Archive | August 2013

4 New Ways to Use QR Codes

While some industry professionals are considering QR Codes a fad that has passed, I still find value in those fuzzy black and white squares. I’m talking about the real value they can have when they are used right and not someplace irrelevant like the back of a bus or a billboard that you read in 8 seconds.

To prove it, the number of mobile users scanning QR codes has actually grown 15 percent year over year according to comScore (and this article on OpenForum).

Consider these businesses taking QR codes out of the box in their marketing strategies.

QR code as lunch… Harney Sushi restaurant in San Diego scans an edible QR codes onto their rice paper and water-based ink QR code on their sushi. Customers can learn “where their fish has come from, who caught it and whether the species is under threat from the fishing industry,” a growing concern among sustainable sushi eaters. The QR code lets restaurant patrons learn about what they’re eating in a fun and unique way.

QR code as HR tool… a tattoo parlor published a newspaper ad of a light QR code embedded on a swath of skin according to FastCo Create. Tattoo artists interested in working for the salon were asked to fill in the QR code “carefully and show off their skills.” When the code was filled you could scan it to get the shops application.

QR codes as memorial… Interestingly, a number of companies are adding QR codes to tombstones and grave sites, which when scanned, sends the grieving to memorial websites filled with personal stories, photos, music and video. I’m not sure I would want to be immortalized forever on the web…

QR codes for your pet… Wonder if your dog walker is keeping your furry friend happy? Tools like Pet Check Technology allow dog walkers and GPS to track and log walks that can be emailed to the owner for record keeping. They can scan the QR code tag every time they pick up  your dog and you’ll be alerted they’re on the job.

QR codes don’t always have to be used in the traditional sense. What other ways to you think technology will merge with our culture and lifestyle?

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Online Advertising Still Fetches Top Dollar

dollar-2-1003609-mAdAge recently analyzed where the most marketing dollars are being spent online… no surprise that Facebook came in number one but did you know that it makes $1 million to $2.4 million a day for its upcoming in-feed video ads?! Thats nearly double what Facebook currently receives for its home page ads that can reach entire audience segments for $500,000 a day… Outrageous!

How are big brands like Coke, Ford and Nike spending their marketing budgets? Well let’s consider this…

YouTube attracts nearly as many unique visitors each month as Facebook and has similar ad rates to match. Advertising during the holidays can cost about $500,000 and includes an additional $100,000 commitment. Channel sponsorships start at around $1 million.

Yahoo is another major player in the online advertising industry, able to pull $450,000 to $700,000 for each daylong home page takeover. A standard banner on Yahoo News main page costs $120,000 per day.

AOL, now a secondary news source, asks only $275,000 to $300,000 per day for home page banner runs, though it can be had for $150,000 during fire sales.

Disney-owned, ESPN was considered the world’s most valauble media property by Forbes magazine last year. The sports site garners $200,000 to $300,000 per day for a standard box banner on its home page.

Twitter advertising options and charges are very affordable for small business, but limits its daily Promoted Trends to one a day affording it to charge $200,000 for each advertiser.

The New York Times, “the paper of record” has tremendous reach and offers pushdown ads  overtaking its home page at a cost of only $120,000 per day.

Yahoo’s recent acquisition of Tumblr could prove to be lucrative. The ad unit has only been in market for a couple of months but already earns $20,000 per advertiser a day as part of a $200,000 commitment.

According to AdAge, Forbes’ also charges top dollar for its display ad that pops up the first time someone navigates to the site. For a one a day pop up to each unique visitor is $75 to $100 per every thousand visitors (Forbes.com receives 650,000 unique visitors a day).

Then there’s StarGreetz, which runs personalized video ads to each person they are served to (as in the video actually uses the individuals/recipients name and other personal info) charges $20,000 to $110,000 per month. Your message could even be delivered by celebrity spokespersons like Lady Antebellum or Nascar driver Kyle Busch.

So the next time you want to skip that online video ad or close the pop-up, take a moment to think about how valuable your 30 seconds is worth.

Strategies to Increase Email Opt-ins

hand-over-keyboard-1377963-mWhile the Internet marketers continue to develop new ways to engage your audience, we’re going to focus on a tried and true method… email marketing.

Yes your customers receive dozens of marketing emails daily, but top research shows that 77% of consumers still prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email (Source: ExactTarget).

The first strategy for enhancing your email marketing efforts should be to consider Pop-ups and Overlays (area round the pop-up box becomes darkened to provide more contrast and focus on your message). Although some consider these methods obtrusive, they are very effective ways to get more subscribers and leads. eConsultancy reports that an average overlay will increase opt-ins by up to 400%.

When creating your pop-up, consider its DESIGN (branding), HEADLINE (attention getting/problem solver? benefit?), TIMING (appear at different times from when someone has landed on your site) and SIZE (attention getting but not a big “empty” space). These are important factors that can have a huge influence on your results.

Another method to increase email opt-ins would be to simply add the “Enter Your Email Here” within the pop-up field. It’s direct and effective without the end user having to do anything additional but to sign up, right there and then.

Also consider removing other distractions within the message field. One test generated a 28% increase in signups by removing the following line of text that read, “Not Ready to take that step?  Okay, Why not just Subscribe to the RSS Feed?” below the email opt-in.

A growing option with marketers is to add a colored bar that sits at the top of your website and asks visitors to take a specified action… ie, Offer to try product or service, Free whitepaper, etc. There are several web services available that can help you determine the right size and color to get your customers attention.

Also, review your landing page – where most opt-in forms are found. Every landing page should have some key elements including a headline, benefits (get user excited and interested), call to action/offer, opt-in form (where they actually sign up) and social proof (show your credibility – consider testimonials, video and reviews, social mentioned and sites you’ve been featured on).

Finally, should your opt-in be single or double? A double opt-in means after someone signs up, they receive a confirmation email and have to click on the confirmation to be added to your list. While it remains a controversial choice for any business, the best method would be to test it for yourself.

Then, once you’ve tested this method, try another one and another. There is no sure way to succeed with email marketing other than to continue to send and review your messages then make adjustments for the next series of messages.

Consumer behaviors are ever changing and so should your online marketing methods.

Marketing Gets Bloody during Shark Week

Shark-WeekNow in its 26th season, Shark Week on the Discovery Channel is making a bloody mess of advertising messages. The continued success of Shark Week has generated major appeal with consumers, is growing on social media and becoming a staple of summer pop culture…. how could it not after 26 years.

Of course, major advertisers are now jumping off the deep end to use the trending programming in their marketing both in video and online content. For instance, Tide purchased promoted tweets to push its animated Vine under the tagline “We get out blood, too.” The Weather Channel is also branding messages for it and its coverage of hurricane season on social media (Twitter and YouTube). Volkswagen is also on board with several messages relating to the special programming and even purchased the term Shark Week in promoted tweets.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch, here are a few of the best ads developed as shared by AdWeek.

Successful programming like Shark Week is a dream for advertisers who can tailor their ad messages on social media channels to maximize their reach. I think this trend is only going to grow and become more influential as consumers blend their TV and online habits.

Do you think more advertisers will use social trends in their marketing content?