Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weighing up QR codes

QR (Quick Response) codes

As a novelty, and stand out difference, with competitive marketing activities, QR codes have been around for a little while now.

I really don't consider that QR codes are substantially any improvement over the use of URLs, and in particular shortened URLs such as Basically a QR code is yet another means of communicating and driving a consumer from their point of interest into the online space where more detail can be provided in relation to a very precise ID associated with a product, an advertisement, or a business.

To be honest, the uptake on QR codes has been limited, and the vast majority of average consumers haven't a clue what they actually are. Maybe this is the fault of a suitable education process to inform the consumers to then drive an uptake.

However, unlike QR codes, a URL doesn't require locating an app, downloading it, installing it, and using it to photograph the code graphic. For consumers who don't have smartphones or have yet to download the appropriate app, a URL (and again I revert back to specifically convenient shortened URLs) will work better.

URLs have wider recognition and I see as preferable to using QR codes in print ads.
After an initial push from Google in an attempt to get businesses to adopt the codes and use them as decals at their places of business, Google dropped QR code support. Therefore if this had been seriously working affectively for local consumers, Google wouldn't have pulled the pin.

Similar options: Microsoft Tag Reader, Google Goggles

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Customising the iPad2 for use as a Sales Tool

Apple's iPad2 is a sensational tool for sales teams for use in presenting to clients.

Right from the start of your presentation, your iPad2 can be customised to match your business brand by selecting a suitable image for the wallpaper display on the iPad:
  • Set home screen background
  • Set lock screen background
iPod Wallpaper design specifications:
  • Image Size: 1024 x 1024px
  • This will give a full screen look to the iPad even when rotated.
  • The resolution of the image must be 132dpi
  • Remember that portions of the image will be cut off both in landscape and portrait mode.
  • Key to creating the best iPad wallpaper is to choose an image that is focused around the 768×768 portion of the image
Next, to open your company's website from the desktop (if you haven't created a customised app already!) create a favicon icon shortcut browser link on home screen desktop (set icon to iPad quality).

To do this within iPad Safari web browser; save this as an icon on the desktop, which will open the website as required. Current process will save image of front page of website... preferred option would require advanced favicon code within your website HTML (metatags), that point to a specifically optimized Apple icon.

To create favicons specifically for Apple devices such as the Apple iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad:

The recommended size is 57 x 57 pixels, with 90 degree corners. However with the more recent higher definition screens on Apple's products, Apple has their icon at 129 x 129 pixels
metatag to include in <head> code of website with Apple Formatting
<link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/somepath/image.ico">
metatag to include in <head> code of website without Apple's reflective shine
<link rel="apple-touch-icon-precomposed" href="/somepath/image.ico">

Saturday, July 23, 2011

eMarketing platforms - capabilities and compliance

There are many different eMarketing platforms available for the online marketer to choose from varying in; capabilities, integration, reporting and social media awareness. Be sure to do your homework to select the most appropriate platform for your business needs today, and as you evolve - so ensure it can grow with your online marketing requirements and the platform itself provides access to new features in a fast changing online landscape.

Many eMarketing platforms provide best practice guides, information and eMarketing tips relevant to what the platform can deliver and to ensure that your email newsletters meet deliverability, usability, functionality and marketability! (See: ExactTarget, MailChimp, CommuniGator)

Ensuring your email marketing meets legal compliance is also an important consideration and in an international context it is important to research the current CAN-SPAM legislation and similar requirements for each country. The provision of a double opt-in is but one part of the process and a must-have. Compliance also includes the provision of Privacy Policy, one-click unsubscribes, contact details of the company along with a few other items.

Associated to this category of consideration is the funcationality of your email template and how it renders for users with disabilities and screen reader applications.

Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

The legislation in the UK that covers the rights of disabled people – the section of the act on the provision of goods and services includes the requirement that websites should be made accessible.

UK Law

It has been a legal requirement for UK websites to be accessible since 1999. Since then all websites have been expected to make "reasonable adjustments" to ensure their websites accommodate all users regardless of ability, disability.

Is your website legal?

The current information relating to web sites in the UK confirm that many are illegal. They do not include even basic information such as registered company address, VAT details and web site hosting for example.

Making sure your website meets all the current key UK legal requirements is vital to prevent you receiving fines or penalties. Ensure you are up to date with the necessary UK legislation or it could prove very costly to you and your business.

Disability Discrimination Act

UK websites must comply with the Disability Discrimination Act, which states that websites must be accessible to all – including users with visual impairments or disabilities.

Responsible business practice

In today's environment corporate and social responsibility have increasingly become fundamental in building trust and reputation with the people you do business with. However, experience of closed doors on your websites can have a negative influence on the way people perceive even the most reliable companies and the strongest brands.

I would also recommend prior to any go-live activity with a new eMarketing platform that you go through a careful process of deliverability and reputation testing on the email sends to ensure everything is in place. And once your email campaigns are active within your new eMarketing platform keep a good eye out for DNSBL black lists to ensure that the integrity of your IP and sender framework is retained.

Did you know?

About the UK Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008

Fines of up to £100 a day could face any registered business whose websites do not comply with these regulations, introduced in October 2008. Further information is available here:

Limited companies must include company details on all electronic communications (website AND email) and this should include:

Your full company name
Where the company is registered
The companies registered address
The Companies Registered No e.g. 123456789
Website Hosting company details: address, postcode, hosting company website
Professional Memberships should be displayed on the website or freely provided upon request
VAT Registered number