Ask most people what they think of QR codes and you may get an answer like I got when I asked my friends – they look good, but in practice they use them very little (if ever)! But is this because the manufacturer or advertiser has failed to use a code in the correct manner or for the correct purpose? Or is this down to the user, who (in my experience) is often either uneducated in how QR codes work and doesn’t fancy stepping outside their comfort zone, or thinks it is more hassle to scan a QR code than type the name of the company into Google?
QR codes are the modern day barcode, and like anything, when used in the correct way, they can be an effective and efficient means to inform people of a whole host of information such as pricing, product information, contact information, or link to your social network site.
But whatever you do, avoid the temptation to simply stick a code on your packaging which does nothing or says nothing about your brand and has no reason for being there other than just because it “looks the part” and is keeping up with technology – it will add nothing to your credibility, your reputation, or your sales figures!
Luckily there are tips and ways you can help make the most out of your marketing with a QR code, and here are 5 simple ideas below that everyone can implement fairly easily:
#1 QR codes for Trade Shows and Exhibitions
People notoriously hate carrying around lots of information at trade shows, and this could be the perfect time to see if your industry is perceptive to the use of codes. An idea is to link each product you sell (or each product category if you have too many products) to a different QR code, which in turn would link to information about the product and your contact details. A better way perhaps than offering your printed brochure, and cheaper in the process.
#2 Give people a reason to use the code and visit your site
Everyone loves an offer and whether it is a 2 for 1 deal, a free gift or 10% off their next purchase, consumers will be far more likely to use a code that gives them something for nothing. You can also see the benefit of this if you have the right software and plan ahead, as you can make the code trackable and find out where your visitors are coming from.
#3 Utilise labels for different QR codes
If you often have different messages you wish to drive forward to your market, perhaps you might think about using labels for different QR codes (depending on the offer you have running or the message you want to give). This not only means you can change your message rather more frequently than usual, but will also save money on re-printing out of date packaging that gives the wrong message.
#4 Use a strapline alongside your QR code that gets the reader interested
Pepsi are a good example of this with their “GET A KICK HERE” campaign, alongside an image of the code and “FIND OUT MORE HERE”. According to marketing agency Jaywing, Pepsi used “18 different QR Codes across pack formats [which] allowed consumers visit a unique mobile site and content by scanning with their mobile phones.”
Use a good strapline and you might find people are clicking just to find out what all the fuss is about!
#5 Use on your everyday items such as business cards or business stationary
A standard business card size is 85mm x 55mm, hardly a whole lot of room to fit a lot of information. But with the careful use of a QR code you could not only give details of how to contact you, but even link to your CV, your past experience or projects you are currently working on. Pretty handy if you are trying to sell yourself or your company – the more space the better!
The real moral of the story here, and where most people fail when using the QR code, is to be sensible and use your common sense. No one is going to scan a code that is on a billboard high on a wall or one that is on a vehicle going 50mph down the motorway. So think carefully about how you position your artwork.
Make sure the site you link to is mobile optimised (no one wants the inconvenience of being transferred to a desktop site). And please, if you have learnt nothing else from this blog, make sure you test the code before you print it. A sure fire way of annoying your target audience is to print a code that doesn’t scan!