Quick Response codes have been around since 1994. Though they were used mainly for tracking inventory for quite a long time. Then, QR codes entered the marketing world and experienced some back and forth with it. Nowadays, it seems like a great comeback of QR codes but will they really make it this time?
- Are QR codes on the way out as a marketing tool?
- Do you find QR codes useful for marketing your business?
- Do I have to pay for a QR code? Is it unique?
- Do you think every business owner should use QR codes?
- How to use or promote a QR code online?
- How could you use a QR code?
- How to use a QR code effectively?
QR codes are widely used in consumer advertising and marketing. You can spot them in stores, on product labels, business cards, billboards, even in TV ads, and the last one is honestly weird. Despite no actual data on how often QR codes are used in marketing campaigns, the rise in their popularity among marketers seems obvious.
Technology improvements also support the growth of QR code usage. Modern smartphone models have QR code scanners in-built to the phone camera, more apps provide code generating as a way to share your page and QR codes themselves grew from 21 x 21 pixels to 177 x 177 for the newer versions. That means QR codes can handle more information and people get used to them more on a daily basis. Does this mean consumers started scanning them more? Well, not exactly.
There is a lack of research on QR code scanning. It’s impossible to track the popularity of someone’s code or estimate how often people scan codes overall. Surveys on codes are also quite old and show that 5-6 years ago, only a little more than 20% of the US citizens used QR codes. Though newer data has some better estimations and more positive predictions.
QR codes’ main feature is that they allow opening pages, downloading apps or make some other actions on mobile devices and tablets quicker. Once you keep this in mind, you can find out if a QR code is useful for promoting your own business or product.
Generally, marketers find QR codes useful to drive customers to a website from non-digital ads. For businesses with tech-friendly customers, these codes may work better than URL links or usernames for social media.
It is important to note that QR code isn’t a magical symbol that gains you customers automatically once put on an ad. It is a tool, an objectively good one, that you should implement cleverly.
Every code you generate is unique. It works so that your data is encoded into what seems to be a bunch of squares to a human eye. There are also many methods to encode information into a QR code, so getting an identical QR code shouldn’t be a possibility.
However, that doesn’t mean you should pay for a QR code as it is basically a link to the page encoded in a specific way. Imagine paying to use the alphabet - that’s what it would be. There are many free apps, programs, and tools that allow getting a QR code for free.
Software that offers paid features for QR codes exists too. But usually what they ask for money includes some additional options on top of just code. This can be better or custom design of code, integration of the code with your CRM system or website, cloud storage for something you encode like document people can download or tracking feature.
Not every business owner needs to use QR codes. To truly identify if this monochrome square thingy suits your needs, start by asking if there is some truly useful information you need to encode? Is there any valuable audience you can reach offline that would be fine to join you on the web?
Some common misuses of QR codes include adding useless information or adding details to simple everyday products. Therefore, before rushing to slap that magical square everywhere, start by audience research and planning the campaign.
Once these crucial data is discovered and analyzed, proceed to construct a landing page optimized for mobile users. Depending on the campaign, it can be anything from a promotional page to a quick path through the ordering process. An important detail is that bringing prospects to your generic home page isn’t a good plan. You won’t be able to track the scanning ratio (without extra set up). Moreover, leads can get lost and confused. Make sure you’ll take visitors to the content they expect to see through scanning a code.
One of the worst things you can do with a QR code is to share it online. The reason is that to use the code one needs to scan it with their camera. This is an uncomfortable and usually pointless thing to do if a code is shared digitally.
Use QR code to promote your site or pages offline. Ensure you have important and interesting information to add to your conventional materials. QR codes are great for shortening typically long links or encoding hieroglyphs or other characters that are hard to type in.
Offer QR code to fasten consumer’s actions. It can be signing up for newsletter or registration for a giveaway, following up a social media page, setting up calendar reminders, sending emails or adding a contact. Long story short, for some of these processes it typically takes several steps for a person to get a result. No surprise some prospects don’t finish the process and give up. On the contrary, scanning a code to get the thing done sounds easy enough to do that.
Finally, QR codes work great in conditions of limited space you might have. Think of printed materials like company catalogs or business cards. There isn’t much advertising space for you to provide decent information about your company. Or conventional format may limit your ability to demonstrate a product or service, especially if you produce complicated products. In this case, consider putting extra information, product demos or even a virtual showroom through a QR code on the typical marketing piece.