Conservation: Tips for Going Green Online

January 24th, 2008 by Mariah

As companies rush to “go green,” determining the right approach to creating effective Web-based communications that capture the spirit of environmental conservation is crucial.

SiiTE Interactive has recently developed several Web sites that help promote green thinking for clients like Lexus, Toyota, Chevrolet, Oprah, and the Hearst Corp.

In developing green-oriented websites, here are some best practices:

1. Provide ways to get involved.
Offer suggestions to users as to how they can make a difference through simple changes in their everyday lives, then show how your company/organization is offering ways to make it easy to help support their efforts.

2. Show the impact.
It is easy to think that recycling one soda can, for example, doesn’t make a real difference. But it can have a great impact if it is part of a larger effort on behalf of many people. Through the use of theoretical or factual examples, consumers will see that their small changes can have a significant impact (if everyone recycled just one can more per day the impact would be X).

3. Contribute as a company.
If you are asking customers to get involved in being greener, be sure to show the difference that your company is making.

4. Inform.
Give meaningful facts about conservation. Users crave nuggets of information. If you can enlighten users with these kinds of quick hits, it will help the message be delivered.

5. Provide a forum.
People are deeply passionate about the environment and want to be given an opportunity to be heard. Through forums and blogs, users can express their points of view and they may even show you how it applies specifically to your brand. Forums can be moderated, but it’s wise to not over-censor, as this will quickly lead to users drifting away to places where they can speak more freely.

6. “What do I get out of it?”
While most people want to help, if they know that there are ways that their lives can be improved while helping, you have created a win-win situation. Offer these suggestions as additional added value.

7. Don’t preach.
People don’t want to be told what to do, but rather want alternatives to consider, so keep the tone and voice of your communication about collaborations and suggestions, as opposed to demands as to what YOU should do.

8. Link.
Provide links to organizations where users can learn more and get more involved.

9. Don’t be too self congratulatory.
When promoting your company’s contributions to the environment don’t be overly self-congratulatory. This can invite critics to question the seriousness of the effort and prompt questions as to what you are not doing.

10. Raise awareness.
Taking the opportunity to raise awareness is a meaningful step in and of itself and can help create the momentum for change. Bed and Breakfast Guide is very honored to see all your endeavors towards this movement.