Posted May 18, 2009 11:07 am by with 10 comments

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32-twitterlocal-051809It is no real surprise that Twitter has application to the SMB (small and medium business) space. There have been success stories talked about for some time no. What is starting to happen, however, that the success the small business has been having is no longer just a business owner stating “Yup, it worked!” According to AdAge two case studies they looked at are starting to put numbers to that success.

Let’s get a small detail out of the way first though. As you can see from the quote below it is likely that the business profiled may have a bit more going for it than the average Mom and Pop or small business.

Naked Pizza, a New Orleans healthful-pizza shop that’s hoping to go national — Mark Cuban is a backer — has been marketing itself via the microblogging service. And recently it has started to track Twitter-spurred sales at the register. In a test run April 23, an exclusive-to-Twitter promotion brought in 15% of the day’s business.

Ok, so Mark Cuban is a backer so there may be a little slant to this but let’s go with it anyway. Co-founder of the restaurant, Jeff Leach, is getting aggressive with his Twitter usage and it seems to be paying off. He is making sure that people are aware of his Twitter tendencies by posting a billboard outside of the shop. His subsequent write up in TechCrunch re: this technique has garnered attention from Twitter itself so he will now be beta testing some small business apps for Twitter. I gotta think there are others out there doing similar things but once again most media outlets and businesses (i.e., TechCrunch and Twitter) tend to perk their ears up when someone as rich well-known as Mark Cuban is somehow connected.

Another business, however, in the article didn’t have the same kind of celebrity gravitas but is using Twitter to full advantage.

Michael Farah, founder and CEO of Berry Chill, a yogurt shop with three Chicago locations, has been using Twitter to send out “Sweet Tweets” — promos that require users to show they’re Twitter followers of the store. In a month, he’s logged 700 followers and, he said, “sweet tweets” haven’t diminished his daily sales.

During one promotion he gave away 1,100 yogurts but his daily sales did not go down. Of course, you have to consider the cost of the product eats into profits but lets not nit pick here.

It’s hard to put a real dollar value on people that actually visited the location for the first time due to the offer. This type of marketing can be invaluable for any retail shop. Sure beats getting a mailer. In fact, the way that Leach of Naked Pizza talks he is anxious to shed the costs of more traditional means of advertising.

Mr. Leach, who spends up to $60,000 a year on direct mail and almost $2,500 a year on e-mail-marketing services, said he’d gladly pay a monthly fee for services like those.

Wonder what those beta testing services look like for Twitter? Any guesses?

The article wraps up with some suggestions for the small business owner when it comes to Twitter which include alerting followers when you are on the go, create a conversation, track every sale and even dumping last minute inventory.

So let’s talk real world here. What’s your experience with Twitter? Can you provide some hard numbers that show Twitter’s bottom line impact?