Pointers on QR Codes for Marketing

Oh cool! They’ve got a QR code on their postcard! Let’s scan it and see what we get! QR Codes are way cool!

Now yes, QR codes are cool. But are they serving a purpose? Most QR Codes are misused. They don’t do anything. And are just a waste of time and efforts if not properly used.

Here’s a little background on QR Codes from Wikipedia.org with a good explanation
QR Code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. More recently, the system has become popular outside the industry due to its fast readability and large storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. The code consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be made up of four standardized kinds (“modes”) of data (numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, Kanji), or through supported extensions, virtually any kind of data.[1]
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code

How a QR codes are used in marketing.
Formerly only for industrial uses, they have in recent years become common in consumer advertising and packaging, because the popularity of smartphones “has put a barcode reader in everyone’s pocket” for the first time. As a result, the QR Code has become a focus of advertising strategy, since it provides quick and effortless access to the brand’s website.[8][9] Beyond mere convenience to the consumer, the importance of this capability is that it increases the conversion rate (that is, increase the chance that contact with the advertisement will convert to a sale), by coaxing qualified prospects further down the conversion funnel without any delay or effort, bringing the viewer to the advertiser’s site immediately, where a longer and more targeted sales pitch may continue.
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code

Here’s a few pointers on QR Codes:
1) Because of smartphones everyone has a barcode reader in their pocket. So, that would mean, that if you have a QR Code on your marketing materials then the link to whatever you want the person to read or act on should be able to the viewed legibly by a smartphone.

2) The QR Code is a focus of an advertising strategy and provides quick and effortless access to a website. This should be quick and effortless to the consumer but the advertising strategy that goes behind the QR Code should be thought out thoroughly and many questions should be asked before using a QR Code for marketing.

3) Now here is the most important part that many forget.
The purpose of the QR Code is to move the consumer further down the conversion funnel to bring the viewer for a more targeted sales pitch. Aaaah, A more targeted sales pitch.

All to often QR Codes leads us to the homepage of a website that can be mostly only viewed by a computer with a large screen. And then what is the targeted message? No, message. Dead end.

Recent examples:
Wendy’s paper bag QR Code:
Action: “Check-In for a chance to Win! Scan for Full Details and How to Find A Wendy’s Near You.”
Result: QR Code leads to a mobile website with 2 actions: 1) Enter to Win (they gather your contact info) and 2) Find a Wendy’s near you (they locate you).

Merchants Tire direct mail postcard QR Code:
Action: “Scan here to Shop Online”
Result: QR Code leads me to the homepage of their website with no action other than the regular offers which are very hard to maneuver on a smartphone. Dead end.

The Maids (home cleaning service) direct mail postcard QR Code:
Action: “Scan this code with a QR code app with your smartphone to learn more!”
Result: QR Code leads me to the homepage of their website with no action except I do see an offer for a $50 coupon but there’s got to be a better way to receive this offer on a smartphone. Dead end.

Side note: This comes to mind:
Businesses are really doing an injustice to mobile users by sending them to a website chock full of large files to download which results in paying for download data usage.

We look at every point of contact with the consumer to make sure that with every action we are giving result in value for the consumer. Leading them down a path with a result, not a dead end.
Where do your marketing dollars go when they lead consumers to a dead end? Wasted money that could have been used for good.

When using a QR Code for marketing you must do this:
-provide the viewer with a valued message
-lead them to a mobile website
-short to the point message
-ask for a responsive action (create sales)
-and be able to track and analyze the results to see if the QR code campaign did what it was intended to do

Before using a QR Code you need to have a mobile website with your call to action available immediately.

Samuel Little Graphic Design can make your website mobile. Click here for mobile website information.