An example of how Facebook can grow online retail sales

Scribblers shows how content marketing can be integrated into the Facebook timeline and website to help generate sales

I think case studies are a great way to learn; to discover techniques to improve marketing. In this example, we look at how online retailer Scribblers blends Facebook, email and web as one part of effective use of social media marketing.

About the case study company

Scribblers is a successful online retailer supplying calligraphers throughout the world with stock and advice ‘to meet all their calligraphy needs’. You can read a more detailed version of this case study also.

Scribblers uses an integrated mix of digital communication channels to reach and engage its niche target market. A combination of Facebook advertising and social marketing, occasional specialist magazine articles and shows, and a continuous presence in search using Google Adwords and SEO, is effective in driving new visitors to its website hub and Facebook page. Facebook has played a useful role in Scribbler’s digital marketing strategy for several years but only began to fulfill its true potential relatively recently.

Scribblers was set up by owner Simon Rous whose calligraphy experience resulted in him inventing two new calligraphy tools. As demand for these patented tools grew organically, so did requests for other materials. Simon recognised a great business opportunity and set the business up twelve years ago, with his wife, Ann, at their home in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

A new Facebook strategy: engage visitors, gain ‘Likes’ and drive sales

Simon’s early strategy focused on Facebook advertising. This established a presence, successfully targeting people specifically interested in calligraphy and boosting Scribblers page fans to around 700.

However, advertising effectiveness began to wane so Simon looked for a fresh approach to build an online calligrapher community around the brand and drive new business.

Simon explains:

I’ve had a Facebook page for Scribblers for about two years, but I didn’t really do much with until ten months ago. I had just a handful of fans. But then I did a lot of reading, including Dave Chaffey’s books, and researched social media marketing, including joining Smart Insights as an Expert member”.

Here’s how the Scribblers campaign works:

1 Identify valuable shareable content. Simon offered an exclusive PDF download of ‘50 Calligraphy Tips’ in exchange for a user ‘like’; an incentive designed to show fans Scribblers knows all about calligraphy.

2 Create an app. Simon used the Social campaigns from Constant Contact for its social campaigning features.

Scribblers improved its Facebook marketing when integrated its Facebook page with Constant Contact’s Social Campaigns system as a way of ‘Likegating’, i.e. a customised version of Constant Contacts Social Campaigns app was created to give people accesss to the PDF in exchange for a like.

3 Include the app on the Facebook page. The app is positioned in Views, at the top of Scribbler’s Facebook page and given Pinned Facebook status update so it appears in the all- important position, top left, remaining there for a week.

4 Make content available. In return for a ‘Like’, the screen reveals the PDF download button.

5 Sales promotion. Using Facebook marketing doesn’t always directly prompt sale. It does here since the PDF contains a 10% discount promotion to encourage sales.

Simon’s Facebook social marketing strategy has been so successful that it has quickly become a key approach in helping Scribblers identify and engage with the global calligrapher community of customers and potential customers. Simon’s Facebook page is attracting far more likes than any of his competitors, now with more than 4,000 fans and counting… conversion to customers.


Share your thoughts

  • Simon Thomas commented on June 29, 2012

    It would be really interesting to know what the cost of Scribblers’ FB campaign has been and the ROI, in terms of direct sales through FB. An interesting case study but a bit unspecific on the actual value.

  • Arpita commented on June 29, 2012

    Hi Dave Chaffey ,
    Thanks for sharing this nice post !
    Facebook is a great media for online marketing nowadays.Scribblers will definitely get a warm welcome in this sector.The campaign works of scribblers are really noteworthy.

    Thanks again

  • How many sales are actually generated thru FBook? They diddled the figures b4 float when they said $4 per user is an annual figure – i just dont believe it.

    • I’m not sure on their RPU now – we’ll have to wait for the figures – they will be more transparent now through their SEC filings

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