You may have heard about Smart Tags or seen one in a magazine (Meetings & Incentive Travel, for example). What are they? How do they work? Do they work? And how can they help me monetize my print marketing efforts?
What’s a Tag? In its simplest form, a Tag is a bar code that your smart phone (i.e. BlackBerry or iPhone) can “read” and convert into an action. There are a variety of providers who use different hooks to make their product unique. “Tags” are Microsoft’s version and are free to everyone.
How do they work? Anyone who has a smart phone with a camera phone can use a Tag; it’s as simple as taking a picture. When you create a Tag, you can link it to an action such as opening a web page or sending an e-mail. The user just has to download a simple and free app and they can “read” any Tag.
Do they work? Tags are still very new but are catching on globally, fast. You can insert a Tag into just about any print media (magazine ads, billboards, business cards, T-shirts, etc.) and it instantly connects that print media with the online and mobile medium. There are thousands of websites on Tags, best practices and white papers, with proven case studies using this technology to engage customers and prospects.
How do I know they work? The back-end reporting on your Tag(s) is very good. You can see not only how many times it was “read,” but what day of the week, too. Meetings & Incentive Travel has inserted six to eight Tags in each of our first two issues of 2010. Each issue has received 50 to 60 hits total. I am pleased with these results and expect them to grow.
As an advertiser, try inserting a Tag into your next ad, coupled with an incentive. For example: “For a free $10 Starbucks gift card, snap this Tag”, and have the tag linked to your e-mail. You then see first-hand how your print advertising can generate immediate leads, straight to your smart phone.