Wednesday, July 1, 2009

i.t.works and Social Marketing

The increasing prominence of the social web provides many ways to identify, target, and reach consumers. Our company was already aware of the immense potential on the internet for our company and our brand, but we weren’t quite sure how to tap it. You hear buzzwords like niche marketing, social marketing, micro sites, but it's hard to climb the learning curve when the curve itself is always changing.

It didn’t matter that we are what some would consider a small company; the power of these new web-based marketing tools is explosive. You know you're in danger of losing ground to your competition as they begin to effectively leverage the power of social media.

But where do we start? With the help of Microsoft and Jeremy Epstein, Never Stop Marketing, i.t.works was able to participate in a pilot program for Microsoft Partners and Social Marketing.

I have to admit, after the first call with Jeremy, I was a little overwhelmed. Like I said earlier, I knew the power of the internet, but was not all too familiar with the words Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and the list goes on. How does one find the time to do all of this? How do you not spread yourself too thin? Is it really going to work? All of these answers, and more, were promptly answered by Jeremy. He made us produce a well defined social marketing plan, and if we stick to that plan, then we would see results. Oh, yes, we had to make changes to my plan, but in the end, it was realistic and do-able. In the beginning, we had calls each week with Jeremy, sometimes we got praised for our work (if we stuck to the plan), and sometimes there were the not-so-pleasant discussions. I quickly learned that if I can do what I said I was going to do, not only were our conversations pleasant, but I started to see results.

Our first success story comes in the form of Raving Fans. If you don’t have one, you need one. It is truly amazing the success you will get by having your own clients sell for you. We have one Raving Fan that is truly amazing. He goes out of his way to let others know how we have helped him with not only his accounting software, but all of his IT needs.

Now, what about blogging. I had never written a blog in my life, as a matter of fact, I don’t consider myself a writer at all. But with the help of Jeremy, I have started to develop not only the desire, but some (small) skills in writing blogs. The big hurdle with me – is finding the time. I read a lot of blogs each day, but because I was unsure as to what to say, I didn’t update mine as frequent as I should. That has and will change. (Just today I got a little slap in the face about not blogging enough, thanks Jeremy). But does it work? YES. On one recent blog, after I had posted it, I sent out a friendly reminder to customers and prospects about my blog. Minutes later the phone rang. It was a prospect that I had been working on for about a year. She read the blog, realized now was the time to do something, so here we are getting ready to close the deal. YES it works.

To wrap it up, this new marketing called “Social Marketing”, where everyone Tweets and updates status and blogs really, really works. But if you don’t know what you are doing, don’t go at it alone. It will make all the difference in the world.

I can’t leave without throwing this out. You can follow me on Twitter @russellyearwood and @thinkitworks.

2 comments:

jer979 said...

Russell,

You are a model student! This is such a wonderful testimonial. Thank you.

I love how you have taken the lessons to heart and made it part of your business.

What's more, I love how it is delivering real value for your clients and prospects as well as your bottom line.

Keep on keepin' on!

And you know I'll be watching ;-)

JE

Lauren Pierce said...

Hi Russell,
I really enjoyed reading your testimonial! The story of your venture into the previously uncertain world of social marketing is proof that Jeremy's marketing theories can be put into practice...and that they actually work!
I think you've set a great example for other Microsoft Dynamics partners and I look forward to seeing more great blog posts from you in the future :-)

- Lauren