There are an increasing number of retailers who make corporate responsibility and social causes a part of their brand ethos. Some brands, such as TOMS, have even built their business models around them.
This type of cause marketing can translate to sales, with 69% of Gen Z saying they’re more likely to buy from a company that contributes to such causes.
Retailers who use social causes as part of their brand ethos need to find ways to influence purchase decisions by integrating this messaging into their promotional channels, including email marketing.
Here are 7 ways brands can incorporate cause marketing into your email marketing efforts:
Using Cause Marketing in Promotional Email
Banners: Let’s start simple. Include a banner that reinforces your cause in every email sent, either at the top of the message or in the recovery section of the email. You can see how TOMS does this in the recovery section of each of its emails. Using these banners will help reinforce your brand’s commitment to positive social change with your customers.
Sell by giving: Run campaigns centered on the cause vs. ones focused on selling products. In this example from Boxed Water, the company promotes ways to help plant trees to combat the California wildfires, all while generating social engagement. Notice the subtle preheader text as well as the recovery call to action, both based on shopping. Even with these two promotional elements of the email, the message does not scream “buy now.”
Cause campaigns: Promotional campaigns that tie in the social good of the company can be a great way to drive sales. Using TOMS for another example, here is a campaign featuring limited-edition shoes based on a partnership with Save the Children. While creating campaigns in conjunction with a charity is not a requirement, think of ways you can use specific giving campaigns to generate sales — all while making the purchaser feel good about buying.
While this campaign is from the Christmas season, think of all of the holidays you can use as tentpole giving campaigns. If using national holidays, choose those that best align with your brand, such as Veterans Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas. If your brand centers on other types of causes, use signature designated periods such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Adoption Day or World Autism Awareness Day.
Social update emails: Companies with loyalty programs occasionally send loyalty point update emails, and there’s no reason that brands aligned with social causes shouldn’t do the same. Try showcasing the progress the company has made because of its customers. This cause marketing messaging could include the number of products, items, services provided, resources saved or the amount of money donated because of purchases. These messages also lend themselves to social sharing, so be sure to include a “share now” CTA to extend the reach of your email.
Using Cause Marketing in Automated Lifecycle Emails
Welcome messages: If doing social good is a major component of your brand, don’t hold back in your welcome messages. Create both standalone and secondary content that proudly shares this message with new subscribers and informs them of why they should align with your brand. For new subscribers who may be considering a purchase, this can help also provide a competitive differentiator.
Post purchase: Don’t let this messaging end once the purchase has been made. This is your opportunity to reinforce why the customer should feel good about their purchase and your brand. Include messaging that showcases what their purchase has done for someone less fortunate, and be sure to tie this purchase to social media and make the customer become an advocate for your brand. Try creating a purchase-related hashtag and asking the customer to share their purchase with others.
Cart abandonment: When a customer is close to making a purchase, you want to use every tactic in the book to get them to cross the finish line, like using a sense of urgency, discounts and fear of loss or FOMO. But for socially conscious consumers, this can also be social responsibility. Be sure to include messaging about your social causes in these messages as well, even if it’s in the recovery section of the email.
Where to Begin?
While these are not the only ways to integrate cause marketing into your emails, they do provide good starting points. But when it comes to creating the content to include in the emails themselves, don’t worry. Many times, you won’t have to look much further than your site and social pages. Many brands that commit to social good, such as Bombas, have sections on their site and dedicated social posts providing updates about their contributions. This content can easily be repurposed for use inside of your emails.
Integrating corporate responsibility in email through cause marketing can differentiate your brand, help build an emotional connection with the customer, influence purchase decisions and generate brand advocacy. After all, a brand in some ways becomes a reflection of themselves after a purchase. Allowing people to feel good about their purchase and wanting to share it can create a multichannel ecosystem of brand advocacy.
Greg Zakowicz is a marketing analyst and content team lead at Omnisend