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Comments Off on QR Codes – What They Are & What They Can Do for Your Business

QR Codes – What They Are & What They Can Do for Your Business

from the VR Marketing Blog

“QR” codes are all the rage for some businesses – especially retailers. These codes have the ability to hold lots of information but in general have been used to direct people who scan them to a web page. For that reason, there are a ton of possibilities for you to incorporate using QR codes into your own business. Let me try to break it down for you.

What is a QR Code?

VrQRThe QR or “Quick Response” code (pictured to the right) is a code that is made up of black blobs (technical term) arranged in a square pattern on a white background. It is used by many retailers to track inventory, used by airlines to check you in at the gate, but the most exciting thing for small businesses is that these codes can help generate business!

For most mobile phones that have cameras, there are downloadable apps that enable the code to be easily read by just pointing the phone at the code. Once the code is read, the mobile phone will do what you want it to do like opening a web page. If you’ve got a QR code reader, go ahead and read the code to the right, you’ll be taken to the VerticalResponse home page! However, when we use QR codes, we’ll direct anyone who scans one to a page that contains much less information since scanning large web pages on a smart phone can be overwhelming.

Practical Applications of a QR Code for Businesses

Screen shot 2011-03-14 at 2.39.29 PMGet More Customers – When someone scans in the code, take them to a web page where they can get a special deal or a discount for your services. This could work especially well if you’ve placed the QR code on your retail location to attract new visitors. If you’re wanting to get people from online to your location, Tweet the QR code to your followers and send them to a page that has a coupon they’ll need to show you in order to redeem.

Grow Your Email List – If you offer something of value like a white paper or a special deal, you can direct anyone who scans the code to a sign up form. In order to receive their deal from you they’ll need to give you an email address so you can send them an email that contains the information they’re signing up for.

Grow Your Mobile List – Just like growing your email list,  if you want to collect mobile numbers then you’ll need them to fill out their phone number so you can send them a text with the information contained in it.

Customer Service Videos – If you’ve got Screen shot 2011-03-20 at 9.39.07 AMan informational video about your company, your products or services, you can direct them to a mobile-friendly page where you host the video. The advertisement to the right shows a great example of what people will get if they scan the code and how to get a reader if they don’t have one.

Where You Can Put QR Codes to Work!

• Printed advertisements
• Signs
• Sandwich boards or billboards
• Your store or restaurant window
• Datasheets and collateral
• Direct mail postcards
• Product labels
• Business cards
• Take out menus
• Magazine publications
• Inbox shipments
• Endless possibilities

Read the full article (and learn how to get your QR code)

Comments Off on 6 Steps to Improving Local SEO

6 Steps to Improving Local SEO

by Karen Scharf, published on the VR Marketing Lounge Blog

Though Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a whole can become a rather complicated technique, there are several steps that just about any small business owner can take to optimize his website and increase the chances of it appearing in organic search results. Most small businesses are locally-focused – that is, they cater to or offer their services to their local community.

However, many small business website owners think “internationally” when it comes to search engine optimization. If you’re a pizza restaurant in Poughkeepsie New York, does it really matter if web surfers in Los Angeles find you on page one of Google? By concentrating your search engine optimization on local efforts, you have a better chance of driving more targeted traffic.

You may discover that you are already doing many of these things on your website, although with a little concentrated emphasis, you can probably improve your tactics. Regardless of where you are in your current search engine optimization, all of these tips are simple enough for any entrepreneur to undertake, and the results can be phenomenal.

So be sure to add these following steps to improve your own local SEO:

1. Check out the Competition to Improve Local SEO

A good marketer knows what is going on in the world around him. You should be regularly and routinely checking up on your local competition to see what they are doing, offering, or providing. This doesn’t mean that you should be a copy-cat or a plagiarist, but you can learn a lot from what the competition is doing.

One way that you can use this practice to improve your search engine optimization is by regularly checking to see where your competitors are getting their incoming links. There may be search engines, directories, and web rings that you never knew of. If your competitors are getting attention on a site, then it might be helpful for you to do so as well. Not only does this get back links to your own website, but it also ensures that you are getting as much representation on the internet as possible and exposing yourself to the local community by all means available.

2. Consider Local Website URLs

If your small business has very specific service areas, you might want to consider separate web addresses to take advantage of local searches. In the very least, you could create individual landing pages for each specific region. Each of those URLs or pages should be SEO-focused on the specific area, with locally-based headlines, page titles, and body copy. This will help to ensure that when someone is searching for a particular area they are able to find your business.

Many searches will include a specific city or region for example, “babysitters in New York City” while someone else may search for “Babysitters Brooklyn NY”. You may serve both areas but if you are only targeting your content for New York, you can lose out on the Brooklyn searches. Correct this by creating specifically tailored pages for each city, region, or even neighborhood that you serve.

3. Double Up On Your Address

Provide your business address at least two times on your website. Preferably it should be included in a primary location as well as the footer. Be sure to spell out your full state name in one instance of your address and abbreviate your state in another. This will help to draw in visitors who are searching for CA as well as California.

4. Promote Your Community to Improve Your Local SEO

Getting and providing links to area businesses and organizations can greatly improve the number of people who find your website through area-based searches. Many communities have city websites, chamber of commerce websites, visitors bureau websites, etc. These are often great linking partners. Contact the webmasters and inquire about getting a link from their site, and also offer to link to various local businesses and organizations from your page as well. While this technique might be a wash as far as “link juice” goes, it does show Google which “neighborhood” you’re associated with, which can help increase your local search engine results.

Read the full article…