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Using Twitter to Find Customers
Posted By Minda Zetlin On July 1, 2009 @ 12:00 am In E-Commerce | 1 Comment
Boloco , a burrito restaurant chain with 16 locations often runs ads in a Boston newspaper. The ads contain coupons for the chain’s popular burritos for a special price of $3. It makes sense to advertise in Boston, since 13 of the chain’s 16 restaurants are there, but CEO and co-founder John Pepper wished the ads could also bring customers to Boloco restaurants in New Hampshire and Vermont. So, when he ran one recent ad, Pepper also posted a photo of the coupon on Twitter, inviting diners to bring in any image of the coupon — a photocopy, printout, or even an image on a mobile phone — to get the discount.
“It was a way to bring people outside Boston in the print advertising, and a way to increase our visibility,” says Pepper, whose Twitter ID is @boloco . The tactic proved wildly successful, he says. “Usually we get about 350 coupons on that kind of promotion. This time we got 900, including the mobile phones. About 25 percent of our transactions that day came from the coupon, which never happens.” In effect, he says, posting the ad on Twitter decreased cost per reader by increasing circulation.
Connecting with customers
Most business that use Twitter think of it mostly as a promotional tool, a way to announce new products, perhaps gain readers for a blog. But some smarter companies are actually using Twitter to sell products, such as Dell Corp., which recently acknowledged that it had made $3 million in sales in two years over Twitter, primarily by posting coupon numbers for discounts of 10 percent or more on Dell Outlet items.
“There’s no reason not to try Twitter,” notes Stefanie Nelson, marketing manager for Dell, who created Dell Outlet’s Twitter campaign. “There’s no cost, and it’s a limited time commitment, at least it was for me at the beginning. Before we built up the following and reach that we have now, it took me literally minutes a week.” (Things have gotten a bit busier now that @DellOutlet  has over 700,000 followers.)
According to Nelson, the most important first step is to know exactly what you want your tweets to accomplish. “Understand why you’re on Twitter,” she says. In her case, she adds, the objective was to quickly sell Dell Outlet items, which are usually excess inventory. And, she says, “If you know your objective, and who your target audience is, Twitter can be just as effective for a small company as a large one.”
Boost sales with Tweets
Using coupons to create boost sales is only one way to reach customers with tweets. Here are a few others:
And that’s the nice thing about Twitter, he says. “You can catch a problem when it happens, and do something about it.”
Article printed from Inc. Technology: http://technology.inc.com
URL to article: http://technology.inc.com/2009/07/01/using-twitter-to-find-customers/
URLs in this post:
 Boloco: http://www.boloco.com/
 @boloco: http://www.twitter.com/boloco
 @DellOutlet: http://www.twitter.com/delloutlet
 TweetDeck: http://www.tweetdeck.com/
 @StefanieatDell: http://www.twitter.com/StefanieatDell
 Rocky Mountain Ace Stores: http://www.myhelpfulace.com/
 monitter: http://www.monitter.com/
 Wistia: http://www.wistia.com/
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