- Category: Our Blog
- Written by Brent Williams
Invented by Toyota in 1994 (to track manufacturing process) QR codes have been around for a while. But it was not until the rise of the smartphone (in particular the iPhone) that marketers have suddenly sat-up and taken notice. This is because, QR codes are one of the few things that can be used to link the 'real world' with the 'digital word'. It is also helps that they are cheap and versatile, with only your imagination limiting how they can be used. However, like all things, there are rules you need to know if your are to be successful using them in marketing. This article will explain how, and where you can use them and why you would want to.
A QR Code is a barcode that allows you to share text, data or a URL with someone. As long as that 'someone' is a person with a smart phone or tablet (Android, iPhone, iPad with a freely installed QR Code reading ap). Using them is fairly basic, that someone takes a photo of the QR code ...and voila, they are sent to a website, downloaded something important or done something useful - like importing your contact details on their phone (saving that them from having to type your details using the small keyboard on the phone).
From a technology perspective it’s a simple concept, so the fun starts when we get creative. For a start, you don’t have to stick with boring black & white codes. As long as the contrast ratio, between the spaces, is ‘good enuf’ for a phones camera and the lighting conditions. Also, the QR code itself is pretty smart, with 'error correction' built into it. This way it still works if part of the code is damaged or obscured. It also means that a designer can work branding or a logo into the overall design
Where to put them: A QR Code can be: stuck, printed, tattoo’ed or sprayed almost anywhere, Go large and put one up the side of a building, create a stencil and spray one on the sidewalk, stick one on the side of your head, screen print on a t’shirt, graffiti (ok, urban art) to the entrance of shopping mall, railway stations, or your business ...you get the picture. They even play nice with traditional media, to create online engagement in print-ads, newspapers & magazines, cinema or even TV. About the only media that it wont work in on the radio.
How to use them: Clever design and placement are only about about a third of the story. A lot of attention needs to be placed on how the code will be used, with this ‘use’ needing to be fairly self evident. I.e. someone should be able to gain a fairly good expectation of what the code will deliver. It also needs to clearly fulfill a need. In marketing, needs can be boiled down into two basic things: convenience (saving people time or effort) and economic (saving them money). Good use of a QR code is that it should preform one, if not both, of these functions.
Gain users perspective: To create QR Codes - that create good user expectation - you need to put yourself in the users shoes, perhaps a little more than you might with other forms of communication. For instance it would be a complete waste of time using a QR code to take someone to the homepage of your website. Even worse if your website does not render on a mobile phone. It would be better to present a landing page that has been specifically designed for the QR code user. It should be clear how the user will save money or provide some utility that will save them time or somehow enrich their life. Not only that, but it should also be able to do it within the small screen of a mobile device.
From the business perspective: You need to make certain that QR codes make sense for your business. Is it a touch-point make sense? Are you: Collecting leads? Enhancing the experience of customers? Offering discounts, promotions or special offers? Offering additional content, guidance, education? ...or maybe it is just for fun? Whatever it is you need to have a well defined business case.
Just like all other channels, you need to consider demographics & behaviours. Is your audience users of mobile devices? Although adoption of mobile devices is growing fast (worldwide sales of smartphones now outstrips PC sales), this type of marketing, is still relegated to market niches. Also, just like other marketing campaigns, there is a need to test the plan. Determine goals and ways to measure effectiveness (fortunately tracking and measuring is fairly simple). How will you promote the Code? How does the QR Code tie into the rest of your marketing plan?
How we can help
We can help in several ways.
- Planning & making sure that QR codes are right for your business.
- Develop campaigns that will inspire people to use them (engage).
- Build any associated landing page on mobile friendly websites.
- Track or measure success
- make recommendations that will help create a return for your business.
Some potential uses for QR Codes
- Back of business cards: use a vcard (style of QR code) to automatically update the persons address book with your details or a place on your site that will allow them to do the same. If you build a page on your site to do this, you could also have links to other potentially importing information like white papers (to download and read on their mobile device etc) or other offer.
- Presentation materials: A great addition (and easy to add) to any presentation that links them to additional resources and information about you, your services, or educational materials.
- In-store locations: Windows, menus and other places to promote a special discount for their current/next visit. For instance a take-out menu for a restaurant could have a code that would download an electronic version + contact details, onto a persons phone.
- Packaging and labels: This could link to something like a branded content video featuring tips/advice for that particular item or to service/support information. On a wine label so people in a supermarket of restaurant can research the wine. You could even use them to help employees find product information or repair guides etc.
- Digital publishing: link directly to sample chapter downloads, white-paper, report, survey and additional branded content (video from author, etc) to promote sales of publication.
- Real estate: Include QR Codes on all home promotional items that include a video showing of the house, complete with show schedule and broker contact information.
- This is where we get QR codes from QR Stuff
- Mashible always has goos stuff here are their 5 tips for using QR Codes in marketing
- kissmetrics claim to have 5 "genius" examples of QR codes in marketing
- QR Codes for Marketing: A Unique Way to Bridge Offline and Online Media
NURVE is a Napier (New Zealand) based online marketing agency. We help our customers grow by connecting them with the new breed on online consumer. We can help you develop strategy and campaigns that will get you noticed. Build websites that work with social media and mobile devices (like smartphones and tablets). Increase the visibility of your site on Google and use sophisticated tracking software that will increase conversions.