Have you noticed recently an increase in the number of QR codes appearing all over the place? It’s no surprise as a recent comScore report showed that there are more than 100 million smartphone owners in the U.S. with 30 million added in the past 12 months. A QR or quick response code is the new way for businesses to drive consumer engagement in their mobile marketing efforts.
I remember when I first started scanning QR codes, there was no call to action except the curiosity of what they were. As with any marketing campaign, QR codes are another part of your integrated marketing strategy. They can be beneficial if it brings value to the customer.
Where to place QR Codes?
While there is almost any place to print a QR code, there are very few good locations to get the best response. I’ve seen codes on business cards, cups, billboards and clothing. Magazines are one of the best locations because people like to browse through the pages of a magazine as a leisure activity so consumers have the time to explore and scan the codes. Other good places are on packaging, direct mail, in-store displays, train station signs and online. As long as the code can be scan within arm’s reach then customers can easily scan with their smartphones.
If you plan to add QR codes to your mobile marketing there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Have a clear call to action – tell the customer what they can expect when they scan the code and what they need to do after they scan. There has to be an incentive for someone to take the time to use their smartphone, open the app and scan the code.
- Provide instructions – Many smartphones and tablets in the U.S. do not come with the scanning app already installed. Let them know where they can download the app, especially if you have a preferred scanning app.
- Optimize your website for mobile – When using a landing page make sure its mobile optimized. Many small business owners use WordPress which offers a responsive design that provides an optimized version of their website for mobile users.
- Test before going to print – Once a QR code is created the destination link needs to work. Test the link with the scanning app before the code is printed on any of your final marketing materials. The user experience doesn’t stop there, when you decide to use QR codes the video, landing page or other online experience will need to be maintained going forward.
- Content is key – The destination of where customers are taken is just as important as where you place the codes. The content needs to be informative and relevant to the customer. Think about the best experience you want to provide the customer and deliver it to them.
Ways to Use QR Codes in Your Mobile Marketing Campaigns
- Sweepstakes or Membership renewal – Online forms are a great way to have customers renew their magazine subscription or enter a sweepstakes contest quickly. It’s also a way to build your CRM database.
- Engagement through Print – Newspaper articles, product advertisements and books have QR codes that take readers to videos, photos and content. This keeps a printed publication up to date with current information.
- Enhance Offline with Online – A few years ago New York City created an interactive game through Central park where visitors can scan codes to learn pop culture, arts, music and other interesting facts and videos about the historic park. More recently art exhibits have also been including codes so patrons can view additional artwork photos and get more information about the artists.
- App Downloads and Social Media – More businesses are creating their own custom apps and participating in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. Having a QR code can take customers directly to the App download or social media page.
How to Create a QR Code?
There are many websites that offer QR code creation services. If you’re just starting out you can create your own free QR codes at Kaywa. There are also several QR reader apps to chose from. RedLaser is a free app that I’ve been using and is available in the iPhone App store. The reader can scan most QR code types and saves past scanned links.
As more smartphone users engage with QR codes, businesses will create more uses for today’s new hyperlink. How do you plan to use QR codes in your mobile marketing strategy?
Cynthia Gedemer is a Digital Marketing Strategist and Business Coach with over 15 years of business experience in marketing, leadership, project and general management for Financial Services, Insurance, Retail, Telecommunications, and Healthcare industries.