Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Five tips for QR codes

Quick Response (QR) Codes can be a great tool for your business, but it’s important to understand what their purpose is and the most effective ways you can use them to boost your marketing.

So, I’ve put together some tips on how to avoid QR code fails.

1. QR Codes are primarily offline tools, not online tools

QR Codes are primarily for mobile marketing.

Putting a QR Code on your website or on your Facebook page is pretty pointless when you can use an image with a link embedded in it. In saying that, you could potentially put one on your Facebook cover image, although be aware that Facebook has stipulated that cover images should not include calls-to-action (CTAs).

Using a QR Code as a profile image is not a great idea as a QR Code should never replace your branding. You want your brand to stand out, not for it to be a squiggly box that looks like everybody else’s squiggly box.

2. QR Codes should be readable

If you have your QR Code on a laminated card, it may not be as readable as if it were printed professionally. Also think about where you are using the code.  Sticking it on a moving truck makes it very difficult to scan - and yes I have seen one like this.

A QR Code essentially works like a bar code. You need to ensure it is the right size, the right colour and the correct resolution for where it is being displayed.

3. QR Codes should offer something valuable to your potential clients

If you do use a QR Code in offline marketing, such as business cards, fliers etc., make sure you offer something of value to the person scanning the code.

There’s nothing more annoying than scanning a QR Code only to find directions to a location or boring information about services on a website (when you weren’t really wanting that information in the first place).

QR Codes are like little presents. The response you want to elicit is delight. So, have a think about what you can do to delight your potential clients when they scan your code. For example, exclusive discounts, coupons, or exclusive content that is relevant to the card, flyer, or ad.

4. QR Codes can and should be fun!

Don’t be afraid to be creative with your QR Codes.

If you’re at a trade expo or a market, you could set up a QR Code Treasure Hunt. If you’re organising a networking event, you could use QR Codes as door prizes instead of raffle tickets. This way, you get to reinforce your branding by giving people a reason to scan the code, which leads them to a page on your website where the person finds out whether they’ve won something cool (for the non-winners you could offer a special deal instead. May as well. They took the time to scan your QR Code.).

5. QR Codes should open the door to a deeper relationship

A QR Code that leads a person to a random piece of information is not going to entice anyone to go deeper.

The website your QR Code leads to should include a CTA to opt-in to your mailing list or an invitation to connect with you on Facebook etc. Don’t lead a potential client to a closed door. If they’re truly interested in your content, they’ll want to know more.

Now over to you: What are some of your ideas for using QR Codes?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

QR Codes, what they are, and where they are.

QR codes stand for quick response codes and are a modern 2D barcode that is able to convey far more information that old traditional ones. Originally developed for the automotive industry, they are being used increasingly in today’s society with the capability of new smartphones being able to decipher the code using nothing more that a free downloadable app. QR codes are set to explode in popularity this year, so it may be worthwhile for you to start generating your own.

The information carried is varied, from a direct link to a web page or social media site to, vcard download, event notification or even an email or text message.

This is what one looks like

How you read them:
Your smartphone will decode the QR using a downloadable app. There are many on the market for all the genre of phones now, some better that others. Check the current reviews for which are suitable. 
Just download you chosen app, open and using the phone’s inbuilt camera scan the code. The app will then action the code command, be that opening the web page, drafting the first part of a text or email, or showing you where a company is on google maps.

Finding QR Codes

More and more these are becoming apparent around the place. You can find them on flyers for promotional events

In shops promoting online store

Business cards, t shirts and other printed material. (labels)

I have just put it at the bottom of my invoices

How else can they be used. Well the opportunities are endless, on printed materials they can be on mugs and coasters, calendars and other freebies that are given away. You could have labels done, for adding to items that you make. I have used them to update business cards. Or using clear labels, add them to brochures or smaller ones I have added on envelopes. Have a look at my pinterest board, I have some examples there.

How would you use yours?

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Alternatives to eBay

I read an interesting article from The Online Seller today, where the author investigated some alternative auction sites to eBay. Having regularly used eBay and slowly getting annoyed with the increased cost and restrictions imposed on sellers, I was keen to investigate some possible alternatives.
The first two seemed very promising, webstore.com and ebid.

I looked at webstore.com first and it sounds just what I would like to use.  The main disadvantage with this is that there are ads on the site, however this pays for the auctions and so there are no fees.

The second site is ebid.  I was able to find a UK version of this site and I am aware that there are other ebid sites covering most of the world.  The main advantage of this site are the fees, which are lower than those of eBay.

A complete comparison of auction sites can be found at Online Auction Sites Review.  

I have just taken out a seller membership with both ebid and webstore which was fairly straight forward to do and will see how each of them it stack up against eBay with the same set of listings.  Watch this space....