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Cause Marketing Advice to a Small E-tailer

LimeRicki.com sells modest swimwear that is meant to be cute and colorful without sacrificing comfort. They currently donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the tankini top to the left... called 'Gabby'... to benefit breast cancer research.

LimeRicki.com was started by three sisters, one of whom is a breast cancer survivor. The company is headquartered here in my home market, and so in the spirit of bonhomie I offer LimeRicki.com six suggestions to make the most of their cause marketing efforts.

First off, I commend you for including the reason why you support breast cancer research. That's good. One small suggestion, consider identifying which sister is the breast cancer survivor. She doesn't need to bare her soul, but this small change makes the promotion even more immediate.
  1. Name the breast cancer charity you’re supporting. Your customers love that you’re doing cause marketing. But they want and need to know the specifics before this can influence their purchase decision. As far as the mechanics of this you can name the charity, but don’t refer to your donation as a sponsorship or use the organization’s logo. You’d need permission to do that. I’d even discourage you from linking to the organization’s website.
  2. Specify how much the donation will be. Experience and research demonstrates that your customers are more likely to be moved to action if they know what the amount of the donation is.
  3. Use the pink breast cancer ribbon on the product page. As I’ve written before, no one owns the pink ribbon. You can therefore freely put the ribbon in close proximity to the product whose sale benefits breast cancer research.
  4. Explain the promotion on the product page. As it stands, we learn in the About Us section, but not the product page itself, of LimeRicki.com that the Gabby line benefits breast cancer research. That’s too far removed to be helpful. Place the specifics of the promotion directly on the product page. Also, link to the Gabby page from the About Us page.
  5. Activate the promotion. You have a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Promote the donation there first and then send a press release out announcing the donation. If you have a newsletter, publicize it there, too. Where should you send the press release? Check your sales records to find the zip codes where your product sells best. Send the release to the media that makes the most sense in those zip codes. Since you also sell in retail, add a paper tag to the Gabby line in that explains the promotion.
  6. Court the ‘mommy media.’ Find the influential mommy bloggers, mommy portals, mommy TV, and other mommy media and court them unashamedly. Cause marketing on behalf of breast cancer research is a wonderful opportunity to tell the Limericki.com story in these markets. Better still, they can link directly to your site when referring to Limericki.com.

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