QR Codes for SMBs / Enterprises

The company I currently work for has recently jumped on the QR code bandwagon… and I am glad they did.  We’ve been implementing QR codes in almost every aspect of our print marketing for the last 3 months and have seen noticeable dividends.  For those of you unaware of what a QR code is, it’s essentially a bar code that you can create and using a smart phone, you can process the information encoded within the QR codes.  This information can be almost anything from text, vcards, or URLs.  Currently, we’re using QR codes on our print collateral at shows and on select business cards.  We have been seeing substantial buzz from industry and potential clients / customers.  We’re also able to track the QR code “clickthroughs” via services such as  It’s been a pleasant surprise to see the responses and be able to test out new mediums for advertising efforts.

Now, on to the business implementation. I see great benefit for smbs and select enterprises that want to incorporated QR codes into their print advertising specifically for :

  • coupons / deals
  • leave behinds
  • business cards
  • banners
  • print ads
By incorporating these simple images in your current advertising efforts, you will be able to measure (to an extent) how your advertising is working while letting your potential customers know you’re technology savvy and on the forefront of technology.

Social Media for SMB

Social media has helped revolutionize the way people connect in unforeseeable ways. 10-15 years ago archaic chat boxes peppered AOL accounts as users began interacting with unknown counterparts in the online space. Today, users utilize their phones, laptops, or tablets, to give their friends and followers up to the second information from anywhere in the world. In other words “Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.”

As Social Media has moved into the main stream, businesses have been finding ways to monetize these tools to increase retention and customer interaction. It is now desirable to have a presence on multiple social media services including Facebook, twitter, flickr, LinkedIn, and YouTube, in order to respond to opportunities and concerns that may arise from customers and partners. Broadvox has established presence on all of these sites to support our product offering and sales. These media services allow unobtrusive access to our clients to let them know the goings on of Broadvox and details pertaining to new products or updates without spamming their inbox with emails.

Our endeavor into the social landscape is still very experimental. We are continually testing new services and new ways to utilize these platforms to increase our advertising and market share. We have found that twitter, LinkedIn, andYouTube offer the best access to provide information about the company to our VARs and customers. These 3 websites provide a great avenue for information distribution and interaction. We have also seen success using Facebook, butFacebook is inherently geared to avoid the business to consumer interaction. I anticipate in the coming months that Facebook will make major changes to their platform in order to allow businesses greater access to their customer base. In order to compete with the upcoming Google me social media product, Facebook will have to find new ways to monetize their brand and customer interactions. By allowing businesses greater direct access to their database, they will be able to stay competitive with Google’s ambitious venture into social media.

Part of the new landscape for any online marketing plan has to have a substantial investment in time and energy for social media. It is the most direct way for you to reach your customers at a personal level.

How effective is facebook for small business?

facebook Slogan : “facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you”

We all know what facebook is and what its for. We love connecting with our friends and frenemies to see the gossip and stories of our lives. We connect with one another in unparalleled ways and can monitor the activities of loved ones without actually having to pick up the phone. I love facebook and appreciate its effectiveness daily, but the real question I’m asking is how effective if facebook for Small Business?

My short answer: facebook is not very effective in the SMB space. The inherent setup of the website is geared toward connecting friends with one another, not connecting people with business. There are anomalies and I believe that some businesses can strive and succeed by utilizing the facebook platform, but I am no longer big on the idea of connecting with businesses and blatantly accepting their advertisements in my feeds.

The main problem is that when people are on facebook, they dont want to be bombarded with updates from X number of businesses they became fans of oh a whim. As I said, there are exceptions – Companies can incorporate Value prop’s including coupons and discounts to entice followers and I spoke about this in great detail in 2009. Social Media and the value prop. The idea sounds great. Offer value to your followers to continue to advertise to them. The main problem with that is that even with the value add, I know personally I am not going to follow car wash X for a service I am not going to utilize on a regular basis. I’ll wait until a receive a traditional coupon or when I need to utilize the service I will go and negotiate the same sales price I received last time. I dont think companies like this can succeed on platforms like facebook.

Another issue with using facebook for a small business is what i’ll call the “friend effect.” I have a friend that has a small business and they are moderately successful in this venture. I am wholeheartedly happy for this person and I am glad that they are loving their new venture. Unfortunately, this friend heard about the social media craze and how facebook can be effective for their business. The hastily created their brand new facebook fan page and invited all their friends become fans of said business. This person then began spamming the crap out of their new business facebook profile and just annoyed their friends. I know for a fact I wasn’t alone in this irritation as we had mutual acquaintances that shared my frustration. If you are going to make the jump into social media with your SMB and add all your friends as fans, at least spare them the spam of having to 20 wall posts a day promoting your niche website that nobody is going to use on a regular basis.

My next post will focus on the types of businesses I think can find success on facebook and if I am feeling it, I will post an SMB etiquette guide to insure that you dont piss off your followers and fans.