If you started your company for a reason beyond just making money*, you’ve probably thought, How can I get customers as excited about this cause/mission/purpose/venture as I am?
In most cases, your best customers are those who already hold values like yours, the ones upon which your company is built. Which means… they’re primed to care about what you care about.
(If you need it, here’s an insight from Marketing Dive to support this statement—which you’ve probably already heard before: “A company’s ethical values and authenticity influences purchase consideration for 62% of consumers.” Two-thirds of shoppers base a big chunk of their purchase decision-making on the values of the company, damn wow.)
That’s why my advice is to weave your purpose, values, and ethics into your marketing copy wherever possible.
Sounds good, right?
Yes, let our values speak!
Keep reading for 10 quick strategies to communicate your purpose & values in your marketing copy (plus examples).
1. Communicate your values in your tagline
What’s the big differentiator between your products and your competitors’? For many conscious companies, it’s their commitment to their values. So don’t be afraid to make your ethics the star of your tagline. It’ll set you apart from your competition and attract customers who are seeking an alternative to conventional offerings.
For example, look at Will’s Vegan Store, an online store dedicated to producing vegan footwear and clothing and is carbon neutral. The company’s tagline is “Make a positive choice.”
2. Make your customer, not your company, the hero for acting in line with their values
Have you ever been at a get-together and met someone who’s on week three of the keto diet? You know, the person who won’t pipe down about how much keto has changed their life despite, oh gosh, all the feats of willpower they’ve had to demonstrate?
That sort of self-centered gushing makes us want to distance ourselves—Oh, listen, there’s my nonexistent friend Jillian over by the stairs gesturing for me, see you later…
When talking about your company values, it’s natural to go on about your why, and your efforts, and your hard work, and your beliefs.
But don’t. Instead, talk about your values in a way that positions your customer as the champion for having them (which, they are!). When customers feel empowered and hopeful around your company, they’re more likely to keep coming back.
For an example of customer-as-values-hero marketing copy, look at Abeego’s website. This company makes a reusable beeswax wrap to replace plastic wrap. Some of their hero-copy includes: “Wrap today. Save tomorrow.” And “Be a kitchen hero! Save the food.”
3. Let your customers talk about your values for you in featured reviews
If you have them, choose a few key customer reviews that mention your company values and feature them on your website, product pages, social media, and even your packaging.
Reviews from customers not only serve as an important form of social proof—hey, this customer cares about the company values, and so do I!—but it also allows you to talk about your values without, er, talking about them…again.
Check out this featured review example on the Bon Temps home page (a non-toxic tea company):
4. Display third-party certifications prominently (and explain what they mean)
Is your company a B-Corp? Do you source only USDA Certified Organic ingredients? Are your products Fair Trade Certified? Oeko-Tex? If you’ve worked hard to get third-party certifications, display those badges somewhere customers can’t miss.
Certifications are one of the fastest ways to communicate your values to your customers. As a bonus, find some space to explain what your certifications mean for customers who may not know the full impact.
Stasher, a maker of reusable silicon bags, explains their B-Corp certification high-up on their website home page.
5. Take advantage of every copywriting opportunity to mention your values
Emails, social media, advertisements, product packaging…. Use every opportunity to create a cohesive message about your brand purpose.
One company that does this really well is Who Gives a Crap, a sustainable toilet paper company. They mention their mission even on the wrap that covers individual rolls.
6. Spell out the do-good difference between a “mainstream” option and your product
Some of your customers might not be aware that the conventional offerings are bad for the environment, full of toxins, sold at an inflated price, of poor quality, made in sweatshops, produced by dodgy companies, etc.
Use a small section on your website or product pages to educate your customers on the reality of what’s out there. The goal is to convince potential customers that switching to your products is a no-brainer.
For example, Outerknown has a section on every product page called, “For People and Planet,” where they explain how they’re doing things better.
7. Show your customers the best version of themselves
Your customers want to be better. They want to be zero waste, more sustainable, toxin-free, supporters good companies and causes, etc. Use your marketing copy to help them realize that achieving their goals is closer than they think—with the help of your products.
This type of marketing copy is especially effective around “new starts:” the new year, starts of seasons (especially spring), birthdays, Mondays, and the start of the academic year.
For example, check out this email subject line by Pact, an organic cotton clothing company:
8. Make it easier for customers to live their values: offer tips through an educational blog
If you become a resource for customers who want to live their lives more aligned with their values, your products will become part of their lifestyle—a go-to option.
Create a blog that’s focused on educating customers on how to live more aligned with the value your company shares with them.
9. Update customers on your progress toward your purpose
Do you have a goal for your company (beyond a revenue goal)? Take the time to share your progress with your customers (and thank them for helping you reach it).
Sharing your progress helps your customers feel a part of the fight for a better world—along with your company. It not only drives home your values and seriousness, but it also is a feel-good, non-salesy way to start a conversation with your customers.
For example, check out this email from Thread Talk:
10. Do the do-good math for your customers
What changes when someone buys your product instead of a conventional one?
Maybe they save a plastic water bottle from the landfill, maybe they reduce their sugar intake, maybe they’re exposed to fewer harmful toxins, maybe they conserve energy, maybe their purchase helps someone else, or maybe it’s simply that a higher quality product means not having to replace it every year.
Do the math for your customer in any way that illuminates the real difference buying your product makes—such as savings or support over a year, a lifetime, number of purchases.
Plastic Free Shop, a store that sells products designed to help people achieve a zero-waste lifestyle, regularly shares “the math” on their Instagram.
I’m firmly one of those two-thirds of consumers who buy based on the values of the company and quality of the product, rather than purely on convenience or price. So when I’m looking for a new product I need, I actively seek out companies who communicate their values.
Clearly, I’m not alone.
So if you own a company that wants to attract the growing pool of consumers who care about values, start by sharing yours.
Hopefully, these tips have given you some ways to go for the quick win.
*I’m assuming that all companies have a goal to make money (and lots of it!). I’m just talking about the other goals many founders have, such as building a business that pushes forward their values.
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