Monday, December 16, 2013

Get Started with Mobile Marketing - Part 3 QR Codes

In parts 1 and 2, we looked at other things to do before jumping in to QR codes.  If you haven’t yet read those posts, go do them now.

To scan a QR code, I like the Google app on iOS, using the Google Goggles feature. I aspire to consolidate the number of apps I have on my iPhone, and a stand-alone QR code reader isn’t necessary. Just click in the search box, and select the camera icon to scan the qr code.

Get Started with Mobile Marketing - Part 3 QR Codes

QR Codes: A Fancy Barcode

When explaining what a qr code is to people, I liken it to a fancy bar code that can do a lot of things.  Most bar codes are designed for cash register scanners to input the price and monitor inventory. With a smartphone that has a camera built in, QR codes are capable of much more:

  1. Direct people to a website (make sure it is completely mobile-ready) which ultimately can be used to do a wide variety of things

  2. Bookmark a website

  3. Make a phone call

  4. Send an SMS

  5. Send an E-mail

  6. Create a vCard (saves a contact to your address book)

  7. Create a meCard (similar to a vCard)

  8. Create a vCalendar Event (save an event to your calendar app)

  9. Launch Google Maps

  10. Launch Bing Maps

  11. Geographical coordinates (for other mapping)

  12. Android Market Search

  13. Youtube

  14. Encode latest Tweet

  15. Tweet on Twitter

  16. Twitter Profile Image Overlay

  17. Blackberry Messenger PIN

  18. Wifi Network for Android (connect to your friend’s wifi at their house by scanning a QR code without entering a password)

  19. Free formatted text (display a plain text document on the phone)

I use an app on my Mac to create high quality QR codes.

QR Codes Are Misused

QR codes have been widely adopted by Japanese smartphone users, but haven’t gotten the same fanfare in North America.  Primarily because marketers rushed to implement them without considering what happens from the users perspective.  Common problems include:

  1. The QR code is a low-quality graphic (these need to be high-resolution files the further away the user is scanning)

  2. QR codes redirecting people to a non-mobile website (why would they want to see that on their phones?)

  3. No prompts for what the user will find when they scan the code or incentive to do so

  4. Placing the QR codes where people will likely have no mobile phone reception or is otherwise unsafe (billboards on the highway, the back of the company truck, subways, and airplanes)

  5. Assuming using QR codes covers all your mobile marketing needs

  6. Not tracking how many people scan the QR code and what action they take (how will you know if it works?)

  7. Putting QR codes on websites – if I’m already on the site from the computer, I don’t really want to open it on mobile (and if I ever have a reason, I can do so without your help)

For a quick read and a good laugh at the marketing blunders companies have made, see Scott Stratten‘s book: QR Codes Kill Kittens.

QR Codes Can Be Awesome

I got an early Christmas present from my parents – a new Samsung Smart TV! I started to unbox it and was slightly stumped at the stand.  I needed to assemble this correctly and thought that I had, but I don’t want my new big screen tv to wobble and unexpectedly face-plant onto the living room floor.  It mattered to me that every screw was exactly in place as it should.  So – I scanned the helpful QR code in the packaging that auto-played a demonstration video.

I’ve also needed a quick way to move a website that I’m looking at on my computer to my iPhone (like testing my clients websites).  For that, I have a Chrome extension that I right-click on the site to display a QR code that I scan from my phone.



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Get Started with Mobile Marketing - Part 3 QR Codes

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Small Business Guide to Pinterest Place Pins

This is obviously ideal for destination locations, as well as promoting tourist events.  However, local and small business owners can put their pins to work as well.

How to Add a Place to Your Pinterest Boards

When viewing your boards, select “edit” at the bottom:

Add MAPS to your Pinterest Pins

Add your map location:

pinterest place pins board

Add a place on the map:

add a place to Pinterest board

You’ll notice the locations are accessing the Foursquare database.

How to Add Pinterest Place Pins from a computer:

After adding your pin, view the board and edit the pin to include a place.

add pinterest place pin from computer

How to add a Pinterest Place Pin from mobile:

From Pinterest on your mobile device, add a pin (bottom middle)




Find a place.  This will access Foursquare’s listing of locations:



Select the correct venue, and add a photo to your pin:



You’ll need to provide a description of your pin before saving:



Pinterest Place Pins Strategy for Local and Small Business Owners:

Now that you know how to use Pinterest Place Pins, it’s time to form your strategy around why to use them.

  • Pin the websites of local business owners (and consider making it a community board).

  • Feature multiple boards on your business account that showcase local businesses based upon their industry

  • Curate a board of your products in use around your community

  • Promote events and locations where your business will be appearing

  • Feature items in your store with locations mapped to them.

What are your ideas on how to make use of Pinterest Place Pins?  Leave your suggestions below.

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Small Business Guide to Pinterest Place Pins

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Comments Evolved for WordPress

Have you ever wanted a way to integrate multiple comment systems on your blog?  Take a look below at my commenting system.  It’s Comments Evolved, and is free in the WordPress repository.

comments evolved multiple comment systems for WordPress

With it, users can leave a comment with Facebook or Google+, or multi-platform login systems like LiveFyre or Disqus.  The default WordPress comment system is still an option as well.  I’ve found it to be a bit buggy if Facebook is not the first comment system displayed, so I’ll tolerate that for now.

comments evolved settings

Using this plugin has made it super easy to reply to those that have shared the post from my site as well to either Facebook or Google+. By default, Facebook and Google+ will prompt users to submit the comment as a link to their social media accounts.

To make this plugin work with my theme (Headway), I added a bit of CSS to the Live CSS editor to hide default comments and instead only show this plugin.

div#comments display: none;

Help me put this plugin to the test by leaving a comment below.




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Comments Evolved for WordPress

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

LinkedIn Showcase Page

Have you followed or created a LinkedIn Showcase Page yet?  LinkedIn announced the feature as a way to highlight a niche product within a company.  For instance, I may want to follow Office by Microsoft, but skip the Visual Studio content.

Learn how to follow showcase pages or create your own:

LinkedIn Showcase Page

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LinkedIn Showcase Page

Monday, December 9, 2013

Get Started with Mobile Marketing - Part 2 - Location-Based Marketing

For local small business owners, location-based marketing allows you to reach your target audience within your community.  Before all other attempts at reaching your local audience, be sure to review Get Started with Mobile Marketing – Part 1, in which we looked at why your website needs to look good on mobile devices.

What is Location-based Marketing

Location based marketing delivers multi-media directly to the user of a mobile device dependent upon their location via GPS technology (source)

Types of Location Based Marketing

Traditionally marketing within your local community has been based on contacting the local media outlets, billboard agencies, hanging signs or fliers, and networking or word of mouth marketing.  All of these methods are still in play, but now with a few modern twists.

Contact your local newspapers, tv, or radio stations to find if you can advertise on their websites and mobile apps.  Additionally, check with local coupon systems like ValPak for similar services.  (Protip: also connect with others following these organizations on social media sites).

Where location based marketing has evolved is online everywhere else.  Remember with all suggestions below, most of these systems rely upon users accessing content from their mobile phones.  What content is delivered needs to triangulate where the visitor is physically located.

Search Engine Results

When people reach for their phones to search for what they are seeking, ideally they find only local results.  This happens with a variety of methods.

First, on your website you need to include schema markup that tells search engines where your business is located.  This is different than merely typing the address onto your site somewhere, and having the address appear in a graphic or flash image makes it rather useless for search engines. I like using Yoast’s Local SEO for the markup.

Next, on every piece of content that you create, whether on your own website or off site, you can add meta descriptions and often location based information.

In WordPress, add your city and zipcode to the tags on your posts.

wordpress tags location based marketing

In Youtube, include your GPS location (Youtube can help you find this)

youtube location based marketing

And in Flickr, add your location:

flickr locaiton based marketing


And be sure to claim your business listing on every possible page that you can.  Many of these are created on your behalf and are waiting for you to verify that you are the owner.  Some of these lead in to social media, like Foursquare.

By incorporating location into your content, search engines will display your local results to visitors.

Social Media Location Based Marketing

In many social network platforms, you can create ads or even status updates that are targeted to your location community.

When creating status updates in Facebook, tag your location.

fb location

When creating an offer, be sure to specify your location as well.

fb offer location

And if you are creating Facebook Ads, do target your audience.

fb ads location

Likewise, in LinkedIn, your company page can target a status update to a specific region.

linkedin target audience

Get started with Location Based Marketing

While this is by no means a comprehensive list of of all aspects of location-based marketing, hopefully it has your creativity flowing for new ways to reach your local community.




Get Started with Mobile Marketing - Part 2 - Location-Based Marketing