NeoMedia Releases Barcode Marketing Best Practices White Paper

Mobile barcodes (the most common of which are QR Codes) are an easy way for small businesses to market to the ever-growing mobile consumer. They have their smartphones on them at all times and their ability to digest and react to content via their mobile device is growing at a staggering rate here in the U.S. So it makes sense for a small business to adopt some sort of mobile marketing campaign.

To use barcodes to reach out to the mobile consumer by just sticking a bunch of them on your flyers and business cards may not be the best way to gain the increased attention your business is looking for. In short, mobile barcode placement has to make sense, the code’s destination has to be optimized, and it should invoke a reaction or engagement from the person who scanned the code.

Now that’s just what I think mobile barcodes should do for your mobile marketing campaign. NeoMedia Technologies has released a June 2011 edition of its Mobile Barcode Best Practices that “offers detailed insight on how to create and manage your mobile barcode campaign to achieve maximum success.”

In the White Paper (that you have to scan the barcode in this post to access…clever) NeoMedia offers 11 useful tips that anybody looking to tap into the mobile marketing industry should adopt. And it’s not just for QR Codes either, whether you are using Microsoft Tags, Data Matrix or QR Codes, the NeoMedia barcode white paper does a nice job of giving an overview of how best to implement a solid barcode strategy to supplement your mobile marketing campaign regardless of what code you use.

Like I mentioned earlier, the clever folks over at NeoMedia have restricted access to the white paper to those who scan their QR Code to reveal the pin needed to view/download the document…And I’m not about to give it to you either, so you’re going to have to do some work for yourself:

1. Scan the barcode in this post using your favorite QR code reader, or download NeoMedia’s free NeoReader application here to reveal the pin number.

2. Visit the NeoMedia’s Mobile Barcode Best Practices website and scroll to the bottom to enter the pin from the code.

3. Download, enjoy, and make sure your business implements some of these tips to ensure you are getting the most out of your mobile marketing campaign.

    ShopSavvy Teams with ShareSquare for Easy QR Code Campaigns

    It looks as if the past couple of weeks have been good for ShopSavvy, the mobile app that lets you scan product barcodes and see if a cheaper deal can be found locally or online. Just last week I did a story about ShopSavvy and Dropbox teaming up to save and sync your barcode scans to the cloud. Now ShopSavvy has announced a collaboration with ShareSquare to make QR Code campaigns simple for your average small business owner looking to market to the always connected, mobile consumer.

    Backstory: Last year, ShopSavvy announced its ability to scan QR Codes in addition to just product UPC barcodes with its “Scan with ShopSavvy” program. The program was directed towards small business owners, retailers, and advertisers looking to take advantage of QR Code technology in marketing and advertising campaigns. Any business/organization that signed up for the program, received special QR codes that when scanned, would direct users to the businesses special mobile landing page for more information about the product…and of course, encourage users to download the ShopSavvy reader (if they were using another scanner),

    Fast-forward to today: ShopSavvy has tapped ShareSquare, a pretty big deal when it comes to QR Coded mobile marketing campaigns, to give its mobile landing pages more “oomph”. What does all of this mean to you? As a small business owner, retailer, or marketer, if you decide to sign use the “Scan with ShopSavvy” Program, your QR codes will have even greater functionality, as ShareSquare offers an intuitive self-serve CMS that empowers the marketer to craft an effective QR code campaign in minutes.

    “Many marketers have experimented with QR codes only to make mistakes that have undermined or crippled their campaigns,” said Alexander Muse, co-founder and CEO of ShopSavvy. “ShareSquare removes the guesswork and enables agencies and brands to deploy a mobile-optimized experience tailored to their campaign objectives.”

    Check out a demo of ShareSquare’s mobile capabilities by scanning the QR code in the pic above, or watching the video:

    Let’s face it, seems as if everybody is browsing the web via a mobile device. If you want to drive some of that traffic to your business, website…whatever, you need to adopt some sort of mobile marketing campaign or at the very least, make your website “mobile friendly”. QR Codes make it stupid-easy for mobile consumers to find out more information about your business. With apps/services like ShopSavvy, your entire marketing budget doesn’t have to be wrapped up in hiring a brand-name agency just to reach out to those potential clients/customers/consumers who just so happen to have a smartphone handy.

    [via: PRWeb]

    GetContact.Info: Add Analytics To Business Cards with QR Code

    Adding a QR Code to your business card that allows people to scan the code with their smartphone camera and a QR Code reader app is genius. The ability to track actual scans and manage multiple QR Code contacts is on a another level entirely.

    This free service from GetContact.Info allows users to create an online profile using their contact information. That profile is then embedded onto a QR Code that you can either download and add to a business card design, or use the free business card template, complete with your contact info and code, to create your own business card. You’re just not limited to business cards either. You can add the code to stickers, t-shirts…anything.

    Embedded in your code from GetContact.Info are analytics that display data on when and where your card/code was scanned, in addition to receiving email notifications when your cards are scanned.

    When a user scans your code, they are taken to mobile-friendly site where they have the option to add their contact info to your account, or download your vcard directly into their phone’s address book. Note: iPhone users don’t quite have this ability yet, but you can opt to send the vcard via email, then add the vcard from the message once it’s received.

    Since GetContact.Info is a free web application, any gadget with a web browser can create and edit contact profiles, while any mobile device with a QR Code Reader app can get your contact info by just scanning your code.

    People are still mentally trained to ask for a business card, but with your info embedded onto a QR code, they can get your contact info right into their phone just by scanning your code, instead of the normal “throw your business card in the junk drawer of their office along with the other poor [business card] souls.”

    PaperLinks for Business: Digital Brand Interaction via QR Code

    We have talked about QR Codes here on Small Biz before. The consensus was that the technology hasn’t gained complete support in the U.S…yet.

    That isn’t stopping compaines like Paperlinks from being innovators in the QR Code industry. Last October, the company launched capabilities that enable users to create QR codes on just about anything and offered mini mobile sites to host the information behind the QR Code. Now Paperlinks is reaching out to its potential business clientele looking to give their customers a more interactive and digital brand experience.

    Businesses can create their own Paperlinks in minutes by signing up and creating a profile on the Paperlinks website. The “Paperlinks” serve as mobile landing pages for users who scan the QR code to get more information about the product or service. Businesses can customize the Paperlinks by choosing from a number of easy-to-deploy interactive modules. Each module can be updated at any time, with changes reflected in real-time. The drag-and-drop interface makes setting up a Paperlink a snap.

    Modules include: Company information; photos, videos, and other media; to promotional offers, downloads, and Social networking feeds. Businesses who use Paperlinks also have access to an account dashboard provides mobile analytics on who, where and when your Paperlink has been scanned. If those features are not enough, Paperlinks has its own free QR Code reader app for most mobile platforms that users can quickly download and get started scanning your businesses Paperlinks.

    Business pricing starts at $24.99 and includes a host of features that will get your business slapping QR Codes on just about anything you can get your hands on.

    Scan (and Create) QR Codes with QRDroid

    Seriously, there are TONS of QR code readers out there. For Android, the simple and trusty Barcode Scanner app works just fine for Android devices. But if you want to actually create a QR code of ANY information using your smartphone, that drastically reduces the number of quality QR apps.

    QRDroid on the other hand, is a complete QR code reader/generator that will not only scan QR codes from your camera, decode them from images saved in your device or from URL of images stored on internet sites; but also creates QR codes in less than one second from your contacts, bookmarks and installed applications.

    You can also create a code for calendar events, phone numbers, geo-locations, sms, or any text you want. Once you generate the code, it will display on the phone’s screen so another person with a QR code reader can scan it; or you can send the code via text, email, or IM. The ability to scan QR codes found while surfing the web on your Android device is enough of an incentive for me.

    But allow me to provide a real-world business application: You are at a networking event and during your pitch you mention your website. The other person is pretty tech-savvy, so they whip out his/her smartphone to type in the address. Instead of you both of fumbling around with correctly pronouncing and accurately typing in your lengthy URL (that you KNOW you should have changed), you can use QRDroid to generate a QR code that he/she can scan and immediately to be sent to your site.

    It also works well if you run out of business cards and you know that very next person you talk to is going to ask for one. If they have a QR Code reader, simply take a couple of seconds to create a code so you will be ready when they extend their hand to receive your business card (that will probably end up filing away anyway).

    You can get QRDroid as a free app, or you can donate $1.50 to get the ad-free version. Hit up [the new and improved] Android Market for more information/download

    …or scan this QR code with your Android device

    QRDroid in the Android Market

    Scan QR Code and Make Payments with Mobio App

    If you haven’t seen on of these…

    Then you haven’t been paying attention to the internet over the past year or so. They are called QR Codes and simply put, they give users access to the information encoded on the image by simply scanning the image using your smartphone’s camera and a QR Code reader app. Instead of typing a long url or manually adding a new contact, just create a code and other mobile users can scan it and automatically gain access to the encoded information quicker than typing on a tiny smartphone keyboard.

    The Mobio QR Reader app not only gives users the ability to scan the codes automatically (no taking a picture first), but now you can make mobile payments to anyone who accepts “Mobio” by simply scanning a code that corresponds with your purchase.

    Once you download the app, create a profile, and enter your financial information, Mobio organizes all of your transactions through one trusted device. No more credit cards or wallets, data entry or passwords. Mobio is not just smartphone user-based, businesses and organizations can reach out to a broader “mobile” audience by offering Mobio payments to patrons. Using easily (and securely) encoded and scanned QR code technology, Mobio makes identity management and protection simple and convenient for both individuals and organizations, resulting in increased value from purchases and better management of all interactions.

    The Mobio QR Code Reader app is a free download for both iPhone and Android mobile devices. For more information, visit the Mobio Website.

    NFC is the New Black

    The Lowdown: Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology has been making the rounds this past year as companies are starting to develop and enhance ways to utilize it in everyday settings. To refresh your memory, or to hip you to the game altogether, NFC is comprised of small chips encoded with information that can be decoded when a compatible device is in proximity of the chip. Any type of information can be stored on the chip, and devices that can decode the information can be as small as (you guessed it) a cell phone.

    Specifically, by adding the technology to cell/smart phones to enable people to pay for items by linking a credit card or bank account to a microSD card with NFC tech built in and simply waving the phone over a POS device at the time of sale. Major companies like Visa and Bank of America are testing this out as we speak.

    Google has decided to enter into the fray with their newest Android mobile device, the Nexus S, that will have NFC built into the phone – no need for an additional micoSD Card). Nexus S owners will be able to wave (or hover) their phones over NFC chips that can embedded into stickers, t-shirts, posters, business cards, etc. and decode/display the information.

    Concurrently, Google has launched its “Hotpot” service that works with Google Places that offers businesses NFC-enabled window decals to display at their locations. The idea is that passers-by with NFC readers (like smartphones) can hover their device over the window decal to automatically learn more about the business, get special deals/offers, read and write reviews. The end result, more people using Google Places, and more foot traffic to businesses.

    Does all this sound familiar? Well, I am a fan of QR code technology that enables people to create funny-looking barcodes encoded with information that can be decoded with QR code reader apps on smartphones. QR codes can be encoded with any type of information and can be made into the same stuff that NFC can be made into. The difference is that QR Code has to be scanned manually by decoder apps in conjunction with smartphone camera, versus NFC, which readers only have to be in proximity of a chip to decode the information.

    Where am I going with all of this? It seems as if we are still waiting for QR Code to be accepted by the masses, and now in comes NFC technology already stealing some of it’s thunder. While NFC (chips) sounds WAY cooler than QR Code (barcodes), and is easier to use, QR Codes are easier/cheaper to produce and can be used over the web as well…

    Scan the QR Code
    Mario's Shirt

    My Verdict: I think as smartphones become more and more of a de facto NECESSITY for everyone, and you start to see the entire contents of wallets and pocketbooks being replaced by smartphones, I think both QR Codes and NFC tech will have their respective place in our “can’t live without” device.

    But I must ask – How could you use NFC or QR Codes for your business?

    QR Code – What’s the Hold Up?

    I’ve been waiting for this mobile technology to take off here in the U.S. So far the reaction/adaptation of this technology has been a steady “meh”.

    If you’re not familiar with QR Code (Quick-Response Code), I’ll give you the background. It’s essentially a mobile barcode that you can encrypt with any type of information. Contact info, calendar appointments, even URL’s can be encoded via QR code for mobile devices to “scan” and decrypt the information. It’s a very quick way to pass along information to anybody using a mobile device.

    Business owners can create codes to quickly get their contact info into a client’s mobile address book. Companies can create codes that will send mobile users to online coupons they can use in-store without downloading the image and figuring out how to print them to hand to the cashier. There is even a real estate company out in Wisconsin that is using QR Code as yard signs to drive home shoppers to their mobile site to find out more about the property for sale. Or just create a code to get users to your mobile site (If you are using WordPress, I certainly hope you are using a plug-in that creates a “mobile-friendly” version of your website).

    Once you create the code encrypted with information like your business info. (name, address, phone number and website) you can put that code…anywhere! On the back of a business card, on flyers, on a t-shirt, as an image on your website, etc. Anybody with a QR code reader app on their mobile device can scan the code using their device’s camera and instantly, users can opt to add your information to their mobile device’s contact list.

    There are tons of apps available that will enable you to create the code and most (if not all) mobile devices offer mobile apps that will scan the code to access the information. And they are not expensive at all (most are free).

    Services/apps to create QR Code:

    Mobile Barcodes

    Mobile Apps to read QR Code:

    Windows Mobile

    Now i’m pretty sure you’ve seen these things out in the wild, but my question is why haven’t they taken over as the de facto way to access information via a mobile device? They are easy to make (The image in the article when scanned will take you to…you have to scan it to find out). And easy to scan – it’s just as simple as taking a pic of an image with your smart phone’s camera. So what’s the hold up?

    Do U.S. companies fail to realize that a large number of people accessing the internet are doing so via their mobile devices? Some companies get it, and are using QR Codes to welcome their mobile device users:


    Or is it education? Do people really know enough about QR Codes to create the demand for more entities to adopt the technology? If that’s the case then do me a favor, share this article with everybody you know so we can get the ball rolling! SmallBizGoMobile has done it’s job, now it’s time to do yours!