QR Code Use in Mobile Marketing

Used in the Right Place, QR Codes Provide Interesting Possibilities
QR CodeWhether or not you know what it was called, you have probably seen a QR Code somewhere in the past few years.  In the United States, 50% of the population has seen or at least knows about QR Codes and nearly 1/3 of the people have scanned one at some time or another.

A QR (or “Quick Response” Code) is a square image that itself is made up of many smaller contrasting squares.  They are similar to a bar code in that they contain information.  When scanned by readily available and free applications on mobile devices, they provide some interesting opportunities.

At their core, QR Codes are all about enabling a transition from offline media to your online presence.  For example, if you publish an ad in a magazine or newspaper, you can include a QR Code so that when readers scan it with their mobile device, they get taken to a landing page.  Once on that page, you can tailor your messaging to the users interests (which you know because the QR Code that brought them to the page is associated with a specific ad), and you can present a call to action such as requesting a report, signing up for a newsletter, or requesting an appointment.  Variations on QR codes can also initiate other specific actions such as sending a text message (useful for bringing a prospect into your SMS Marketing world) or downloading your contact info to their smartphone.

Most people associate QR Codes with “ugly” black and white images that are hard to integrate into a pleasing display ad.  But, because QR Codes are very forgiving with regard to image “corruption”, it is possible to overlay the code onto another image such as a photo or logo and the code will still function as desired.  While the combined image quality will, of course, be less than the original image, the overall aesthetics of the QR code will be greatly improved, and the hybrid image can more easily be incorporated into your overall ad.

In order to effectively use a QR Code in a marketing campaign, you should first decide on the audience you are trying to reach (this guides you to where to place the off-line piece) and what your objectives for the campaign.  Then write the offline copy in such a way as to make people want to scan the code.  This can be by telling them that the code will take them to a web page where they will receive something of value, for instance.  Or it could sign them up to a “Members’ Only” list where they get exclusive offers.  One thing you should be sure to do is to make any landing page that a user arrives at after scanning the code mobile-friendly.  This is because anyone scanning a QR Code is likely doing so via a mobile device.

If you are trying to reach a target audience that is “on the go”, consider giving QR Codes a try.  They can make it easy for users to move from the offline world to the online, and once that happens all of your other content to engage the prospective client becomes available, as do your lead capture and lead nurturing tools.