Email Marketing & QR Codes: 5 Ways To Use Them Together

According to Wikipedia, a QR Code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

Common in Japan, where it was created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. QR is the abbreviation for Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.[1]

by Hal Licino, Tuesday, February 8, 2011

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If the UPC code was the salient product symbol icon of the last century, the QR code will surely represent the 21st century. This two-dimensional matrix barcode is universally readable by camera or scanner-equipped mobile devices, and is becoming so prominent it is featured on everything from magazine pages to billboards.

With the increasing popularity of mobile web access, QR codes are becoming an integral component to any successful email marketing strategy. Here are five ways to apply the synergy between email and QR codes to your brand’s benefit.

1. Integrate the QR code into your email content. Placing a QR code as an integral part of your email campaign content is a tip that should be adopted by any savvy marketer. The QR code in your email should link to a specific landing page that will facilitate your review of your tracking and analytics, allowing you to identify the precise response being provided by the mobile devices reading the code.

2. Add the QR code into your email & forum signatures. In the same way that it was de rigueur to include a link to your landing or signup page in your email signatures in the last decade, including the QR code has become effectively mandatory in this decade. Each of your outgoing emails should feature a QR code at the bottom in the signature spot in order to assist readers in linking to your subscription or selling pages. An additional advantage of QR codes is that they are technically not conventional URL links, so that they can be used in forums that support images, but have their comments set up as nofollows.

3. Reward your best customers with a special QR code. Promoting a “members-only” presentation, special sale, or particular discount with QR codes in specifically selected emails can serve as a prominent response expediter. A good example is that you can segment out a list of subscribers who make larger or more frequent purchases, and reward them with a QR code in their emails that provides them with particular discounts or acts as an invitation to a VIP event.

4. Link the QR code back to exclusive informational content. QR code-based rewards and access to specific content should not be limited to your elite customers, but can be extended to your entire subscriber base. The use of QR codes to link back to exclusive content such as case studies, white papers, how-tos, tips sheets, and other valuable product content present on your website can help drive response and sales. Educating your prospects while entertaining them is a hallmark of email marketing, and QR codes bring that strategy into focus.

5. Unfold a promotional story over time with a QR code-enabled drip campaign. The efficiencies of drip campaigns can be maximized through the use of a different QR code in each email. This use of the code can lead your customer through a journey of discovery over time, assisting their familiarization with your brand image and philosophy. Constructing your QR code drip campaign as a chronologically unfolding story can draw in your audience and set up anticipation for the next entry.

Even though it may at first seem like nothing more than a pixilated postage stamp, the QR code is here to stay and the use of these square matrixes has just begun to be explored in the email strategies of business owners and online marketers. Taking advantage of the myriad applications of QR codes will prove to be a boon to your mobile customers and your bottom line.

Attentionomics: Captivating Attention in the Age of Content Decay

This posts covers a new Edelman Digital Insights package we’re releasing today on “Attentionomics.” You can find the deck below and on Slideshare.
The essence of this deck is that attention is linked with economic value creation. However, with infinite content options (space) yet finite attention (time) and personalized social algorithms curating it all for us, it’s going to be increasingly challenging to stand out.
Let’s  consider Twitter, for example. They are seeing a staggering 110 million tweets per day. And the volume is growing. But therein lies the challenge. Each tweet decays almost as soon as it is released. Some 92% of all retweets (and 97% of replies) are within the first 60 minutes according to Sysomos.
The situation in some ways is worse on Facebook where a highly personalized algorithm called EdgeRank curates our feed based on personal affinities, content formats and timeliness. There’s not just one Facebook but 500M Facebooks. And, according to Vitrue, the majority of us participate at top and bottom of the hour. This means that anything you post to your Facebook page needs to create a social surge well before then.
So how do you make this work in your favor? Simple, businesses must obey the laws of attentionomics (e.g.) time and space. In the deck above you will find two sets of solutions.
The first set of solutions covers space. It explains how to scale their surface area via digital embassies by…
  • Hand-crafting your content for each embassy
  • Activating employees as thought leaders
  • Tightly integrating owned and social assets
The second section covers time and how to make it your ally through “dayparted engagement.” The action steps here include:
  • Practicing mindfulness with bifocal awareness (different than, but related to monitoring)
  • Optimizing for the best times to engage
  • Testing, planning and measuring
If you’re an Edelman client you will also get access to specific tools and techniques, but I will share one with you today. Check out Timely, a brand new tool from Flowtown that helps you optimize your tweets and track their performance. It’s a good start and they are planning to add some Pro services soon that I hope will elevate this into a must-use tool.
As always, we are eager to hear your feedback on this important topic.

Posted 7 days ago | Viewed 229785 times | Favorited 3 times

Quick Social Wins For The Enterprise

By Rich Harris | February 8, 2011, 7:20am PST

If you work for an enterprise level company that is fairly new to social media, there’s a chance that you or someone in upper management made your first or second order of business the claiming of your company name accounts on Twitter, Facebook, if they haven’t already done so themselves. While all well and good (and obviously necessary), usually after that, companies will try and start engaging customers right away, running marketing campaigns and initiatives, forgetting that they may not have addressed some of the basics to internally tie in all of their marketing efforts and channels by simply informing people from the inside out that their company is involved in social media.

Here are some things to think about doing that are very small in effort but can be big in their effectiveness if you can make them happen. The integration of social media into an enterprise level business takes time if you want it to eventually drive key business decisions across functional groups, but there are ways to speed up that process by taking care of the low-hanging foundational fruit first.

Some of this might be common sense to most but you’d be surprised how many strong long-running enterprise company’s haven’t done any of these types of quick wins to capitalize on their own size and long-established communication channels.

1. Verify that on marketing/PR email blast templates, regardless if it’s B2B or B2C, that you’ve updated the footer to have text links to your Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn accounts/pages. Many large companies spend thousands of dollars on bulk email campaigns still whose lists are in the sometimes millions of opt-in customers. Every email that goes out to a customer without your social media info on it is a missed opportunity.

2. Most larger companies have a descent-size onboarding process for new employees including documentation and a one day orientation. New hires are usually given information about the company and it’s web properties. Promoting your social media channels within that environment is a great way to quickly get your employees more engaged in what their company is doing so that they can get a more expanded view of what’s going on outside of their own more immediate work environment.

3. Include social media links in the templates of company-wide internal communications. While the subject of an internal memo or communication may not be about social media, it helps to remind people internally where to find your company online. Quick links never hurt.

4. Notify the entire company internally when bigger company promotions or milestones are happening so that employees can be leveraged as your extended social media/marketing team to post a link or content to their personal social media accounts. Some people might not be open to it but for the most part, the livelihood and positive buzz surrounding the company they work for only benefits them.

5. Make sure your social links exist on the company’s corporate contact or about page.

None of these take a lot of time to implement (or shouldn’t) and they help to solidify social media awareness when and wherever your company communicates to further help the integration of social into your company’s culture. If you are working for a company that existed pre-social media however, you’d be surprised how many little opportunities like these to connect everyone are missed.

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Rich Harris has been a web marketer for over 10 years, with over 14 years experience in high-tech, both in the consumer and enterprise spaces.

Rich Harris

Rich Harris

Rich Harris has been a web marketer for over 10 years, with over 14 years experience in high-tech, both in the consumer and enterprise spaces. Currently heading up the social media effort for a large prominent high-tech company, he has a passion for people and community building coupled with a strong analytical aversion to online marketing’s status quo.

A New Perspective Linking Time Spent and Ad Results

Time Impact Ratio For Ads

Magazines Deliver Most Ad Value per Minute

While some members of the ad community look at time spent with media as a way to assess a medium’s advertising value, this approach fails to recognize a key concept: time spent with a medium is not a meaningful measure of advertising value unless it connects to advertising outcomes.

To help marketers address this issue, the analysis below presents a new perspective that links time spent with media to ad impact, using third party sources.  This resulting metric, dubbed the “Time-Ad Impact Ratio,” can help marketers to evaluate time spent in a way that aligns with their desire for better results.

Findings

The Time-Ad Impact Ratio shows the following rankings, which differ significantly from those that exist if time spent is examined in isolation (without regard to results):

  • Magazines emerge as the leading medium with  5.5 times more ad influence relative to the time spent with magazines on an average day
  • Newspapers rank second with 4.9 times more ad influence relative to time spent
  • The Internet has 2.5 times more ad influence relative to time spent
  • TV has 2.3 times more ad influence relative to time spent
  • Radio has 1.1 times more ad influence relative to time spent

Time Ad-Impact Ratio: Factors Behind the Calculation

How the Time-Ad Impact Ratio Is Computed

The Time-Ad Impact Ratio is made up of two components:

  1. Share of time consumers spent with each media in an average day, based on MRI’s MediaDay study, and
  2. The influence that advertising in each medium exerts on consumer purchases, according to Deloitte’s “State of the Media Democracy” Survey, 2008.  In this study, consumers were asked to rank the types of advertising most influential on their buying decisions.

The calculation is performed by dividing a medium’s influence by its percent share of the time spent with all media in an average day.  When the data on time spent with media and media influence are brought together, the resulting Time-Ad Impact Ratio shows advertisers the ad influence of a medium relative to time spent with that medium.

For any skeptics who question how magazines could enjoy such a commanding lead, other recent research provides supplementary evidence of consumer involvement with magazines and magazine ads relative to other media:

  • When consumers read magazines they are much less likely to use other media or participate in non-media activities while reading, giving them more opportunity to engage with the advertising or the editorial content (BIGresearch, December 2008)
  • Magazines consistently get higher scores on the engagement dimension of “ad receptivity” than TV or the internet (Simmons Multi-Media Engagement Study, 2008)
  • Magazines yield the lowest ROI for purchase influence (Marketing Evolution, 2008) and the greatest impact on purchase intent (Dynamic Logic/Millward Brown, 2007)
  • Magazines are the medium most likely to generate web search (BIGresearch, December 2008)
  • Magazines are the medium most likely to complement the web in reaching social networkers (Mediamark Research & Intelligence, Fall 2008)

For more information about the Time-Ad Impact Ratio, please contact Stephen Frost, Director of Research, Magazine Publishers of America, at sfrost@magazine.org.

Build Utility

To be relevant, marketers have to do more in the digital space than tweet and grow fans

June 2010 By Jeff Molander

Successful marketing is becoming less about catering to (or creating) desire, positive sentiment or aspiration among customers. In this new world economy, engagement and buzz aren’t enough. Facebook fans or Twitter followers aren’t enough. Buzzing or creating awareness that marketers think will generate incremental sales isn’t enough to please the C- 
suite executives.

Success today is more about discovering latent, hidden demand among customers and capturing it, using digital tools such as 
social media.

That sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But the real—mostly untold—success stories simply don’t arise out of experimentation with Twitter and Facebook. Instead, I see success stories being built from the ground up, with usefulness and value-creation in mind. They’re marketing-oriented, strategic investments aimed at creating loyalty by improving customer experience, not tactical expenses.

As a marketer, are you tired of the never-ending social media ROI debate and trying to figure out how your campaigns can start realizing tangible, meaningful returns through the use of social media and mobile marketing? I’ll show you how to make emerging digital media reliably produce leads, sales and increased customer value that creates buying behavior. For starters, here’s how in simply two words: Build utility.

The Secret Sauce: 
Uber-relevance
The secret sauce is being endlessly useful and relevant to your customers. This means providing them with relevant tools—utilities. Applications? Sure, but don’t get caught up in the hype. Think in strategic terms and focus on the essentials; what customers need as a part of everyday life. It’s easy to fall into the trap 
of novelty.

For example, how many consumers love iPhone mobile and social applications? Many. But how many of those apps are truly needed by users and used as part of everyday life? The techno-
wizardry is oh-so-sexy with social and mobile apps, and the technology ends up with the attention nearly all of the time. But this attention is actually a distraction; it’s a hurdle that business decision-makers have to clear in order to remain relevant.

A Value Exchange
What can all marketers learn from Adagio Teas? As it turns out, a lot. This is a great example of social media success using the concept of utility. Adagio’s fully customized tea timer desktop widget helps tea connoisseurs brew a perfect cup each time by delivering a “proper steep time” for almost any kind of tea. Adagio gives tea drinkers a useful tool; in return, it gets access to the customer’s intimate needs-focused information—such as whether she’s tried Adagio’s teas, what her favorite teas are, her name and e-mail address—which the customer provides before downloading the application.

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Companies Mentioned:

What Your Legs Say About You

Hosiery used to be boring. Stylish women virtually dropped it in recent years, opting for bare legs and careful pedicures. Check out the Wall Street Jounal’s take on suddenly hot hosiery looks.

The Gams Graph

But now, tights and stockings are exploding into fashion, with a rainbow of brilliant hues and eclectic patterns.

This spring—a time when legwear used to be put away—DKNY is shipping new looks to stores that include lace, floral sheers, a swirly trompe l’oeil pattern, and “distressed” hosiery that looks like it’s torn. The Hue brand has tights and sheer stockings that span the universe of patterns from brocade to paint-splattered.

[fashpic1] ReutersFishnets appeared Jean-Paul Gaultier’s recent couture collection.

Whatever your hunger, there’s hosiery to satisfy it. The new looks make a vivid addition to the season’s minimalist clothes. A pair of mod orange legs can enliven a white-on-white outfit. Spiderweb mesh stockings can offer a black skirt a touch of Mudd Club insouciance.

The problem: With all that personality, today’s hosiery can make an outfit—or completely derail it. As with jeans, some savvy decision-making is in order when it comes to the office. Since our legs are speaking so loudly these days, it’s important to consider what they’re saying.

Sarah Whittaker, a Savannah, Ga., image consultant, looks at workplace clothing as battle dress, which should be strategically planned. “There are penalties in everyday work environments,” she says. “If someone wears the wrong tie, you may not think they’re worthy of working with you on a project.”

Women have to be even more careful in predominantly male offices. “You may think it’s just a pair of red tights,” says Ms. Whittaker. “But actually, it can make a big difference” in how you are perceived.

[fashpic2] Catwalking/Getty ImagesFishnets were also featured in Balmain’s spring/summer show.

Another important consideration is the office you work in. People working in conservative fields, such as law, accounting, or money management, should only cautiously reveal their inner punk at work.

Avoiding a ‘Goth Girl’ Look

“I adore free spirits. I hire them all the time,” says Patty Edwards, a frequent CNBC contributor and chief investment officer of Trutina Financial in Bellevue, Wash. But “if I walk into a brokerage and they look like Goth girl with multi-striped leggings, I’m not going to feel good leaving my money there.”

Indeed, Judith Bowman, a Smithfield, R.I., consultant whose specialty is protocol, advises that if there’s any doubt at all about what’s appropriate, women should stick with conservative hosiery—nude, beige, or black-opaque.

Wearing sweater-knit tights, so reminiscent of school yards and pinafores, could buttonhole you as someone’s assistant.

[fashpic3] WireImage/Getty ImagesBrighter hues popped up at the shows of designer Wunderkind.

Yet there are a few places where colorful or patterned legs can help soften your image. Ms. Edwards says she would like to see “wild tights” on a doctor, for instance. “It tells me they’re open enough to see me as a person,” she says. Also, those working in creative industries—a growing segment of our economy—have long leashes when it comes to style. The unadorned clothing styles coming out for spring leave room for excitement on the legs.

Working the Contrasts

To pull off a bold leg look, keep your overall statement simple. Colorful or patterned tights and sheers look best worn under a block of color—like a solid-color suit or dress. If your suit is heavily adorned or busy, go with plainer legs. Be sure that the personality of your legwear matches your upper body: Distressed hose are too Sid-and-Nancy for your interview suit.

When it comes to colors, khaki is the new neutral. Nearly all of DKNY’s styles come in a choice of khaki or black, including the distressed and lace versions.

And don’t be afraid of lace. It’s a hot look for spring in all areas of the wardrobe, from dresses and tops to even shoes. Again, if your suit sports lace, your legs probably shouldn’t. If you think a full leg of lace would be too much for your office, you could try knee-high lace socks, worn with pants and closed-toe shoes.

[fashpic4] Catwalking/Getty ImagesBright legs also appeared at Manish Arora.

A Tip: Tall Boots

Sometimes a little bit of pattern can go a long way. Wearing knee-high boots can tone down a loud or racy pair of tights, because only a sliver shows above the knee.

In an office-casual environment, stylish hosiery could enliven a conventional look, says Cincinnati-based image consultant Jill Haney. At the headquarters of Procter & Gamble, one of her corporate clients, she says, a chic-but-conservative gray dress could be spiced up with purple hose.

Purple, she notes, is a power color. And in most professions, the ultimate question is how powerful you look. “Set a standard for yourself,” says Ms. Whittaker, “and decide what sort of authority you want to have.”

Write to Christina Binkley at christina.binkley@wsj.com