Green Christmas ornament.With the new year right around the corner, environmentally responsible small business owners can wrap up 2013 on a positive note by incorporating some holiday cheer into their green marketing efforts. Check out these eco-friendly marketing strategies that make good use of your customers’ holiday spirit:

Social Media Sweepstakes

Instagram launched in 2010, and the photo and video-sharing social platform boasts 150 million active users each month, according to Instagram press. Sixteen billion photos have been shared on the site, and comScore reports that an average of 7.3 million people use Instagram daily. Not only does Instagram reach millions of consumers, it’s free, accessible and relevant—and it’s also an eco-friendly marketing tool.

Consider launching a holiday-themed Instagram campaign. This type of marketing strategy helps you connect with consumers digitally and is both economical and eco-friendly. One suggestion: Hold a “funny holiday photo” contest. Ask customers and followers to upload their favorite Christmas photos to Instagram and tag your company in the post. Winners can receive a new product or special holiday discount.

Launch a Green Community Event

Having a strong presence in the community helps market your business, especially during this time of year. Small business owners can promote their brand within the community by supporting a local fundraiser or donating to a community charity event.

For example, hosting a charitable 5K event connects the community through fitness and appeals to people’s desire to do for others this time of year. Sponsor an event and donate the proceeds to a local cause, such as charities that benefit low-income families, youth recreation services or food banks. Make sure to list your event on, which features a comprehensive list of 5K events throughout the country. You can order eco-friendly team T-shirts to represent your brand on race day from

Other green fundraising ideas to benefit local charities:

  • Host an “organic ingredients only” bake sale. Grain and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, shortbread cookies with all natural (no dye) red sprinkles and rum balls from are healthy holiday treat ideas.
  • Make Christmas decorations using eco-friendly materials and donate them to a local nonprofit.
  • Offer free eco-friendly gift wrapping at your business location.
  • Host a charity fundraising dinner featuring an organic dinner and green raffle prizes.

Green Greetings

You can create or deepen your relationships with your customers at this time of year by sending personalized holiday cards, especially since bigger competitors can lose that intimacy with customers. Consider taking a group-employee shot and using the photo on a custom-designed holiday card for customers and clients.

For an eco-friendly approach, design and print holiday cards from This Montana-based company is committed to preserving the environment and only uses responsible paper sources. Paper products are milled free of elemental chlorine, inks are vegetable-based (primarily soy) and packing materials are biodegradable. Businesses can include a holiday discount or special event promotion when printing holiday greetings to send to customers or clients.