A lesson in engagement marketing from Marks & Spencer

In recent weeks I’ve had a bit of a go at some of the major retailers about their Christmas advertising so today I want to redress the balance a bit with some positive lessons from my alma mater, Marks and Spencer. In my day M&S didn’t even have a marketing department but today they have a very effective one and I think they are leading the way with customer engagement online.

I want to talk about two initiatives in particular, one on their website and one on Facebook, I think both sow seeds that small businesses can learn from.

Promoting engagement on the website

One of the features of marksandspencer.com is the ‘Style Edit’ section where the company puts together style boards featuring products from across the women’s wear range. Last week they ran a competition inviting visitors to the website to put their own boards together with the one that got the most likes winning £500.

A great way to persuade visitors to stay on the website and browse the range.

A great way to persuade visitors to stay on the website and browse the range.

This is a great idea because it encouraged visitors to spend much longer on the website browsing a wide range of products to put their own boards together. Once visitors had compiled their boards they would send a link to their friends asking for a vote so they could win the competition, this would give M&S more site visitors and potentially get those people involved in the competition too.

My only criticism is that I only found the competition on the penultimate day for entries, did I miss some of their promotions or did they miss that bit of the marketing? I couldn’t find any emails that I hadn’t read, any Facebook messages or even an ‘above the fold’ mention on the website  which is a shame because it was a brilliant idea but participation seemed to be quite low.

Engaging on Facebook

M&S is now promoting a ‘Pass the Parcel’ game which is about to launch on Facebook. The idea is we sign up to join and when the game starts we’ll receive a daily parcel some of which will have a prize, we pass the parcel on to our friends who then pass it back to us to give us another turn. There are over 50,000 prizes making us feel we have a chance to win something.

This is clever because M&S fans will get engaged but will also bring in their friends who may not be M&S fans but who might like the chance to win a prize and therefore join in. To be included we have to pre-register so M&S gets more names to market to and the registration page has a prominent button inviting us to visit the website.

Clever Facebook marketing

A clever way to promote more active engagement on Facebook.

What are the lessons for small businesses?

Now I understand that we don’t have the marketing budget of an M&S or the in house graphics and technical expertise to put campaigns like these together but we can use them to inspire us. Here are some ideas that small businesses could adapt:

  1. run a quiz where the answers are contained on your website, you could do this with a free tool like Survey Monkey.
  2. run a Facebook competition where people have to visit your website to search for the answer
  3. post a photo album on Facebook and get your followers to vote for their favourite product or idea
  4. make sure that people have to ‘like’ your page to enter so that they will continue to see messages from you so building their awareness of your brand.(but make sure you comply with Facebook guidelines which you can read here)
  5. run a Facebook competition where people have to upload photos of them using your product; photos of the results of them following advice you’ve given them; or photos of your product in an unusual situation etc.
  6. as for number 5 but make entry by You Tube video and then promote across social media

Do you have any other ideas? Are there things you have done to gain visitors, likes or more engagement? Do you need some help to devise a campaign for your business? If so book your free, no obligation 30 minute consultation here.

I’m off to practice what I preach! Why not open today’s window on our Facebook advent calendar? https://www.facebook.com/TheTrainingPack


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