Thursday: Dell Earns $3M in Sales from Twitter Followers

Posted by Micheline Sabatté, Product Marketing Manager, Performance Media

Who says Twitter can’t make you money? The skeptics were put to silence (at least for a moment) when Reuters reported on June 12, 2009 that PC maker Dell raked in more than $3 million from its Twitter followers in two years, including $1 million in sales during the past 6 months alone.

As the article explains, Dell’s Twitter account @DellOutlet has a strong following of 600,000+ members, making it one of the Top 100 most-followed Twitter accounts. Over the past two years, Dell posted 6-10 tweets per week with each post containing a coupon or a link to an exclusive product deal. Using proprietary software, Dell was able to track sales generated by its Twitter followers who clicked through to the Dell Web site to make a purchase.

John C. Abell from Wired magazine covered this news story in his “Dude—Dells’s Making Money Off Twitter” article. He makes a point about how Twitter has possibly changed the game in terms of giving marketers the ability to send out more and more of their messages without them being perceived as spam, stating:

Before Twitter, companies who wanted to reach out and touch someone risked being accused of digital assault — phone calls and e-mail spam would do as much damage as potential good to spread the word. But Twitter let’s you speak all you want without pissing off anyone who doesn’t want to listen, which makes it a marketing and sales tool that might have the nirvana potential to actually innocuously zero in a prime demographic. Even better: your biggest fans viral market for you, by re-tweeting to their followers.

MarketingVOX also highlighted the Dell story along with examples of other Twitter success stories from Starbuck’s and Amazon in a post called “The Twuth About Twitter: Its Impact on Businesses and Communications.”  In addition to revenue, the article discusses how Twitter has helped businesses with real-time news distribution and reputation management.

Companies – large and small – are warming up to Twitter to directly connect with their consumers, Time magazine made it a cover story (which prompted my non-technical father to ask me what this Twitter thing was all about), and marketers everywhere are starting (at least they should after reading about Dell) to take the tool seriously and to experiment with different ways to turn 140 characters (with links) into sources of incremental revenue.

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