Are QR codes here to stay and more importantly to marketers, when does it make sense to use them?
First, start by considering your audience. Are they aware of how QR codes work? Do they have the technology accessible to utilize them? A recent survey on QR Awareness showed that nearly 20% of teens didn’t even know what these images were. In fact, only 33% were able to identify the image as a QR code, with only 19% having the right software to read the QR codes. Having said that, 74% who had used a QR code thought it was worth their time. Moral of the story – start by considering your audience and their willingness and ability to accept this marketing tactic.
Next, consider what is your goal? Sounds simple enough, but as we markters know sometimes the novelty of a given tactic can be enough to sway decision makers to want to use them. Are you trying to increase sales of a certain product? Raise awareness of a service you provide? Entice customers to view you as a thought leader? Start with the goal and then ask yourself if a QR code can help you achieve it.
Here’s a few effective ways we see QR codes being used, and a few thoughts on when not to use one.
- Coupons & Discounts – QR code research shows that consumers will take the time to scan a QR code if they get something out of the deal. It’s also a green marketing technique that some audiences will really appreciate.
- Contact Information – A brilliant use of the QR code is to provide instant down-loadable access to your business contact information/VCard via a QR code conveniently located on your business card. Time savings for your contacts means a innovative brand image for you and your company.
- Events – Did you know you can create a QR Code for an event which creates a calendar instance when scanned? This is an effective use of QR codes for those putting on workshops, seminars and other events who want to offer a quick and easy way for potential attendees to plan to attend.
- Captive Audiences – Think about using QR codes in locations where your audience isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Table top displays at restaurants or events, point of purchase displays, waiting rooms, airports, etc.
- Customized Content – At trade shows, consider a hand out with a QR code that directs your audience back to a unique landing page with an article or white paper about the trade show topic. The key here is customization – with the ease of creating QR codes at will, one size does not have to fit all.
- Primary Web Site Promotion – Creating a QR code to simply link back to your main web site is likely not the best use of this technology. While it may seem novel at first, your not providing any extra value. However, QR codes can be effective when directing someone to a landing page with customized content on a given topic. This can be as simple as directing someone to an interior page of your web site, or as elaborate as sending them to a micro site.
So how do you get a QR code? There’s a few reputable & free services out there, but we personally love QRStuff.com, which even allows you to make your QR Code pretty! Choose the color to match your brand, vs. the boring black you see nearly everywhere. Another way to breakt thru the marketing clutter!
At the end of the day, QR codes are just one more tool at your acccess when creating your marketing plan and strategies. If you’re interested in learning more about our marketing strategy service, simply scan the QR code above 😉