QR Codes… An online utility also?
QR Codes have been around for a while now. And while we’re seeing them pop up more and more frequently, their first and primary utility has been to provide a conduit from the tangible print world to the increasingly ubiquitous world of peoples web enabled smart phones. It’s a primary means of mobile marketing.
If you’re not familiar, they are those square, typically mysterious codes you may have seen in magazines or elsewhere. Mysterious because they often, because of space constraints of print are placed somewhere without benefit of introduction, call-to-action, what you’re to do with it or why you should care. We’re to assume there is some unspecified Cracker-Jack prize inside that will reward our efforts.
Their use typically assumes A LOT on the part of the consumer.
Assumes tech savvy and highly motivated consumer
There are many good applications for using QR Codes and the level of creative use and utility is growing. And while consumer use is still very small it is growing. I suspect we’ll reach a tipping point when smart phone manufacturers start delivering their product to the marketplace with this utility pre-installed. Currently, the market is still dependent on a consumer who is (1) aware of and (2) motivated enough to…
- Know what QR codes are and value them enough to bother
- Seek out and choose a QR code phone ap of their liking from various competing providers and download it.
- Upon seeing a QR code presentation will pull out their phone, open the ap, take the pic
- Most likely then have to do something with what has been accessed or downloaded
All this assumes a VERY motivated consumer. So, I’d assume conversion rates for those who access your content via QR codes are likely very good though the volume or % who would go to that much trouble would likely be very low volume or %.
This is not to say that marketers should not be using QR codes. To the contrary, there’s not really any reason not to… if you’ve the time and print space to justify the effort. There is also good reporting and feedback loop on their use. And finally, in most cases they’re very easy and inexpensive to use. It’s simply more a matter of managing expectations on traffic/usage. And this will be heavily dependent on your target demographics. Like many things the more you put into your QR code effort, the more you’ll get out. Meaning, if you just slap up an anonymous QR linking to your website home page without intro, call to action, benefit proposition… well…
Your mileage may very.
Website, webpage use of QR Codes
Conventional applications for QR Codes have been for smart phone consumer engagement from a printed source. I’m starting to see though periodic use of QR codes on web pages. For what purpose though? You’re already on a website via your computer or smart phone. Why not just provide a conventional link?
It would seem the off-line habit of just throwing up a QR code without intro or call to action has migrated to this same anonymous online use. In print it’s understandable that there may not be space for intro/call-to-action. You have to assume. But online… you have considerably more flexibility to get around this constraint.
In fact there are several good uses for QR code use on a web page but they’re less obvious. And given you’re not constrained by space there less excuse for not introducing what it is, what you’d like your reader to do with it and why they should bother.
Uses for QR Codes on a web page:
- Download contact information to visitors smart phone
- Download an application or file to same
- Save one or more GPS locations to same
- Save the webpage to their phone? (Don’t think so. It’s a bit of a reach as there are easier ways to bookmark)
- Placement on a webpage you want printed out where they may place the hard copy for other’s use/access
- Save a coupon code to the phone for later in-store presentation
- Add to your Linked-in or other social media profile (contact info or other)
- PayPal buy link
Creative off-line uses for QR Codes
More typical, ho-hum uses you’ll see are print publications, newspapers, magazines, flyers, posters etc. linking to website home page.
Less common and more creative placements include:
- Billboards, storefront signage, box / wrapper packaging, in-store signage
- Shelf tags, price tags, register receipts, for sale signs
- T-shirts, jackets, book bags, coffee cups
- Manufacturer ID labels
- Warranty cards, instruction documents, customer service documentation
- Video/film trailer and/or credits at the end of same
- On the back of your business card
- Direct mail pieces
- Conference or employee name tags and ID cards
- Place at the end of your Powerpoint or screen presentation
- At the end of a print story/report. Send the reader to where they can get more on the story presented.
More creative use of the code include:
- Linking to a unique and optimized-for-conversion landing page for the specific purpose or offer, not just the website home page.
- Linking to your V-card or contact information (try this on your luggage tags and other non-carry-on items)
- Linking to fuller product information you can’t fit on a price tag, shelf tag, product listing packaging etc.
- Coupon codes to be presented in-store upon your next visit.
- “Call us to place your order” automatically dials phone
- Linking to your PayPal (or other) buy-now link
- Linking to your Event Registration page
If you’re new to QR Codes
Usage assumes you have a web enabled smart phone. If you do you’re likely already familiar with selecting, downloading and activating web aps. Having tried a few we like and use ScanLife but there are others you may want to try. Further, it’s a rapidly evolving and competitive space. So by the time you read this there may already likely be a better mousetrap. They’ve gotten considerably easier to use in just this last year. So try out a few.
If you don’t have a smart phone… well… I’d strongly encourage you to get one, particularly if you’re a marketer of virtually anything. I don’t care if you’re a proud technology Luddite. Most likely an exploding share of your existing and potential customers do have smart phones and they’re using them, to access your brand. You should know, first hand how you’re being experienced by both current and potential customers vie this medium.
Pssst. You can use this excuse with your mate for justification of the expense too. 🙂
If you’d like to discuss how you may best leverage QR codes in your off-line and/or on-line internet marketing efforts we’d love to talk with you. You may see us online (see Chat Now utility above right), give us a call (608-713-4380) or drop a line. firstname.lastname@example.org