Note: I wrote this article when when President Obama was launching his “Green Energy Agenda”. There is no better time than today to get out there and sell green products.
“Global Economic Meltdown”, my eye.
Despite record drops in retail sales, skyrocketing unemployment and economists predicting that this recession/depression will last anywhere from twelve months to more than seven years; I'm predicting that the catastrophic failure of the me-first greed economy is the long-awaited “Great Opportunity” for the green economy — and no, I haven't been smoking ‘organic' cigarettes. Fueling my Utopic vision are a number of factors; including proposed government action, me and the other granola-crunchers in my neighborhood, and well… the cost of fuel.
Let's start with the latter.
Factors Fueling the Green Revolution
With gas prices $4.00 per gallon and higher last summer, American drivers logged 10.7 billion fewer miles in September 2008 than they did the same month a year earlier, according to data issued by the Federal Highway Administration. Although holiday revelers rejoiced and took to the road again over Thanksgiving after the cost of crude dropped 62 percent from July's record of $147.27 per barrel, consumption again remained lower than during the same period in previous years. Perhaps the price crunch increased folks' appreciation for stress-free bus travel. Or, maybe there's been a collective realization that gas prices will again skyrocket when worldwide demand for oil outpaces production by a significant margin in a few short years and we've amended our wasteful ways.
Now enter proposed government action.
Amidst the turmoil of economic collapse and rising concerns over U.S. dependence on foreign oil and energy security, President Obama is seizing the opportunity to rebuild the U.S. economy through investment in clean technologies such as wind, solar and fuel-efficient cars. Declaring that “few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent” than fighting climate change, he outlined the framework for an ambitious new plan intended to “transform our industries and steer our economy out of this economic crisis by generating 2.5 million new green jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced“. The promise of strategic long-term investments to solve energy security, economic stability and greenhouse gas emission problems marks a significant shift from ‘green movement' to an all-out ‘green revolution'.
Green Products: Big Expense or a Good Investment?
At this point you might be thinking that green revolution or not, rising unemployment will stymie demand for environmentally friendly products which typically sell at premium prices. Well, this is where my neighbors and I enter the picture. With small or no mortgage balances and jobs in health care, policing and other essential services that aren't affected by economic turmoil, we are all keenly focused on not only preserving capital during the economic storm, but in making long-term investments that bode well for both our pocket books and the environment. Dinner party talk usually leads around to results of the latest energy audit, completed and planned home improvements to reduce consumption, as well as available tax grants and credits for energy renovations. We also invariably trade information about where to find the best deals on energy-saving appliances and products — and more often than not, we purchase those products online.
For example, the prospect of saving up to 75% on lighting costs (typically representing approximately 25% of a home energy budget) convinced me to outfit 98% of the lights in my home with compact fluorescents when the product was first introduced. Now, 10-watt LED bulbs that last up to 50,000 hours and are equivalent to 100-watt incandescent bulbs are available for home use. Those who have already replaced 150-watt incandescent bulbs with the 10-watt LED spotlights are reporting better and brighter task lighting in addition to the benefit of increased savings.
Although the initial outlay of $60.00 to $100.00 per bulb seems pretty pricey, taking a longer-term view and applying some simple math reveals that each bulb $400 to $500 in electricity savings over the life of a bulb – based on a median cost of 10 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity. That's not a cost — it's a no-brainer investment. Replace ten incandescent bulbs, save $4,000.00 (or more), invest those savings in the solar retrofit and pretty soon the local hydro-electric utility will be sending you a check every month for the power that you send back to the grid!
Green Product Availability
Alas, not so fast. You can't buy an LED light bulb that isn't attached to a Christmas string for love nor money here in Backwater, British Columbia. So, this is where YOU come in. You can promote those bulbs as an affiliate. Do a search for “LED bulb” and “affiliate program” and merchants such as Smarthome (partnered with Linkshare) show up at the top of the Google search results. Smarthome reports that their average sale is over $200.00 and they pay 8-10% sales commissions.
Go beyond the bulbs and check out the plethora of energy-saving products that are available for promotion through those and other merchants with affiliate programs. Visitors who might be loathe to drop $70.00 on an LED light bulb can be sold a $34.00 sensor-activated switch that dims conventional and fluorescent bulbs by up to 50% and extends the expected lifespan by up to 35 times. While you're at it, point that visitor to programmable thermostats that save 10 to 20% on the annual heating bill and cost as little as 40 bucks. For the still-skeptical, there are electricity usage monitors that display consumption by the kilowatt-hour and calculate electricity expenses by the day, week, month, or year and are an easy sell at $19.99. Put them on a list and they'll come running back to your site for the real energy-saving tools once they gain perspective on their current usage and potential savings.
Add Value – Make More Green
The already-converted will appreciate full-scale reviews and comparisons of tankless water heaters that were in widespread use in Europe nearly 30 years ago and are only now gaining popularity in North America. Sold at both TanklessWaterHeaters and GreenandMore.com (Commission Junction merchants), the efficient heaters range in price between just under $200.00 and up to $800.00. Truly committed eco-warriors who think they have done all they can do to save the planet from meltdown, will surely jump at the chance to buy insulating paint additives that block interior heat loss by over 20 percent in winter and prevent solar gain in summer.
To achieve the highest possible conversion rates with green products, you should first appeal to consumer thrift. As in the example I gave above, provide your visitors with projected energy cost savings for each product you promote. Better still, let them factor in their actual per kilowatt hour electricity prices for the region in which they live with a javascipt caluculator and you'll give those in California and the backwater regions of Canada even more incentive to go greener.
To improve your conversions even more, add ‘nice to know' information about the topic that does not necessarily lead to a product review. Doing so helps establish your trust and credibility with your visitors, thus making them more likely to buy the products that you do recommend. The easiest way to do this is to re-publish syndicated content from a non-commercial site within the space, but you'll see more sales with your own informational articles written from real-life experience.
To sum up, the demand for green products is about to explode as are affiliate marketers' opportunities for making a LOT of green in this market. And although I don't want to appear overly dramatic, the future of the planet and all its species depends on you leaping aboard this wide-open opportunity and convincing everyone who visits your site to be and buy green.
Peter Rubel says
Thank you for your insights. I have no doubt that the Green Revolution will continue and grow, but a word of caution.
Falling oil demand puts pressure to reduce oil prices. In a long term economic down turn, demand may continue to be sluggish, and prices may continue in deflationary mode.
Perhaps more to the point, an economic down turn will likely put pressure on consumers to “go green” for economic rather than ideological reasons. In other words, if its green but does not save me money, I ain’t buying (unless coerced by government). And never underestimate the power of short term thinking over long.
Some green products will succeed wildly. But if its a choice between my tree and a cold house, I’m going to burn the tree to stay warm.
Affiliates may need to discriminate between green products to make a profit.
Randy Bond says
Great idea. I have had this on my mind for quite some time. I just finished reading your book. I am putting it to good use and starting right away thanks
May Mickelow says
Timely and well written! My electrical bill went up in November and again this month…sighing for better days when I lived in the country and grew all of my own vegetables and meat, canned everything I could find in the bush and used baking soda to clean my home, my self and my kids, baked my own bread and went to bed with the chickens to save on electricity and walked or biked everywhere.
Hey, hows about encouraging farmers to get into creating electricity by putting solar panels on their barns, equipment sheds and hay sheds? Or maybe using that courner where nothing much ever grew to “plant” windmills? Not only could they reduce their own electricity bills, they could sell their new harvest to their electrical providers and have a new income stream just like internet marketers do.
Loads of possiblilties for encouraging your town or city to look at constructing their own solar panel “farm” where they can produce their own electricity. The scientists tell us that Canada gets about 5.2 hours of light strong enough to power most of Canada all year round, so even on over cast days or foggy days, as in you need to wear sunglasses to be comfortable out of doors, there is probably enough daylight energy to produce electricity to power things like your computer, printer, TV game boxes, and/or your lights. You can also build small portable solar panels that you can take in your motor homes, and to the lakeside cabin or ski cabin. If there is enough sunlight to give you a sunburn, chances are there is enough to power your computer so you can check your stats or e-mail your list to upload some photos of your great day!
Lobby the government, both state, province and federal to make funds available for research into better ways to store electricity in those electric cars or develop new motors. Tires produce energy as they go round and round, there has to be a way and someone has the ability to develope these ideas into something that works we just need to find and encourage these people to work on their ideas!
ros whats your opinion on the Pepperjam affiliate network?
Carrie Lauth says
I’m thrilled to see you talk about this because I own a Green/Natural PLR site and am also in the niche myself. Thanks for the reminder!
Mike's Lyrics says
My parents-in-law came to stay at our place for a couple days in the middle of last year. My father-in-law is quite handy, and insisted on replacing all the bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs.
I’ve noticed our electricity bill go down significantly since then, so it’s definitely worth it!
Where are all the green product affiliates? I’ve looked all over and had to settle for Amazon, for now…
Robb Auspitz says
I really like your suggestion. Great call! Any one who thinks the current lull in petroleum based prices is long term is kidding themself. Smart money is involved with the green energy revolution and a lot of new technologies are getting funded and getting a very big push. Obviously, President Obama’s push for greener energy will expedite progress in that direction. Thank you for the suggestion, definitely worth serious investigation.
Warner Carter says
Going green is a long term revolution. Interest will continue to grow for some time. There will be many new industries and niches to sell into as a result.
I think most people will make incremental changes in their lives as they learn more how specific changes will be to their benefit. Some will jump in for their own ethics reasons but many will make the changes as they see how changing something is in their own interest.
I have always believed if the dedicated Eco crusaders spent more time finding solutions that people can put in their lives and educating businesses on specific ways they can profit by providing Eco and green solutions instead of filing lawsuits all of this would be much further along by now.
Sean G says
Rosalind – great perspective and forsight! Way to encourage all of us being inundated with bad economic news. I’m giving this serious thought….Thanks! Sean G.
Anthony E. Russell says
You just outlined an entire business model. I bought your ebook and plan to put it to good use. I live in Santa Monica, CA and see evidence of the insights espoused in this post, all around me here, on a daily basis.
Kudos to you for running a great site.
Gimme A Dream (Wynn Currie) says
This is a timely article. We changed the incandescent light bulbs to the florescent bulbs as they blew out, years ago. The life of the bulbs paid for the change long ago. We will be changing to the LED’s soon also and upgrading as part of the maintenance of the house.
Dave Arthur says
Your green business article is really up my alley. My site is http://www.GreenBusinessOwner.com
I am not exactly a newcomer to the green movement. I was passionate about ecology, resource efficiency, and sustainable business long before it was fashionable or cool.
We are seeing a surge of interest in green business opportunities, green business practices, and green careers. Even with the radical downturn in our current economy, there are several bright spots in the green economy. Finally, sustainability is on the forefront of most people’s current concerns.
Thanks for bringing the message to a wider audience!
Richard Lodge says
Thanks for this excellent article Rosalind, very much in the direction that I’m looking to develop. Thanks also for the links to Greenandmore & Tankless Water Heaters, which will no doubt fuel my efforts.
Rosalind, now is the perfect time to remind President Obama of how many light bulbs it takes to light the White House, and all government buildings. I’m sure you are correct, we as consumers would lessen our utility bills and save a lot of money with the new light technology.
A couple points to consider regarding accurate info presented to those we sell to;
1. My electric rates are scheduled to increase 52% over the next two years due to de-regulation. That would negate a sizable portion of your projected true cost savings available to the consumer of the new technology.
2. Government’s pay their utilities with our money – it’s the only money they have. So, maybe they should practice what they preach on all fronts including White House “bulbs”.
And, off topic, but not off concept, perhaps all government vehicles should be electric battery powered…..
One last thought, I live in the US…I’m wondering where all the “dead” electric car batteries will be buried when they have outlived their short life expectancy?
I do like your “green” marketplace idea, I’m just thinking outside my affiliate conscience.
Keep up the good work.
Rosalind Gardner says
Of course, government best leads by example and I would be very surprised if government buildings in the states hadn’t switched to CFL’s years ago.
Even here in my little corner of the world, city officials drive Smart cars.
As for the ‘dead’ car batteries – they’ll last longer if people walk and use more public transportation. 🙂
My point is don’t wait for anyone else to change – it’s up to everyone of us to do our part.
Rosalind. I am in the green bandwagon. I have my site and believe this is a great foundation to take off from with the energy problems. We have the solutions. And the funny thing is it has been growing for a long time. Now is the time.
Rosalind Gardner says
Awesome. Good to see you on board. Now is definitely the time… great to see that government is finally going beyond the rhetoric of the last 40 years.
(Quick tip for your site… change your font from the bold red to a more readable black, no bold, Verdana or arial ).
Right on the money (sorry) there! It seems that it takes a shake up at the very top sometimes to start people moving in the right direction. I will certainly be adding my green links to my article sites.