You just got your head around social media, and now something new has popped up on the marketing radar screen. What is this new thing? It’s a phone!
Smartphones are everywhere in the news, with stories about new tasks a phone can do, beyond making calls. Smartphones are becoming the new PC. It is predicted that October 2012 will be the tipping point where smartphones equal “function phones.” (Asymco 8/10/11 article, “155 Million Mobile Phone Users Don’t Use Smartphones”)
This change in technology has created an opportunity for businesses to tweak their marketing strategy and stand out to consumers. While the whole area of smartphone marketing is new, I would like to share a “primer” to get you started.
First, get ready to be seen. Unless your website is new, it may not be formatted for mobile viewing. A smartphone will see just 10-15% of the page at any time. Your web resource can easily format your site for smartphone viewing.
While this may seem insignificant, fast forward to next October, when more than half of all phone users may give a brand “halo” to companies that aim to be visually appealing on their phone. Like the absence of a social media presence today, by next year any company whose site does not display properly on a smartphone could be viewed as behind the times.
Next, get a QR code, and link it to your Facebook Page. Use this little picture on your print materials to link to a reader to your page using the smartphone that is probably within their reach. QR stands for quick response, the time it can take from a visual cue to a connection to a URL.
A word of caution – it takes about 45 seconds to scan the code, and open the URL. So don’t expect drivers to scan it while moving. In some states, QR reading is the same as texting while driving – illegal for safety reasons. Place it instead in locations where people are waiting – restaurant table, waiting room.
Once your URL has been loaded into someone’s phone, they can access it in their history. Your site becomes one of several dozen in their handheld device’s history, separating you from the three trillion other websites.
Now, make it portable. Apply your QR code to a tabletop vinyl display and put it up whenever your company has an event. Leave it up in your lobby or window at other times.
Because these codes are so new, many advertisers surround their QR codes with text that tells the reader what that code will access – “Watch this video.” This helps introduce the technology by providing benefits, so consider this simple technique to increase the activity on your code.
I love these tactics, because they are cost-effective (QR codes are free) and piggyback on the smartphone popularity that will last for the foreseeable future. QR Codes may breathe new life into print and postcards, too. Take an hour or two to work ON your business and get into the phones of your new customers!