Thursday, March 28, 2013

Is QR Your Code for Success?

QR Codes are a simple way for your customers to connect with your business
Try the QR Code Above & Visit Terrapin's Website!
QR codes are a convenient and simple way for customers to connect with your business. For your customers, typing your website URL is like a long walk between printed collateral and the mobile web; QR offers them a ride.

Does QR Technology Fit Your Business?

Does QR Technology Fit Your Business?
For your company to enjoy the many benefits of the quick response code, there are a few requirements:
  •  Are you actively marketing your company?
  •  Does your company have an updateable website?
If you answered yes and yes, you’re in business. QR codes can be easily integrated with your existing marketing strategies. Think of your marketing campaign’s destination as a room with multiple entryways; QR codes are one of these doors.

The Web's Skeleton Key

The Web’s Skeleton Key
So what “rooms” can QR codes open when scanned by a smartphone? Any you’d like customers to find. QR codes can access anything with a web address:
  • Targeted site pages
  • Newsletter signup or special offers
  • Social media pages

Applications for All Industries

Applications for All Industries
Any printed marketing piece such as a display, flier or sign is prime real estate for your QR codes.

Grocery store point-of-sale receipts are perfect for informing customers of upcoming sales or providing “your next purchase” coupons. The customer scans the QR code after putting their purchase away in the fridge or cupboard to see where they can save next time.

Store signage codes can declare the day’s specials and point the way. “Save $1 on Store Brand Cereals! Just head to aisle 7!”  Storefront displays can be scanned for a similar “Come inside for…! “ message.

For retail businesses, product tags and packaging can have codes that bring up customer review forums or similar product suggestions.

Codes placed on brochures, mailings and business cards can reveal your manufacturing or contracting company’s most pertinent information, key benefits and unique services and selling points.

Start by asking yourself; What kinds of focused content do we want to push?” Then take a look around your store, office or at your print pieces to determine your code’s placement. Start with a basic strategy and up the creativity as you go.

Scanning a Win-Win Strategy

Scanning a Win-Win Strategy
QR codes let you control where the customer goes, conveying your exact desired message. This powerful square of pixels comes with a long list of benefits:
  • Create QR codes for little or no cost
  • Widen your marketing net to the increasing number of tech-savvy customers
  • Print marketing can offer limited space; QR codes direct customers to your readily available, more detailed website
  • QR-coded collateral can allow customers and networking partners to save your phone number to smartphones or email with no typing
  • Determine your successful products or offers with code scan tracking
  • The customer feels appreciated, like you took extra steps to save them a few of their own
On the flipside, your customer gets the convenience of skipping a backslash-heavy URL typing session. A direct line to more detailed mobile content is provided, as are coupons or an inside track to sales and specials. QR codes benefit everyone involved.

Some Must-Remember QR Essentials

Some Must-Remember QR Essentials
  • Include a direct link with the code for the QR uninitiated
  • Include a concise, one sentence description/pitch
  • Ensure the code is big enough to get attention and is placed where customers can scan on the go, at their convenience or while waiting

Quick Response, Quick Connections

Quick Response, Quick Connections
You’re always thinking of new ways to connect with your current customers and new prospects. Bringing new and familiar faces through the door of your business is what QR codes are all about.

QR codes open up a fresh dialogue, resulting in customer excitement and loyalty, added revenue and an effective tool in your marketing belt.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Great Mobile Debate: Site or App?

Look up from whatever you’re doing right now. How many people are fiddling with their smartphones, entranced by a glowing screen of content? If they’re not texting, they’re preoccupied with either a mobile app or a mobile site. Can your small business be found in either of these realms?

Mobile Sites and Apps

Differences in Purpose
Mobile sites and apps have very similar DNA. Both give your small business:
  • Extended marketing reach
  • A fresh visibility on the essential mobile platform
  • Smartphone-friendly information
  • Customer interactivity
Apps match sites function-for-function with one big difference; apps are essentially a piece of software for your smartphone. They are native to your phone and dedicated to an explicit function, much like Microsoft Word is housed in your PC for word processing.

Mobile sites and apps are virtually neck and neck in functionality, but which does your small business bet on? Here’s a look at both horses in this race.

Mobile Sites in Small Business

Mobile Sites in Small Business
Waves of studies point to droves of people accessing mobile sites daily. They prefer mobile browsing over apps for business searches and shopping . If you present customers with a compelling mobile site, they have no need to comb through an app store.

Mobilewebsites are universal and all-inclusive if optimized properly. Sites will ideally be built to work on rival smartphone giants iPhone and Android, as well as stragglers Windows and BlackBerry. Apps must be built individually for one platform at a time. Unless you have the budget, potential customers may be left out.
Finally, the simple, critical factor of cost favors mobile sites, as they are considerably cheaper to develop than a mobile app.

Mobile Apps in Small Business

Mobile Apps in Small Business
Smartphone users spend more time on mobile apps than mobile sites. A recent study found that 82 percent of “mobile media minutes” are dedicated to apps over mobile browsing. Another survey indicated that most of this time is divided between personal finance managers, calendars, GPS navigation and social media.

An app’s ease of access factors in. Customers click the app homescreen icon, and they’re in. Once the app is downloaded, they don’t have to worry about spotty mobile web reception or password-protected WiFi. The app icon will be laid out clearly and conveniently on their phone. 

Apps give your small business a powerful presence in the customer’s life. If you offer a useful app, customers will dedicate valuable smartphone real estate and memory to your small business.

Base Mobile Design on Your Business

Base it on Your Business
Your business should consider investing in a mobile presence. Comparing the costs and considering the virtual functionality tie, start with a mobile site. If you have the budget, go for an app or a full-blown site/app mobile campaign. If you decide to dip your toe or dive right into the mobile waters, you will be very happy with the results.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mobile Websites: Not a Novelty, But an Inevitability

Leave your desktop & Laptops at home
We’re all on the go, all the time, leaving our desktops and laptops at home. Our need for information doesn’t stay behind with these machines; it runs out the door with us, hitching a ride on our smartphones.

Your customers and potential customers are also sprinting in this mass perpetual rush. This means mobile websites are not a novelty, but an inevitability for your small business.

Devices & Demand

Devices and Demand
Cellphone ownership is borderline universal, coming a long way from the “cool kid” toys that were early models. Flip phones, BlackBerrys, etc. all had their time. Smartphones were the next elite, now they’re a common sight, as are mobile sites on their screens.

People are using mobile sites, and if your small business doesn’t have one, they’ll just find someone else who does. Customers want the convenience of mobile sites, and your business wants the increased visibility.

A Google survey found nearly 3/4 of respondents want mobile and are likely to revisit mobile sites. Other studies conclude that 15% of total US and Canadian web traffic comes from smartphones. Smartphones helped themselves to this generous chunk of the web pie thanks to: 

  • The Smartphone Surge: Smartphone sales are projected at 1.05 billion units in 2015 with PCs and laptops lagging in comparison.
  •   Wi-Fi Hotspots Heating Up: Not just for Starbucks anymore, 5.8 million hotspots will be available in ’15, up from 800,000 in 2010.

Convert Browsers to Customers

Convert Browsers to Customers
At this point you might be thinking, “I want calls and customers, not mobile site views.” You’re right, small business mobile traffic is a superficial stat without conversion, and eyeballs on your mobile site will deliver more calls to your small business.

According to Google partner DudaMobile: “Users take action on mobile-friendly sites. 1 in 5 website visits lead to an immediate call to the business.” Further Google number-crunching indicates 67% of survey participants are more likely to join your customer ranks if you have a mobile site.    

Mobile Must Be Lean & Mean

Mobile Must be Lean and Mean
In regards to the web, the word “quality” gets thrown around more than “like” at a high school. This is Google’s go-to mystery adjective for web content. However, quality mobile sites are more clear cut. All good mobile sites have one thing in common: Optimization.

Mobile sites need to be simple and stripped down with blatant, direct paths to your company’s essential information. Efficient design means efficient navigation to your most vital content.

Mobile Function Musts:
  • Easy-to-use navigation
  • Minimum of scrolling and pinching
  • Quick load times 

Mobile Content Musts:
  • Business contact info: Address and business hours
  • “Click to call”
  • Social media links

Go Mobile or Go Home

Go Mobile or Go Home
Instead of sliding in front of a PC, more people are reaching into their pockets for information. It’s a trend that’s growing toward mainstay status.

The pro-mobile numbers will only climb as the technology gets sleeker, faster and more advanced. Keeping up with this curve and growing your business means optimizing your own small business for smartphone screens.