Many customers perceive marketing as aggressive and brutal in its attempts to capture their attention in a crowded market. It can almost be thought of as a fishing expedition where you choose the best spot to catch the most fish using various lures, hoping they’ll bite. However, today’s digital marketing strategies are more akin to a garden that needs tending. By using the right sustainable marketing strategies to remove unnecessary data like weeds and giving the garden proper care, digital marketers can ensure that their gardens flourish and create a relaxing atmosphere for their customers.

For today’s customers, websites, apps, and other digital platforms are all the rage – and that’s understandable. They are the cornerstone of marketing efforts and provide customers with insights into what exactly we offer them. However, digital marketing is about much more than just websites. For many, it’s about a holistic view of the environmental impact that businesses have and what they’re doing to reduce their carbon footprint. This is where sustainability in marketing comes into play.

How can businesses strike the perfect balance between effective digital marketing strategies and eco-friendly plans to gain more customers? This is where sustainable initiatives in digital marketing play a significant role in showcasing a more responsible side of your business that your customers will appreciate.

Digital marketing and the environment

You might think that digital marketing has rendered traditional paper media almost redundant and that Google ads, digital banners, and social media ads have replaced leaflets as the new kid on the block that everyone wants a piece of. Even though digital marketing has become more engaging and impactful, it’s still quite detrimental to the environment.

Consider Times Square in New York, where flickering lights and LEDs dominate the skyline with advertisements for practically every major brand out there. But did you know that, according to Earth.Org, it consumes about 161 megawatts in a single day, equivalent to the energy needed to power 160,000 houses? Shocking, isn’t it? So, remember that going digital doesn’t automatically make you more eco-friendly.

The same applies to digital transformation in business. You might have seen the signature footer asking people not to print the email, but the UK went one step further and promoted a campaign called ‘Think Before You Thank’, where they raised awareness about the CO2 emissions of every email response due to data transmission, server usage, and device power consumption.

By raising awareness about these environmental costs, businesses encourage more sustainable communication practices that minimise their carbon footprint. All of this becomes important when you want to differentiate yourself from everyone else out there because today’s customers are environmentally conscious and want more than just a nicely packaged product that does exactly what it says on the box. They want to know that every part of your business has a sustainability objective.

So, this begs the question:

How do you create a sustainable digital marketing strategy?

If sustainability is what you’re after, don’t forget that your digital marketing efforts play an important role. Just because your business has cut down on its paper usage doesn’t mean your business is environmentally sustainable.

Choose the right digital marketing channels

From email marketing to social media and SEO, digital marketing channels are ubiquitous. Before you decide on which channel to use, you probably check the cost, features, and compatibility with what you’re looking for. But if you’re looking for a sustainable approach, you may find that some are more polluting than others.

Shifting to a sustainable digital marketing stack could do the trick when using platforms and tools that minimise carbon emissions and ramp up energy efficiency. Using tools that reduce energy consumption, manage digital waste, and use renewable energy sources can help your business become more socially responsible.

  • Publish relevant and valuable content

The key to successful digital marketing strategies is in the content. And no, it’s not about creating more. Rather, it’s about ‘quality over quantity,’ which makes an impact on your business and the planet.

Whether you’re creating a video, blog post, infographic, or social media post, it has to resonate with your audience and, more importantly, provide value. It also applies to content that was created earlier but isn’t getting the traction you need, creating digital waste. If this sounds like your content, rethink your SEO strategy or just take it down.

  • Measure your results

It’s important to track digital marketing efforts using analytics tools. Measure metrics such as click-through rate, website traffic, conversion, and social media engagement. Once you’ve got a good handle on the data, it becomes easier to improve your strategy over time and reduce your carbon footprint.

You can even use sustainable web analytics tools to cut down on your carbon footprint further. We’ve mentioned a few below.

  • Plausible: Alternative to Google Analytics that’s user-friendly and fast, making it a sustainable way to reduce your digital carbon footprint.
  • Simple Analytics: High data protection without the cookies.
  • PIWIK Pro: A platform that offers many features including privacy-focused tracking and real-time carbon footprint analytics

Sustainability—increasing the value of digital marketing strategies

Having a marketing strategy is important. Having one that focuses on sustainability is also important. With 81% of customers preferring to purchase a product or service from sustainability-focused businesses, it is clear that every part of your business needs to be focused on the environment.

Digital marketing is no exception. It’s not enough to just move onto a digital platform and scream sustainability because modern consumers are savvy enough to know that even digital platforms leave a substantial carbon footprint behind.

With more and more consumers becoming more environmentally conscious, it’s important that businesses start thinking about every way that their business is contributing to the environment and how best to cut back on the damage they’re potentially inflicting because it’s not just about the product anymore. It’s about what goes into the product lifecycle from the moment you come up with an idea to the point of sale and beyond.