‘Mobile marketing’ has arrived; a major promotional trend for of 2011, but how can small businesses use it to their advantage? QR codes are a simple, cost effective opportunity to get you started. Richard Gauder of Canadian web design company CMS Web Solutions explains.
What are QR codes? “You’ve probably started to see them without knowing what they are for. QR codes or Quick Response codes are a 2 dimensional barcode that can be read by smartphones with a camera. They’ve been a common sight in Japan since 1994 and are becoming increasingly popular in the rest of the world.
With the remarkable growth of smartphones, businesses are finding all sorts of marketing and operational uses for them. You can place them on printed marketing material, on products, in store windows, on billboards, TV commercials, newspapers, t-shirts, anywhere!
When a smartphone user takes a picture of the code they are directed to a page on a website. That’s the opportunity businesses are now taking advantage of. A business could have anything on that webpage. We’ve seen product/service information, coupons, store hours, promotional offers, even links to the company’s Facebook page.”
Why should businesses use them? “QR codes are a fantastic marketing opportunity that will delight the growing community of smartphone owners, helping them to find your information more quickly.
Worldwide smartphone sales grew 96 percent in 2010 and accounted for 19.3 percent of mobile sales, or 81 million units according to Gartner. In the UK research by Ofcom found that smartphone take up in the UK is growing even faster than other leading nations. As more customers move to smartphones, they’ll increasingly expect instant information: take the opportunity to lead the way in giving them just that.
QR codes are taking off because they are quick, convenient and easy for the consumer. For businesses they are simple to set up and can be generated for free – a great new way to interact with your customers. Results are easy to track; you can quickly adjust your marketing strategy based on what works best.”
Smart marketing ideas: “Why not use a QR code to direct them to customer reviews? How about a page that they show on check out that gives them an extra gift or discount if they sign up for your newsletter? Heck, put it on the label and their friends will know where they bought the item.
They are not just for retail. How about putting one on your business card sending people to a vCard so it’s easy for them to make you a contact? Estate agents – consider adding a QR code to the For Sale sign: interested buyers can scan the code and immediately access details about that property.”
Setting up a QR code campaign: “For best results, direct visitors to a customized landing page on your website. Visitors to that page will be using a mobile device, so make sure your page is mobile-friendly. You want it to load quickly and have the most important information near the top. Include contact details so that visitors can quickly connect.
Once you’ve created your landing page, you’ll need a QR code for it. It’s easy to generate – URL shortening services such as bit.ly or goo.gl, let you create a code from any web page address (usually by adding a ‘.qr’ to the end of the shortened URL). With services such as goqr.me you can create other types of response such as text messages or phone numbers. It’s simple. Use QR codes to engage and delight your customers and prospects.”
Thanks Richard – valuable information and a neat marketing idea for companies looking to take a first step into mobile in 2011. I’m thinking of adding them to my business cards and printed literature. One of my marketing savvy book author clients is including them to the end of each chapter to take readers to extra resources online. Anyone else? How will you use QR codes to direct mobile users to your valuable content?