Tag Archives: mobile marketing

CNN Says Marketers Use QR Codes, For Better Or Worse

Just came across this article on the CNN site that provides numerous examples — some successful and some not so — of various businesses using QR codes in their marketing.

(Click here to read the article on the CNN website)

As is the case with any other marketing tool, you can profit from adding QR codes to your mobile marketing arsenal or you can lose money. It’s all about the right approach and implementation.  It makes you money if it adds value to your customer. Otherwise it becomes just another cumbersome and useless technological doohickey that was put in place as a tribute to the latest fashion in technology trends with no real connection to the sales conversations from the customers that is supposed to take place in that business.

You’ll find both types of examples (good and bad) in this article.

Here’s an interesting stat that I gleaned from it: Over 32% of cell phone users already have QR scanning software installed on their smartphone. That number grows every day. Over half of those people have used their QR Code scanner to get a coupon or a deal.

Now, ask yourself how many businesses right now, in your town, are marketing QR Code-based coupons to prospective customers? The answer is, hardly any.

If those stats are true, simply adding QR Codes to your marketing may potentially give you almost exclusive access to about 16% of the population.  If this is not shooting fish in the barrel, I don’t know what is.

And if you’re still not a believer in QR Codes, you should at the very least add SMS Marketing and SMS List Building to your advertising efforts.  The more channels you use to reach your customer, the better your chances of getting the sale are.

Small Town in Texas Uses QR Codes to Save Money, Increase Tourism, and Manage Projects

QR (Quick Response) Codes are a relative novelty on the North American continent. However, in Japan, they have been around for over 20 years and have been successfully used for… like, everything. They are just a part of everyday life.

This is about to happen here as well. (You could be reading this post just a few months after I have created it and it may all seem old news by then.)

While many businesses are looking for more ways to use QR Codes in their marketing, here is a great example of a local government using QR Codes creatively and smartly to save money, attract more tourists to their town’s landmarks, and better manage their projects.

What makes QR Codes so useful is this:

  • Everyone can generate them free
  • Everyone can read them, also for free, with their cell phone
  • And you can assign practically any function to it. After all, all you need to do is associate it with a link to a website, and then the website can do whatever you want)

We are going to be covering a lot of ways to use QR Codes in small business marketing. Some examples will be obvious and some less so. If you come across a great example, or have a personal success story to share about how you use QR Codes in your small business marketing or operations, drop us a note and we’ll be happy to give you a moment of fame on this website.

Permission Mobile Marketing

The more things change the more they stay the same. Set Godin wrote a great book entitled Permission Marketing a number of years ago, when there was no Facebook, no Twitter, and no smart phones. Yet the principles of good, ethical marketing, marketing with integrity and longevity, are even more valid today as they were then.

History of marketing is the story of the sword and the shield.

Once upon a time, there were telephones and a small army of hard-working sales people “dialing for numbers” on the list of stone-cold leads. Enter voice mail, caller ID, and the “do not call” lists.

Then there was email and some powerful servers in some remote parts of the world sending out billions of unsolicited emails all day long. Enter spam filters, FTC, CANSPAM, SPF authentication, Domain Keys, Reverse DNS Lookups, RBLs, and the whole bunch of other Internet dooheekery.

And lest we forget TV and TiVo. Or “bandit signs” and your town’s anti-littering bi-laws.

I’m sure you get my drift.

So how come when I speak with business owners and entrepreneurs, many of them think that mobile marketing is about pushing their advertisement SMS messages to every unsuspecting passer-by unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity of their store?

This is just so, so wrong.

Much like with email, “cell phone spam” is illegal in most places now. Where it isn’t, it will be soon.

However, it’s not really about whether you’re breaking the law of your town or of your country. The problem is, you are breaking the immutable law of permission marketing, which is, “THOU SHALL NOT BE A PEST!”

Be a welcome guest instead. Offer something special for the chance to be invited into someone’s cell phone. This could be a discount, a free offer, or a chance to win something. Explain what your subscribers are going to experience. Describe the type and the frequency of the information you are going to be sending out. You want to be a friend, right? Great! Now think and act like one.

Mobile Marketing: Farewell To The Wallet

Whenever I leave my house, I have my wallet in one pocket and my cell phone in the other. (Well, okay, these days it’s a Blackberry so it’s much more than just a “cell phone”.)

There is no chance I leave either one behind. If I did, I’d notice it right away… unless, of course, I put something else in that pocket. Without my phone or without my wallet I feel kinda naked. Just like most people these days.

We take our used-to-be-cell-phones now-smart-phone everywhere we go. Here, now, in the 21st centry, a smart phone is almost a body part.

When a cell phone came about, it replaced a regular, “land” phone line and allowed us to take it on the road. Then it replaced our computer. And our MP3 player. Sometimes it manages to replace TV and books (a hard thing to pull of because of the size.) However, one thing is pretty obvious: The next fronteir is your wallet and credit cards. Smart phones are about to replace those and that is likely to happen very soon.

Already now, if you have an account with PayPal, you can pay for things online on sites like eBay and Amazon, right from your smart phone. Through PayPal, it will automatically charge your credit card or take the money out of your bank account.

What does this mean to us business owners?

It’s very simple: When the smart-phone payment technology becomes available, not embracing it will be like refusing to take credit cards today. (Just to be fair, some businesses chose not to take credit cards, however, it’s rarely a smart move: You save 2% – 3% in credit card charges but you lose in the number and the size of orders.)

Pay attention to the new things coming out that make the concept “electronic wallet” a bit more ubiquitous. When it goes mainstream, there is going to be a rush to have this in place at every store. Running with the masses, at best, will only let you maintain the market share of local dollars you earn. Being at the front of it will let you capitalize on it. This new mobile marketing window of opportunity is about to open. Be there when it does.

QR Codes: If You Were Asking For A Break, You’ve Just Got One

Have you seen these big ugly square things around? They are called QR Codes and they have the potential of creating the biggest growth in your sales in the next 6 to 36 months.

Here’s why.

You are about to see a lot more of these QR Codes around in a very short time. If you have a business and are not using them to build you mobile list, get your name into more people’s cell phones, push out specials and promos, and lure in the passes-by, you’re missing out on a lot of sales.

Right now it’s still a novelty and many people don’t know what this is all about. However, this situation is about to change is it’s going to happen rapidly.

I already see parents on my son’s hockey team “scan” each other with the BlackBerry’s. The other day, I happened to drive by one of the Liberal candidate’s signs in Toronto that featured a QR code. And there is a realtor on my street that has a sign for the house with a QR code on it!

The sooner you jump onto this bandwagon the bigger will be your reward. There are so many things you can do with them. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

If you are a restaurant, you can set up some table tents with QR codes and the people could load the information about your establishment or your food into their smart phone by just pointing it to the QR Code. You can give them specials, have them join your VIP Club, or simply provide them more some information about the ingredients and the recipes you use.

If you are a salon owner, put out a sign in the window with your QR code on it. A passer-by may want to scan it, join your mobile list and start receiving special offers from you. And who knows, maybe the offer you will immediately send to their phone will be the one and makes them change their plans and walk into your store.

If you are a photographer, instead of just dropping off fliers and postcards at local copy shops, you can add you QR Code and have your prospects immediately go to your website and check out your work.

As I said, the only limit if your imagination. I predict that the QR Code explosion is coming. It’s almost here, it’s just around the corner. Don’t let it take you by surprise. Surprises are good when it’s a nice gift you get on your birthday. Surprises are typically not a good thing in business.