Does this sound like you? You are wondering what you should be doing to increase your email subscribers. You feel like you have tried everything but haven’t seen growth. Before you go spending thousands of dollars on advertising or buying lists (please don’t do that) there are a few simple adjustments you can make to change this outcome.
First, what value are you offering?
First, why should people sign up to receive your company’s email? This might sound simple, but at the very baseline, you need to give them something for subscribing.
Think about it as a simple value exchange. They’re giving you their email, which has value. What are you giving them in return? Ideally, whatever you’re giving them in return should have significantly more value than their email address.
Give Subscribers Coupons
One example of what you can do here is giving them a coupon. This is a very common and efficient tactic that food brands use. Include a coupon that is good to get $1 off, get $2 off, buy-one-get-one-free, whatever it might be.
If it’s eCommerce, give them an instant coupon, so as the subscribers sign up for the list, they get a coupon code delivered that they can use right away.
Create a Recipe or Tip Ebook
If you have a product that can be put into recipes, create an ebook that can be downloaded immediately. In general, with this approach, you want to have the delivery happen in the email. You don’t want them to fill out the subscription form and then they have to go to a page to get it or be redirected right away.
The reason for this is that if they get it in their email, then they have to go and actually pull up your email, open it, click it to download it, or view the video or whatever it might be. That will help with your deliverability. It also gets them comfortable with the behavior of opening emails that are coming from your brand.
Depending on the product, a few other ideas along these lines are:
Meal prepping tips
Healthy cooking tips
Video series that helps the subscriber create kid-friendly meals
Create an Informative Email Series
An alternative idea to the single ebook is creating an email series that is delivered over a few days. For example, it could be something around clean eating. You’d have a series of emails revolving around a five-day kickstart to a cleaner-eating diet. Once the potential customer submits their email, they get a welcome email, then one email per day for the next five days covering different ways to incorporate clean eating into their life.
This is great tactic because it gets people into the habit of checking their inbox to get the next email in the series. The subscriber is getting used to engaging with your brand, and you in return are providing a value to their life.
Use a Signup Form Pop-Up Box
An easily overlooked way to increase email signups is by simply having your signup box be prominent. A lot of brands that we are in the early stages of working with will have a signup in the footer or on the sidebar somewhere. Using a tool such as a lightbox pop-up to design and time your popups, works really well. Sumo and OptinMonster are great resources for that. You can also get fancier with things like Exit Intent Popups, so when somebody’s leaving your website they actually get a pop-up to subscribe.
Focus on putting that call-to-action front and center. Often you will only get one chance to hook people when they come to your site. Give them a reason to sign up! This is also where a compelling offer can come into play with that popup, so don’t hide it.
Embed A Signup Call-To-Action within Your Blog Posts
If you have written content on your website that people are finding through search or social, strategically include a call-to-action to sign up for your email list. Remind people while they are looking at your content, that if they like the content, and if they want to get more content or a premium version, then they should sign up for the email list. This is an incredibly easy and natural way to add some more subscribers to your email list!
These are just a few ways that you can increase your conversions and get more email subscribers, but there is a multitude of additional tactics that you can implement. To set up a free consultation on building your email list, reach out to us at email@example.com!
User Generated Content (UGC) Contests are a powerful strategy to drive brand awareness. These are campaigns that people run when they want to have certain products shared on social media, posts shared using a hashtag, as well as generate engagement from the general public. They usually include actions such as “share a post/photo, tag a friend, or use a hashtag for a chance to win”.
So why do so many of them go wrong?
Fear not! Here are 5 of the most common mistakes that are made throughout these campaigns and strategies to rectify them.
1. Asking Too Much
The most common mistake that brands make is asking a ridiculous amount from contest participants. The best approach to finding an appropriate ask is to think about the bare minimum entry.
While setting up UGC campaigns, try to think about what people are already doing throughout their day. Where could they easily include a hashtag to have it be a part of the campaign or conversation? Does it only require a slight tweak or variation in their day-to-day activities?
For example: You are a food brand that has a beverage that you want to promote. You decide to run a UGC contest where the goal is to have people share photos for a chance to win a month’s supply of your beverage.
One approach for entry requirement could be, “Build a birdhouse using 30 empty bottles of our brand’s beverage”. However, no one is going to do that. Would you? It’s too much work and takes too much time out of their busy day.
Assuming that you have product on shelves, an alternative approach would be reaching out to existing customers and say, “Share a photo of how you enjoy your fill-in-the-blank beverage during your day, using hashtag “#blank”, for a chance to win something amazing”.
In that example, people are already using the product at some point during the day, so asking them to take a photo and use the hashtag is a simple way to incentivize them to create user-generated content.
The point is, step back and think about who your target customers are. What is their day-to-day like? How can you integrate your campaign so that it’s not forcing them to do a bunch of other work?
2. Giving Too Little
An additional mistake that people make is not completely thinking about the prize value in relation to what you’re asking participants to do. Flashback to my first example. You have decided that you really want someone to build that birdhouse out of the beverage bottles. If you were giving them much larger value, like a car, for example, it is much more likely that they’re going to put in extra effort for a chance to win.
Take time to think through the prize to ask ratio:
What are you asking people to do?
What is the value of the prize that they can win?
Do those things make sense together?
Does the prize balance out the ask?
Is it worth their time?
People are willing to do a lot more work for a much higher prize value. Keep in mind that value is not just a dollar amount. It can also be how valuable this is perceived in their life. Is this going to make their life better? Is it something that you know your target audience really wants? These are all things to think about while crafting these campaigns.
3. Flying Solo
During UGC contests, brands often make the mistake of exclusively using their product as the prize. This especially rings true for food brands that have a lower priced product but are trying to create a higher prize value. If you are aiming to create a $250 prize and your product costs $5, do people really want 50 products? This result might be overkill for most people.
Get out of the mindset that your product is the only thing that you can give away as part of a UGC campaign. For example, you can partner with other non-competitive brands or offer gift cards. There are a wide variety of things that you can do but at the end of the day, you want to get your audience to engage. Collaborations are a great way to incentivize participation, especially if you are asking your audience to do more work than sharing a photo and hashtag.
4. Expecting An Immediate Viral Sensation
If you build it, they will not come.
Forgetting to pre-seed content for UGC campaigns is a costly mistake. When your UGC contest goes live and people check the hashtag, there needs to be something for them absorb.
All too often, companies will launch contests while thinking, “Okay, everybody share, using our hashtag, it’s going to be great, look at all these entries,” and then there aren’t any entries to show the type of content you want.
Before you make the competition public, pre-seed your social media accounts by having posts 100% ready to go live as soon as the campaign launches. At the very lowest end, this could mean working with your team to create a few initial posts that help give participants a sense of what you want them to submit.
Another great way to pre-seed content is by working with influencers. This could mean paying influencers or you could be offering them exposure, but whatever the exchange is there are a few steps to remember before you launch the contest:
Connect with a variety of influencers and get them on board for the campaign.
Confirm that they are clear about the campaign launch date.
Confirm the day, time, and platforms that they are going to be posting their content.
Structure what you ask of influencers so that they are calling out what the contest is, what participants need to share, the rules and requirements, when the deadline is, etc.
The influencer strategy is powerful because you are going to get awesome content from those influencers while simultaneously reaching their fanbase. Your brand will instantly have an audience that’s seeing the contest, getting them excited to participate, and have great content created to seed your overall campaign. Using this strategy, anywhere the campaign is announced, people can go to their feed, check the hashtag and immediately absorb content.
5. Setting and Forgetting
Don’t anticipate launching your campaign and then leaving it unattended until the final date. Setting and forgetting can bring any UGC momentum to a screeching halt. There are a few ways to stay on top of the process and ensure a successful contest.
No one likes a one-sided conversation. Engage with participants by checking brand mentions and uses of your hashtag. Like photos and comment on their posts, letting them know that you love their entry and appreciate them taking time to participate in the contest.
Tied into the above tip is sharing more than just the winner’s post. Throughout the entire contest, share a variety of UGC content as it is posted. Often the photos that you share encourages the user to re-share saying “Look, this brand re-posted my photo! How cool!”.
Also by engaging, you are able to control the conversations around your contest and turn potentially negative situations into a positive customer service experience.
Double check that your influencers are posting when and where they are supposed to be. Influencers are human beings and sometimes even the best-intentioned people get distracted with life and occasionally forget. If they do forget a post, it usually only takes a friendly reminder to have them get the post out.
When influencers share a photo, be sure to comment on their post, thanking them and letting their audience how excited you are about the collaboration.
Turning a campaign to auto-pilot can turn into a disaster quickly. The results from engagement and spot checking will be worth every moment of extra effort.
Didn’t read the entire post? To recap:
Don’t ask too much or give too little.
Pre-seed by collaborating with non-competitive brands and influencers.
Stay on top of your contest as it progresses!
By avoiding these 5 mistakes, you will be well on the way to running a successful UGC contest. Any tips that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Running a product giveaway with a social media Influencer is a simple and very effective way to increase your social followers, email list, website traffic, establish a relationship with your community, and so much more. 10 years ago, Social Media Influencers weren’t even a thing. The word “Influencer” is still flagged as misspelled by spell check. So let’s start with what an Influencer is.
What is an influencer?
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, an Influencer is an individual who has the power to affect decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience. They tend to have a following in a particular niche, with whom they actively engage. Basically, they can be a positive voice for your brand, and a link to potential customers.
There are many ways to utilize a relationship with an influencer. These include, but are not limited to:
As the title of this article alludes, we’re here to talk about running giveaways with influencers!
Tip #1: Identify your brands’ goals for a giveaway
Before you do anything at all, decide what is the purpose for wanting to run a giveaway? Are you looking to expand name recognition? Are you wanting to collect new contacts for an email marketing campaign? Are you looking to increase your social following? How will you measure your results to know if it worked or not?
Starting with the end in mind is always a good idea!
Tip #2: Identify what you need from an influencer
This step is to make sure you understand your needs and expectations. Decide what type of service you would like from the influencer. What kind of budget do you have to pay for an influencer? Does their location matter? What type of content do you want? How do you want to use that content (on your social, website, in ads, etc.)?
Tip #3: Decide how to run the giveaway
There are a few ways to go about running your giveaway. Do you want to use a giveaway program, like Gleam or RaffleCopter, where you can collect emails from the entrants and leverage other entry options? Or would you rather this be a strictly social based giveaway, where entrants have to follow, like, comment, and/or share the post to enter to win?
Depending on your goal you should select the type of giveaway that will directly tie back into that objective. Using a giveaway platform also gives you the added benefit of easier reporting and picking winners.
Tip #4: Find the right influencer(s) for your brand
Each influencer has their own style and type of audience. You want to connect with an influencer who would be sure to help you reach your target customers, and who fits the style and voice of your brand. If you are promoting a vegan product, it wouldn’t make much sense to connect with a “meat-loving grill master” influencer. Their audience is not who you’re trying to reach.
Tip #5: Research your influencer
This is a step that is regularly passed over. It’s very easy to see that someone has 65k followers on Instagram, but the real question needs to be how engaged those 65k followers are. Post engagement is a really big deal. They can have all the followers in the world, but if no one likes or comments on their posts, then no one cares about what they’re posting!
Some other questions to ask:
What other brands have they worked with in the past?
Are they regularly posting on their page?
What social platforms are they on? You might want them to post on all platforms.
What past giveaways have they run? If their past giveaways have had good engagement, odds are your giveaway will do well too!
Tip #6: Communicate, communicate, communicate
And when you think you’ve communicated enough – communicate one more time. It all begins with your initial outreach. Your first contact with the influencer should be clear, friendly, and intimate. No need to be overly formal, but be sure to show them that you’ve looked into who they are, and you think they’d be a great match for your company.
Then, once you’ve established a relationship with them, be ABUNDANTLY clear with what you want. Some things you’ll want to establish are:
Which products you would like them to give away
How many posts you would like from them (before or after the giveaway)
The platforms you would like them to use for the giveaway
How to reference your brand
Hashtags and key speaking points to include in the post
How many images they will provide
What will the images include
Preparation of the product
Product in use
The specific entry requirements (US only, or must be 18 to enter, etc.)
Come to an agreement, and set very clear dates for when you need things to be done. Be sure to give yourself a couple days buffer for edits and unexpected issues.
Tip #7: Stay Flexible
As important as it is to know what you want/need from your influencer, it’s equally important to stay flexible. If you’re paying your influencer for their work, then you can be a bit more rigid in what you want and when you want it. However, if you’re partnering with an influencer and trading product or collected emails (non-monetary goods), you may need to relax a little on the specifics. Things may need to change or be moved last minute, and that’s okay – your influencer is going to know what works best for their audience. And that brings us to tip #8…
Tip #8: Trust your influencer
The influencer is going to know their audience better than anyone else. They’ll know what things work and what doesn’t. And remember that their followers are there because they enjoy this specific style. It is usually a good idea to tell them the message you’d like them to get across, but to let them run with it in their own voice.
Tip #9: Evaluate the results of the giveaway.
This step is crucial to your future success. Did the giveaway go well? Did it have the reach and engagement you were hoping for? Would it be worth it to partner with this influencer again? Once you establish what worked and what didn’t, you will able to further the success of future giveaways.
With a little strategic thinking, these giveaways can have a huge impact. The people who follow influencers trust their thoughts and opinions and are very likely to be interested in a product they have endorsed.
So go out there, find yourself a like-minded influencer, and run a giveaway!
The welcome email you send to your newly subscribed customers is an opportunity to make a great first impression–one that you don’t get to make twice.
When you meet a new customer in person, you probably want to show your best self, and you want them to get to know you. As in any good business relationship, you follow-up quickly and deliver on your promise.
You want to aim to do the same with your emails. Once someone submits their email on your website to subscribe to your newsletter or offer, be sure your welcome email reaches their inbox within ten minutes. Make that first impression count.
But what about the content of the email? How do you start the relationship? Here are 5 great examples of email templates from socially conscious food brands big and small, along with breakdowns of why their ideas are worth stealing.
1. Amy’s Kitchen
Amy’s uses beautiful design and earthy colors, which helps shape their warm, friendly personality created by the copy. Words like “family” and “we’re so happy to have you join us” work together to invite you to further engage with them with clear calls to action to follow them on social media and to “start cooking” with recipes.
2. Organic Valley
Discounts or coupons are great first impressions too. But first, be sure to make it clear on your website what your customer will get before they sign up.
You also want to set expectations for your customer by telling them in your email how often you’ll be emailing them and about what. It’s a better idea to set these expectations on the website so customers aren’t worried about whether they’ll get too many emails.
Here, Organic Valley lets you know they’ll email you about 2-4 times a month about various topics, including coupons exclusive to subscribers.
3. Erewhon Grocer & Cafe
This local grocer does a great job by thanking you first, both in their subject line and in their email. According to research by the marketing automation platform MailChimp, word pairings like “thank you” have a positive impact on email open rates. Surprise! People love to be thanked.
At the top of their welcome email, they ask subscribers to add them to their contacts. This helps make sure the emails get delivered to the subscriber’s inbox and do not get flagged as spam.
Erewhon also has a nice CTA calling attention to learn more about its loyalty membership without pressuring signup.
4. Bob’s Red Mill
The best traits of Bob’s welcome email is how personal and personalized it is in its first message. You’re greeted by name in the subject line and email, there’s a photo of Bob, he tells you his story, and he signs off personally. In the same research by MailChimp, the team found this type of personalization works well, especially for open rates.
5. Santa Cruz Organic
When you write your subject line, it doesn’t pay to be too cute. Say what’s in the email, if you want to decrease the chances it’ll be trashed without being opened at all. Build trust. Deliver what the customer thinks they signed up for.
Bonus: These days you have to make sure your emails are mobile-friendly. This means they don’t just look good on a desktop computer, they are also formatted for and easily readable on a smartphone.
Your welcome email is an essential part of your marketing communications and can be the first impression someone has of your brand.
Key Points to Remember
Get your customer excited about joining.
Take the time to create the look and feel of your design, and make sure the content matches the substance of your offering and the flow of the customer experience.
Automate your email to be in the customer’s inbox within ten minutes of signup.
Set expectations. Before asking for emails, let customers know what you’ll be emailing them and how often. In your subject lines, say what’s in the email.
Thank your customers for signing up.
Personalize with your customer’s name.
Use these welcome emails as inspiration to create your own campaign and you’ll be on your way to building a beautiful relationship with your new customers!
You have a great product but is your website successfully representing your brand?
Your customers are on a mission when they land on your website: they want the answers to their questions without straining to navigate your site. The typical customer is goal-oriented and searching for something, so it’s important that you don’t distract them with content that doesn’t help them. Rather, keep their attention by surfacing the answers they’re looking for in a way that’s pleasant for your customer.
That’s a lot of pressure, but the good news is you can learn from the mistakes of others. Here are 10 common mistakes to avoid when designing your website.
1. Talking about yourself instead of your customer
Your business needs to sell in order to make money, but if all you’re doing is selling and talking at people, or talking too much about yourself, you’re not adding value and your potential customers will walk away. The trick is to position the customer as the hero and your brand as the guide to help them get what they want.
2. Not capturing customer emails when they visit
You want to get useful customer data or you miss a huge opportunity to reach your audience and generate more revenue. One of the most effective ways to do this is to build your email list, and offer something of value to your customers so they’ll feel comfortable giving you their contact information. Creating a loyalty program, an informative ebook, coupons, or a newsletter that announces new products and special discounts, are all possible value propositions when asking customers to subscribe.
3. Shaming customers into subscribing
When you do ask for their emails, be sure to do it politely and in the right context. Don’t make people feel bad if they want to say no, don’t force people to sign up, and don’t make it difficult for them to opt-out. Manipulative tactics like the one below are not only shameful, they’re not effective in the long run.
One beautiful example of a call to action to subscribe comes from socially conscious yogurt brand Chobani. The company offers a discount with a “Get your coupon” button, then directs you to a page to submit your email.
4. Not including links to social media
Once you have your relevant social media pages set up, make sure you display links or calls to action clearly on your website and emails so that you generate multiple paths for customers to engage with your brand and get to know what you offer.
5. Only using one type of content
Don’t overload on one type of content or your customers will get bored and may not stay long enough to convert. People also prefer to consume different types of content at different times and on different devices so variety is key.
Create a balance of text, images, video, audio, and infographics where appropriate. Remember to use high-quality photos to show your product. Recipes using your products as ingredients are really effective and can engage your customers in different ways.
Berry Bunny “Cereal Shakes” from Annie’s
Nature’s Path Organic is another example of a great website that speaks to their customer’s needs, has clear calls to action to capture email and links to social media, and has a good balance of colors, images, textual content, and motion graphics at the top.
6. Content overload
Plan your content carefully, and use customer feedback and data to understand how much information is just enough. Are people coming to your site and leaving right away without looking at other pages? Are there pages that almost no one ever visits? Are there too many colors and not enough white space on your homepage like the one below?
Your goal is to provide just enough information and at the right time and place. Let it be easy for your customers to find what they need. And remember: white is a color, too.
7. Poor navigation
According to a usability study, drop-down menus are small annoyances that create friction for the user. Menus can get particularly unwieldy when there are too many items to choose from. Make your navigation easy to find, to the point and clear, and try not to have more than a few items for your customers to choose from. As mentioned in mistake #1, make sure you’re thinking of this navigation from the user’s perspective to help them find what they are looking for as fast as possible.
8. Font is difficult to read
Don’t let poor font size and style be the reason you’re not growing your customer base. You may have good products and services, but they need to be findable at a glance. Think of the diversity of your audience as well, and make sure the font you use is easy on the eyes.
9. No pricing
Especially for specialty products where the price can vary, even if your answer to the question, “How much do you charge?” is “It depends,” customers often come to websites to find out pricing information and get annoyed when it isn’t there. If you can’t give exact pricing, consider giving enough information about what goes into deciding what you charge, so that potential customers trust where you’re coming from before they commit.
10. No contact info
Don’t hide your contact information! All relevant information should be clearly displayed on your website, including where to buy your products locally if possible. If you have limited ability to provide support through one channel, set expectations immediately. For example, if it takes you 48 hours to get to email inquiries, mention it at the top of your contact form.
You can also use this as an opportunity to direct people to your social media channels to connect with someone on your team or other members of the community to help answer questions.
What are some problems you’ve had with your web design or seen on others? Are there other mistakes you see a lot that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Most customers will stay loyal to a brand they admire even in a sea of competitive products. Businesses that achieve this relationship with their customers also enjoy more financial reward when they prioritize retention. According to one study, even a 5% increase in the rate of customers you retain can increase profits by more than 25%.
How can your marketing strategy turn your customers into superfans? Here are three digital strategies these social impact food brands have used successfully to do just that.
Customer-Informed Content Can Refine Your Target Audience
In 2017, top baby food brand Plum Organics surveyed their core audience of parents and found that intimacy was a common concern. Plum Organics created a bold digital campaign around this problem, which included an online well-being pledge with high conversion rates, as well as a cheeky video that racked up over 11 million views. The company took something that felt very true but hard to talk about and gave it an edge that resonated with people, as seen from the video comments.
In 2012, food photo sharing was becoming increasingly popular. Plum Organics discovered that their customers were incorporating their food products into recipes and sharing them on the company’s Facebook page. Seeing an opportunity, Plum created a four-week Facebook campaign posting recipes written by influential mom bloggers that featured their products. By the end of the campaign, they had gained an “over 900% increase in fans and a 500% engagement.” It was an incredibly effective platform for their existing customers to share how they creatively use Plum Organics products to improve their families’ lives.
At the core of building trust in customer relationships, is a consistency of trustworthy information that’s easy to find. Customers trust people and values more than brand names; knowing who you are as a business, what you do, and being able to convey this to your customers is crucial.
Numi Tea is one food brand whose identity often transcends that of a simple tea company. On their website, their core values of celebrating people, the planet, and tea, are thoughtfully built onto every page. It has well-organized categories showcasing not only their products but their social impact methods and results.
Numi highlights their business partners and how they work together to fulfill Numi’s commitment to a sustainable farming community. If you’re building a conscious food brand, your target customer’s values should align with yours. Full transparency about your business practices, wherever you talk to your customers, is a great way to build trust. Strategically laying out information about how your product is made, who you partner with, and how you operate helps your current customers believe in your message, and potential customers learn more about your brand.
Stand Up For What You Believe In
People respond best when everything you communicate has a unifying, original voice. What you put on your website should have the same style and voice as your Twitter page, your customer support channels and any other place you’re communicating with current or potential customers.
Ben and Jerry’s is one socially conscious brand famous for its unorthodox marketing and loyal fan base. Everything they do feels authentic because they understand their core values, and they use the same light-hearted quirky style in all their campaigns.
During the 2016 presidential election year, Ben and Jerry’s launched their “Democracy is in Your Hands” campaign. It proved to be controversial since they were taking a political stance, but it also received plenty of press for their creative spin taking on a political issue using their core product: ice cream. To bring awareness to issues like voting rights, they launched a new flavor called Empower Mint. As the company put it, “Sometimes when we’re passionate about something, we express it through ice cream. It’s our own special way of showing how much we care.”
Ben and Jerry’s utilized several social media channels to bring awareness to their campaign to register at least 30,000 new voters. This included Facebook for events, and Instagram (one post getting over 15,000 likes).
Not everyone believes in Ben and Jerry’s message, but the people who share their values, and love their ice cream, are likely to become even more invested in their brand.
The most successful socially conscious businesses have a lot of these digital strategies in common. They are good at reaching their target audience by tapping into their customer community. They build trust through transparent communication that shows clearly how they operate according to their values. And they always stay true to themselves and their beliefs through every social media interaction. Implementing these three strategies into your natural food product marketing campaigns can also help you create a solid foundation for a loyal fanbase.
Over 185 million dollars. That is the amount of money Patagonia donated to nonprofit environmental groups and conservation efforts since the company was founded in 1973. Additionally, 38 million dollars have been invested in socially responsible companies and ventures. This doesn’t even begin to include countless volunteer hours and priceless results of their activism. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been built into their DNA since day one.
What a bunch of granola eating hippies, right? As generous as this company is, there is no way that Patagonia is profiting! Actually, this could not be farther from the truth. The company has scaled to nearly $1 BILLION dollars and shows no signs of stopping. Let’s break down some of their social good marketing strategies and why they work.
First and foremost, Patagonia’s CSR efforts are transparent. What good is transparency when it comes sales? It creates trust. If your customers don’t trust you, you don’t have customers.
Today’s consumer is well-educated with limitless investigative resources. If they detect that your company’s CSR isn’t all you’ve hyped it up to be, they will not only walk away from you, but they will also be sure to announce it to the world.
How Patagonia Tells The Story of Their CSR Efforts
It is easy to pinpoint Patagonia’s textile mills, factories, and farms, via their FootPrint Chronicles, an interactive map which gives a detailed description of each location. The company also publishes an Environmental and Social Initiative Report, as well as provides an online database which gives the breakdown of grants, campaigns, events, sustainability and fair trade efforts, materials selection, etc.
This gives transparency to Patagonia, but also doubles as creative content and establishes them as an authority on corporate social responsibility; driving people to look at their business for answers. Patagonia has honed in on social media and grown a strong online community to deliver this content. They utilize hashtags, such as #ProtectBearsEars, to create awareness for their company, the activism that they are involved in, and ethics that they stand for.
Rose Marcario, CEO and President of Patagonia, is even engaged in content creation. She writes articles on movements that she is passionate about. This is a brilliant way for their customers to emotionally connect at the highest level of the company.
Telling Customers to Buy Less Drives Sales?
Patagonia has developed their Common Threads Initiative, which promises that they will “make great stuff, fix it when it breaks, and recycle it when you’re done with it” free of charge. Patagonia asks for a pledge in return to “buy only what you need, repair it when it breaks, and recycle it when you’re through.” They started this initiative because they know that by keeping their clothing in use for 9 additional months that they can reduce their carbon, waste and water footprint by 20-30%.
This seems counter intuitive, to ask your customers to buy less of your product, but Patagonia debunked that when they ran their “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign around Thanksgiving 2011. The ad prompted consumers to not buy their wares if they truly didn’t need them, then went on to discuss the environmental cost of producing these products. The next year, the company saw its revenue grow around 30%, and an additional 6% in 2013.
It’s All About The Why
Why did this work? It reinforces the fact that Patagonia stands behind it’s product and gives a sense of ease to their customers that if something breaks on their product it will be repaired. After they have received excellent customer service and gotten more usage out of the product, they can turn in their used clothing for credit, to buy more Patagonia product!
Patagonia has done all these things (and many, many more!) while being sincere about their commitment to change. This is the key to corporate social responsibility. Sincerity instantaneously strengthens the connection with customers, as well as global communities. It instills a sense of loyalty and camaraderie. In his TedTalk, Simon Sinek summed this up beautifully:
“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. The goal
is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have,
the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe”.
These strategies work because people are willing to pay for a high-quality product that aligns with their values, resulting in an engaged loyal community and repeat buyers. When people rally behind what you sincerely believe in, you can’t fail. How are you communicating the values you believe in?
Social good marketing is fast becoming a driving force behind some of the most successful advertising initiatives. Just as there are thousands of ways to bake a cake, there are many methods to communicate your positive social impact to conscious consumers.
Social good marketing is an amazing way to align your brand with a purpose and inspire consumers to share your story. People are more receptive to messaging that touches upon something they feel passionate about than promotional advertisements or new product launches. The world’s most innovative business leaders are using their marketing budgets to make positive impact leading to consumer advocacy and boosted profits.
11 Examples of Successful Social Good Marketing Strategies
1. Games that Give Back
The mobile gaming industry is rapidly expanding and grew over 21 percent from 2015 to 2016 while generating nearly $37 billion in revenue. Games are a wonderful way to keep people entertained, increase consumer participation in purposeful giving, and highlight your brand’s good work. An example of a social good gaming campaign is Save the Park.
American Express partnered with Games for Change and the National Park Service to develop this game that gives players a glimpse at what it’s like to be a park ranger and learn key facts about America’s protected lands. Amex donated $1 for every download up to $50,000 effectively promoting their services, increasing consumer engagement and supporting a good cause.
2. Meaningful Experiences and Heartfelt Stories
Nothing pulls at the heartstrings like a well told story about how your brand is improving real people’s lives. Vitamix partnered with SoulPancake to facilitate special meetings between chefs who wanted to thank someone important to them with a home cooked meal. This video tells the story of how chef Nick Liberato was put out of a job and shown tough love by a former employer who effectively gave Nick the motivation he needed to launch a successful career and live his dream.
After not seeing each other for years, these two old friends are united around a meal Nick made with Vitamix’s blender. This is a great example of how to feature your product or service in a larger context of creating a positive social impact.
3. Hashtags for Humanity
Social media offers an direct way to inspire consumer activism while scaling organic reach of your messaging and social impact. A great hashtag for good strategy was Disney Parks’ #ShareYourEars Social Media Campaign. Disney donated $5 to the Make a Wish Foundation for every photo posted with their #ShareYourEars photo frame and hashtag.
With the help of consumers, they were able to donate $2 million from January 29th to March 14th, 2016.
4. Buy One Give One (BOGO)
People want to feel good about what they’re buying and selfish altruism is a powerful marketing strategy that brands can use to make consumers feel like they are doing their part to make the planet better. While BOGO strategies have been criticized for overlooking root problems, they are an emotionally compelling way to engage consumers.
A good example of a buy one give one strategy is Warby Parker’s glasses initiative. The company donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for each pair sold. They also fund eye care training and awareness campaigns in developing countries.
5. Paid Employee Volunteerism
A terrific way to participate in a purpose-driven movement while simultaneously strengthening internal community and generating earned media is to sponsor employees to get involved in meaningful work outside of your company. Deloitte offers employees up to 48 paid volunteer hours in which they can use their skills to better the world. Not only does paid volunteerism make employees feel connected to the company and good about the work they do, it also creates powerful branding stories and improves public image.
6. A Percentage for the Planet
There’s a growing number of companies who’ve joined the 1% for the planet initiative, which connects corporate do gooders with environmental causes. This is a great way to join a global community, give back and tap into storytelling ideas for marketing strategies. While one percent is great, donating higher percentages scales your impact and can boost the effectiveness of your social good campaigns.
Patagonia, which always gives 1 percent to the planet, donated 100 percent of 2016 Black Friday sales and the results were a welcome surprise. The outdoor retailer sold a record $10 million that day, all of which they contributed to non-profit partners. Additionally, they received a ton of positive media coverage and truly inspired consumers to feel like they were purchasing for purpose.
7. Team Sponsorship
Teams offer fun storytelling potential. There are always trials and triumphs that make rooting for a team exciting to follow, which can be a great way to increase consumer engagement. If you can couple this with a meaningful social contribution you are truly winning. Novo Nordisk does an awesome job of promoting a good cause and increasing brand awareness by sponsoring a professional team of triathletes with Diabetes.
This social good marketing strategy is especially powerful because all of the team members use and benefit from Novo Nordisk’s healthcare products.
8. App Use That Contributes
An awesome way to incentivize people to use your app is to provide a charitable donation for every time a specific action is taken. That said, the app should also provide users with value or entertainment. Charity Miles does a great job of inspiring consumer engagement by donating money every time someone runs, bikes or walks while tracking their miles in the app. They generate income through sponsored advertisements users see each time they open the exercise program.
9. Videos That Provide
Video streaming is an immensely popular internet pastime. Nearly 5 billion videos are viewed every day on YouTube alone. Imagine all the social impact that could happen if every one of those views provided a small contribution to better society. CATv’s ran a social good marketing campaign to inspire viewership and spark an emotional connection among the audience by donating money every time someone watches a cat video on their platform. Now that’s purrrrrpose!
10. Charitable Events
A classic way to support social good is to host an event for a cause. Singer Adele took this further by giving concert tickets to people who donated $20 or more to Sands charity for a UK performance.
11. Interactive and Useful Promotions
Your advertisements will be much more memorable if you provide people with value when they interact with your messaging. IBM took this one literally when they made billboards that serve as handicap ramps, rain shelters, benches and more.
Social good marketing campaigns are a creative and profitable way to scale your marketing efforts and create a positive impact in the world. Whether you engage consumers with an addictive and purposeful app, share a touching story about an experience your brand facilitated, or promote participation through a hashtag, purpose-driven marketing is a powerful way to deepen connections with your target audience. Additionally, it’s an excellent means to increase the organic reach of your communications strategies and join movements bigger than your business or sector.
You may have heard of a social good company like Toms, which gives a pair of shoes to someone in need for every one purchased, but cause marketing is more than a trend for optimistic entrepreneurs. Some of the world’s biggest brands like Coca Cola, Unilever, and Walmart are investing in purposeful initiatives that give back to the planet as well as their bottom lines.
So, What is Cause Marketing Exactly?
Cause marketing is the corporate practice of aligning with a good cause and promoting that activity to increase consumer interest, engagement and purchases.
Over the years, cause marketing has grown from an adolescent into an adult and so has the nomenclature. Some experts criticize cause marketing campaigns for leveraging good deeds as a public relations stunt rather than a means to drive authentic social transformation. In response, many purposeful business leaders now use metrics and benchmarks to quantify and scale initiatives that create real social change and the term “corporate purpose” has prevailed to reference measurable social impact in the private sector.
In recent years, the widespread use of the internet and social media have increased transparency and consumer activism. People around the world now actively influence brand storytelling and share their support for corporations contributing to social good, while they simultaneously blast those that aren’t doing their part. What’s more, our planet faces unprecedented social and environmental crisis that require more resources than governments and nonprofits can provide. Today’s corporate leaders are stepping up to the plate to catalyze social transformation while simultaneously growing consumer advocacy and profits.
Doing Good Feels Good and It Fuels Profitable Growth
A recent global study of nearly 10,000 consumers showed that 91 percent of people expect companies to do more than make money by practicing socially and environmentally responsible business. Additionally, 84 percent said they prefer purchasing responsible products and 90 percent would boycott a brand for irresponsible behavior.
Millennials and generation Z – the future motor of global capitalism – are particularly conscious of corporate behavior. Another survey (paywall) found that 82 percent of millennials and generation Z actively purchase from brands that contribute to causes they care about and 82 percent said they feel better about spending when they buy products or services from a company invested in social good.
An awesome example of a brand using purposeful cause marketing strategies to scale profits is Unilever. The global conglomerate, which owns hundreds of consumer goods brands, recently disclosed that its portfolio companies practicing and promoting social and environmental good – like Dove and Ben and Jerry’s – grew 30 percent faster than those that don’t. Additionally, those purposeful brands carried almost half of Unilever’s expansion in 2015.
In today’s digitally connected, socially conscious world It’s clear that purpose powers profits and companies that practice what they preach will receive consumer support and purchases.
6 Steps to Increase Social Impact and ROI
1. Clarify Brand Authenticity
Before you get started with your own purpose-driven cause marketing campaign be sure to identify and articulate your authentic brand values. In other words, think about what your brand stands for, what your target audience cares about, why a certain cause or movement is particularly important to your company and how you can fit into the broader ecosystem of social change.
2. Pick a Relevant Cause
Once you’ve clarified what your brand stands for and how it fits into the web of global good-doing start honing in on a specific issue. This can be overwhelming because there are so many good causes in the world and so many people and places that need help. While you can eventually expand your social good campaigns to include multiple projects, it’s important to start with a single project that displays clarity and direction. An excellent way to narrow down options is to identify a problem that resonates with your brand and community.
3. Make Partnerships
Now that you’ve picked your cause, do some research on how other organizations are addressing the problem you want to fix. In this stage it’s important to select several potential partner organizations because everyone you want to partner with may not want to partner with you. If you’re working with a non-profit organization be sensitive to how they represent themselves. It may go against their internal culture to blatantly promote your sponsorship on their website or social media channels. Be flexible to branding strategy and partnership specifics. This will help you establish long-lasting mutually beneficial relationships.
Just as there are many roads to Rome, there are many ways to give. A few ways that other brands contribute is by donating a percentage of sales to a good cause, giving a product away for every product sold and sponsoring an event that has a social impact. If you’re looking for strategy inspiration check out this post on 11 awesome social good marketing campaigns.
5. Share Your Story
Contributing to meaningful work is important for our planet but in terms of your bottom line it’s crucial to share your social good campaign with a relatable and compelling story. While consumers are indeed demanding corporate social responsibility, good deeds go unnoticed without effective cause marketing and your efforts could provide no return on investment. For this reason, it’s super important that you find a way to tell an emotionally riveting tale about the amazing work your company supports. Be sure to focus on how your work impacts an individual person rather than citing grandiose facts and global trends. Make it short and sweet. And provide viewers with an inside view into how their purchase is solving an important issue affecting our planet.
6. Take it Further
Way to go! If you’ve gotten this far you’re well on your way to using your business to create a positive social impact while strengthening consumer devotion and scaling profits. If you want to take your cause marketing campaigns even further, couple growth with impact. You can do this by building equitable and sustainable supply chains, strengthening employee community involvement and investing a portion of your profits in social good.
Consumers want companies to do good deeds, not just offer good products and services. In today’s globally connected and technologically attuned world people are eager to support brands making a positive impact. At the same time, consumers are ready to boycott companies that aren’t doing their part. And that’s especially true for millennials and generation Z who will inherit the problems of the world and drive future financial growth.
People are often overwhelmed with advertisements on the internet, social media, television and in print. To capture consumer attention, support and purchases, companies must build an emotional connection with their customers that goes beyond selling stuff and inspires the feeling of being part of a global community working to make the world a better place. Although technology and social media are rapidly changing, compelling storytelling and the need for a better planet are here to stay and so is cause marketing.
How do your favorite brands share their social good work?
What is content marketing? According to Google: “a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand, but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.”
Basically any piece of content you create as a brand, organization or individual to provide value outside of your normal product and service offerings. There are many different types and approaches for content marketing. This list of keys to success focuses on core elements that we’ve seen work across dozens of campaigns and ongoing content marketing efforts.
1. Select the Right Distribution Channels
Just because a channel is popular, doesn’t necessarily mean you should focus your efforts there. Where does your target audience engage the most? What social platforms? Which blogs? Mobile or desktop? Adding more channels takes more time and money to do well.
2. Create Real Value
It’s better to create fewer pieces of content that are awesome than it is to create a bunch of mediocre content. Make something that people can actually use, that truly inspires and entertains them or delivers fully on whatever value you set out to achieve
3. Identify Potential Partners
Make a list of all the brands, press outlets, influencers, and anyone else who has a similar audience that you could work with to create and/or distribute your content.
4. Create Multiple Pieces of Content
A series of blog posts, one long video with multiple shorter videos, etc. Having multiple pieces gives you a better chance of one piece taking off organically.
5. Use a Variety of Mediums
This gives you the maximum flexibility in your distribution plan. If you have images, videos and articles around a given topic it lets you take advantage of more platforms and promotional tools.
6. Use Paid Promotion
One of the biggest mistakes people make is expecting content to take off on it’s own. As more and more people create content across an ever-growing number of platforms it becomes harder and harder to break through. Leveraging targeted digital ad buys as a part of your marketing mix makes sure your content actually gets seen by your target audience.
7. Budget and Plan for Distribution From the Beginning
There’s a saying in the film production world that a dollar spent in pre-production is worth two in production and three dollars in post. From the very first conversations about creating content you should also be thinking about how that content is going to be distributed and promoted. It’s much easier to allocate dollars up front than after the content is created and you’re scrambling to promote it.
8. Define Success
If you know you want to drive 10,000 visits to your website, 1,000,000 video views, 1,000 Facebook engagements, 35 sales or whatever your concrete goal is, you should budget accordingly. Allocate paid media budget for your minimum goal to ensure you achieve success before you release anything.
9. Narrow Audience = Higher Costs
The more narrow the target audience, the more money you should allocate per action. As a general rule it costs more per action (click, view, etc.) to reach vegan soccer moms in North Dakota than it does to reach all moms in the United States.
10. Budget for Testing
We never launch a campaign without at least one element being tested. It can be as simple as two different headlines in an ad or two different images. With this in mind you want to make sure you budget enough to test these options. The more you budget, the more testing you can do.
11. Reserve Budget to Scale the Best Performers
A lot of people think it makes sense to put money behind content that didn’t perform as well organically, but in reality we always recommend to put money where initial performance is strong and scale those campaigns. As a basic example, say you have 10 pieces of content and $10,000 to spend promoting them. We would allocate $5k to promote all 10 initially and then reserve the remaining spend just for the best performers.
12. Plan to Course Correct
Very rarely do campaigns launch with immediate success when trying something new. This is part of why we always test and re-allocate budget based on what’s working. “Set it and forget it” is not a strategy.
13. Measure & Analyze Results
There are numerous tools out there for tracking the success of your content marketing efforts. Using your goals outlined in #8 you should determine what you want to measure up front. Then when you see combinations that are working, scale them with the budget you set aside in #11.
14. Leverage Owned Media
Don’t forget to tap all the channels you have access to. Your social media pages, email list, website, email signatures, etc. Create internal guidelines for the content distribution process across your channels to make sure you hit all of them.
15. When You Work with Influencers, Let Them Lead
An influencer knows their channel and audience better than you. Give them the general parameters of what you are looking for and let them brainstorm the best approach to connect to their audience. Be open and ready to step outside your comfort zone.
16. Keep Making Content
Content marketing has an awesome cumulative value effect. The more great content you make, the more content new prospects/fans/visitors have to consume and the more effective your content marketing becomes. This also lets you learn and continue to hone your strategy rather than just doing a one-off content marketing campaign.
17. Create a Content Marketing Calendar
Knowing what you are posting, on which platforms with which links, hashtags and @mentions can get increasingly complicated as your content marketing efforts grow. Utilizing a calendar helps you stay organized and more easily adjust for unplanned opportunities and issues as they come up.
18. Leverage Tent-pole Events
Holidays, big sporting events, seasons, and more are referred to as tent-pole events. Anything that aggregates the attention of a large group of people. The size will depend on your product or service. It could be something international like the World Cup or something local like Restaurant Week Los Angeles.
19. Choose Hashtags Wisely
Generally speaking, using a popular hashtag will get you more visibility, but make it more difficult to track performance. This is especially true if you are running contests based on hashtags. Using a unique hashtag for a brand or campaign combined with more popular hashtags lets you get the best of both worlds.
Something we missed here? Disagree with one of the tips? Let us know in the comments.