QR Codes look a little like a crossword puzzle. The purpose of these little squares is to direct smart devices to web-based content. By using the camera, the device decodes the QR Code and directs the user to the associated URL.
There are some QR Code best practices that should be observed.
1. Make sure the code is large enough and in an easily readable area. Don’t let it get stuck in the binding of a magazine or risk it being trimmed off the edge of a page.
2. Make sure there is cell reception if your code is part of an out-of-home installation. Don’t put an ad up on a subway car with a QR Code if there is no cell reception in the subway.
3. Brand your code. You can put your logo or a picture of your product in the center of the code. Depending on how the code is constructed you can cover as much as 30% of the data. Make sure to extensively test your code with multiple code readers to ensure it is easily scanable.
4. Track your code scans. It is easy to build in a tracking system to your code so you can tell not only how many people have scanned it but, with the proper preferences enabled, where they were geographically.
5. Link to good quality, mobile content. There are a lot of businesses that link to the corporate website which may not be optimized for mobile display. The only thing this achieves is frustrating the consumer. Make sure the content is worth the consumers effort and easy to navigate on a mobile device.
6. Test, test, test. Make sure the code works and points to the right content. Test it across different platforms and different readers. Nothing is more embarrassing than putting out thousands of codes only to realize they don’t work, or worse, link to the wrong content. A stigma of technological incompetence is very dangerous in today’s marketing environment.
QR Codes are easy to generate and implement but what is the best content to associate with the QR Code?
QR Code users are looking for a unique experience worthy of the technology used to access it. A common mistake is to direct the user directly to the corporate website. This is the opposite of a unique experience. Put a little effort and creativity into developing your content tied with the code. Here are some creative ideas for QR Code uses.
This is the most basic use for a QR Code we are comfortable recommending. Offer an exclusive coupon or offer to users who scan the QR Code. Make sure the coupon is of a value worth their effort.
There are endless opportunities to integrate multimedia with your print collateral through QR Codes. For example Radisson Edwardian hotels has printed QR Codes on their restaurant menus. Diners can scan the code and watch a video of the associated dish being prepared. This is a great way to enhance the dining experience.
If your company has an existing rewards program, considering integrating QR Codes as a way for consumers to gain rewards points. The code could link to content that, when viewed, adds points to their rewards profile. This is a great way to integrate QR Codes with existing programs and even existing apps. If you are going to implement a program like this, include a QR Code reader in your company’s rewards app. If you have an app, consider allowing users to build a wish list and add items via QR Codes on tags, advertisements, or catalogs.
Add a QR Code to product tags so consumers can view additional specifications about the product online or e-mail the store’s landing page for the item to a friend. If you have a physical retail location, consider adding QR Codes to your window displays. If a consumer sees a product in your window display after store hours, they can use the code to get more information, customers can be prompted to shop while your closed!
Develop a game relevant to your product offering. Combine this tactic with an incentive, maybe certain scores can gain the consumer specific discounts? The opportunities are endless.
Free is a powerful concept in marketing however it is important to make sure the content is of value to the consumer. Consider offering a free music download or eBook if you can tie it into your brand image (both products lend themselves to the mobile environment). If you offer a mobile service, consider offering a free trial of your product.
The bottom line is, if the experience is not valuable to the consumer, they will resent the time spent on it. Remember to consider your consumers carefully when designing a QR Code campaign.