What You Absolutely Must Know About QR Code Marketing
By Frank O'Hara
The QR codes: These little black matrix-looking boxes are capturing the imagination of marketers and consumers alike. With smart phones flying off the shelves and consumers' needs for speed, convenience and coolness, it's no wonder QR codes are so popular. Scan the QR code from a static display like a newspaper ad, brochure, direct mail piece, product label, etc. and the user is taken to a multi-media explosion of videos, product reviews, or cool offers right on a smart phone.
|"With smart phones flying off the shelves and consumers' needs for speed, convenience and coolness, it's no wonder QR codes are so popular."|
The problem is that far too many campaigns just don't work because of technical or tactical problems.
First and foremost, a code has to work! Many barcodes have been carefully placed in printed pieces, but somewhere in the process, nobody checked to see if they worked. The technical specs don't occupy the same space as a copy of War and Peace, but there are some steps that need to be taken along the way to make sure the QR code is scannable. Check and recheck the codes.
All QR codes must be linked to a mobile optimized landing page. When someone scans a code, it has to be usable on a smart phone. It seems logical, but it is mind numbing to consider the vast number of companies who've posted a code on a mailer or national ad and it links to a desktop web site, a bad YouTube video, or in some cases, yikes, a PDF. User experience, needless to say, is right out the window.
The whole world doesn't know what a QR code is or how to interface with it. As much as CMOs and their minions might think the consuming public is up to speed on every technological nuance, they aren't. A call-to-action code should accompany every QR code placed in an ad. It cannot be left naked on a page. Scan 2 Win, Scan 2 Buy or whatever the action is, tell people how to scan a code and what will happen when they do it. And when it comes to encouraging prospects to scan that shiny, brand new code, there has to be a pretty compelling reason. Contests and sweepstakes are big drivers of QR code scanning. People like to win stuff and have their names on leaderboards. Guess what? It also drives loyalty and word of mouth referral. These are pretty nice benefits to setting up a QR code campaign with some forethought.
The concept of marketing is to interact with a customer or a potential one. The QR code will do that on autopilot if it is created thinking of more than one channel. Set up a mobile landing page that asks for a name and email address, a cell phone number, or a way to easily interface with Facebook and Twitter. And after that information is shared, there should be an auto-responder system to operate a meaningful drip campaign. It is of the utmost importance that all mobile efforts have a way to talk to prospects over and over again about items that are of interest to them. This web site features a variety of informative and useful QR code marketing know-how - http://QRcodemarketing.webs.com/apps/links.
No discussion of QR code marketing is complete without talking about m-Commerce. Google Wallet and programs in development by Paypal, Visa, and Mastercard are clearly predicting the future of mobile payments. Some have called the QR code scan the ultimate impulse buying tool, making it an imperative that it is easy and seamless to scan information about a product and service and buy in one simple step from the mobile landing page.
Mobile social media interaction is exploding. More people access Facebook from mobile devices than on desktops, and that number keeps climbing. Mobile marketing must address this by allowing for an interface from a scanned QR code. Allowing consumers to sign in with Facebook credentials is a three-fold benefit: It is simple for the consumer; encourages sharing of information; and gives the business a wealth of demographic information through the consumers' Facebook profile pages.
Tracking results is as paramount in QR code marketing as it is in all forms of customer interaction. It is important to decide how to use separate tracking codes at different customer touch points. The QR code displayed inside a store may need to be wholly different than the one in the store's newspaper ad. Creating distinct QR codes and landing pages for each channel allows marketers to get immediate feedback on campaigns, deliver real time offers, and build databases of loyal customers. It's a winning combination of on-going data acquisition and strong ROI.
QR code marketing has a bright future. For the first time in modern advertising history, customers have been the driving force in determining its usage, in effect, demanding a simple, one-step way to interact with a brand in a manner that isn't intrusive. To scan or not to scan is left to the prospect alone. To keep the QR code future bright, marketers have to provide an experience that is positive and enriching and listen to what consumers want. Imagine that: consumers that ask and brands that provide. HBM
Frank O'Hara is an author, webmaster, and ebook/software publisher. His website features a wide variety of informative online/offline, Internet, and social media marketing know-how by visiting his web site - http://oharapublishing.tripod.com. V19-6 HP: ? Add:1/13 HP: 2/27/13