Quick Response (QR) codes, a technology that's been around since 1994, became a notorious fad a couple years ago with the rise of smartphones, and spawned more than a few agency/client conversations. QR codes quickly became a cliché of the marketing world. While some of us cringe at the thought, QR codes (if used correctly) can be tremendously successful in reaching targeted groups of consumers.
Just because you can use a QR code doesn’t mean you should. With any media vehicle, you have to consider all aspects of the technology and how it fits within your overall marketing strategy. If your team thinks a QR code is the way to go, ask yourself four simple questions:
Who are you trying to reach? There are millions of smartphone users in the marketplace, but how many have downloaded a QR code reader and how many know how to use it? Younger generations are more likely to understand and use QR codes; but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the only group you can target. However you may need to teach your consumer how to use the technology you are employing.
How do you plan to reach them? Think having a QR code on a billboard is a good idea? If a person has to risk their life (or look ridiculous) to scan the code and reach your page, you’re probably limiting your audience. However, current research suggests magazine ads, especially those targeted to younger generations, can have great success. A well-placed code on real estate signage, a trade show display or car spec sheet may be useful as well.
Where are you going to send them? So you have your QR code, but is your website or landing page optimized for mobile use? Dragging users to a mobile-unfriendly site or irrelevant page equals sky-high bounce rates. Even worse, you may alienate consumers and risk losing brand loyalty!
Why are they going to visit? Give consumers a reason to use this technology – chances are that they aren’t going to pull out their phone unless there’s a purpose. And that reason should NOT simply be to visit your website or gather contact information! What’s in it for the consumer? Getting a coupon for merchandise, viewing specialized video content or seeing additional pictures of a real estate property are all examples that would prompt them to take the time to scan.
So before you throw a QR code up on your homepage (yes, we’ve seen it happen), honestly ask yourself those four questions and see if your QR code can survive the answers.
- By Kyra Harris, Senior Account Executive
branding , cra rule , marketing , qr code , website