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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.


By Dave Chaffey

Dave is CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights. He is editor of the 100 templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources used by our Expert members in more than 80 countries to Map, Plan and Manage their digital marketing. For my full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights.

Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Emarketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

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