We were so pleased to host Alanna Liles of John Masters Organics (@johnmastersorganics) and Stephen Carl of Needle Movement (@needlemovement) for a round-table discussion about the ROI of social impact as it relates to cause marketing as a whole and key marketing metrics important to all e-commerce brands.
We’ve moved into a future where cause marketing isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have. Customers are considering far more than the price or coolness factor of a purchase. They’re asking themselves who they’re buying from, who they’re benefiting, and how they can represent their values and passions with their wallets.
With Q4 rapidly approaching, there’s no better time to discover how cause marketing can both make a difference for your chosen causes and powerfully impact your bottom line. How can you plan and budget for the ROI of social impact as you prepare to run giving campaigns?
Here are key takeaways from our ROI of Social Impact webinar:
Your customers share your values.
The customers you create relationships with during the process are individuals who support the causes you support. It’s important to identify other causes that are in line with your brand identity and customer interest. Customers are less likely to leave for a company that doesn’t share those values.
Understand your bottom line.
You’re only able to give back if you can stay afloat. Be constantly evaluating your strategies and costs so you can notice what campaign styles fit your brand the best.
A give-back app like Shop for Good allows your brand to give back yourself if you’re making enough profit (using the Portion of Sales campaign) or alternatively you can allow your customers to be the ones who donate by letting them round up their purchase, choose an amount through Donation Tiers, or donate in exchange for a discount with the Donate for Discount campaign.
These different ways to give allow for fresh promotions throughout the year. We were so happy to hear from Alanna that she found the Shop for Good platform, “super simple for the customers, super easy for me, super straightforward.” Why use complicated tools? Get up and running in minutes and start tracking the ROI of social impact for your store!
Utilize your social media.
Keep your customers engaged by interacting! In a technology-focused world, there are a myriad of ways to use social media to widen your brand visibility. Keep your message consistent across platforms and find opportunities to integrate your causes. Teaming up with your charities can be an incredible exposure opportunity for both parties and show your customers your dedication to the mission.
Now, Stephen says, “we see brands as people.” Interact with your customers like a person.
Use your email campaigns to your full advantage.
Emailing is an opportunity to welcome new customers, introduce them to your brand, and reinforce why you’re different. Utilize every space you have available to keep customers up-to-date and excited about where you’re going next. Giving back, Stephen says, puts you in “that small pack that people will remember more.”
Pick your metrics.
Investigate all avenues to see where your cause marketing campaigns are making a difference. Keep track of your sales, your customer acquisition, customer retention, cart conversion, likes and reposts. John Masters, for example, saw a 56% engagement rate and a 17% AOV lift using Donate for Discount. Your ROI won’t just include the raw financials – it’ll be a more complete vision of your brand’s growth.
Motivate your employees and partners.
The people working with you are as devoted to your causes are you are. It’s a strong internal force that encourages people to perform their best. They’re excited to come to work, because they’re excited to help people. For Alanna, she knows that she would “never work for a brand that doesn’t share the values that [she] shares.”
Showcase your donation options.
Find the location on your website, your social media, your emails for your donation button that has the best visual impact. Putting that option right where your customer will make their decision is a good final push to get involvement.
Shop for Good has Stephen “drooling over that product page with the ‘Donate Now’ button right next to it.”
Use your voice.
Customers want brands who stand up for things they believe in. Staying silent and distancing yourself from social or environmental issues is a fast-track to a negative reputation.
The world is increasingly charged and aware. Turning a blind eye will never be the right move. The ROI of social impact has a value beyond the purchase your customer makes today — it transcends the moment and extends into brand loyalty, referrals, repeat purchases, and of course the good that comes from the donations themselves.
Stephen summed it up perfectly for us – “If I can buy this from 100 different places, why not pick the one that’s a good corporate citizen?”
It’s no longer an option to opt-out of your place as a brand in your community. Choosing to ignore causing marketing is choosing to ignore a massive potential revenue stream and customer outreach opportunity. Find or strengthen your charitable voice in time for the holidays, and stick to it all year.
Your customers and your community will thank you – and you’ll see that tangibly in your ROI of social impact when you track your campaign results over time.