Tag Archives: qr code

Four Mobile Marketing Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

Are you hesitant to dive into certain areas of mobile marketing for fear of making mistakes?

Strategy Analytics predicts that advertiser spend on mobile media will almost double from $6.3 billion to $11.6 billion. Certainly there are plenty of marketers diving in, and they’ve made their share of mistakes along the way.

The good news is that we now have lots of examples from which to learn, and many mobile marketing mistakes are easy to avoid. Here are four to watch out for:

1. Failing to optimize your landing page for mobile.

Solution: This is like putting the cart before the horse, and failing to optimize the landing page for your mobile display and search campaigns can cost you valuable conversions. To ensure you’re providing users with a fast mobile experience free of pinching and zooming, check out our guide on “How to Build a Mobile Website.”

Example: Mobile Marketer seems to have a new example every week of an advertiser that hasn’t optimized a landing page for mobile. White Castle, P.F. Chang’s and Target have all run into this problem recently.

2. Using the same paid search campaign for desktop and mobile.

Solution: Mobile searches are inherently different from those of desktop, and if you’re using the same paid search campaign for both, you’re missing out on an opportunity for better results. Google suggests modifying keyword selection, adjusting bids and utilizing mobile-specific ad formats to drive performance with a separate mobile campaign.

Example: At the time of writing, a search for “flower shop” on my mobile device yields results from businesses large and small. Local business Lawrenceville Flower Shop comes out on top with a click-to-call ad, while other small businesses have missed the opportunity.

3. Deploying QR codes that can’t be scanned.

Solution: If your QR code can’t be scanned, it’s just taking up valuable space. Thorough testing is extremely important, and be sure to follow these design-related best practices to improve reliability. Also, remember that your audience should be able to access the Internet (no subways) with the ability to stop and scan (no billboards).

Example: 60 Second Marketer featured a guest post on the “Top 5 QR Code Fails of 2011” – proof that with new technology, even the most seasoned marketers are bound to mess up.

4. Breaking the rules in an SMS marketing campaign.

Solution: There is an alphabet soup of laws or regulatory/advisory organizations that rule the SMS marketing land, including CTIA, MMA and CAN-SPAM. If you break the rules, you could have your campaign shut down along with those of marketers using the same short code. Become familiar with the MMA’s Best Practices (PDF), then for good measure, review the CTIA’s Playbook.

Example: T-Mobile famously blocked all messages from SMS marketing company Ez Texting in 2010 due to alleged violations from a single marketer.

Without a doubt, you will make some mistakes as you expand your mobile marketing efforts, but by following the suggestions above, you’ll avoid mistakes that even the biggest companies have made.

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What to do When a Mobile Campaign is Struggling

While marketers may have an elaborate mobile campaign – whether it includes mobile advertising, SMS, applications or QR codes – it might not always garner the engagement and results expected.

Many campaigns may not get the expected click-throughs or opt-ins they initially anticipated. However, it is never too late to refresh an idea.

“Mobile is experiencing explosive growth and is a new and exciting way to reach consumers at the moment when their intent to purchase is strongest,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston.

“As such, few of the old rules apply,” he said. “Outdated CPM or CPC models might suffice for generalist branding campaigns, but smart mobile marketers are linking mobile campaigns to actionable, commerce-enabled mobile pages where success can be measured by lift and increased revenue.

Rethink mobile
According to Mr. Kerr, it is essential that marketers rethink their goals.

It is important for marketers to see who they are looking to target and find out more about their user.

Additionally, testing is key and helps marketers see what works and what does not.

“Try some things in a limited way, to learn,” Mr. Kerr said. “Are you prepared for NFC? Tried QR codes? Location to push ads to shoppers?

“There is real value in learning and gaining experience in this space, as mobile continues to grow and evolve,” he said. “Mobile consumers want to act, they do not want to surf off to some Web page and read a lot of branding messaging on their smartphone.

“Ask yourself how easy it is for a mobile consumer to complete an action, then tweak the campaign.”

For example, if a company is running a mobile advertising campaign, it is important to link the campaign to mobile-optimized landing pages where an action can occur, as well as be able to track the lift.

“No mobile campaign can succeed if the mobile consumer lands on a page not formatted for mobile,” Mr. Kerr said. “Also, target mobile ads for max effectiveness by using mobile-specific variables like realtime proximity to your locations as a prequalification.

“Consider proposing a revshare arrangement with ad networks, where they share the tracked upside, in exchange for tweaking the campaign for max effectiveness,” he said.


All about SMS
Currently, many marketers are dabbling in SMS.

However, a SMS campaign might not get enough sign-ups or opt-ins that are expected.

Sending messages to consumers can help build a dialogue between the brand and the customer.

However, bombarding them with messages or sending them texts that are not relevant can help diminish that relationship.

“Messaging campaigns fail for a variety of reasons,” said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer of Hipcricket + Augme Technologies, Kirkland, WA.

“One is a lack of strong call to action – the mobile subscriber needs to be incented to do something and the CTA must be prominent or it will be lost,” he said.

“A second is poor execution – it took more than five hours for me to get a bounceback message after I responded to the NFL’s Super Bowl spot call to action.”

Mobile subscribers are all about instant gratification, per Mr. Hasen.

To succeed, marketers should start by mapping a strategy for their business goals.

According to the executive, several best practices include working with a provider that offers technology with strategy and creative, testing before diving in fully and providing multiple ways for consumers to engage.

“Hipcricket client Macy’s does this extremely well,” Mr. Hasen said. “For instance, its Backstage Pass program has elements including a QR code, SMS, mobile Web and MMS.”

Many marketers are also using QR codes in their campaigns to drive user engagement.

However, consumers are still not educated on what a QR code is or what they need to scan it with – therefore, they are not getting the scans they had expected.


“With any digital marketing tool, it is critical to measure your results and adjust your approach if it is not meeting objectives,” said Mike Wehrs, CEO of Scanbuy, New York. “QR Codes should follow the same rules.

“Create your codes with a tracking tool so you can look at the performance on scan rates and engagement,” he said. “If your campaign is not getting the scans you expected, you may want to rethink where the code is being placed and revise the call to action around the code to be more direct about why to scan.

“Both of those are critical to create relevance and value for the consumer. If you are not seeing engagement results, then you need to ensure you are doing the basics like delivering mobile optimized content that gives the user a compelling experience. Think about what that user would want at the time they scan your code and deep link them into the best possible experience.”


Where to start
According to Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis, marketers should use mobile as an A/B testing ground.

“If a campaign is not getting enough lift, try a different approach with the same campaign, change the order of the action item, move a click-through to the top and add another action item for two in one,” she said.

“Just because one campaign is not getting the proper amount of lift does not mean that the mobile application itself is a failure, it simply means a different approach should be taken.”

If a campaign is not performing well, Ms. Troutman suggests that marketers either revise the campaign with a different approach or start fresh.

“The revising of a campaign shows an A/B testing that can be valuable for future campaigns as they move forward,” Ms. Troutman said.

“For example, if a campaign has one action item and there is a scroll on the micro site or landing page, and it is not extremely intuitive what the action is, then taking that same campaign and moving some of the pieces around to change this campaign could make a difference, and if it does, it gives valuable insight into the next campaign that is sent out as to where and how the action should be displayed,” she said.

The executive also says that marketers should never feel intimidated about launching a campaign.

“If you keep it back and over analyze, you will never learn what works and what does not work,” Ms. Troutman said. “You only learn which campaigns will be effective by creating and sending these out.”


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4 Ways Restaurants Should Use QR Codes

Despite criticism, the QR code continues to be a major player in the evolution of mobile commerce.

But while many Fortune 500 advertisers may have embraced the QR code in their marketing efforts, the restaurant industry has proven a relatively late adopter of the technology.

When used to power speedier transactions and provide timely information, the QR code is a useful tool for restaurateurs seeking to augment the customer experience. On takeout menus, dine-in menus and real world advertising, the QR code has a purposeful place in the restaurant experience.

As any supporter of QR codes, near field communication (NFC) chips, or augmented reality will tell you, the key is the destination, not the mode of transportation. It doesn’t matter if information is delivered with zero friction, if the information itself isn’t wanted, it won’t pay off.

Are QR codes just a marketing fad, or can the mobile technology deliver real value for restaurants and consumers at the right place and at the right time? Here are four ways QR codes can be effectively leveraged in a restaurant environment to improving the overall dining experience.

1. Mobile Ordering

Ordering food from a smartphone is incredibly convenient. It is sub-optimal to have to speak to a live person, who is juggling multiple roles in a restaurant, dealing with customers face-to-face and handling several ringing phone lines.

Enter the QR-coded takeout menu. Restaurants realize that the printed takeout menu is still one of the most effective ways to elicit food orders. It’s tangible, colorful, holds a lot of information and is easily shared. Adding a QR code to the menu triggers a mobile ordering experience. That way, restaurants can marry the best of old and new technology and make the traditional takeout menu digitally interactive.

Or prompt a customer to complete a takeout order online, at which point she’ll receive a custom-generated QR code to be scanned at the point-of-sale. The Melt handles orders by generating QR codes that help consumers skip the ordering line.

2. Links to Photos and Social Media

Ever stare at a text-based menu and wonder what a particular dish actually looks like? A QR code strategically placed on a dine-in menu has the ability to take consumers to additional information. The QR code could lead to photos with dish names, to the restaurant’s Yelp listing, or to Twitter and Facebook links to encourage social media sharing.

On takeout menus and any real world advertising, the QR code can trigger links to a wealth of useful information. In this manner, the QR code is not a marketing gimmick, but a bona fide mechanism to provide interested parties with information on which they can act.

The mobile landing page launched by the QR code on a takeout menu could include hours, contact information, a map and directions. Special offers and feedback forms could also be part of the mobile-optimized experience.

Additionally, most QR readers have a history tab that logs previously visited sites, so the information, once scanned, could be referenced later.

3. Different Restaurants, Different QR Code Applications

The QR code can be utilized effectively by a variety of different restaurant types, from fine dining to casual, from fast food to food trucks.

A fine dining establishment might wish to use the QR code in a city guide advertisement, which leads to its online reservations system and photos of the interior of the restaurant.

A fast food restaurant could add the QR code to a table tent ad, leading to a special promotion in exchange for an email address.

And food trucks could affix a QR code to the side of the vehicle to help people skip the line, should they wish to order and pay through their smartphones.

4. A Word About Aesthetics

A common objection to QR codes is that they are ugly and unbefitting of a nicely designed marketing strategy. It is true that the standard out-of-the-box QR code isn’t particularly aesthetically pleasing, but brands can improve the appearance with clever design tricks that ensure scanability and beauty.

By going with a custom-designed QR code, restaurants can represent their style, while also reassuring customers that the restaurant has put some thought into the experience.

As consumer smartphone adoption continues to surge, QR code usage is becoming more sophisticated. In particular, QR codes are transforming from a mere advertising hook to an integral part of mobile infrastructure. From boarding passes to takeout menus, the QR code is becoming less novelty and more utility.

One challenge for restaurants is always staying fresh in the minds of consumers. The restaurant that embraces mobile technology intelligently will demonstrate its cutting-edge commitment to excellent user experience and customer service.

Original Article

Are QR Codes Replacing SMS?

SMS is a reliable workhorse in mobile marketing, but with the sudden rise and popularity of QR codes, text-in call to actions are being substituted by mobile bar codes.

Nowadays consumers cannot go a day without seeing a QR code – whether it is on a magazine page, billboard or bus shelter. In past years, SMS calls to actions were seen just about anywhere. However, many current marketing efforts are not incorporating SMS, but rather placing a QR code on products to drive user engagement.

“SMS gives brands an easy, broad reaching and low cost means of consumer communication via the mobile channel – and as you know, is ubiquitous, but it lacks the rich media experience that QR codes can deliver,” said Laura Marriott, CEO of NeoMedia Technologies, Boulder, CO.

“From some of the campaigns that we have run alongside SMS call to actions, the QR codes are outperforming the response from SMS significantly,” she said. “In many times a factor of 10 or more times more successful.

“This is really causing our brand clients to question how they are going to use SMS in the future.”

Scanning success
Over the past year brands and marketers have added a mobile bar code component to their campaign initiatives.

Conde Nast’s Allure magazine has implemented Microsoft Tags in its August giveaway issue.

The publication saw success the first time it ran mobile bar codes on its magazine pages and found that its annual “Free Stuff” giveaways resulted in 444,572 scans.

Since then, Allure decided to incorporate the Microsoft Tags in its annual August issues moving forward.

Allure is not the only publication incorporating QR codes into its static pages. Magazines such as People, Cosmopolitan, Lucky, GQ and Women’s Health are using mobile bar codes to drive readership engagement.

Additionally, companies such as Starbucks, Bath & Body Works, Chili’s, Taco Bell and Red Bull are among the many that have incorporated QR codes into their marketing efforts over the past year.

Many companies are even educating consumers on what a QR code is and how they can use it.

“I believe QR codes still have that newness factor associated with them,” Ms. Marriott said. “It’s about that sheer convenience and adoption opportunities that QR codes offer to brands, enterprises and consumers alike – answering the need for information on the go, interactivity, measurability and traceability – that will ensure that the market for mobile bar codes will continue to grow this year.

“Already we’re seeing impressive adoption by brands, handset manufacturers and operators for use in mobile marketing and advertising campaigns, and this will continue as barriers to adoption such as consumer education, handset integration and consumer awareness are overcome,” she said.

“As big players such as Google, Facebook and eBay help drive the viral adoption of bar codes and offer mobile bar code solutions to their customers, the education is accelerated and penetration to the consumer, in all aspects of everyday life, will continue to grow.”

The next SMS?
According to Nicole Skogg, CEO of SpyderLynk, Denver, mobile bar codes in general are replacing SMS.

“Many 2D mobile bar codes provide a wide range of benefits above and beyond what a SMS campaign can offer,” Ms. Skogg said.

“First of all, it is much easier for a consumer to activate and lower barriers to entry will drive program participation,” she said. “Rather than having to send a text message to a number, consumers can simply scan the mobile bar codes – it requires less effort on behalf of the consumers.”

Unlike an SMS campaign, mobile bar codes are visually represented, per Ms. Skogg.

“This combined with the increasing consumer awareness of what 2D mobile bar codes are and the ways they can access them increases the likelihood of consumer engagement,” Ms. Skogg said.

In the past QR codes have primarily connected users to a mobile Web site.

However, marketers are increasingly thinking outside the box and incorporating mobile video, games and giveaways as another incentive to engage consumers.

“Given that mobile bar codes have the opportunity to be so much more than a link to a mobile Web site, 2012 will be the year that marketers will explore the opportunities that exist beyond the mobile site, realizing they have the ability to impact consumers at all stages of the consumer decision journey,” Ms. Skogg said.

“Mobile initiatives will be designed to engage consumers, drive purchase consideration, activate a sale or build a sustainable mobile connection,” she said. “With all of the robust mobile bar code activity in 2011, we believe the stage has been set for brands to develop and refine comprehensive, strategic approaches to activating mobile bar codes in 2012.

“We expect brand marketers will capitalize on the ability to segment their mobile marketing campaigns and serve content and experiences crafted to engage different target consumers relative to where they are in their path to purchase.”

Return of SMS
Although QR codes are increasingly gaining traction, SMS should not be forgotten.

If a company is looking to incorporate mobile bar codes into their campaigns, they should also take a look at SMS and see if they can tie both channels into the mix.

Not every consumer has a smartphone on hand or a device that features mobile bar code scanning capabilities.

It is great that brands and marketers are uses new technology such as QR codes, however it is also important that they not forget about those consumers that have a feature phone.

SMS is a universal mobile channel and can be used by consumers with both smartphone and feature phone devices.

“SMS marketing is as strong as ever,” said Doug Stovall, senior vice president of sales at Hipcricket, Kirkland, WA. “Not everyone has a QR scanner or even a smartphone, but most everyone has a cell phone with the ability to send and receive SMS messages.

It is important thing to remember is that each user consumers in different ways and prefers various mediums.

By offering multiple means for engagement, companies can attract the maximum amount of customers and not exclude potential ones.

“SMS will be as strong as ever, but we will also see it placed alongside other mobile options like QR codes and the mobile Web,” Mr. Stovall said. “Offering multiple channels encourages engagement and campaign creativity, ultimately driving increased customer loyalty and overall revenue from mobile marketing campaigns.”

According to Tim Miller, CEO of Sumotext, Little Rock, AR, consumers are not more inclined to engage with QR codes than with SMS.

“Not according to comScore whose last report said that less than 10 percent of Americans have downloaded a reader and scanned a QR code,” Mr. Miller said. “That’s a really low level of engagement compared with the ubiquitous penetration of SMS.

“Unless you’re going to provide an alternative call to action, those ads might as well be in Spanish,” he said. “So, though we love seeing any actionable elements in any ad, SMS is the only engagement tactic that marketers can rely on for maximum reach.

“I think you see a lot more QR codes because it’s the new thing – and because those codes are big and noticeable.”

Sumotext believes that this is the year for MMS.

“Prices are finally right and we now have great tools to design and transcode the content for maximum deliverability,” said Randy Atkisson, executive vice president of sales and business development at Sumotext, Little Rock, AR.

“We also see geo fences and location aware messaging as a big deal for retail and restaurant brands with lots of locations,” he said. “Using location and geofences, we’re able to help them promote a single SMS call to action while segmenting their database and organizing subscribers into other groups and keywords based on the location of the device.”


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