Small Business Expert
Essential hints, tips & business advice for startups & entrepreneurs.
The use of Quick Response Codes (QR Codes) continues to increase, as free apps are making it easier than ever for folks to focus on these images and see where it will take them. Last year, more than 14 million users scanned a QR code, and that number continues to rise. And interestingly enough, according to comScore, more than a quarter of folks actually scan QR codes directly from web pages. What can a small business owner or marketing professional do to make sure their efforts get noticed? Here are a few tips on how to use QR codes to market your business and engage customers.
Discounts: Companies are finding that consumers want deals, so link your code to a coupon or other incentive to reward customers for checking it out. Don’t be afraid to tie it to something like a short promotional video, at the end of which is the deal. As long as consumers get something out of it, they don’t mind a small investment of time and effort to get it.
Social Networks: It’s a no-brainer to take folks to a landing page where then quickly or easily like or follow you your brand page, but set clear expectations as to what that entails. And again, consider offering special benefits via your social media presence for those that do take the time to follow.
Tinker With The Design: Work with your art department to see if you can place images or words within the center of the QR code to help folks know what it is they’re scanning, and also to catch their attention. Get creative to encourage action.
Be Specific: When you use a QR code, make it really clear what the customer call-to-action is. If you want them to watch a video or consider a specific product, take them to a page that makes that really easy. Don’t just do a generic code that goes to your business’ home page. No one is that interested in showing up and not knowing what to do.
Use Them For Networking: Encourage an extra bit of activity for those you meet while networking by including a QR code on your business card. Or if you’re going to a trade show or another place where you’ll be meeting lots of folks, put one on your laptop bag and encourage others to scan it. It can go to a specific company page or some other link that’s personalized for you, like your LinkedIn profile. It can help make a great and lasting impression on any that scan it.
Gamification: Consider peppering codes throughout your store, website or different ad campaigns, and reward users who are able to find them all. By making QR codes a part of a larger campaign, you prolong user engagement, and hopefully provide positive associations for your brand.
Get Creative: Consider having t-shirts or even bumper stickers made with QR codes, and include cryptic clues as to their destination. The content on the other end is just as important as you’d hate to pique customer interest only to disappoint them with the destination.
In the time it takes you to read this sentence, more than 2 million business related e-mails have been sent. And another million right now. According to the Radicati Group, 89 billion business emails are sent every day, and that number is expected to continue to increase, reaching nearly 150 billion daily business emails per day in 2016.
While many of those emails are important and essential to daily business, there’s no doubt that many of those do nothing more than clutter inboxes and take up time. And dealing with these missives takes precious time away from other more important tasks, like you know, actually doing your job.
So whether you get stressed about by 267 unread e-mails or only seven, here are 10 ways to deal with an overflowing email inbox that will not only help give you piece of mind, but will hopefully also make you more productive.
Simplify Your Filing – You may think you’re saving time by filing e-mails into hyper-detailed folders, but you may be overdoing it. Consider creating an “archive” folder for e-mails you need to keep, and broad project or topic descriptions to put in specific e-mails.
Delete When You’re Done – Finished reading an e-mail? If you have no more use for it, delete it right away. No reason to let it linger.
Avoid E-mail Limbo – If you’re not going to respond to an e-mail right away, don’t just leave it in your inbox. Move it to your action item folder so you can deal with it as soon as you’re done completing other tasks.
Search for What You Need – Learn how to use your e-mail’s built-in search functionality to quickly find old e-mails you need. This can be much quicker than searching specific archive folders for the e-mail, and underscores that hyper-detailed filing may not be the best use of your time.
Check E-mail On Your Terms – Take charge of your e-mail and determine when you’ll check it, whether it’s every 15 minutes, hour or even twice a day. As Tim Ferris suggests in his book The Four Hour Workweek, never check your e-mail as the first thing in the morning, and only check in periodically throughout the day.
Turn off E-mail Notifications – There’s no reason to trigger your intrinsic FOMO (fear of missing out) every time you hear the mail alert, so turn off your computer’s sound and pop-up notifications and your smartphone’s vibration notices so you’re not tempted to see what’s there at times when you don’t need to be checking in.
Don’t Use Email as a To-Do List – There are plenty of other ways to assign yourself tasks and to-do lists, don’t leave e-mails unread for the purpose of reminding you to do something. Come up with another way to add to your task list, otherwise you may soon find yourself with gobs of unread e-mails that you’re not acting upon.
Avoid Sending E-mails If You Can – If you’re having problems with too many e-mails, why continue to add to it. Find ways to cut down on the e-mails you send and help others avoid the clutter in their inbox.
Focus Your Written Emails – If you do need to put together an e-mail, make it as efficient and easy-to-understand as possible. Establish a three-sentence rule or use bullet points to clearly and quickly convey your message.
Manage Expectations – Use out-of-office to inform others of your e-mail policies and other ways to reach you if urgent, and don’t get caught up in the trap of feeling the need to respond to everything immediately.
We’re a society on the go, which might help explain the smartphone popularity boom. Our phones aren’t exactly a replacement for desktop or laptop computers, but be expect them to be up to the task when we need to get some work done during a commute. Online shopping is a good example: If you’re trundling along on a train, there’s no better time to make some necessary or impulse purchases. That’s why if you own a business, you should make yourself aware of the best ways to make your business mobile.
A website that’s not optimized for mobile viewing will undoubtedly scare away potential customers. We’re no longer surfing the ‘net with number keys and pixel-based screens that are two inches wide: An unpleasant experience will simply drive users elsewhere. Here are five tips to keep in mind when making your business mobile.
Make your site accessible for as many viewers as possible – You’re going to want to make your site visible for as many visitors as possible, which means you have to keep smartphone fragmentation in mind. Flash, for instance, doesn’t work across all smartphones, so HTML 5 is a better option for the interactive portions of your mobile site.
Use QR codes – Quick Read/Quick Response (“QR”) codes can whisk a user straight to a designated webpage when they scan a code using their smartphone. QR codes are ideal for directing visitors to coupons, special deals, or feature items.
Plan for easy data access – If you’re the one building and managing your mobile site, you’re going to want an easy-to-use data storage system that’s ideal for a mobile environment. Dropbox is a good option.
Simplify Navigation – Clarity is key when designing a mobile site. Minimize the need for scrolling, and simplify navigation and purchasing options with big, clearly-marked buttons. When offering transactions, make sure there are as few steps as possible between the user and the purchase.
Think Visibility – Eliminate the need to pinch-zoom whenever possible. Make text large and clear: Not everyone has great eyesight! Make sure there’s contrast between the background and the page text, and ensure your site works as well with a horizontal orientation as it does with a vertical one.
For more tips on taking your business mobile, visit:
How to Go Mobile at Google
5 Mobile Marketing Questions Every Business Owner Needs Answered at Entrepreneur
Tips to Create a Mobile App for Your Business at About.com