WHAT IS A QR CODE?
While I plan on writing a more in-depth piece on QR Code marketing soon, I wanted to get out some initial information that I felt would be helpful.
What is a QR Code?
A QR (Quick Response) Code is a 2D barcode that can be read by special software on a camera phone, usually as a free download on a smart phone. Just search for “QR scanner” in the iTunes or Droid app store.
Depending on your QR code reader, once scanned you’ll be redirected to a web page, call a phone number, see a message, or other action. (I can only imagine the happy prankster who will love this “what’s behind door number one” app.) Skewed people you see!
According to Joe Rosenfield of Edison Press, a QR code can contain a URL, calendar event, contact info (such as a vCard), email address, SMS text message, and even geolocation information. How these are handled may depend on the QR scanner you use. (I use QR App.)
As a Marketer how do you use a QR code?
How do I generate a QR Code?
Luckily, generating a QR code is free. There are plenty of websites that will do it for you Kawya is one of them.
How many people use QR Codes?
At this point in early 2011, most people wouldn’t know a QR code from a barcode. Most aren’t even QR qrious.
However, QR codes have been spotted on everything from buildings to business cards, wine bottles to Tide bottles, and even as tattoos. This graph from Google Insights shows the surge in searches for “QR Codes”:
In other words, it has the potential of going mainstream, especially with the growth of smart phones which have both cameras (required for scanning the code) and Internet capability.
Like most marketing and advertising, there are going to be businesses and industries better suited than others to take advantage of this. As mentioned before, why have a QR code on your site when a link is easier to create and offers a much better user experience… its called keeping up with the Jones’s in the Technology sphere!
Although a QR code can prove vital when promoting events through print media (newspapers, magazines, direct mail, posters, billboards, business cards, etc.) QR codes offer a way for non-digital products and services to leverage the internet and mobile marketing all at the same time.
Given that mobile barcodes are finally cracking the mainstream, they have enormous potential to present brands with brilliant results. Here are five mobile barcode best practices to help ensure a successful campaign.
1. Be Everywhere
Mobile barcodes should be incorporated into all digital and traditional media so the consumer has 360-degree exposure to the mobile marketing campaign. This will also ensure that consumer experience, dialogue and interactivity are at the heart of the campaign and not simply an afterthought.
2. Drive Value and Make it Easy
Giveaways, discounts, free tickets and exclusive access will compel consumers to interact with and scan your code. If your code simply offers the customer a chance to view a TV advertisement or link to a website, it’s best to try again. Scanning a barcode should provide the consumer with a brand experience that is exclusive, dynamic and interactive.
Take into account where a mobile barcode is located on the ad. Consumers must be able to find it easily and scan it quickly. For outdoor ads, place the code at eye or arm-level. In a print ad, the barcode should not fall over a fold as this will hamper scanning. Be sure to leave some white space around the mobile barcode, and use a minimum of 1 x 1-inch print specification. For TV or cinema, the code should to remain onscreen long enough for the viewer to launch the scanning application and scan the code.
3. Keep it Simple
Branded or custom QR codes are certainly getting some buzz, but it’s also important to create a code everyone can recognize. Producing your code in simple black and white checkered format will increase the number of phones and code readers that can scan it. Also, ensure you use global, open standards (i.e.Datamatrix) to maximize universal customer reach and impact.
4. Build Customer Affinity
Remember that the consumer who has just scanned your code is on the move. She will be viewing the brand content on a mobile screen and, therefore, expects instant results. Make sure the barcode links through to a mobile-enabled site rather a PC-designed site. Remember that “dead links” (codes that go nowhere or deliver the wrong information) are the equivalent of a slammed door — the consumer will not try again.
Matthias Galica, the CEO of ShareSquare, provides tips for marketers and brands using QR codes, and specifically emphasizes testing a barcode for functionality across a variety of devices and scanner applications before launching. It’s important, especially because the consumers that scan codes are likely tech-savvy and vocal — the kind of consumers you want on your side.
5. Account for Objectives and Analytics
Boost sales, increase customer engagement, build brand loyalty, educate your audience. Whatever the campaign objective, be sure to define its goals before integrating a mobile barcode. Consider monitoring the campaign via a barcode management platform. Your business will be able to leverage the provider’s expertise, better assess your campaign effectiveness and evaluate its real-time success through analytics.
Following these practices will help analyze mobile ad spending and increase the success and ROI of your future barcode campaigns.