Market Your Business with QR Codes

Market Your Business with QR Codes

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.

Top Apps and Services for Entrepreneurs

Top Apps and Services for Entrepreneurs

Small Business Expert

Essential hints, tips & business advice for startups & entrepreneurs.

If you’re an entrepreneur, especially for a small, independent business, then you’re going to have to learn a few things. First, you need to learn how to thrive on peanut butter sandwiches (at least until you start seeing some financial success). Second, you need to know about the best apps and programs for helping an entrepreneur get his or her business off the ground. 

You need programs and/or apps for communication, organization, and managing your finances. Luckily, it’s all out there, and whenever it’s not free, at least it’s affordable. Here are the five best programs and applications for any entrepreneur who’s scrambling to find his or her footing in a frenzied time. 

EvernoteEvernote is a free-to-download program that lets you save ideas, pictures, and sounds. It’s available across multiple smartphones, tablets, and computers, including PC, Mac, iOS, Blackberry, Android, and Windows Phone. Evernote’s search function lets you find what you’re looking for without a hassle. Never forget a prospective client’s name ever again—unless you really want to, for whatever reason.   

FlightTrack ProAvailable for iOS or Android, FlightTrack Pro is a must-have application for anyone who spends a considerable amount of time in the air. With the touch of a few buttons, you can look up your detailed flight information, including possible delays and gate numbers. FlightTrack Pro even informs you of cancellations and suggests alternative flights. If your flying experience turns into a scheduling nightmare, you’re going to want FlightTrack Pro by your side. 

SkypeFree Skype-to-Skype phone calls with clients or other workers can save you a bundle in phone bills. More importantly, whenever you travel out of the country, Skype-to-Skype calls via smartphone apps will prevent you from having to give up your first born child in roaming fees.    

Dimewise – Dimewise helps you manage your budget as simply as possible. You can record and categorize your purchases, then take a look at your spending habits with the aid of a handy pie-chart. Dimewise is web-based, so you can access it anywhere you can find a browser. 

TrillianMany companies conduct a great deal of business via IM (instant messaging) chats. Problem is, everyone has their favorite, and they’re often not cross-compatible. Fear not. Trillian lets you log into several of your favorite chat clients at once, saving you the agony of having to juggle multiple programs. Trillian supports AIM, Windows Live Messenger, ICQ, IRC, Google Chat, Facebook Chat, and much more. It can be downloaded as a desktop program, or as an app for iOS, Android, or Blackberry. 

For more great suggestions on programs that every entrepreneur should have, visit: 

Top 25 Apps to Grow Your Business at AvivaDirectory

10 Best Digital Tools for Entrepreneurs at Forbes

10 Must-Have Business Apps for 2011 at Entrepreneur.com 

5 Ways Technology is Improving Education

9 October, 2012 Life No comments
5 Ways Technology is Improving Education

Technology is sometimes blamed for the perceived degradation of youth. Doubtlessly you’ve heard at least one person complain about how “kids today” can move their thumbs like wildfire to send texts, but can’t read or write an essay that contains anything resembling proper sentence structure. While illiteracy is a problem that should be taken very seriously, tech is not immediately to blame for the issue. In fact, there are several ways in which technology is improving education. 

Interestingly, the positive link between learning and technology goes way beyond replacing textbooks from the Cold War with tablets that contain up-to-the-minute information. Thanks to modern apps and programs, kids can assist in educating their peers, and even video games can get them moving around the gym. Here are five ways the best technology tools and gadgets are making education better.

“Lesson unbundling” – “Just like iTunes unbundled songs so you don’t have to buy a whole album just to get to that one great song, technology allows us to unbundle lessons from giant textbooks,” says Amy Murin of the Keeping Pace With K-12 Online Learning Blog. Lesson unbundling, according to Murin, allows teachers to form “lesson playlists” that are customized to each child’s learning needs. If a student needs to spend more time in yesterday’s lesson, for instance, he or she can hang back a little and take time to absorb it instead of being shackled to the textbook and forced to move ahead with the rest of the class. 

Social networking connects students – Facebook and Twitter are good ways for kids to get in touch with each other and talk about homework and assignments. Needless to say, parents should keep a keen eye on their child’s social media habits to make sure these conversations are being conducted safely (and don’t veer off topic!). Blogging is also a great way to help kids practice and publish their writing, online galleries let young artists get helpful criticism on their work, and building a website might wake up the talents of a future coder. 

Students can take an active role in teaching by editing sources like Wikipedia – Wikipedia, the world’s first open-source encyclopedia, is a storehouse of knowledge that anyone can edit. Not only can kids acquire information from Wikipedia, but they can also add their own facts and figures. Moreover, learning how to properly research via Wikipedia (and properly edit it) are lesson plans all on their own. For better or worse, there’s no avoiding the fact that school kids gravitate towards Wikipedia to get their information, so it’s extremely important that they learn how to use it responsibly.   

Students can literally look up the answer to any question in seconds – Wikipedia isn’t the only source of information out there on the Internet, though. National Geographic’s website tells kids what they need to know about the world and its cultures. Animal Planet is brimming with information about insects and animals (including humans and our weird ways!). And if a child has a question about space, NASA has the answer. Old childhood favorites like, “Why is the sky blue?” can receive a well-researched, well-sourced answer in the blink of an eye. 

Dance Dance Revolution is making physical education more fun – Video games are an important part of technological advancement, and they’re more than just pastimes. In 2007, schools began using the dancing/fitness game Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) to get kids to move around. Kids enjoy games in general, and moving along to DDR’s energetic graphics and music is typically more popular than getting whacked with dodgeballs for an hour. 

For more information on how tech benefits education, read: 

Benefits of Media for Children and Teens at RaisingChildren

Benefits of Online Social Networking at ParentFurther

Can Video Games Make Kids Smarter? at Education.com