What the Heck Is a QR Code?
It’s basically a barcode in a square shape. (Without bars, ironically). It is scanned by a smartphone. It could direct someone to a website, an image, a text message or, even, a phone number. (That’s totally up to the QR code’s creator).
For marketers, a QR code allows you to get smartphone users to call you without forcing them to actually type in a phone number or URL.
QR codes reduce friction.
They’re getting more popular. If you’re paying attention, you are starting to see them on many business cards, print ads, online ads and even on major Presidential candidates’ buses and brochures. A marketing/advertising firm called Austin-Williams did some research about how people use QR codes. Here’s some of what they found.
The majority of QR codes lead users to websites and coupons. They can appear on websites, print ads, posters, buildings, buses, t-shirts, TV (as Shakira says, ‘Whenever, Wherever’). If you can see something, you can put a QR code on it.
You go to one of these websites and follow the directions. It’s the easiest thing you’ve ever done. And again, you can create a QR code that generates a click-to-call phone number, a website or anything else.
So how can you use these little squares in your marketing efforts? How can they help you? And most importantly, how can you make sure QR codes won’t be a waste of time, effort and money?
Your goal with QR codes should be this: increase a potential customer’s interaction with your business. Get them to call or visit your website. You want to get them to contact you. That’s it.
Here are 6 ways to use them. Some of these aren’t original (we stole them), some are.
1) Direct your QR code to a phone number, specifically a tracking phone number
Many companies direct QR codes to phone numbers. But far fewer direct them to a tracking numbers. What’s the difference? Well, a tracking number allows you to see how many people actually call your number from your QR code. It basically tells you if your QR code is working or is an utter, complete and total dumpster fire failure.
To do this, you simply get a tracking number and input the tracking number on one of the websites (listed above) where you generate your QR code.
This is number one on our list because Convirza offers tracking numbers (we’re being honest). And, because someone can call you directly just seconds after scanning the code. They go from seeing your code, to scanning it, to talking to you on the phone in about 3 seconds.
That’s pretty immediate.
That’s pretty low friction.
2) Direct your QR code to your Facebook Page
This allows for interaction. That’s good. Plus they aren’t expecting to hit your Facebook page. They’re expecting a corporate website. If you send them to your Facebook page (especially if that Facebook page has a coupon or offer of some sort), they will be pleasantly surprised.
3) Direct your QR code to a coupon
This gives the person ‘the goods’ immediately . It shows them that you mean business. You are serious about winning them over.
Put a tracking number on the coupon. This will show you how many people take the next step and tap that number on their smartphone screen. This is big. You want them to call. And with a tracking number (again, that Convirza sells and tracks) you’ll be able to discover how many of them are actually calling.
4) Send them to High Quality/Helpful Content – Give them something worthwhile immediately. If your QR code is marketed to a BtoB crowd, give them a free case study, article, White Paper or eBook, just for scanning the code. This builds massive amounts of credibility. Make sure the content is worthwhile and useful and they will be impressed.
5) Put the QR Code on Your Product Labels, Storefront or Website
This keeps the QR code constantly in front of your customers. Direct the code to an additional offer, a tracking number, or a website that will allow them to shop for similar products.
6) Use QR Codes in Your Email Marketing Campaigns
This method is often overlooked by even the most tech savvy companies. They have QR codes splashed on print ads, websites, t-shirts and business cards and yet they forget to put them on their email marketing campaigns. That’s silly. Put them there too. Direct these QR codes to a tracking number or a coupon.
To say that QR codes are the future of marketing may be an overstatement (yep, no question, it’s an overstatement). However, they will become increasingly important. The day will come (I’m not sure when, but it will) when companies that haven’t utilizes QR codes and the tools that track their effectiveness will behind the times.
Use QR codes as another arrow in your marketing quiver.