Back in 2011, I wrote a post with some fun QR code examples, and while QR codes are still being used as a marketing tactic, I’m not sure companies “get it” when it comes to the power of these codes.
QR codes (quick response codes) are two-dimensional bar codes that deliver your chosen URL to anyone with a smartphone, mobile phone or QR scanner. What is different about QR codes than other URL “push” tactics is that QR codes move your audience to the exact point in the decision-making process where you need them to be. Instead of casually directing someone to your website and hoping they make a decision based on the path in which they browse your site, a QR code moves your audience to land in an area online that prompts them to make a decision right away.
Or, at least, that’s the plan, anyway.
As a business owner or a marketer, you must figure out what the purpose of your QR code is. As with anything marketing related, there needs to be a call to action, a deliverable and a way to track your results. There is too much noise to cut through to do something just for the sake of doing it.
If you’ve used QR codes in the past or are thinking about implementing them in the future (and you should), be sure you know the answers to the following three questions first:
What is your call to action?
Simply put, you want your audience to “do” something when they scan a QR code that you provide. Instead of sending your users to a generic webpage or the home page of your site, be sure to have an action in mind. Do you want them to make a purchase? Donate a gift? Like your Facebook page? Sign up for a workshop? Every QR code should have an action associated with it.
There are times where companies will use QR codes as a way to disseminate additional information. Home Depot, for example, uses QR codes as a way to give customers care instructions on plants; nonprofits use them to bring celebrity videos to life during auction events. Although these two examples are not direct calls to action, they do bring a sense of trust, reliability and expertise to the audience that is different from what customers might get in another setting. And, there’s no reason why a subtle call to action couldn’t be included in those types of messages as well.
Are you optimized for mobile viewing?
When someone scans a QR code, they are doing so from a mobile device. The worst thing you can do is have a URL that takes them to a cumbersome website or–gasp!–flash site that isn’t compatible for viewing on their phone or tablet. Make sure that your landing page, URL, etc. is responsive–viewable in an accommodating way no matter what type of device your audience is using. Think about the user experience first.
How will you track ROI?
It’s a question that should be asked in every area of business, including any QR code campaign. Think about what your desired outcome is for using QR codes. Are you looking for more registrations to an event? Do you want customers to learn about and purchase a certain type of product? Are you driving engagement to your social media channels (and then what happens when they get there?)
Whatever your goals, you also want to make sure that the URLs you’re hooking the QR code up to are unique. These landing pages should not be accessible in other ways. If you set them to be unique to QR code users you’ll be able to easily track usage and conversion rates. You need to be able to quantify the true reach and success of each QR code that you use.
QR codes are quick and easy ways to drive action and move your customers deeper into the sales and decision making process. Use a strategy that works for you, reaches across multiple channels and answers the three questions above in order to achieve true QR code success.