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Archive for the tag “communication”

10 Ways to Add QR Codes to Your Company’s Marketing Mix

by  TashaCunningham

Have you ever heard of a QR code or Microsoft Tag? If those terms sound likes a foreign language to you, you\’re not alone. While major brands like Kraft Foods, Procter and Gamble and Macy\’s have embraced them in their marketing campaigns recently, the average small business owner doesn\’t have a clue about using QR codes to drive customers to their products and services.

Although they\’ve have been around since the early 90s, QR codes didn\’t catch on in the United States until recently. QR or Quick Response codes are 2-dimensional bar codes, similar to ones you would find on a price tag at the clothing store. Using a scanner or reader available on your smartphone, your potential customers can scan the code and see where it takes them. Major brands use QR codes to take customers to discounts, freebies and special promotions.  A Microsoft Tag works just like a QR code, but can only be scanned with a Microsoft Tag Reader.

‘QR codes have helped us introduce our company to an entirely new customer base,’ said Amy Bergeron, director of marketing at the Kursch Group, a commercial real estate company in Victorville, California. ‘We\’ve put QR codes in storefronts of properties we are marketing. Now when potential buyers scan the QR codes with their smart phones, it takes them to a website that is set to showcase a particular location. They can see pictures of the property, get details such as square footage and price and contact a realtor all without having to make a phone call or search the Internet.’

qrcode

Guerzo Business Solutions QR Code

While QR codes and Microsoft Tags can be used to educate potential customers about a product or service, they can also be used to reward them for their interest in your brand. Major corporations like Best Buy, Starbucks and Nike are using QR codes to cultivate new customers and thank existing ones who have been loyal to the respective brand.

‘We\’re seeing marketers using QR codes to create buzz and get consumers excited about their brands,’ said Matthias Galica, creator of ShareSquare, a founder and CEO of ShareSquare, a platform that allows anyone to create, share and market QR codes. ‘QR codes have been around for a long time and are in use around the world, but in the U.S., they\’ve taken off because now there is an installation base. As long as you have a smart phone, you can install a QR code reader. That has caused an explosion in the popularity of QR codes.’

So how can you use QR codes and Microsoft Tags in your business? Here are 10 ideas to get you started and remember, when potential customers go to the trouble of scanning your QR codes or tags, it is imperative that you give them something they can use.

1. GIVE THEM A DISCOUNT. When customers scan your code, reward them with a coupon for a 20discount off their next purchase.

2. GIVE THEM A DAILY DEAL. Encourage customers to scan the same QR code every day for a week to get a daily deal good for discounts, freebies and other rewards. This will create constant buzz about your product or service and keep your customers coming back.

3. GIVE THEM A FREEBIE. When customers scan your QR code, give them something free like a product sample or a 2-for-1 deal.

4. REWARD THEM FOR TAKING ACTION. Use QR codes to build your Facebook fan page or e-mail newsletter list. When customers scan your QR code, take them to a website where they can sign up for your e-mail newsletter or like your Facebook page. Once they complete the call to action, send them an e-mail with a discount, freebie or special promotion.

5. GIVE THEM A FREE DOWNLOAD. If you use e-books to market your business, use QR codes to distribute them. When customers scan the code, give them a free e-book download and the opportunity to sign-up to receive future special promotions from your company.

6. GIVE THEM FREE TICKETS. If you use event marketing to promote your business, use QR codes to hand out free tickets. When the code is scanned, make sure it leads to a website where potential customers can download their free tickets.

7. GIVE THEM EXCLUSIVE ACCESS. QR codes can be used to give potential and existing customers exclusive VIP access to events, sales and special promotions. When the code is scanned ensure that it leads to a website, video, text message or phone number that will allow customers to enjoy their exclusive access.

8. GIVE THEM A HEADS UP. If you want to pique a customer\’s interest in a specific product or service that you\’re planning to offer on sale, use QR codes and tags to tell them about it in advance. Place a QR code on your printed marketing materials that leads to a website where customers can get details about the sale and even pre-order.

9. GIVE THEM AN INVITATION. Use QR codes or tags in your event marketing to invite potential customers to events. If you\’re having a launch party for a new product, create a QR code that leads to the event invite and a way for customers to RSVP.

10. GIVE THEM SOME HELP. Use QR codes or tags to give customers more information about your product or service. Put a QR code or Microsoft Tag on your website, printed marketing materials or promotion items that leads to an FAQ web page where customers can get answers to their questions via e-mail or live chat.

Additional Tips:

  • Educate your customers about QR codes and how they can use them to get access to discounts, special offers and other promotions that will save them money on your product or service.
  • Show your customers where they can download QR code readers for iPhone, Android and Blackberry to unlock your company\’s QR codes.
  • Place links to popular code readers on your marketing materials to make it easy for customers to unlock your QR codes.
  • Use one of these five free tools to generate QR codes for your business

ShareSquarehttp://www.GetShareSquare.com

BeQRious http://www.beqrious.com/

Delivrhttp://delivr.com/

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Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/marketing-tips-articles/10-ways-to-add-qr-codes-to-your-companys-marketing-mix-4890165.html

About the Author

Tasha Cunningham is a newspaper columnist and technology expert who has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times and numerous other media outlets.

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Hiring Employees – With an Attitude!

By Dr. Ben A. Carlsen

With the employment market tightening and jobs scarce, employers seek employees with the “right” attitude. Identifying these candidates can be a little “tricky,” as the selection process is almost invariably not designed to measure these attributes.

Before discussing the hiring matter, we need to examine the underlying reasons for the hiring need in the first place, along with a framework for dealing with them.

NEW EMPLOYEES ARE COSTLY

Employers hate employee turnover. If the turnover rate is high the company will notice a negative impact on the “bottom line.”   The costs of recruitment, selection, hiring and training new employees are high.  And, depending on the complexity of the job, lower productivity, while new employees gain necessary experience, is another costly factor. Experienced employees lost to the competition are an even greater threat.  These employees may know business philosophies, practices, techniques, trade secrets, and strategies which could strengthen your competition. Considering all of these negatives, savvy management does its best to retain their valued staff.

KEEPING VALUED EMPLOYEES

Experienced, qualified and productive employees are an asset, but keeping them can be challenging. Loyalty to employers hasn’t been the norm for many years. Of course companies can do a number of things to keep the good ones.

Many years ago a researcher named Frederick Herzberg (The Motivation to Work, 1959) developed a theory that divided job satisfaction into two major components: Motivational factors and Hygiene factors; with the motivational factors such as interesting work, challenge, recognition, and variety being, by far, the more powerful. On the other hand, the job features we all expect, such as pay and benefits or working conditions are nowhere near as important, except to serve as potential causes for dissatisfaction.    These findings may be counter-intuitive, but as we all know, we will spend hours doing the things we like to do, with people we like to do them with. Conversely, unchallenging tasks, or work performed in a non-supportive, or uninteresting environment, will typically not evoke our best efforts

So making your workplace a challenging, exciting, and supportive place will greatly help in reducing or limiting avoidable turnover. As an important added benefit the customers will have a better relationship with a motivated, helpful, satisfied workforce.

Now that we’ve examined the background, let’s look at hiring new employees. While it’s obvious that it is best to retain employees, turnover will occur, and businesses may grow. This being the case, a superior recruitment plan is essential, as it will help accomplish several things:  hire the “best,” have a good fit between employee and job, lessen the need for discipline or discharge, reduce turnover, and provide a competitive edge.

THE RIGHT STUFF

Employers tell us that the most important characteristic to look for in a new employee is the “right” attitude. What is the right attitude and how do we hire people with it?   The right attitude, according to most employers, consists of several qualities:

–  Positivity (doesn’t focus on negatives)

– Open-mindedness

–  Flexibility

–  Superior interpersonal skills / a liking of people

–  Desire to learn

–  Willingness to work, (and work hard)

–  Dependability – Desire to accept challenges

–  Team player

With these characteristics the employee should exhibit a “good attitude” toward his employer, fellow employees and your customers.

FINDING AND HIRING EMPLOYEES WITH THE “RIGHT ATTITUDE”

Considering  the above attributes, be serious about your hiring process, as you know the headaches resulting from poor decisions.   Here are some suggestions:

–Identify the essential characteristics required for success on the job.

–Incorporate behavioral and attitudinal qualities into your selection criteria.

–Include these requirements in your job bulletins, advertising, employment agency  requisitions, etc.

–Carefully examine employment, educational and personal history (to the extent permitted by the law).

–Conduct a background check on candidates.

–At the interview, observe the candidate’s behavior, general attitude and demeanor, body language, posture, facial expressions, eye contact, etc. (You may want to try an interview panel to guard against subjectivity and “blind spots”).

–Consider using role-playing, situational questions (e.g., “What would you do if?), and performance simulations.

–Make sure the candidate is someone you will be comfortable around, as you may spend more time with him/her than with your spouse.

–Look for a “smile.”

Copyright ©, 2008, Dr. Ben A. Carlsen, MBA. All Rights Reserved Worldwide for all Media. You may reprint this article in your ezine, newsletter, newspaper, magazine, website, etc. as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, leave my name and bio box intact, and you follow all of the EzineArticles Terms of Service for Publishers.

Ben A. Carlsen, Ed.D, MBA, is an experienced CEO and manager. Dr. Carlsen has over 30 years experience in management, consulting, and teaching. Currently the Head of the Business Department at Everest Institute, Hialeah, FL., he was Chairman of the Los Angeles County Productivity Managers Network and President of the Association for Systems Management (So. Calif. Chapter). Additional information can be obtained at http://drben.info

Power – It’s a Good Thing

by Patricia Guerzo 

Think about the last time you were frustrated.  The problem was probably something outside of your control.  Being hit with a life challenge in one part of your life can sometimes make you feel powerless, and that feeling can linger.  If you could just flip a mental “switch” and get your mojo back!

While I have not found a switch per se, I have learned, observed, and practiced some techniques that can push away those frustrated, powerless feelings.

It’s helpful to look at the sources of power we can have.  The most obvious are reward power, and coercive power – the power of a bully.  While effective in the short-term, they are rarely appropriate for everyday situations.

Positional power is awarded to the boss.  Even if someone is not a powerful person, their title gives them power.  There’s not much one can do to tap into this source right away.  Fortunately, there are others.

Referent power is the power to attract others and build loyalty.  People with charisma, good looks, and interpersonal skills have a lot of this power.  They are powerful because people want to be around them.  Employees with referent power can stall company changes, or help them succeed.  Management needs to identify people on their team with this power source, and make sure they manage them.

Similarly, expert power comes from what you know.  People are drawn to your valuable expertise.  Experts are needed beyond their organizational chain of command, and may have a public presence.

Unlike positional power, referent and expert power are available for anyone to own.  You can become smarter, get into better shape, and learn how to be motivating for others.  Most of the ways to increase your power are free.  Books, blogs, and newsletters everywhere can tell you how to be a better listener, lose 5 pounds, or where to find your industry’s latest white paper.

So the next time you feel frustrated because things aren’t going your way, challenge yourself to increase your personal power.  Take a walk, read an article, call a friend to listen; they all will help.

Better yet, make a list of things you always wanted to learn, appearance-enhancing steps you might want to try, and ways you can improve your interpersonal skills.  Then when life delivers a challenge, you can select a way to regain some power and control.

To use this article in your newsletter or blog- you must include the following: Patricia Guerzo, President of GBSC, is an accomplished business executive with a proven record of enhancing bottom line results.  http://guerzo.com

Assertive Communication – 6 Tips For Effective Use

By Lee Hopkins

What IS assertive communication?

Assertive communication is the ability to express positive and negative ideas and feelings in an  open, honest and direct way. It recognizes our rights whilst still respecting the rights of others. It allows us to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions without judging or blaming other people. And it allows us to constructively confront and find a mutually satisfying solution where conflict exists.

So why use assertive communication?

All of us use assertive behavior at times… quite often when we feel vulnerable or unsure of ourselves we may resort to submissive, manipulative or aggressive behavior.

Yet being trained in assertive communication actually increases the appropriate use of this sort of behavior. It enables us to swap old behavior patterns for a more positive approach to life. I’ve found that changing my response to others (be they work colleagues, clients or even my own family) can be exciting and stimulating.

The advantages of assertive communication

There are many advantages of assertive communication, most notably these:

  • It helps us feel good about ourselves and others
  • It leads to the development of mutual respect with others
  • It increases our self-esteem
  • It helps us achieve our goals
  • It minimizes hurting and alienating other people
  • It reduces anxiety
  • It protects us from being taken advantage of by others
  • It enables us to make decisions and free choices in life
  • It enables us to express, both verbally and non-verbally, a wide range of feelings and thoughts, both positive and negative

There are, of course, disadvantages…

Disadvantages of assertive communication

Others may not approve of this style of communication, or may not approve of the views you express. Also, having a healthy regard for another person’s rights means that you won’t always get what YOU want. You may also find out that you were wrong about a viewpoint that you held. But most importantly, as mentioned earlier, it involves the risk that others may not understand and therefore not accept this style of communication.

What assertive communication is not…

Assertive communication is definitely NOT a lifestyle! It’s NOT a guarantee that you will get what you want. It’s definitely NOT an acceptable style of communication with everyone, but at least it’s NOT being aggressive.

But it IS about choice

Four behavioral choices

There are, as I see it, four choices you can make about which style of communication you can employ. These types are:

direct aggression: bossy, arrogant, bulldozing, intolerant, opinionated, and overbearing

indirect aggression: sarcastic, deceiving, ambiguous, insinuating, manipulative, and guilt-inducing

submissive: wailing, moaning, helpless, passive, indecisive, and apologetic

assertive: direct, honest, accepting, responsible, and spontaneous

Characteristics of assertive communication

There are six main characteristics of assertive communication. These are:

  • eye contact: demonstrates interest, shows sincerity
  • body posture: congruent body language will improve the significance of the message
  • gestures: appropriate gestures help to add emphasis
  • voice: a level, well modulated tone is more convincing and acceptable, and is not intimidating
  • timing: use your judgment to maximize receptivity and impact
  • content: how, where and when you choose to comment is probably more important than WHAT you say

The importance of “I” statements

Part of being assertive involves the ability to appropriately express your needs and feelings. You can accomplish this by using “I” statements. These indicate ownership, do not attribute blame, focuses on behavior, identifies the effect of behavior, is direct and honest, and contributes to the growth of your relationship with each other.

Strong “I” statements have three specific elements:

  • Behavior
  • Feeling
  • Tangible effect (consequence to you)

Example: “I feel frustrated when you are late for meetings. I don’t like having to repeat information.”

Six techniques for assertive communication

There are six assertive techniques – let’s look at each of them in turn.

1. Behavior Rehearsal: which is literally practicing how you want to look and sound. It is a very useful technique when you first want to use “I” statements, as it helps dissipate any emotion associated with an experience and allows you to accurately identify the behavior you wish to confront.

2. Repeated Assertion (the ‘broken record’): this technique allows you to feel comfortable by ignoring manipulative verbal side traps, argumentative baiting and irrelevant logic while sticking to your point. To most effectively use this technique use calm repetition, and say what you want and stay focused on the issue. You’ll find that there is no need to rehearse this technique, and no need to ‘hype yourself up’ to deal with others.

Example:

“I would like to show you some of our products”
“No thank you, I’m not interested”
“I really have a great range to offer you”
“That may be true, but I’m not interested at the moment”
“Is there someone else here who would be interested?”
“I don’t want any of these products”
“Okay, would you take this brochure and think about it?”
“Yes, I will take a brochure”
“Thank you”
“You’re welcome”

3. Fogging: this technique allows you to receive criticism comfortably, without getting anxious or defensive, and without rewarding manipulative criticism. To do this you need to acknowledge the criticism, agree that there may be some truth to what they say, but remain the judge of your choice of action. An example of this could be, “I agree that there are probably times when I don’t give you answers to your questions.

4. Negative inquiry: this technique seeks out criticism about yourself in close relationships by prompting the expression of honest, negative feelings to improve communication. To use if effectively you need to listen for critical comments, clarify your understanding of those criticisms, use the information if it will be helpful or ignore the information if it is manipulative. An example of this technique would be, “So you think/believe that I am not interested?”

5. Negative assertion: this technique lets you look more comfortably at negatives in your own behavior or personality without feeling defensive or anxious, this also reduces your critics’ hostility. You should accept your errors or faults, but not apologize. Instead, tentatively and sympathetically agree with hostile criticism of your negative qualities. An example would be, “Yes, you’re right. I don’t always listen closely to what you have to say.”

6. Workable compromise: when you feel that your self-respect is not in question, consider a workable compromise with the other person. You can always bargain for your material goals unless the compromise affects your personal feelings of self-respect. However, if the end goal involves a matter of your self-worth and self-respect, THERE CAN BE NO COMPROMISE. An example of this technique would be, “I understand that you have a need to talk and I need to finish what I’m doing. So what about meeting in half an hour?”

Conclusion

Assertiveness is a useful communication tool. It’s application is contextual and it’s not appropriate to be assertive in all situations. Remember, your sudden use of assertiveness may be perceived as an act of aggression by others.

There’s also no guarantee of success, even when you use assertive communication styles appropriately.

“Nothing on earth can stop the individual with the right mental attitude from achieving their goal; nothing on earth can help the individual with the wrong mental attitude” W.W. Ziege

When you match consumer psychology with effective communication styles you get a powerful combination. Lee Hopkins can show you how to communicate better for better business results. At Hopkins-Business-Communication-Training.com you can find the secrets to communication success.

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