QR Codes

12 posts categorized

October 07, 2014

iBeacon Goes Mainstream in Mobile Marketing

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According to CMO.com, iBeacons and geomarketing are quickly becoming mainstream tools for marketers.

The iBeacon is defined by Apple as "a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence.” It relies on Bluetooth low-energy proximity sensing to” transmit universally-unique identifiers”picked up by compatible apps or operating systems. These identifiers may be looked up via the internet to determine the device's physical location, or result in action, such as a push notification or check-in on social media.

Geomarketing involves geographic information used in the planning and executing of marketing strategies. It allows marketers to target advertising campaigns and subsequently appeal to consumers based on where they live or shop.

A U.S.-based team researching mobile marketing found some 18 percent of mobile marketers are utilizing Apple iBeacons, which is expected to double in 2015. Additionally, 49 percent of marketers noted they would use device positioning to deliver content, while 48.8 percent plan to add such capabilities to their mobile marketing strategy over the next year.

The Adobe Digital Team Index recently found 33 percent of average mobile users look to their mobile devices for help when shopping in-store, and 9 percent have used mobile wallets over the past three months. This percentage rises to 22 among “mobile elite” users. Adobe also discovered bounce rate referrals from social networks are higher on mobile devices than desktops at 61 and 53 percent, respectively.

Adobe’s digital team researched other mobile dynamics and trends as well, including social channels. They discovered Pinterest is the “most mobile” social network, with 64 percent of its referred traffic coming from either smartphones or tablet devices. Twitter is at 62 percent in terms of mobile use, and Facebook at 41 percent. Tumblr has the highest revenue per visit from mobile devices--$2.57--with Facebook coming in second at $1.85.

The company’s Mobile Benchmark Report was based on aggregate data from some 18 billion visits to retail, media, entertainment, financial services, and travel websites in June 2014. Behavioral data from companies using Adobe’s Marketing Cloud solution, Analytics and Mobile Services platforms was also studied. The report researched, in total, 700 million mobile app use sessions, 3,000 mobile users, and over 10,000 U.S. websites and apps.

With so many companies jumping on the iBeacon and geomarketing bandwagons, mobile ad campaigns will only become more and more location specific. 

February 19, 2014

The Foundation of Mobile Marketing: 3 Key Solutions

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It’s been almost 10 years since smartphones and subsequently mobile apps were introduced to the world, thus revolutionizing the marketing industry in a way few expected. While numerous mobile marketing solutions are available for companies to utilize, three stand out as the best strategies for securing prospects and maintaining relationships with current clients. So what are these solutions, and what makes them so effective? 

Responsive Web Design

A somewhat new solution regarding mobile marketing tactics, response web design is defined as tailoring the layout and function of a website based on device screen size and viewing capabilities. Whether viewing site content from a laptop, smartphone or tablet, responsive web design allows for easy viewing minus distortions and other issues that crop up when browsing a site that does not include this feature. Responsive web design only requires one code and one content management system (CMS), making it easy to add new features, publish new content and fix site issues. A website optimized for any device also allows for much more traffic and overall site use.

Mobile Apps 

The development of mobile apps created a whole new way for businesses to market themselves. Mobile marketing campaigns continue to get bigger, better and more personalized, as they make staying in touch with users easy. Whether to employ native or hybrid apps depends on a company’s mobile marketing strategy, as native options are built solely for a specific operating system, such as an Android or iOS, while hybrid apps were created for use across numerous operating systems.

No matter which app version a company decides to use, it’s imperative that the app serve a practical purpose or otherwise feature a unique function the user won’t find anywhere else. A fantastic example is any shopping app, as it allows users to scan barcodes for quick and easy order and reorder of favorite products. Mobile apps are an ideal way to increase brand awareness and cement customer loyalty, even if the business generates a lot of traffic via their official website. 

Dedicated Mobile Website

Key mobile marketing tactics also include the dedicated mobile website, or when a site is optimized entirely for mobile use. This mobile marketing strategy is highly effective when a business is looking to analyze customer engagement and activity, but the company website isn’t fully operational or still in the “revamp” stage. An effective way to test proverbial waters, dedicated mobile websites let businesses know to what degree they will benefit from mobile marketing campaigns.

Whether using one or all of these mobile marketing solutions, it’s important to remember mobile internet usage continues to increase. Employ such solutions in mobile marketing campaigns and see if they don’t help business!

 

February 13, 2014

Should You Use QR Codes in Your Mobile Marketing Campaign?

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Quick Response codes have been popular among mobile marketing strategists for some time. They can be used to link to web content or activate emails and text messaging. Posted out and about in relevant places, a QR code is a great way of giving consumers immediate access to useful information.

But not all mobile marketing strategies are using QR codes. Some analysts have even gone so far as to predict its imminent demise. Such dire predictions are, in part, down to the emergence of invisible ink and augmented-reality apps which are increasingly being used instead of QR codes. Proponents of the new technologies say it is superior because users don’t need to take so many steps to get the information they require.

To put this in context, let’s have a quick recap of how QR codes work. When someone comes across a code – on a poster, next to a checkout, attached to a takeaway menu – they have to photograph the code, wait for it to record their information, and then be sent to a website or some other form of online content.

In contrast, new apps are offering a more streamlined way of achieving the same end – and in some cases going much, much further. Touchcode is one of the most exciting examples. An invisible electronic code, it can be printed on, say, a toy’s label and enable the user to activate the toy simply by touching their smartphone to it. For something that’s invisible, Touchcode is proving very attractive compared to the clunky eye-sore of many QR experiences. The product onto which Touchcode is placed appears no different – it only makes its presence known once it has interacted with a phone.

In Japan, newspaper Tokyo Shimbu has launched its AR News app, which allows kids to scan articles and turn them into child-centred versions of the story. It was developed as a way to make newspapers more appealing to a youth demographic, and not only simplifies the text, but also adds animated characters, graphics and kid-friendly explanations of complex news items.

It’s true that QR codes have been used in hilariously incompetent fashion. They are often pasted in completely inappropriate places, and some QR codes require users to download a scanner that will only work for that one code – not an attractive option to most consumers, especially as sleeker, more user-friendly alternatives emerge.

But they have also been used to profounf effect in many mobile marketing strategies, notably by Taco Bell, who generated 225,000 scans during their recent ESPN College Football promotion. Even more impressive was Verizon’s in-store QR code campaign that allowed customers to enter a promotion and win a smartphone. The promotion generated an additional $35,000 worth of sales during it’s week-long run after an initial investment of just $1,000 (Verizon also pulled off a QR coup in 2010 when they generated more than 150,000 scans off the back their ScanLife campaign).

These recent successes alone demonstrate that the QR code is far from dead – it’s just a question of how effectively you use them. The lessons learned from successful campaigns, and the emergent technologies that threaten to render QR codes obsolete, are that brands need to make them easy to use, and only deploy them in situations where it makes sense. They won’t work for every company – but if you can recognize when and where they are appropriate, and execute them properly, QR codes will still find a place in your B2C and B2B marketing campaigns.

 

February 04, 2014

Get Ahead with Personalized Mobile Marketing Campaigns

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Personalized mobile marketing strategies are set to become the preferred method of targeting increasingly niche audiences. According to a recent survey published by Econsultancy, personalized desktop campaigns are being run by 43% of companies. Only 13% are using the same for mobile devices – but industry analysts expect all that to change over the coming year. Around 54% of companies who responded to the Econsultancy survey announced their intention to adopt personalized campaigns across both desktop and mobile over the next twelve months.

Even among those companies who are slow on the uptake, there is a general awareness of the potential of mobile marketing personalization as a way of boosting revenues and retention rates. Already, mobile drives 20% of all online sales. In 2012, e-commerce conducted via mobile was worth $139 billion. By 2015, that figure is expected to exceed $400 billion.

Desktop campaigns have proven that creating personalized, targeted campaigns gets results. Mobile marketing advertising has much to learn from desktop, but it must also adopt strategies that apply only to smartphones and tablets. Understanding what some of these strategies are will help you create a more effective campaign from the outset.

First of all, your marketing strategy needs cross-channel synergy to work to the fullest. But how does cross channel marketing work? In order to realize a complementary, integrated, synergistic marketing campaign, each channel needs to feed into the others. Send an SMS containing a hyperlink to some free content on your website or affiliate site. Advertise the free content on social media. As new users are attracted to your Facebook page, offer them another freebie on condition that they opt in to your SMS contact list. Spreading your tentacles across all these channels will scoop up users who don’t stray far from their habits. It’s also a vital way to gather data on consumers – both existing and potential – and improve your mobile marketing personalization approach. Remember, though, that effective cross-channel marketing takes time to grow. Start with small, achievable goals, and develop a long-term strategy as you learn what does and doesn’t work.

Personalize your approach to personalization. There’s no point taking a cold, calculating approach to growing personal relationships with your customer base. Like in real-life relationships, people are at once flaky, habitual, loyal, fickle, impetuous, impulsive, profligate and spend-thrift – take all these very human traits into account when building your opt-in lists. As long as you provide demonstrable value right away, and maintain it over the long term, you will bring out the best in your customers.

The three most mobile-specific keywords are: location, location, location. People take their smartphones everywhere, while their desktops stay… well, on their desktop. Take advantage of the mobility of mobile devices to create personalized, anytime experiences. The rise of geo-location technology has immense implications for the future of mobile marketing campaigns, especially for retail outlets who can send a text to opted-in customers close by, offering personalized discounts to attract them to the store.

Move slowly but surely in your personalization endeavours. Start small, see what works, and watch your momentum – and customer lists – grow into something that will endure.

December 19, 2013

Getting Started with Mobile Marketing

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The inexorable rise of smartphone technology shows no sign of abating.  In the developed world at least, consumers are taking constant internet access for granted. Mobile marketing campaigns must now be geared towards web-enabled devices, or they risk failing to reach an audience. If you’re just getting started, there are a few things you can you do to jumpstart your mobile marketing strategy:

Quick Response Codes

Quick Response – or ‘QR’ – Codes are everywhere these days. Even if you don’t recognize the name, you’ve definitely seen them on public walls and at the grocery checkout. Those black and white dots and squiggles that resemble a sort of monochrome, analogue rain storm are decoded by cameras on mobile devices and used to redirect customers to a specific webpage. QR Codes lend your brand a certain mystique and are a proven method of driving traffic. No mobile marketing strategy should be without them, which is why Ez texting has built a QR code generator.

Social Media

Encourage users to spread the word about your business through social media channels. Use a variety of different sites, from the big  names like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Reddit, right down to smaller, more localized networks that are relevant to your business.

Text Marketing

Text messages have a very high open rate, which makes opt-in text marketing a surefire way of reaching more people. Grow your SMS lists  by offering special deals or discounts as part of your mobile advertising strategy. Coupons are one way of offering  deals directly via text. Try it - you might be surprised by the results.

Customer Participation

Encourage your customers to check- in with your business when they are in the vicinity. There is a growing app market serving just this purpose, with platforms like Google+, FourSquare and even Facebook allowing users to share their locality with their network. It essentially takes some of the marketing burden off your shoulders and puts it onto the customers. Another way to engage is by creating your own app, or hiring someone to do it for you. Make sure any app you create is enjoyable to use as well as enhancing your service.

Analytics

Measure the success of your mobile marketing campaigns by making use of the many analytics tools available. Google analytics is the best place to start – make sure your web developer has included it in your site. If your business is primarily web-based, you can manage every aspect of your marketing strategy and see which mobile tactics are the most effective.

 

November 11, 2013

Estimated Increase in Mobile Purchases this Holiday Season

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Mobile advertising solutions are expected to pay dividends this Christmas, as businesses latch on to the benefits of mobile phone advertising. New data from Hipcricket shows that 53% of shoppers plan to spend more money through their smartphone or tablet in 2013 than in 2012.

The survey also showed that 59% of smartphone users made at least one purchase on their device. The conclusion drawn was that mobile devices are expected to contribute to this season's holiday commerce as a driver of sakes and as a shopping research tool. The report also found that:

  • 41% said they will spend between $1 and $99 via a mobile device this year
  • 23% said they will spend between $100 and $249
 via a mobile device this year
  • 25% said they have made between two and four mobile purchases in the past six months

  • 83% said they intend to research products using a mobile device
  • 75% say they will be reading product reviews on a mobile device

The reasons are obvious. Smartphone usage has grown massively over the past few years, and shoppers point to the ease-of-transaction offered by devices, and the security of having an e-trail for every part of the purchase. The recent upsurge in complementary technology, from geo fencing to mobile apps, is helping the mobile advertising industry through a considerable boom. The handheld device is clearly the future of commerce, from product launch via mobile advertising to point of sale and beyond. 

Of course, it works more effectively for some businesses than others. Different industries are affected in different ways, with books, music, video and concert tickets picking up the bulk of business generated through mobile devices. Consumer electronics and health and beauty are also benefitting from the smartphone boom.

What is clear for all businesses is the fact that mobile advertising services work. They engage the customer directly, at a personal level, and can direct them straight towards an easy-to-use payment platform. Along the way, consumers can look at user reviews, company background – anything that might help them make a decision. Get your mobile advertising solutions up and running before December, and you can reap the same benefits as everyone else...

November 04, 2013

4 Tips for Personalized SMS Campaigns

 

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Texting is the quickest, most direct and – importantly – the most welcome type of contact your customers can receive. It is highly effective for connecting with loyal, engaged consumers, and that's why it is such a good platform for personalizing your message, either to an individual or a small group of individuals with common interests. 

Bear in mind, smartphones are now virtual extensions of people. This is especially true among the all-important youth demographic; the mobile phone is almost guaranteed to be within the boundaries of an individual's personal space, 24/7.

Adding targeted, personalized mobile SMS marketing to your arsenal will ultimately make your entire mobile text marketing campaign more effective. So how do you create personalized mobile SMS marketing strategies  that work? Adopt these four maxims and you won't go wrong:

1. Judge it right

As such a personal form of communication, brands have to be careful about using mobile SMS marketing in a way that is annoying or overbearing. You want to send only information that's appropriate, relevant and timely (unlike the infamous 3am text sent by Barack Obama's 2008 election team to announce his vice-presidential pick). Respect time zones and plan your mobile text marketing campaign to be a ripple across the oceans rather than a blast that hits the world all at once. 

2. Accuracy breeds responsiveness

There's no point coming up with a personalized special offer if you get the customers name wrong. Make sure you provide enough fields on the signup form for people to leave their full names and their nickname or abbreviation. Getting small details right – like an unusual spelling of a common name – is the kind of thing that will set you apart from brands that make the same old mistakes. Never assume, always double check, and offer consumers an easy way to update your records if their details change.

3. Spend time building preference profiles

From the outset, you should dive off the proverbial deep end when it comes to finding out personal preferences. Collecting interests can be done in several ways, including:

  • Keyword-based opt-in
  • Surveys
  • Leveraging existing data

Surveys should include questions that may not seem immediately relevant. Favourite sports teams or bands, for example, may one day become useful if you have a promotional tie-in with a local baseball team or concert promoter. Having these details on file could pay dividends, so play the long game when it comes to mining your customers for information. Also, be sure to divide your lists into various criteria, like area, zip code and age.

4. Chuck them a freebie

Free content is one of the surest ways to get a response. If you have a video that relates to customers in a specific area (and is relevant to your brand) then send it along with a special offer. One of the benefits of mobile SMS marketing is you can include links to rich content which smartphone owners can view while stuck on a train or otherwise in need of a useful distraction. You might just make someone's day.

How do you personalize your SMS campaigns? Drop a comment below!

January 04, 2012

A QR Code Reality Check

Entry By Angela Stringfellow

There are skeptics around every corner in every industry and segment of life. Mobile marketing is no exception and the biggest victim: Quick Response (QR) Codes. Naysayers are quick to say they are a passing fad or will never amount to a resourceful marketing tool, but if they are done consistently and correctly, they have a shot at becoming one of the most widely used, interactive components in a mobile marketing strategy.

Ignored QR CodeWith the increasing domination of smartphones, mobile marketing is here to stay. Smartphones already own 44 percent of the mobile phone market share, according to a Nielsen report. And, the actual usage of these little black boxes increased by more than 4,000 percent since 2010, but account for only a little more than 6 percent adoption within the smartphone marketplace.

According to ScanLife, the largest demographic that has adopted the use of QR Codes are 25- to 34-year-olds, with 35- to 44-year-olds close behind. In addition 35 percent make between $50,000 and $100,000 per year.

But a very precise and important demographic is missing.  Young adults, in particular college students, are not using the QR codes. The use of smartphones among students is an astonishing 80 percent. However, only 21 percent have admitted to scanning a QR code and 75 percent of those report they were not likely to scan a code again.

Since college students usually adopt new technology more quickly than others, marketers are left to wonder why this technology is not catching on.  Perhaps because the information provided with QR codes simply isn't appealing to that demographic.

So why have the QR codes been slow to adapt in some markets? The answer isn’t clear, but there are some industries, both big and small, that could easily take advantage of such an easy and ever-increasing technology.  The problem is that the consumers need to know what they are, why they are there and how to use them and statistics show, this isn't happening. As the QR codes gain in public use and acceptance this will more than likely happen naturally.

But if QR codes do gain in popularity, there are a few industries that can take advantage of this mobile strategy by easily incorporating them into their existing campaigns and making them more relevant.

Real Estate: By placing QR codes on “For Sale” or "For Rent" signs or mailbox fliers, potential buyers scouting out neighborhoods can quickly and easily get a glimpse behind the door of a home that piques their interest. New home buyers or college grads moving out on their own for the first time can quickly and easily weed out apartments and houses that don't fit their needs with virtual tours.

Car Dealers: The same method can be used with new and used cars. Many shoppers take advantage of the dealerships’ Sunday hours to peruse vehicles without fear of being badgered by salesmen. With a quick scan of a QR code placed on a window sticker, the buyer can see performance information, details on amenities. The QR code could also link to a payment calculator.

Event Industry: For large and small venues, local and national performers or even for community events, QR Codes can be used to provide details about a coming event. A brief preview of a performance or behind-the-scenes peek at the show, ticket availability and show times or links to ticket sales and arena seating charts, can easily provide to consumers the information that can lead to direct sales and sold-out shows.

Home Improvement/Housewares: Have you ever wandered into a home improvement store and been confused about the difference between a reciprocating saw and a miter saw? Product packaging or display QR codes can provide tips and tricks on how the tools are used or instructional videos on how to unclog drains or install a light fixture. This would be a wonderful tool for first-time homeowners or for young adults living on their own for the first time.

The opportunities are endless. A little “out of the box” thinking and the QR code can be used for virtually every industry. As the codes become more recognized and more readily used, they will be an inexpensive way to elaborate on what used to be a stagnant form of advertising. They can take a black and white newspaper ad and make it a living, breathing experience or virtually open the doors to the home of your dreams.

Have you considered incorporating QR codes into your marketing mix? How are you working to incorporate the younger demographics into your strategy? What has your experience been?

November 21, 2011

7 Easy Last Minute Ways To Boost Your Small Business’s Holiday Sales With Digital Marketing

7 Easy Last Minute Ways To Boost Your Small Business’s Holiday Sales With Digital Marketing is the fifth in a series of articles that we'll be posting this fall. Small Business Marketing Tips To Build Sales In A Down Economy will teach you how to use do-it-yourself tools like SMS, email and social media to effectively market your business.

Entry By Jason Brick

The holiday season -- those heady weeks from Black Friday to Christmas Eve -- is the happiest time of the fiscal year for most retailers. People are out and about shopping and spending, but competition for their business is fierce. 

The best results for getting customers in your store come when you've been working your marketing plan for some time, but that's not always easy for small businesses. Whether you're running late, or want to boost sales when the season isn't what you'd hoped for, digital marketing can give you the real-time boost you need.

1. Put your keyword and short codes on everything--print, voice, radio, and electronic ads
The more people they reach, the larger your blast list will be. The larger your blast list, the better performance you'll see from your digital marketing efforts.

2. Include QR (quick response) codes on all print and display ads
This lets people sign up for your messages or other mobile-oriented content with the push of a camera button on a smartphone.

3. Hold events in the middle of the week
Weekend sales put you in competition with everybody; midweek you'll get more attention. Announce events through your email, SMS, and social media networks. A countdown starting three days out is a good way to stay front of mind.

4. Take advantage of pay-per-click advertising like Google AdWords
These offer same-day implementation, real-time tracking, and complete control over final cost. They can save the day, even after print and radio advertising deadlines are long past. 

5. Offer extra benefits
Give people who opt in to your SMS marketing programs something special, like early admission to a major sale or an extra 5% discount. They'll become more engaged with your company, and share your keywords with friends. Similarly, you can offer a special bonus for people who share your posts and bring in more fans for your social media.

6. Don't let four business hours go by without making contact
People are out and about throughout the season. If one message catches them with family, the next might find them just around the corner from your shop. Many people are frugal and check their list twice when holiday shopping, but others are susceptible to impulse gifting.

7. Keep the campaign rolling
The weeks just after Christmas keep retailers busy with money from gift cards and exchanged merchandise. Your digital campaign will bring some of that money your way. You can also focus your SMS and email coupons to help clear extra stock that didn't move during the holiday rush.

October 28, 2011

How to Effectively Use QR Codes

How to Effectively Use QR Codes is the first in a series of articles that we'll be posting this fall. Small Business Marketing Tips To Build Sales In A Down Economy will teach you how to use do-it-yourself tools like SMS, email and social media to effectively market your business.

Entry By Simit Patel

Perhaps you've seen these black and white squares that look a bit like a Rorschach test on a billboard, in a display ad on public transportation, or in a magazine, and wondered about them.

They're QR codes. QR is an abbreviation for Quick Response. Like a bar code that's scanned by the cashier at the supermarket, a QR code  can be scanned by consumers using smartphones to get information about a product or service.

Introduced in 1994 by Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota, QR codes have recently gained a second life as a marketing tool. Accessing a code can unlock a variety of goodies for customers, from discounts, to reminders, to smartphone applications.

Codes allow companies to build relationships with customers. They offer businesses insight into consumers buying habits and needs, allowing them to spend ad dollars more effectively while creating more personalized offerings for shoppers. 

So what's the first step in the QR code process?

1. Find the right partners
If you're not a software developer, finding technology partners is key to the execution of a successful program. Firms like SmartyTags can help you create the code, and firms like Ez Texting can help you disseminate the message.

2. Decide where to place them for maximum return
Along with finding the best technology partners for your business, you also need to determine where to advertise them. Customers will be accessing the codes and the information on them via a smartphone, so you need to figure out where you can best reach your target audience. 

In addition to obvious places like ads in magazines, newspapers, and other print media, you also want to include them on display panels at trade shows, in store windows that sell complementary products, and on your business cards. 

3. Determine what to offer to entice potential buyers
Use your creativity to decide what information you want the user to receive after scanning the code. Just about anything is a possibility. You can send a coupon redeemable at your store just for accessing the code. You can offer a discount for liking your Facebook page; you can even invite viewers to participate in a poll or contest, and further engage their interest. 

As smartphones become increasingly commonplace and powerful, QR codes will present ever-increasing marketing opportunities. So investing in QR marketing now, will help you build a foundation for the future. What's a trend today, has the potential of rising to the forefront of digital marketing, as technology progresses. 

 

Other resources: Ez Texting QR Code Generator