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Simple E-tail Cause Marketing

There’s a lot of fundraising going on at retail these days, oftentimes the easy to execute paper icon campaigns. But what’s an e-tailer do that’s painless for them to put together and quickly understand and appreciated by the customer?

A lot is at stake for cause marketers. E-tail in the United States alone amounts to $327 billion, according to Forrester, with the rest of the world coming in at more than twice that. Worldwide e-tail represents no less than a $770 billion business.

Newton Running, a Boulder, Colorado company that sells its own make of high-end running shoes in electric colors to marathoners and Ironman racers, takes a straightforward approach to its cause marketing.

As you check out, Newton asks you to add $1 to one or more of three causes; Athletes for a Cure, a prostate cancer charity, Trickle Up, a microenterprise charity, and One World Running, which provides shoes to the needy in Africa. See at left.

Between the three causes, Newton spends a grand total of 37 words, plus a logo for each. 

I know webmasters are loathe to do anything that might gum up their checkouts or increase checkout cart abandonment, but I’d suggest that they tell a little more. Like the direct mail folks say, ‘tell more, sell more.’

For instance a clickable video could explain how the founders came to support these three smallish causes and where their commitment comes from. They might speak about the good work they’ve seen done by them. And, if they’re also personal donors, they would certainly want to challenge customers to join them in their support.

This being the web a split A-B test to see what performs better for both the causes and the Newton would be simple to undertake. And if it... or some variation... doesn’t work, no big deal. They simply default back to the current approach.

Finally, Newton also sells through retailers. I couldn’t find any evidence that they do any cause marketing with their retail partners, but those kinds of campaigns are a good way for Newton to stand out from its competitors.


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In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

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