Eco friendly marketing. A group of environmental protesters, one carrying a cardboard sign reading, “Planet over Profit”.

How to Create an Eco-Friendly Marketing Campaign

Human activities are impacting our environment. Burning fossil fuels, releasing methane, deforestation, excessive water usage, and other factors are making Earth a less hospitable place. In 2019, the United Nations reported that we have only 11 years left to prevent irreversible damage from climate change.

While there is still a great deal further to go, many brands and consumers are beginning to be more aware of the environment and apply eco-friendly practices. The sustainability market in the United States is expected to reach $150 billion in sales by 2021, and a study from 2019 found that 47% of internet users had abandoned services and products from brands that violated their values, protecting the environment being one of the most important.

One way businesses can make an impact is by rethinking their marketing campaigns. Many existing marketing strategies are surprisingly damaging to the environment. The benefits of eco-friendly marketing include demonstrating social responsibility to customers, implementing sustainable business practices, and even reducing expenses — and of course, minimizing further damage to the planet we live on.


Use Recycled Paper and Ink

The Environmental Protection Agency notes that landfills are the single largest source of methane emissions, and decomposing paper accounts for 28% of solid trash in said landfills. If you run a business or are involved with its marketing department, make efforts to cut back on the amount of paper you use in-office. Switching to recycled copy paper when you do need it also saves 31% of the energy, 53% of the water, 100% of the trees, and produces 39% less solid waste compared to virgin fiber paper.

Consider the role print advertising plays in your marketing strategy. Print ads’ popularity is rightfully declining: they have limited mobility, lack a target audience, and are not cost-effective. You can save paper by eliminating print advertising from your marketing strategy entirely and obtain recycled office paper from local merchants or specialized vendors. Remember to avoid dangerous adhesives and inks, and replace them with vegetable-based alternatives instead of petroleum-based.


Invest in Digital Marketing

Another way you can save trees, water, and energy is by taking your marketing efforts online. Digital marketing provides you with countless opportunities to reach your target audience on a global scale.

According to My Atlantic Health Solutions, healthcare advertisements in the Tampa Bay Times newspaper can cost between $125 and $4,200 on any weekday, or between $400 and $6,100 on Sundays. These costs could consume your entire monthly marketing budget, and utilize a disposable medium that may add to your carbon footprint.

Instead, digital marketing can spare you the need for posters, booklets, brochures, calendars, magazine ads, banners, business cards, and other traditional printed marketing methods.

Online lead generation tools can put you in touch with your audience more quickly and accurately than any print advertisement can, and you’ll reduce paper marketing trails. You’ll need electricity to operate your internet connection, of course, but carbon emissions will be significantly less than offline techniques, especially if you invest in solar energy.


Source Locally

If most of your marketing efforts are online, then there may not be much material you need to source locally. What you can do with your marketing campaign is promote how your business supports local vendors. By sourcing the products you sell locally, you reduce the amount of carbon emitted into the air from transportation and may increase your bottom line from adjusted expenses.

However, you’ll have to conduct careful research and make informed decisions about what is truly best for the environment. Transporting goods from further away via train with the right kind of fuel may actually be more eco-friendly than from nearby via freight truck. You’ll also want to balance helping small businesses and supporting other communities in need, so weigh the pros and cons of each option and discuss them in your marketing campaigns.


Create a Company-Wide Initiative

Your whole company needs to be on board with your eco-conscious efforts. If people don’t take it seriously, then it could undermine what you are trying to do. Make sure your colleagues and employees are all on the same page by providing an abundance of internal educational resources and enacting company-wide policies.

For example, some companies have zero-waste policies and require everyone who works for them to recycle or compost as much as possible. They are also making efforts to produce zero carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions by switching entirely to solar power, managing building temperatures more mindfully, using recycled materials in their manufacturing processes, and more.

Involve other company employees in the decision-making process. Listen to their ideas on how to make the business more environmentally friendly. Taking sustainability seriously (and not just doing it for the PR) can improve your office culture and inspire employees to start their own green initiatives. Embrace remote work so that employees do not have to commute, and you can save money on energy and office space. Marketing your efforts sets a precedent for other companies to follow and inspires consumer confidence in you.


Be Transparent

Be transparent about how “green” your business is trying to be. Companies that make active efforts to do the right thing for the right reasons — rather than solely trying to please customers — look better in consumers’ eyes. Customers are more likely to be loyal to a brand they know is doing the best it can for the environment we all live in.

Nowadays, consumers don’t just hope to see businesses become more eco-friendly; they expect it. Never exaggerate your green initiatives, though: it’s wrong, and customers will notice. Be honest if you want consumers to trust you. Inform them about what you do to be sustainable and what steps you plan on taking in the near future. You can communicate your efforts through:

● Making social media posts;
● Publishing case studies,
● Using eco-labels;
● Partnering with other eco-friendly businesses;
● Providing educational resources.

Becoming more eco-friendly can seem daunting because of how many processes we might be accustomed to that hurt the environment, but it is possible to minimize practices that harm nature. Alongside your operations, your business’s marketing strategies should reflect and promote your efforts to be better to our planet.


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