Smart Coupon Conversion Technique

I really like this smart coupon conversion technique by SlideShare. It’s nothing new but the execution charmed me.

The moment I got 10.000 views on my presentations they sent me this email:

an email by slideshare offering a coupon because I got 10,000 views, offering a 1 month trial of their PRO product

They got me right when I didn’t even know I achieved something, they just made that happen. I’m sure the combination of a coupon with this excellent timing will get them extra sales. I’ve been researching CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) techniques lately. This email really caught my eye. It didn’t work for me though (sorry SlideShare).

How does this email help conversion?

      - it has great timing
      - the prospect is approached in the moment of the achievement
      - the coupon provides real value
      - the time limitation on the coupon (traditional but true to its goal)

What to look out for if you want to apply the same technique?

When you or your clients have any of the following situations, a similar approach could be a good fit:

      - you’re working in a freemium model
      - the product you’re selling has a warranty that expires
      - the product you’re selling works with consumables
      - you have metrics that can tell you a customer is better off with another of your products
      - products and services with accessories

CRO, by the way, is just another fancy acronym for online marketing while measuring and improving processes.

Yay for the internets!

Delhaize Makes a Barcode Storefront in the Brussels Central Station

Delhaize (aka FoodLion) does the Tesco/HomePlus subway store thing in the Brussels Central station. Love that they’re using 2dcodes for a practical purpose, we need more campaigns like that. The most striking difference with the HomePlus subway store is the way the posters are displayed in a square setup, the analogy with real life store shelves that reminds people of the actual store is lost. A missed opportunity that shouldn’t be hard to correct.

The Delhaize barcode campaign in Brussels Central station

The Delhaize barcode campaign in Brussels Central station

The QR Code that offers the Delhaize app download

I’m not too fond of the app though, their app comes across as horribly buggy:
- not optimized for the “subway store” experience but for home ordering
- French error messages for Dutch locale
- Un-clear path to registration (looks like registering isn’t possible on the device)

What is done very smart here:
- positioning in a place that has WiFi (for Telenet clients it’s free)
- QR Codes for downloading the apps, very good choice
- Illustrate path to app download clearly
- ensured good light conditions for scanner
- barcodes for product selection

I particularly appreciate the regular barcodes for product selection, you can scan any can of coke or pack of Kellogs, it doesn’t matter if it’s on the poster store front or not, the product just has to be available in the online store.

All things considered, they kind of missed the important details and lost their points in the execution of the app for this campaign.

Elegant Tool for Testing Responsive Design

It’s getting more and more essential to create websites that provide a good user experience to mobile users (smartphones, tablets, …).

To do that properly one of the things that determines the quality of the mobile experience the most, after a swift download of the page, is not having to pan and zoom. Coping with the plethora of screen resolutions of smartphones and tables means creating an adaptive or responsive layout.

Testing a website for mobile is a pain, messing around with emulators, trying to connect real devices to testing environments etc. etc.

I was happy to come across The Responsinator, a tip I got from @_beInteractive. It renders a site in the viewports of the most common mobile devices, all in a webinterface. It’s not a complete solution but an elegant way of quickly reviewing a site’s mobile layout.

Here’s one of my sites viewed in The Responsinator, rendered on an iPhone.
the website linolino.be rendered on an iPhone emulator showing the mobile responsive layout

And here’s the same site rendered on a crappy Android resolution in landscape orientation.
a rendering of linolino.be on an android simulator illustrating landscape orientation layout

There are all kinds of renders in different screen orientations like the iPad, the Kindle and several types of phones. Have a look at all of them (linolino.be loaded as example).

Are QR Codes Beyond the Hype? A look at statistics.

Short answer? Yes.

And that’s a good thing for QR Codes in general, let’s hope the technology will get used in more innovative ways than just sending people to bad advertising.

I’m predicting more quality, less quantity in QR Code based campaigns.

Last week I was at Barcamp Brugge, “The web links into the world” edition at Westtoer where I did a presentation on the state of the QR Code. Read my summary after the jump.

There is no exponential worldwide growth of interest in QR Code technology today like there was a year ago. In many countries the trend is still going strong, and in others the level on interest in QR Codes has leveled but not decreased.

Do campaigns where people are more likely have money and a smartphone. My research based on some personal tracking, Google Trends and Google Insights queries indicates that QR Code interest is going strong in Europe in urban areas, there’s a clear difference between metropolitan areas and rural areas.

Don’t target students with a QR Code campagin however, they go to colleges in big cities and may seem to be a good match but they are not. Certainly not a good target group in Belgium or countries where a mobile data plan costs you an arm and a leg.

Several online surveys, reports and studies confirm that QR Codes are far better known than they used to be. Have a look at the presentation for links to my resources and excerpts I chose to highlight.

QR Codes can be very powerful tool in helping you identify your fans, be nice to the scanner, give something back for the time they invested in scanning your code. If you don’t you may lose them.

Here are some bits of adivce:

  • give at least something practical to the scanner
  • make it a Fun User Experience
  • give incentives (coupons, secrets, sweepstakes, …)

The “scan for boobs” slide illustrates a simple incentive quite effectively.

Thank you Westtoer for the fine venue and the smooth organization!

If you’re planning to do a QR Code campaign and want some advice, don’t hesitate to drop me a line on Twitter (@bertheymans) or at Bert @ this domain.

Can I Scan your Butt? The Heiniken U-code

At last a good QR Code campaign, everyone can relate to. I’ll let the video speak for itself.

Get a customized sticker at the Heiniken booth on a festival, stick it anywhere you want on yourself, get scanned and meet new people. You don’t even need to access internet with your phone for this to work by the way, that’s an additional bonus as you’ll reach a whole lot more people.

An Example of Tracking QR Codes with Bitly

I come across QR Codes in print advertising often that are based on Bitly (aka bit.ly) links. And I made a quite scruffy little video of how I scanned the QR Codes in a Red Market print ad, the QR Codes have Bitly links encoded.

In this post I’ll explain how you and I can look at the scanning stats of a QR Code generated by a third party that’s encoded with a Bitly URL. The video just shows me scanning the ad and shaking the camera way too much ;)

As a service Bitly will provide a QR Code based on the short link you generated. The resulting image is always the same size, easy to fit in a print layout.

If I need to recommend how to create a QR Code for print I always suggest getting one in .eps format with this QR Code generator, but that’s for another post.

Every Bitly link has tracking built in so QR Codes based on these short URLs have tracking too.

For instance the heymans.org bit.ly QR Code

the QR Code for the Heymans.org bit.ly/heymans link

This is the regular short URL: http://bit.ly/heymans

This URL is encoded in the above QR Code: http://bit.ly/heymans?r=qr

Now every bitly link get’s tracked and there’s a really easy trick to see the scanning and click through stats and that’s by adding a plus sign “+” at the end of the regular link like so:

http://bit.ly/heymans+

If we do this with the QR Codes I scanned in the print ad from Red Market we get this:

If you where wondering, you can read an encoded link from your smartphone after scanning the QR Code.

As you may notice we can see that the Facebook QR Code got scanned more than the Twitter QR Code, they created the Facebook QR code about a month earlier but over the last 30 days the Twitter QR Code in the ad got less scans. They clearly did some other kind of campaign in May to generate traffic on their Facebook page.

It is my personal opinion that this use of QR Codes in prints ads is a good thing, linking to your social profiles this way shows you’re thinking with mobile visitors in mind.

By itself this is nothing more than a real world internet link and will not generate much traffic, but using QR Codes is in line with the Red Market “self-scanning your groceries, look how fast and modern” message so I guess it makes sense. But it’s still just a link, alas there’s no other incentive for scanning. The sites a scanner end up on (Facebook, Twitter) are well optimized for mobile visitors so that’s a plus.

They do miss an accessibility opportunity in their print ad by not putting user friendly URLs next to the QR Codes. You should always provide an alternative to scanning.

If you’re still reading and don’t know what the actual purpose for the existence of something lik Bitly is, here’s my totally arbitrary explanation … Bitly is a URL shortener, you give it a long weblink and it makes a short URL for you that does a HTTP 301 redirect, which means it sends you to that original link when clicked or tapped. A short URL is easy to type on a mobile device and it will fit easily in short messages (think Twitter).

Hope you enjoyed this read, I’ve been out of the picture here for way to long due to a drop-dead private workload but my promise of making a QR Code business card tutorial still holds true.

Bert Heymans, Tech Adventurer