1. Tell “human sized” stories: When promoting an environmental product/service it’s all too easy to focus on the large scale reasons as to why people should invest in what you’re offering. This is not an effective marketing and sales communication tactic. Marketing content that address environmental challenges, which fall outside of your target market’s sphere of influence will make them feel helpless. Instead of communicating environmental challenges from a national or global perspective, connect the environmental challenges your product/service helps solve to the daily lives of your target customers.

Further reading: Psychologists Martin Seligman & Steven F. Maier’s discovery of learned helplessness

2. We just want to fit in: Never underestimate the power of peer pressure—everyone wants to fit in.Social media networks are perfect for capitalizing off of people’s desire to do what their peers are doing. Local success stories can be the most powerful. Your potential customers want to know that people like them benefitted from trusting your company to provide them with this new service.

Further reading: Review of research on social influence, compliance and conformity

3. Everyone can be a hero: No one wants to read stories that are all doom and gloom. It’s not good enough to focus on environmental threats if you want them to change their behavior. You must, more importantly, focus on how they can achieve positive change by using your environmental technology. Hope will keep people engaged; fear will make them become apathetic and want to give up. For every time you address an environmental threat, expose the small or large ways people are overcoming. How can your customers also be heroes?

Further reading: “Fear Won’t Do It” Promoting Positive Engagement With Climate Change Through Visual and Iconic Representations

4. People want their actions to be effective: People lose are demotivated when they feel that their individual action is too small to solve problems. Tell stories that dispel this myth that the action of a small few is ineffective. Focus on how a small minority of change makers can inspire other people in their local community in your social media and blog content. The individual action of one family is not a drop in a bucket, but a drop of water that forms a wave in the sea.

Further reading: Whoever Saves One Life Saves the World: Confronting the Challenge of Pseudoinefficacy

5. People want realistic alternatives: You’ll hit the jackpot when you nail this piece of your messaging. Any news illustrating that the government is in full support of this green alternative will inflate people’s trust in your offering. Rather than saying people can save money on their gas bill by switching to solar energy, highlight initiatives from their local government that solar energy and don’t forget to communicate how each family’s switch to solar can help the greater community.

Further reading: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn

Are you scaring or exciting your prospects into a sale? Could your business’ messaging on sustainability and the environment be more effective? How will you use the groundbreaking findings of these psychologists and scientists to your business’ advantage? Remember fear often leaves people at a standstill. Brand stories that illustrate positive, transformative change, however, can shift prospects from the consideration to purchasing stage.