the businesses on our list.
• Offer e-coupons, an online gift registry, and other opportunities for clients to make green choices.
• Send out a monthly e-letter to your clients. Highlight your favorite green businesses (maybe feature one each month) and share tips and ideas about how to be more environmentally conscientious. Offer an e-coupon for new clients and an e-credit for existing clients.
• Co-op advertising with other green vendors and create a marketing plan that relies on e-mail campaigns and referral incentives.
Make sure the vendors in your area know you are green. They won’t find out about your environmental initiative unless you tell them. Once you become known for your earth-loving practices, other local green companies will refer their clients to you.
Marketing your green practices is a matter of showing a little green in each aspect of your public face. Start with your blog and website by adding your environmental statement to your "about" page. Send out a press release abut your eco-friendly services and products to local news agencies. Explain why you are greener, and exactly what you do that is environmentally friendly. Explain how the green products you offer are superior to non-eco alternatives; no one is sacrificing for the good they are doing. Your clients' experience will be more gratifying when they understand the purpose and benefits of working with your greener photography business.
Other ways to promote your greener business:
Blog items of interest to your eco-aware clients.
o Keep it relevant! For example, if you are a wedding photographer, blog about green stationers, wedding dress “recycling” sites, and planning sites such as The Green Bride Guide.
o Linking to local green services, products, and sites will contribute to your SEO; when potential clients do internet searches for eco-friendly photographers they will be more likely to find you. Make sure you load up your blog posts with the keywords your future clients are likely to use.
Promote your eco-friendly business using social networking sites.
o Post links to your blog articles on your business profiles on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
o Links leading into your site will increase your SEO and make it easier for your friends, fans, and other contacts to access the green information you are sharing.
Get certified as a Greener Photographer and blog, facebook, and tweet about it. The cross-promoting links will make it easier for consumers to find you as well.
Pitch an article to your local news organizations about businesses going green.
o Help educate the community about greener photography techniques.
If you already have a local publication in which you advertise, simply adding a certification seal or a brief statement to your print advertisement will illustrate your eco-friendly business aspect. There are also specific environmental sites on the internet that offer advertising opportunities. Some offer discounts to photographers certified by Greener Photography.
Specific websites in which greener photographers can advertise:
Greener Photography's Member Directory
Green America's National Green Pages
Eco Wedding - Green Wedding Resource Guide - Free listing
Green Bride Guide - Free listing
Green Elegance Weddings
Local green guides and books/directories. A few examples:
Research in your city—many local newspapers have green guides online, and several have green chambers of commerce as well.
Because the green movement is by its nature a local one, you will benefit from doing targeted research for advertising opportunities in your immediate local area. Search Google using terms like "local green guide," "(city name) green guide", and "green book directory" for more ideas.
The greener photography industry is in its infancy. Use your best current resources now, emphasizing your practices. As you expand your green network you will be surprised to find how many others are already with you. Check out the resources page on the Greener Photography website to find some of your current vendors listed. You may already be doing your part and not know it. Find out, and then leverage, leverage, leverage.
Alina Prax runs the wedding photography studio La Dolce Vita in Austin Texas and is a certified greener photographer. Carli Morgan is a wedding and portrait photographer and certified greener photographer.