We’ve all seen QR Codes. The real reason to blame for the slow growth of QR Codes are how people have implemented them. Here are some do’s and don’ts, when using QR Codes.
Keep in mind, there are a lot of new solutions available that are quite fascinating, which go beyond QR Codes. These general rules would still be relevant to any of those other options that help to bridge the gap between print and digital.
The biggest change in how small businesses go about their work this year as opposed to 5 years ago is through their use – or increased use – of online marketing tools,according to results from a survey sponsored by Constant Contact. Indeed, compared to 5 years ago, the adoption of various online marketing tools has soared: 98% of survey respondents now use email marketing (up from 64% saying they used them 5 years ago), while 87% use social media marketing (up from just 10% 5 years ago). And while finding new customers remains the chief concern for small businesses today, among those who are finding this task easier, a leading 53% say that’s due to more affordable online marketing tools.
It’s not all rosy for small businesses, though. 59% of respondents said that it’s harder to run a business today than it was 5 years ago, with the leading reasons being the economy affecting their business (55%), it being harder to keep pace with technology (49%), and more direct competitors (40%).
Local business owners may have a leg-up on the competition, though: 51% feel that being locally owned and operated is a major reason why their customers support their business today.
Despite their challenges – which include a belief that customers expect more from them today – small businesses are keeping an optimistic outlook. In 5 years, 55% see their business as thriving, with more customers and/or more employees. Another 26% see their business as holding steady, with only 8% taking the pessimistic view of the business potentially being closed.
About the Data: The Constant Contact-sponsored survey was administered in May of 2013 to 917 small business participants in the Constant Contact Small Biz Council – a research panel of US small businesses recruited from the Constant Contact customer base. The survey was fielded to those panel members who have been in a decision-making role in a small business for at least five years, and they were asked their opinions on how operating a small business today differs than five years ago. Results include responses from respondents across a range of business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries.
Some consumers are noticing brands’ attempts to promote their social presences in advertising, with some media channels more likely to elicit a response than others, according to[pdf] results from a Burst Media survey of more than 2,500 US online adults. Respondents reported being most likely to notice brand-related social accounts in online banner ads (27.2%), but a relatively high number also notice them in TV (24.1%) and print (21.1%) ads. Among those who recall brands promoting their social assets in digital ads, about 6 in 10 say the efforts are very (29.4%) or somewhat (31.6%) effective in prompting social interaction with those brands. A similar percentage (58.7%) feel the same way about social cues in TV ads.
Combining the percentage who recall social cues in ads with the percentage who find them effective yields a relative assessment of the effectiveness of different advertising media in prompting social interaction with brands. In descending order of effectiveness, the media are ranked as follows:
- Digital ads – with 16.6% of respondents overall noticing cues in these ads and finding them effective in prompting social interaction with brands (27.2% noticing * 60.9% finding them very or somewhat effective);
- TV ads – with 14.1% of respondents noticing the social cues and finding them effective (24.1% * 58.7%);
- Print ads – with 11.1% noticing the cues and finding them effective (21.2% * 52.4%);
- Radio ads – with 4.7% noticing cues and believing them to be effective (11.4% * 41.5%); and
- Outdoor ads – with 3.7% recalling cues and finding them effective (9.5% * 39.4%).
Overall, 54.2% of female respondents and 48.6% of male respondents have performed some sort of brand-related social sharing activity as a result of seeing something on or in an ad. The study notes that such activity could include “liking a brand’s Facebook page, using a brand’s Twitter hashtag and/or posting a brand-related picture to Instagram.” Some demographic segments are more active than others in response to social cues in ads. They are: women aged 35-44 (65.3%); respondents aged 18-34 (56.9%); and men aged 18-24 (59.8%).
- Respondents aged 18-34 are especially more likely to see online ads (67.6%) than TV ads (60.6%) as effective in driving social interactions (among those who recall seeing brands’ social cues in those ads).
- Women aged 18-34 are the most likely to see online ads as effective in this regard (73.9%), with fewer finding TV ads to be effective (59.1%).
About the Data: Burst Media conducted its survey in March 2013.
The top benefits of social media marketing are increased exposure (89%) and increased traffic (75%), finds Social Media Examiner in its annual “Social Media Marketing Industry Report” [download page], which surveyed more than 3,000 marketers on their social media activities. A majority also report benefits such as developing loyal fans (65%), lead generation (61%), and improved search rankings (58%), but only 43% say their efforts have boosted sales. Nevertheless, study results indicate that for those willing to take the time, sales will follow.
That is, while only a minority report sales improvement on account of social media marketing, that turns to a majority among those who have been using social media for at least 3 years (47% of the survey sample) as well as among those who spend 11 or more hours a week on social media marketing (representing 36% of the sample). Among those few spending 40 or more hours a week on social, 62% say they’ve earned new business. The researchers foundsimilar results last year, although more respondents are seeing each benefit this year.
Of course, the results need to be treated with a little caution, because many marketers still feel unable to measure the ROI of their social media activities. In fact, only 26% of respondents agreed (23%) or strongly agreed (3%) that they are able to measure the return of their social media marketing efforts. That’s a surprisingly low figure, particularly if 43% feel they can confidently attribute improved sales to social.
Another interesting result pertains to the effectiveness of Facebook marketing. The survey finds that 86% of marketers overall find social media to be important to their businesses. Meanwhile, Facebook is the most popular platform, used by 92% of respondents, with 49% rating it their most important social platform. Given Facebook’s almost ubiquitous use, and favorable attitudes towards social media as a whole, one would expect that marketers are positive about Facebook’s effectiveness. But, just 37% either agreed (32%) or strongly agreed (5%) with the statement: “My Facebook marketing is effective.”
That suggests that while respondents feel that social media is an important part of their marketing mix, Facebook marketing may be seen more as a necessary component of their social activities rather than the most effective component.
- B2C marketers were 52% more likely than B2B marketers to agree that their Facebook marketing is effective (44% vs. 29%). Large companies (with 1,000 or more employees) were similarly more likely than self-employed respondents to find their efforts rewarding (46% vs. 29%).
- While 54% of respondents overall said social helps them build new partnerships, that figure rose to more than 60% among those with 3 years or more of experience.
- At least 60% of marketers spending 6 hour or more a week on social media said they saw improvements in their search engine rankings.
About the Data: The data is based on responses from 3,025 participants. 56% primarily target consumers and 44% businesses. 72% of respondents are aged 30-59, and females represented 62% of the survey sample. 57% are based in the US, with the UK (9%) the next-most heavily represented country.