Causely: Marketing with a Cause

The past decade has brought immense change to the world, but perhaps the biggest change of all has come with the advent and unprecedented growth of social media. Sites like Facebook and Instagram aren’t just distracting apps to help pass the time or connect with a forgotten classmate, they’re invaluable tools for advertising. According to recent studies, Facebook holds an incredible 14% of the time we spend online each day; the average American spends an astounding 50 minutes every day on that single social media site. That kind of time, and that level of engagement, is positively unprecedented. The ease and flexibility (plus cheap price tag) of marketing on the site, combined with those engagement statistics, make social media marketing the ideal avenue for small business owners, especially those in our industry.
But change is constant—which means even the way you market on social media is perpetually in flux. That’s where companies like Causely come in.
Causely offers a one-two punch modern customers and retailers love. At its core, the company uses Facebook check-ins to support great causes and charities—and to drive new business. The uniting of social media and charity is a natural one in our modern world. Another statistic: 83% of consumers wish that the businesses they supported gave back to good causes. Those same folks who spend all those minutes on social media every day also want to do good. Causely found a way to merge social media and charity, and to help small businesses at the same time.
The concept was originally a product of necessity. Causely’s co-founders were looking for a modern way to market their gym. Growth had plateaued, and they wanted a new, innovative way to get people in the door. They knew that customer referrals were the best way to grow their business, so they turned to social media. “Our desire was to turn our members into our best ambassadors,” explains Jeff Presley, Customer Success Rep at Causely. “The easiest and most effect place to do this was through Facebook check-ins and Instagram tags because each CI (check-in) is seen by an average of 200 of their Facebook friends.”
They soon found that simple check-ins weren’t enough; the gym was only averaging about 30 CIs a month across their 400 members. They needed a new way to motivate members to actually check in. “We decided to dig into who we were—which was a company that always strived to give back through our time and resources. So we decided that for one month, every time a member checked in on our Facebook page, we’d donate a meal to a hungry child.” The success of the campaign was astronomical, with over 1,600 CIs that month alone. The gym grew by leaps and bounds, the CI rate continued to grow, and other forms of marketing becoming completely unnecessary.
And the concept went, in the words of that newfangled, technological jargon, “viral.” Small businesses everywhere and across industries wanted to duplicate that invaluable marketing tool that encouraged business and gave back simultaneously. And so Causely was born. “Now after almost three years, we’re working with over 3,200 locations worldwide in all types of verticals,” says Presley.
So how, exactly, does it work? Every month Causely chooses a great cause that motivates and inspires small business customers. Every charity is thoroughly vetted and must check a swath of boxes in order to appeal to a wide range of customers. “We only work with world-class organizations; they are the best of the best,” promises Presley. These are all causes that are easy to get behind, whether you’re the retailer or the customer. In October, for example, Causely is supporting Bright Pink to provide cancer risk assessments for women in need in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. “We will also move quickly to respond to natural disasters, like the floods in Louisiana, and we’re already responding to the damage done from the most recent hurricane in the Southeast coastline,” he notes.
When your customers visit your store and check-in, they’re also supporting an amazing charity. “Each of those check-ins is seen by literally hundreds of their friends, and each CI or tag triggers a donation to the cause of the month,” explains Presley. It’s simple: the more check-ins and tags your business receives, the more referrals you benefit from and the more you help the cause of the month. It’s a cyclical win-win.
If you’re worried you won’t see where your money’s going or that your customers won’t get it, don’t be. “We provide our customers with monthly content to make it easy and effective to keep their own clients informed and engaged about the cause, what’s being donated and how much is donated,” says Presley. They also provide Facebook and Instagram tracking so you can see exactly how that engagement is working. It’s modern marketing for a modern, social media-fueled—and also hearteningly benevolent—world.
Causely is particularly advantageous for small businesses in the outdoor and specialty retail industries. “We know that outdoor/specialty retailers have customers that are very loyal and thrive on word of mouth referrals,” Presley points out. “We’re motivating them to organically spread the word about your business to hundreds of their friends at a time by checking in or tagging you in a post in order to give to a great cause each month.” It’s true—a huge portion of our customers come to our stores not thanks to hokey advertisements or gimmicks, but because their friends, those folks who share their passions, hobbies and interests, advised them to do so. Causely just amplifies those recommendations and projects them to an even greater number of their friends.
Presley also notes that, as a whole, we’re an incredibly altruistic community. “Of course we know that outdoor/specialty retailers have a passion to be a contributing member of the community (both locally and globally), and their customers do too.” Causely allows small specialty retailers to give back in an easy way with big impact. And the fact that it helps small businesses is Causely’s way of giving back too.
Modern models like Causely prove the necessity and profitability of change. “Change or die. That’s a good philosophy to live by and to run your business by,” Presley nods. “That certainly doesn’t mean you let go of the principles that guide you, but you must be flexible enough to know the market trends and be willing to test them and try them and adapt them.” Incorporating a concept like Causely doesn’t, as Presley points out, shift the compass of your business; it simply helps you adapt to a modern world and continues the legacy of your business.

As always, the priority lies in creating a genuine relationship with your customer—something Causely does at its core. “More and more we’re seeing that today’s consumers don’t just want a store to buy something from,” says Presley. “They’re looking for a partner that reflects back their same values and philosophies. Today’s consumer desires to be in harmony with the place they do transactions with. Its not just a point of sale, its a place of connection, and hopefully it can be meaningful too. It’s an experience.”

For more information about Causely please go to and request a Demo. Or contact Jeff Presley at or call him at 859-983-8493.

About the Author:

As a freelance writer and editor, Emily has the luxury of being completely mobile—but there’s nowhere she’d rather be than right here in Asheville (though she’s on the road more often than not). You’ll find her work in a variety of publications around town and the country, as well as in our monthly newsletter. In her free time, Emily enjoys exploring the mountains and valleys around Asheville and the cocktail bars and restaurants within it.

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