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Company expands beyond Web services

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After 12 years online, Alan De Keyrel is extending his Rochester company's reach beyond the Web.

More and more clients have bigger needs these days. In today's world, "more and more of people's marketing is integrated," says De Keyrel, the owner and founder of Corporate Web Services.

That trend inspired De Keyrel to expand CWS' services beyond Web design and application development.

"We're taking it to another level," he says.

He is adding strategy-led marketing, communication plans, video production, graphic design, media placement and social media marketing to the services the company offers.

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"For a number of years we've been asked to provide a broader range of marketing and communication agency services. The expansion of our … services will ensure that we continue to help our clients succeed on all fronts," De Keyrel said

CWS launched its marketing department this month with the hiring of Sheryl Barlow, who previously directed ABC-6 KAAL's Web presence and was co-founder of the Rochester firm of mark it! advertising. She is now business development director for CWS.

Laura Archbold, a public relations veteran who recently joined CWS, now serves as the director of the brand new marketing department.

"I think there is really great need for this," says Archbold, who is a former television reporter. "This is a natural evolution."

As someone who sees herself as a storyteller, she says it takes more than a business just telling their story. The story needs to be told in multiple mediums in a way that creates one brand message.

That requires more than just advertising, Barlow says.

"We offer solutions and applications that clients might not think about, because they are so busy running their businesses," she says.

To do that, Archbold says, you have "to take the deep dive" into a business to understand it and its goals as deeply as possible. That's how she and Barlow will create marketing strategies involving social media, video, print and other methods, she said.

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CWS' best year

Adding marketing strategies as a service to his company, now with 14 on staff, is the latest turn in the road that De Keyrel started on as a one man-one computer business working in his basement in 1998.

"We continue to grow. 2009 was our best year ever," he says. "In the last two years, our revenue is up 50 percent."

How does he explain that when most companies have struggled to just survive those years?

"I'd like to say I'm genius, but the truth is we have really stable clients and a great staff. And this sector is really benefiting from the downturn," De Keyrel said.

As his company chugs along, De Keyrel is exploring new technologies and marketing methods such as social media systems like Twitter and Facebook.

He is now speaking on the subject of media to business groups throughout the state and outside of it.

"We are taking an educational role about social media. It is an always-changing area," he says.

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While De Keyrel says there is no real data abut what works and what doesn't when it comes to social media, he says the key is what has always been important for all business marketing.

"Social media is local. It is all about networking … engaging your local market," he says.

Following his own advice, De Keyrel is using a new twist on the book publishing model to share his own story.

His book, "Jobless: How to Quit Your Day Job and Start Your Climb to the Top," will be available March 1 through the on-demand book publishing site, Lulu.com.

"The book is my take on business from my own experience … what I think works and what I think doesn't work," he explains.

Topics include why you don't have to sell to make money, how to think like an entrepreneur and how to use social media to find new customers.

The title goes to the heart of what De Keyrel believes has led to CWS' success.

"Being jobless is my goal. Right now I don't have a job. I do what I love everyday," he says.

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