QR Codes have been called the marketing tool that marketers love to hate. Why? Because so many seem to provide absolutely no value.
Perhaps you scan a QR Code and it doesn’t go anywhere at all. Perhaps you get an error or the page to which the code points doesn’t exist. Perhaps you see a QR Code on a product you are interested in, so you scan the code and end up at a manufacturer’s non-mobile website where you get lost in a maze of links so dense that you forget why you went there in the first place.
Does this mean that QR Codes are a waste of time? No. It means not enough thought was put into creating them.
When you are thinking about creating a QR Code, the first thing you should do is ask yourself, “What purpose do I want this code to serve? What do I want the person scanning it to get out of it?” If you don’t have a good answer, wait until you do.
A great example of QR Code use is Best Buy. When you enter a Best Buy store, all of the products have QR Codes. When scanned, the codes take you to products specs, customer reviews, and other information not available on the shelf talkers or product packaging that will help them make a purchase decision. The QR Code puts the information in the customer’s hands at the very time that they need it — as they are making the decision. That’s a QR Code used well.
Contrast that with a QR Code placed on a lawnmower that takes you to the manufacturer’s corporate site. Or a QR Code on a “house for sale” sign that takes you to the realtor’s entire inventory. Those are QR Codes used poorly. It’s not the QR Code that’s the problem. It’s the lack of thought behind it.
When creating QR Codes, think about the end use!
The use of QR Codes, or those square-shaped mobile barcodes in print and email marketing that provide instantaneous access to online videos, coupons, and other marketing content, continues to grow.
According to Scanbuy, which processes 21 million of the 105 million mobile barcode scans each year, QR Code scanning is up 1300% from one year ago (Q2 2013 vs. Q2 2012). Consumers are now scanning at a rate of 3x per month on average, up 22% from one year earlier.
What are they looking for? According to Scanbuy’s “Q2 2013 Mobile Barcode Trend Report,” consumers are most likely to scan for video, app downloads, product information, social media, and the latest news.
Food and beverage, wireless, retail, print, and toys are the most likely market verticals to have QR Codes scanned. Of course, QR Codes are powerful tools in every vertical, but if you’re in one of these, take special notice!
QR Codes cost nothing to produce, and you can add them to your print and online marketing just like any other image. The trick to success is understanding how and when to use them and how to pair them with the right content on the back end so that viewers turn into buyers who take action.
Need help? We’d be happy to discuss the best use of QR Codes for your marketing projects.
What’s Your Print-to-Mobile Strategy?
In today’s world of print marketing, multi-channel communications are a critical component of success. Taking your marketing message across multiple channels helps you cut through the marketing clutter in your customers’ lives and reinforce your message over time. If you aren’t already, it’s time to pay attention to mobile.
That’s why the post office is offering a 2% discount on direct mail pieces that use a QR code that drives readers to a click to call mobile page or a mobile coupon. The sales runs March 1 thru April 30.
Let’s look at some recent data that shows just how important mobile has become in the lives of even print-loving consumers.
• Smartphones are in the hands of 53% of U.S. mobile phone owners. (Pew Internet & American Life Project November 2012)
• One-third of adults are now mobile-only. They have no landline in their homes at all. (National Health CDC/NCHS National Health Survey 2011)
• Nearly two-thirds (61%) of consumers access the Internet via smartphone. (Accenture 2012)
• 51.1% of mobile users check their email using only a mobile device, 45.3% say they conduct mobile-only Internet searches, and 42.3% connect with friends on Facebook without ever using a PC or laptop. (Prosper Mobile Insights 2012)
• Four out of five smartphone owners use their phones to shop. (comScore MobiLens 2012)
If you are not integrating mobile into your overall print marketing strategy, it’s time to start!
Today’s consumers live on their mobile phones. It’s important to add mobile calls to action to your printed pieces, and QR Codes are the easiest way to do that. For more details on the upcoming postal sales, visit https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mobilebarcode.