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5 Ideas on Using QR Codes

Marketers love QR Codes.  They’re free to create.  They can be tracked by either creating a special URL or using a QR Code tracking service.  They’re new and can make you seem tech savvy.

The only problem is, in general, they have really low response rates.  This is usually because it’s just used as replacement for a website address.  But who really wants to use their phone to snap a QR code only to go to a company’s regular website?

In order to get the most out of a QR Code, you need to give people a reason to use it and reward them with great content specifically designed to be viewed on a phone.

Here are some ideas on how to do that.

1. Send them to your mobile website
This is a no-brainer.  But if you have a website to be viewed specifically on mobile phones, send them there.  Do not send them to your regular website.  People do not want to look at your website on their phone.  If they’re interested in you, it’s easier just to remember a URL.

2. Provide specific product information
Create special mobile-optimized web pages for each of your products and provide unique QR Codes for each.  If you have a store or at a trade show, put QR Code labels on all your products.

3. Show them a video promoting your company
Note this isn’t necessarily your TV commercial.  That would be fine.  But you have the opportunity to do more.  It could be a longer format information video.  It could be a humorous video about your company/industry just for fun.  It could be a special tip video.  Be creative.  They took the effort to use your QR Code, so they’re interested in you.  Reward them for it.

4. Send them to a contact page to receive a gift and more information
This is a great way to collect leads.

5. Give a reward if enough people use the QR Code
If you’re at an event, you could run a contest: if enough people use the QR Code, you’ll give away free samples or have a special performance.

12 Ideas on Marketing a Bank

ATM Slip Contests
On random ATM slips, print that they’ve won a free gift to reward them for being a customer.  Don’t promote it, just let people discover about it on their own to create a viral buzz.

Financial Tips Tweet
Open a twitter account with tweets on managing your money.

Do a FourSqaure promotion
Get a free gift, when you check into all of the branches in a certain area.

Pass out free money
For pure buzz and word of mouth, just pick a random day and hand out free $1 bills to everyone who comes in.

Do a reality webisode series of a real small business
Show how they are getting their financing and how they’re getting financially set up.  Could be a contest to select the featured business.

Offer small business seminars
Conduct a year-long course that helps small businesses on how to manage their business financially.

Instead of the standard bank calendar, create a financial planning worksheet calendar
Provides areas to enter their monthly budgets, savings goals, etc.

Give small businesses a banking kit
Provides small business planning guides on running their business financially sound.

Offer a Newborn Checking account to parents
Includes $50 to an IRA, if they sign up with the first 3 months of their birth.

Give a $50 bonus for college kids who sign up for both a checking and savings account
Much better than a free hat for signing up for a credit card.

Use QR Codes at ATM posters to direct them to your online banking site
To show them how easy it is to do online banking also.

Design financial inspiration posters
To be placed around the bank or given to customers

10 Ideas on Marketing an Auto Dealership

Drive a parade of branded cars around town
Coordinate 5-10 branded cars to drive around the neighborhood of your dealership.

Offer a free shuttle at event
At a large event, where parking may be far away from the venue, offer complimentary service to drive people in branded vehicles from the parking to the event.

Offer basic auto maintenance classes at the dealership
Host them monthly and provide $1000 discounts to anyone who buys a car on that day.

“Find the car” game
Hold a 12-week contest where people need to tweet the location of a branded car hidden somewhere near your dealership each week. The first person to tweet the location gets entered into a contest to win the car.

“Car of the day” tweets
Each day, send a tweet about a different vehicle you’re offering. Direct them to a blog with all the specs of that particular car and contact info.

Offer a referral program
Develop a program where previous customers get free maintenance service packages when their friends buy a car.

Film testimonial videos
Produce an online video series of how your customers use the cars they bought from you. Identify interesting stories that engender positive brand associations like non-profits, construction companies, moms of large families, etc.

Send special event invitations to your neighborhood
Host a monthly party with music, food, etc, open only to those who receive the invitation. The exclusivity of the event will make attendees feel special. Follow it up with exclusive offers available only at the event.

Free “new parents survival” pack
Offer various gift packages for different types of buyers based on life stages. Example: stroller, car seat, 6-month supply of diapers.

Buy 1, get the 2nd half off
Offer a promotion where if a customer buys 1 new car, they can purchase a 2nd used car at half the sticker price.

10 Ideas for Marketing a Restaurant

Invite people to post photos of dishes on your Fan Page
The photo with the most “likes” gets a complimentary meal.

Create a calendar of your dishes, like a “food pin-up”
Use it as a giveaway, fundraiser, or to sell.

Create a special menu for a sports event
Offer a set sampling menu of your best dishes at a discounted price for people who watch major sporting events at your place.

Develop a video series of your chef preparing your signature dishes
Show them the care and tradition that goes into making each dish.

Develop a stamp card that includes all of your dishes
Diners get a stamp for each dish they have. If they fill out the entire card, they get a free $100 gift certificate.

Create referral coupons
Pass them out to only your select best customers. The person who redeems it, gets 10% off their meal. The person who refers gets points for each referral, redeemable for complimentary meals.

“Kim Chee Fried Rice” Night
Offer a sampling portion of one of your signature dishes with each meal on a given night.

Make a cookbook
Highlight some of your signature dishes and offer them as a fundraiser for organizations.

Send out postcards to homes in your area
Use pictures of your best dishes.

Make online photo albums of your dishes
Place it on whatever social media you’re using Flickr, Facebook, TwitPic, etc.