Q. Hello Paul and welcome to Carbon Offsets Daily. Lets first talk briefly about your business GreenSmith Consulting. What type of projects do you take and how do you help businesses go green?
Thanks Affan. Im a bit of a green business Swiss army knife, offering a range of services, from social media marketing campaigns to creating a sustainability plan for inside/outside the company. Currently Ive been doing a lot of social media marketing campaigns, with companies like Act2GreenSmart, Go GreenTube, and Verterra.
Q. How can sustainability consultants, offset providers and others offering green business solutions use the internet to promote their business?
Thats a big question, whose answer depends a lot on the type of company and who their target market is. I can help discern which.
For many, however, a common denominator is blogs and social media tools such as Twitter. They are free or very inexpensive means to get out the word about what you do, quickly, and ongoing. Being able to connect with, learn from, inform and be inspired by your customers goes a very long way towards building a strong foundation and solid sales for a business. For instance, I recently wrote an article about Berkeley, California based Sungevity that got more than 150 people visiting their site directly from the article. That type of awareness of the exact effectiveness of marketing is powerful.
Another tool I recently saw is Uservoice.com. Its a simple, intuitive way for your customers to let you know what theyd like to see offered, and for you to let them know if its already in progress. People suggest ideas, see if theyve already been submitted, and then have 8 total votes for whatever among the ideas interests them.
Q. In this regard, what would be the best choice for someone with a limited budget and time?
Hire me! But seriously, using tools such as Uservoice, the amazingly powerful Twitter, blogging, and social media news sites like StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit, if leveraged correctly, can produce great results. I will gladly consult with people to both do it for them and show them how to do it themselves. Its not merely a matter of put content out there and hope for the best. But it also doesnt have to be hard, either.
Q. For a business that wants to cut its footprint, what are the pros and (possible) cons of hiring sustainability consultants?
Lets start with the cons. There are an increasing number of people calling themselves sustainability consultants. You should make sure their background and training is sufficient to have the knowledge youll want to know and the support you want for your business. At the same time, sustainability focused business as a broader trend is comparatively new, so be sure not to have standards beyond what any one person or company could have.
Using myself as an example, I am the product of one of the original sustainability focused MBA programs, Presidio School of Management, based in San Francisco. It gave both a broad, in depth knowledge of sustainable business, and at the same time, a solid grounding in how business has and is currently being done. In this way, I am able to act as a bridge between the two