Should marketers still be using Quick Response (QR) codes? Some think the time has passed for printing codes on direct marketing pieces. They point to initial poor execution that turned buyers off as evidence the technology never had a chance. That isn’t entirely true.
Marketers can still benefit from using QR codes. They just have to be more creative and careful about when and where to include them.
Rewards for scanning QR codes must have value to the consumer. Codes that add customers to mailing lists or display company websites aren’t enough. Though consumers are more familiar with QR codes than when they were first exposed to them, marketers should always include textual cues such as “Scan Here to See the Product in Action”. Assuming consumers knew what to do with QR codes was a major mistake in many early campaigns.
An important point to understand about QR codes is that they are print and mobile-centric. Nobody scans QR codes from their desktop, and sending a QR code in an electronic document is pointless. For best results, choose a situation where the call to action is consistent with situations where people will be using their mobile devices.
- If a printed brochure distributed in hotel lobbies is promoting a walking tour of historical homes, for example, add QR codes linking to short videos about tour stop highlights. QR codes on signs at the actual properties could add interesting facts or photos for people taking the self-guided tour.
- Event tickets containing QR codes can allow attendees to upload maps and directions to their phones. The location links will open in apps like Google Maps to enable navigation to the site on the day of the event. Marketers can use the same method to direct customers to branch or retail locations.
- QR codes are great for contests, especially if they utilize smart phone features. For example, postcards promoting swimming pool renovations might encourage potential customers to submit pictures of their pools via a mobile landing page reached by scanning the QR code. The winner of the “Ugliest Pool” contest gets a discounted renovation. All other contestants get a free estimate based on their photos and supplied information. The pool company gets a list of ideal prospects.
- How-to videos or demonstrations are also useful when manufacturers include QR codes on packaging or labels affixed to physical products. Anyone who ever struggled with assembling furniture from written instructions will appreciate expert advice to see exactly how to align tab A with slot B. Marketers can exploit this functionality by linking promotional mail pieces to video tips encouraging extended interaction, aiding in brand recognition and exposing customers to the advertiser’s knowledge and expertise.
- Printing signs, brochures or flyers for a political rally, community event or non-profit fund-raiser? QR codes can play messages from candidates or charity beneficiaries, link to mobile-optimized donation sites or trigger follow-up mail to be delivered to the event-attendee’s home.
Engaging customers and prospects through mobile platforms is a growing area for marketers. Imaginative QR code use takes advantage of the attractiveness and acceptance of printed material to begin a multi-channel relationship with current and future customers.
To learn how QR codes can work in your next project, contact us today