Near-field communication (NFC) print technology allows you to embed information into print materials, making them truly interactive. NFC brings print technology into the modern era, making it dynamic and expanding the amount of information that can be shared and the ways in which consumers can interact with brands and services. A tiny tag or chip which emits a radio frequency (called RFID) is placed in the print project (either directly into the paper or on a sticker). When a user taps their phone on the chip or places it near the chip, multimedia content starts to play on the phone through a web browser. Through an online platform, NFC allows the advertiser to change the content that the chip is linked to at any time, providing versatility, adaptability, and increasing the product’s lifespan. Anything that can be printed can include NFC, expanding the amount of information the printed piece can incorporate. NFC print technology is the tech behind Apple Pay and Google Wallet so it is something smartphone users are familiar with. You can find a complete list of phones enabled for NFC at NFC World.
How NFC Engages Customers
NFC truly brings print projects alive, giving consumers a way to access information and content that is carefully chosen, created, and curated. Simply include a “Touch Phone Here” icon or an image of a phone touching the paper on your marketing material and customers will have easy access to the online content you create. You could use NFC on a promotional brochure that shares information about sales, specials, or new products or services as they become available, giving your customers a reason to return to the brochure over and over. Including content like free music downloads will also incentivize customers to use the chip over and over. Lexus successfully used NFC in an ad in Wired magazine, which gave users the chance to demo the app suite Lexus is including in their cars.
Note that NFC content doesn’t have to be highly produced. You can even simply use it to connect customers to a digital business card, coupon, or a flyer. NFC makes print the gateway to an exciting information-packed experience for your customers.
Uses for NFC Technology
NFC chips are great not only in promotional materials, but for providing customers with the important information they will want to reference over and over, such as user’s manuals, instructions, coupons, product recalls, and safety information. Instead of printing a multi-page user manual, manufacturers can create a card with the NFC chip included in it. NFC also allows customers to easily share information about a product, event, or service on social media, increasing word of mouth advertising and setting up the potential for your product or service to go viral.
The technology is also interactive. If a customer would like more information about a product or service, would like to enter a contest you’re running, wants to be placed on your mailing list, or would like to schedule an appointment or make a reservation with you, they can do so by tapping their phone and following the prompts that will come up on their phone. NFC is also great for event tickets, door hangtags, or any material you’re handing out to potential customers, clients, or users because you can push information and entertainment out to them anytime they are near the printed material. NFC tech also lets customers reorder products easily.
NFC chips have geolocation capabilities, allowing customers to communicate their location with you. And the interactive nature allows businesses to collect and analyze information about their customers, users, and potential customers.
You can put this to work for your marketing campaign by adding an entirely new level of interaction, depth, and information built right into a direct mail send. Imagine your prospect opening a package filled something fun and engaging enticing them to a demo – they turn the gift over and there’s a touch here icon – by holding their phone up they instantly see your sales rep’s contact info and go to a page where they can schedule a demo.
How to Incorporate NFC into Your Print Project
NFC is a no-brainer for things like brochures, signs, posters, flyers, and mailers, allowing consumers to quickly get more information as well as free downloads and content that appeal to them. NFC chips are also useful for booths, signs, and displays so that customers can simply tap their phone to get more information to review at the time or in the future. NFC tags are perfect for business cards, magnets, folders, cards, or invitations. Invitations can include a chip so that the receiver can instantly get more information (check out this video of a wedding invitation that includes NFC) or RSVP immediately.
A restaurant menu could include NFC to offer expanded nutritional information, photos, and videos. The technology also allows customers to order from their table without going to the counter, have their virtual loyalty punch card updated, or be notified when their table is ready. The NFC chip can be placed not only on the menu but in the table tent, coaster, or signs in the restaurant. The technology also allows the restaurant to cross-sell menu items and increase table turnover time, increasing profit.
Running a large marketing campaign? NFC can help you deliver hyper-personalized experiences. Imagine delivering a cool, fun printed piece with a little gift attached. The card has an NFC chip embedded in the ink and when your prospect holds their phone over the card, it loads a personalized website with content pointing directly to their needs.
NFC vs QR Codes
A few years ago QR codes were lauded as the next big step in marketing materials. By scanning them, customers could access multimedia materials and learn more information about products and services. Unfortunately, QR codes never caught on as advertisers hoped. Many smartphone users didn’t know how to scan them (and one survey showed that 97 percent of consumers didn’t know what they were), since there is no standard QR scanner included on any phone. Customers never warmed up to these, finding them hard to use. Advertisers and businesses also balked at including square, black QR codes in their materials, no matter how small. Another problem with QR codes is they are static. The code links only to one specific web site. NFC codes are much more flexible and offer more options. QR codes still have some effectiveness and work best among males in the 25 to 34 demographic, so if this is your target audience it may be a less expensive alternative to NFC chips to consider.
Costs of NFC Chips
NFC chips sound complex, but they’re very inexpensive, costing under a dollar for each actual chip. There are additional costs for programming and content development which can be included in your marketing budget. When you consider the huge amounts of information you can not only convey through NFC tech, but the information you can gather when consumers use it, it is an extremely cost-effective marketing method.
Want to add NFC chips to your printing? We can help: 800-930-6040!