How QR Codes Can Benefit Your Small Business

December 23rd, 2011 Comments off
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This QR Code will bring you to the Stamps.com Blog

In recent years, companies have been adding small squares of scattered cubes that look like a barcode on to their  advertisements in the pages of magazines, newspapers and even on TV. When consumers scan these squares with their smartphone camera, they are directed to a web site to receive extra information about the company, its product or a special promotion.

These scannable fields are called Quick Response codes, or QR codes. By using them in advertisements, companies have found a new way to get customers to engage in their brands and entice them to buy their products.

How QR Codes Work
A QR code can be scanned like a barcode, but a QR code contains a lot more information than just what a product is. When read with the proper software using the phone’s camera, a QR code can launch links, download a file, share coupons and more.  Most QR code reader software is available for free from your cell provider. Once you have the reader software, you just need to scan the QR code and the reader will pull in the company information.

QR Codes and Your Business
There are many creative ways a small business owner can  use QR codes.  

If you have a retail store, you can post a QR code in the window for customers who stop by after closing time to encourage them to learn more about your company, see customer reviews or even shop at your e-commerce store.   

Catalog distributers have also started to use QR codes on specific pages so a buyer can link directly to the product page to make a purchase.  Other examples include showing the QR code on a map so customers can download directions or including the QR code on a restaurant menu to show a video of the meal being prepared.  Another example could be in a museum linking the viewer to a bio on the artist.

Your product itself also can be used as a canvas for a QR code. The code can take your customer to a site that has a Quick Start guide or that displays technical specs  

Large entities, such as the U.S. Postal Service, have also started encouraging business owners to use QR codes. The USPS ran a promotion in August 2011 that gave mailers a 3 percent rate discount for including QR codes on their direct mailings.

How to Create a Mobile Website for your Small Business

August 29th, 2011 Comments off
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According to Pew Research Center, 25% of SmartPhone users prefer to access the web via their phone instead of a computer.

The proliferation of smartphones has made it easy for people to stay informed on the go. BlackBerries and iPhones keep us connected to our businesses, families and hobbies. However, many company websites don’t look good on these smaller screens.

By creating a mobile version of your website, you can keep these customers engaged with your company and your product whether they’re at work or on the go. A simple redesign of as few as two or three of your pages will provide these smartphone users with the information they want and need.

Is Mobile the Future?
More than 1 in 3 Americans own a smartphone, according to a recent Pew Research Center report. Of those users, 1 in 4 are more likely to use their phone to go online than their computer. Read on to discover how easy it is to optimize your site for mobile devices:

4 Tips for Creating a Mobile Website:

#1 Pick the right URL for your mobile site:
To visit a website with their smartphones, customers need to have the right URL. The easiest way for customers to find your mobile website is to create a special page within your website for them to visit. Common mobile URLs include www.yourbusinesss.com/mobile or mobile.yourbusiness.com. When a customer types in these URLs, they will be directed to the mobile-optimized version of your company’s website.

#2 Redirect your mobile users to your mobile site:
Not all customers may know that you have a mobile version of your site. Chances are they’ll first encounter the computer-optimized version of your site, which won’t look very good on their phones. Prevent them from having to zoom in and scroll around with a redirect script. This redirect script will send mobile users directly to your mobile website or specific mobile page.

#3  Simplify your mobile site and content:
Mobile users don’t have a lot of room on their screens, so you don’t want to clutter the mobile version of your company’s website. Many mobile layouts have just one column, which makes them look great on all smart phones.

The content on the mobile version of your page is just as important as the way it looks. You should make it easy for customers to navigate and learn vital facts about your company, including contact information. Details about your products should be presented in small, easily digested bites. 

#4 Don’t forget SEO and analytics
Search engine optimization is as important on the mobile version of your site as it is on your company’s main website. By adding basic SEO best practices for your mobile page or site, customers who are searching for your product or company through a search engine on their mobile phone will have an easier time finding your company’s mobile page and spending time on your website.

And don’t forget to include site analytics for your mobile page or site.  As more and more traffic comes to your site via a mobile browser, you’ll want to understand the patterns and make adjustments for better ROI.

Check out Stamps.com’s mobile web site at:  http://m.stamps.com/

Free Webinar – Social Marketing for Small Business

November 15th, 2010 3 comments
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E-commerce and social media expert John "ColderICE" Lawson

EDIT: Many thanks to John and everyone who joined our webinar.  If you missed the webinar, click here for a replay.

Every day, thousands of small business owners miss out on millions of dollars in revenue simply because they’re not optimizing their use of social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, eBay and Amazon. This Social Marketing for Small Business webinar, presented by e-commerce and social media expert John “ColderICE”  Lawson, will take you beyond social media basics to learn the best practices that will yield bottom line results and amp up your business.

What: Free webinar on social media best practices for small business owners.

When: Wednesday, November 17, 2010, at 11:00 am PT / 2:00 pm ET

Where: Register at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/667056219

Key things you will learn in this free webinar:
– Measuring ROI for social media
– Converting followers/fans into paying customers
– Getting your target audience to engage and participate
– Finding time to manage a social marketing program
– Best tools to automate social media efforts

About John “ColderICE” Lawson:
An expert in both e-commerce and social media, John is a Certified eBay Platinum PowerSeller with more than 100,000 transactions, 135,000 views on YouTube and 35,000 followers on Twitter.  The founder of the industry famous e-commerce blog ColderICE.com, Lawson has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and PC World, and has been recognized as the owner of “America’s Best Home Business” by MSN Money.

Call us toll-free at 1-888-434-0055, Monday - Friday, 6 AM - 6 PM Pacific Time.