Here’s a business that’s smashing it online…

Well, in my opinion anyway.

They are doing a LOT right with their online marketing.

And even if your business is completely unrelated to theirs, there’s a lot you can steal.

By the way, that doesn’t mean copy word for word, colour for colour. It means take the principles and apply them to whatever you want to sell.

The business is called

It’s a petition-based business. They get 17% of funding from charitable trusts and grant-giving foundations… but 83% of funding from donations by members.

In other words, to survive they need to appeal directly to the emotions of their website visitors and email readers – everyday people like you and me – and get them to (in my best Bob Geldof voice) “SEND MONEY NOW”.

Their business is built on powerful direct communication – and getting people to act instantly on impulse – which is why they’re worth taking inspiration from.

If you want lots of direct sales from your website and emails, this is the way to do it.

So let’s break it down…


As soon as you go to their website they hit you with a powerful message that encourages you to act right away:

See those bright red buttons?

They stand out against the other colours. This is known as an ‘isolation’ technique.

They also have a range of price points… so you can donate $3, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100.

It’s always a great idea to have a range of price points – allowing people without much money to sample what you have, while offering higher levels for those who want to invest more.

Also note their phrasing…

“If you chip in the equivalent of a cup of coffee once a month…”

This is known as the ‘drop in the ocean’ technique where you make the price look small compared to the benefits you’ll get.

When something is only the price of a throwaway item like a daily newspaper or coffee, it doesn’t seem like as much of a bother to spend it.


All this website wants you to do is get the point quickly and act on your emotional impulse. Which is why they have a simple design with a headline telling you who they are and what they stand for.

There’s no clutter. Just plain blue, with some strong photos and a navigation bar that has only four options:

This navigation bar push visitors to the three main things you need from this kind of site:

• ABOUT – tells you who they are, with all the contact details and FAQs to make them credible;

• CAMPAIGNS/PRESS – these are their ‘products’, a series of fund-raising campaigns, each with its own cause, sold using emotions, storytelling and lots of proof and evidence;

• DONATE – this is the big ‘call to action’ upon which they sink or swim.

Yes, the website is there to inform people, but none of it matters unless they convert visitors into donators.

That needs to happen on that first visit or they’ll probably lose them.


Rather than blogging, this business posts regular campaigns for causes.

Note how the images are stark, strong and tell an emotional story.


Beneath the main headline on the homepage is a constantly updated list of people who have donated.

This technique is called ‘social proof’ – people are more likely to subscribe or buy from you if they can see others are doing so, and benefiting from it.

Options include testimonials, reviews, photos of customers and press coverage.

You could also embed your Twitter feed to show your tweets, so that you’re clearly out there sharing information and talking to customers.

The same social proof technique is used on their email sign up form, and also on their home page, which looks like this:

Again, the strong, simple red ‘call to action’ button which simply says “Join Us”.

And when you sign up for those emails?

Well it gets better…


The emails from SumofUs are really well written. They paint quick, clear pictures in words.

Like this one about polluted rivers and oceans…

And here’s another one about families displaced by mining.

Note how the ‘call to action’ for the email is right at the top, right next to the lead story.

They do this because want you to act on your emotional response, not to wander away from your inbox and spend time thinking about it.


For obvious reasons, SumOfUs are ‘cause’ marketers. This is where link your business to a greater purpose…

• Pit yourself against a common enemy.

• Pursue a goal that could help others.

• Communicate big ideas.

• Champion a product, style or attitude.

In doing this, you can gather more followers.


Because people don’t care about your business; they care about the world they live in… about their friends and family… their passions and interests.

If they feel you are helping them or society, they’re more likely to share your blog posts, follow you on social media, and link to your website.

Even if your business doesn’t ‘seem’ to fit the cause marketing idea, there’s no reason you can’t use elements for your business.

For instance, if you sell pizzas, you could champion a method of cooking, your source of ingredients or your policy on waste.

Or if you’re a clothing website, you could champion your materials, or fight against sweat shops.

If you’re a website that reviews comedy, perhaps you could champion ‘funny Fridays’ where people share jokes at work…

What is it that your business could do to make the world slightly better for people?

See if you can hit upon something and take a leaf out of SumofUs’s book!

I’ll be back with more soon.