With social media sites that rival populations of large countries, there is opportunity to promote your business through social media channels as part of your marketing strategy.Read more..
Talk Web AND Mobile
2011: The Year of Mobile Marketing
If you haven’t already, you’ll be seeing a lot more of these QR codes everywhere.
“Social Media Marketing experts expect QR and other two-dimensional codes to achieve widespread use this year and for good reason. Consumers want immediate access to what’s relevant and QR codes are being used to make that possible.”
“With the mainstream exposure and growth of smartphones, mobile marketing is becoming one of the hottest trends and should be seriously considered as part of your marketing campaign.”
What is a QR code?
QR = Quick Response which means that the code can be quickly read by a web-enabled mobile phone.
QR codes hold information – similar to a bar code. The difference being that bar codes are linear one-dimensional codes and can only hold up to 20-30 numerical digits whereas QR codes are two-dimensional (2D) matrix barcodes that can hold over 7000 alphanumeric characters of information.
Although common in Japan where they originated (created by Denso-Wave in 1994, a subsidiary of Toyota), QR codes are fairly new in North America.
How QR codes work
1. How do you generate a QR code?
There are a number of websites where you can easily generate a QR code and they’re all free. Google “QR code generator.” Some allow you the capability to add your company logo, social features like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, and even customize the colour of your code. You simply fill in the information, then save the QR code as a JPEG. Then print the JPEG on your media, or upload it to your website.
2. How do you read a QR code?
This code can be scanned by a web-enabled mobile phone equipped with a camera. The phone will either already have the software to read QR codes, or simply and quickly download an app (application) that will allow you to scan it – Google “QR reader.” Soon all smartphones will come standard with a reader.
Why the buzz about QR codes?
QR codes connect and engage your audience and make the link between offline and online worlds easy. It can provide any type of additional information, including photos, reviews, directions and event dates and times. “There's a certain amount of fun and surprise with QR Codes, so that you can take advantage of a "what's behind door number one" mentality.”
Here are some advantages of using QR codes:
- free to create and use – open sourced technology
- scans fast
- compact with a high error tolerance
- digitally holds a large quantity of information – which means you can present more data to the consumer
- data can be ANYTHING
- already widely used in Asia – thus a capacity for global integration
- will encourage the adoption of mobile web content and design
- allow you to track the success of your marketing via analytics
- hard-linked codes can connect to variable data – this is much different than traditional print – it means that you can use one QR code to link to a specific page on a website and the information on this web page can be changed frequently depending on your needs/marketing plan/special offers, etc.
SCAN CLICK VIEW ANYTIME - Creative ways to use QR codes
The idea behind using QR codes is first to engage people. What information do you put in a QR code? Where do you display the QR code? This list has been compiled from various articles on the internet, so we don’t take any credit for them. Here are a number of ideas to help you get started:
- business card or any print advertising, flyers, posters, invites, brochures and other marketing materials - simply list your contact details so it’s easy for someone to add you to their contact list on their mobile phone plus your URL on all your marketing materials to make it easier for your mobile customer to find you online
- storefront window displays – “Reel in prospects during off hours - create a Shop Online Now! QR code and put it in your storefront window. One quick scan and you've turned a potential lost sale into an online customer”
- labelling – one every product – contains the product details, number to call and URL link to your web page – and here was a really cool idea – “Somewhere, a restaurant patron is enjoying wine from your vineyard. They notice the QR code on the bottle and quickly scan it. That takes them to a mobile site where they can learn more about your wine, your vineyard, and links to where you can buy a case for delivery...all before the check comes”
- promotions, discounts, coupons and giveaways - direct to special landing pages within your website where you can present special offers - create discounts that are specific to the QR codes - “You could run these codes in advertisements or post them throughout your store. You could even turn them into a "retweet" so that your shoppers share their discount with their followers”
- scavenger hunts - fun and engaging - “For destination marketing, a scavenger hunt approach can be a great way to get visitors to check out places they might not otherwise go”
- supplement your retail space or exhibit with informative or educational links – “QR codes next to pieces of art could help art galleries move more art, or museums replace those aging audio tape tours. Hardware stores could link to how-to videos on YouTube of how to use specific power tools. Groceries could link to pages that talk about how their products were sourced, and perhaps to interviews of the farmers who grew the food. Electronic shops could bring visitors to review sites so they could get unbiased reviews of stocked products. Or to an e-commerce site where shoppers could buy out-of-stock items. Book stores could link to their own reviews of books on their blog”
- increase e-commerce sales – “since QR codes can lead to URLs, you can create a code that will populate a shopping cart with specific products. (Assuming your e-commerce solution can handle that.)”
- build your email subscriber list – “use your QR code to send people to your email signup. Just make sure you give people a compelling reason to subscribe to your list... otherwise you will have just wasted their time which is not the best way to engage your audience”
- convention and event nametags
- restaurant menus
- event ticket stubs
- point-of-sale receipts
- direct downloads
- competition details
- installation instructions
- sources for replacement parts and service
- the process for hiring your professional services
- recommendations for complementary products and services
- free mp3 downloads
- customer feedback forms
- travel/maps – give directions to your place of business - “make it easy for your customers and prospects to get to your shop - include a QR code that links to an online map and they’ll be at your door in no time”
- schedules - whether transit timetables or events – link directly to mobile phone calendars
- link to a page of upcoming specials
- specialize different QR campaigns - "As a reader of (name of magazine), you can experience all our product has to offer for FREE for 30 days”
- big green factor – reduce the use of paper
- one QR code for each marketing campaign allows you to reliably track the effectiveness of your print marketing to determine how much business it has generated
- use QR codes to attach to a photograph – explain more about it – link viewers to interactive content for each piece
- download a free report
- participate in a poll
- invite people to follow you on a social network: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Plaxo, Youtube, and MySpace profiles, etc.
- link to video, audio, or blog posts
- direct to a testimonials page - customer reviews are extremely influential in the decision making process
QR code benefits
QR Codes are beginning to take off in North America and here are some more reasons why you should embrace them:
- allow people to easily connect to your online information - rather than writing down a website address a QR code reader enables consumers to simply point and scan to connect to the information
- create opportunities to connect with new customers - QR codes are extraordinarily viral—beyond word-of-mouth buzz, every web link or text message embedded into your code can easily be passed around from person to person, via their mobile or smart phone or PC
- extend your print assets – print is a limited amount of space – however, with a simple scan and click, imagine the possibilities: delve deeper into the life of a best-selling author, or watch a short celebrity chef video demonstrating how to present the fancy dessert you’re about to buy, or even reading (by scanning the hang-tag) what a top fashion critique has to say about the pricey frock that’s about to put you in debt
- track marketing efforts – the major concern with marketing has always been measurement – how do you know that your mail piece worked and what tangible ROI can you attribute to it? everyone wants the highest ROI for each piece – you are now able to better track how well your marketing or direct mail campaign worked
- immediately convert potential customer - print campaigns are read then either ignored or later acted on. With QR codes, your offline assets and campaigns can instantly direct a passive reader into an online survey, sign-up form, coupon, poll, promotional website, or anywhere else you may want to take them to make the sale
- track and analyze - the performance of your print efforts—if you use an industry leading campaign management system you’ll further be able to analyze your offline campaigns with time and geographical tracking, allowing you to refine tactics
- the ultimate green application - use print as a meaningful and eye-opening teaser to peak readers’ interests—then let the code direct the user online for the full story. Ergo: REDUCE INK and REDUCE PAPER!
- WOW factor – although QR technology is beyond cool, it’s also meaningful: “it’s info I want, when and how I want it.” Use it, and you unquestionably stand out amid your target: you’re both brand and tech savvy, and you imaginatively grasp your target consumers’ desires… or rather, you know how to blow them away. Even more, if you go the extra step and graphically brand your codes, you’re cool factor will be off the charts
- continue the conversation with the consumer - so you advertise – then what? hope the potential customer remembers you? - the goal of QR code technology is to turn brand impressions into an interactive exchange in under 10 seconds. the person can scan you, then save directly into their phone to search later at a time convenient to them
- information on a timely basis – lead time for print doesn’t always allow for changes, whereas a QR code can be updated at any time
With more people engaging in social media, using the internet and smartphones, you can easily connect your online content with your offline content using QR codes and ultimately increase traffic to your website!
Create and manage your QR marketing campaign
QR codes should be offering relevant information, an incentive, or at least be sending people to a specific page online that can collect information. It is important to keep in mind the reason for offering the QR code:
- what information are you giving?
- what web page are you sending the person to and what are they supposed to do when they get there?
- why should they care?
Remember that QR codes are scanned by mobile devices so it is best to send users to webpages that are geared to deal with mobile phones. Sending mobile users to pages that were designed for desktop browsers with hard to navigate slow loading pages will only end up irritating people.
For analytics and link shortening services visit http://goo.gl/
Client case study:
A real estate client wanted to incorporate QR codes into their marketing campaign
- consider printing QR codes in all their ads which links to any page on their website
- use a QR code to link to a sign up page to receive special alerts by e-mail or newsletter
- use a single QR code instead of hundreds of flyers a month to link to their listings page
- use one QR code to link their upcoming open houses page
- help cut down on wasted advertisement money
- environmentally better – less print and inks
- offer the ability to track ad performance and conversion rates
- direct to more content – unlike typical print advertisement which has limited text and photos, QR code allows users access to more information and photos
- direct to different content – QR codes give visitors opportunity to interact by browsing other content, watch an exclusive video or home tour
Did you know?
- 30% of smartphone owners have used mobile apps to scan barcodes
- 50% of all consumers combine search and social during their buying process
- 64% of consumers are more likely to follow a brand after a purchase
- there are 65 million – and growing – smartphone users across North America
- mobile data traffic expected to increase 40% over the next 5 years
So what does this mean?
This means you need to start connecting to these mobile users!
QR codes are a new approach to content delivery, and connecting people with a brand – that means you, your service, your product.
At Pinpoint Graphics we want to help you stay up-to-date with today’s latest technologies.
Want to double your audience? Use QR codes PLUS your website
We will create a QR code with your business card information and place it on your website.
Please contact us for more information.
Ask the Experts
Send us an email now for more information about how Pinpoint Graphics can help you succeed online.Read more..
QR Code Contact Info
Scan the QR code with your cell phone and add our contact info to your address book.