Connecting the digital and physical worlds – tags are on tangible things – like products, signage, flyers, countertops, display windows, print ads (newspapers, magazines and more.) Scanning them connects the consumer to a relevant digital experience. Using tags allows you to measure response rates to a particular marketing effort.
There are a number of different mobile tagging apps that you can use to tie physical marketing materials to your mobile website, texting program or other mobile marketing services. Some mobile tagging services to consider are:
• QR Codes
• Microsoft Tags
QR codes are a type of 2D barcode made up of a series of square dots that encode alphanumeric data. When scanned, your smart phone reads the data and takes the action indicated, whether it sends the user to the home page of your website, to a special offer you’ve created or even your company Facebook page.
QR codes were created in Japan and have been widely used there and in Europe, but are just evolving into wide use in America in the past couple of years. The great thing about QR codes is that they are free to use and there are a number of free applications you can use to easily create them for your small business. The downside is that they are more functional than aesthetically pleasing.
Microsoft tags are much like QR codes in their functionality, but have more visual style. Another plus to Microsoft tags is that you can easily create a custom tag in just a minute or two for absolutely no cost. There are five different types of Microsoft tags:
• URL tags – these open a web page on the customer’s mobile phone and sends them to a specific page of your mobile site or a video or some other type of content.
• vCard tags – these open a virtual business card that customers can add instantly to their contact list.
• App Download tags – it recognizes the type of mobile device and sends the customer to the appropriate download source to get your mobile app.
• Free Text tags – this displays text of up to 1,000 characters, but is not an SMS/text message, it simply displays the text.
• Dialer tags – this automatically dials a specific phone number that you specify – it can be your business number, a help-line or even an automatic voice message.
SnapTags work in much the same way as QR codes and Microsoft tags, but typically take either your company logo or associated icon and convert it to an interactive tool that will direct people to your digital content. The upside of using a SnapTag is the advanced customization and visual appeal; the downside is that both creation and use of the tags come with a price tag. There are several different types of SnapTags:
• Branded SnapTags – these are tied to a particular marketing campaign and can take you to product information, a special promotion or something similar.
• Social SnapTags – these are linked to your Facebook or other social media account and allow the consumer to easily “like” you or “follow” you depending on which social media site it is tied to.
• Buy It Now SnapTags – these are linked to a specific product and take the consumer to an instant “buy it now” window where they can buy your product or service instantly.
• Action SnapTags – these initiate specific actions when scanned, such as getting a mobile coupon, emailing you, accessing your website, viewing video or requesting information.
• Mobile Giving SnapTags – these allow your customers to make a donation to a specific charity you have selected. You can even offer to match customer donations to promote your brand.
No matter which platform you decide to try, mobile tagging is a great way to make use of every inch of physical advertising space available. These can be created and placed on your checkout counters, takeout menus, packaging, posters, flyers, print ads, on your car or anywhere there is a physical surface and will increase your brand recognition.