QR Codes - What is it? What does it do? Why you need one!
Ok, we've all seen those black & white pixel boxes added to advertisements, packaging, posters, business cards and some digital ads too. But what are they, and do you need one?
I won't bore you with the history of the QR Code (Quick Response), just that was created in Japan by Toyota to inventory automotive parts.
QR Codes are the bridge between print and online media. The QR Code takes a print customer and engages them to respond. It could be to collect your contact information, a contest or promotion, showcase a new product, download a catalog or connect them with your mobile application or website. What ever your goal, you need to start with one.
The options to display a QR Code are almost endless. They can be put on a business card, trade show hand-out, package, in-store display, billboard, Facebook page, t-shirt, vehicle, wherever you can picture connection with your customers.
A marketing or advertising company can also get creative with how they look or where to place one. You can also track their metrics and how the customer used that code (ie. which mobile device platform, where they are located, the source of the code - if you have many)
You can look up many free and subscription services online, that create QR Codes, but look for the ones that can output different types of files, change the destination and provide you with metrics. If you are not comfortable creating one, a marketing company (like us) can create one for you.
Now that you have an overview... Do you need one?
Actually, yes. You may need several.
Treehouse Studio, can help you choose the correct version, placement, destination and track the metrics of the QR code for you. You will then know more information about your client to target them in the future and the long run.
If you provide a seasonal promotion on your website, you can use a QR code that can be used all year. By editing the destination of the code, the code never needs to change. Anyone with an older magazine or ad will still get to see the most current promotion.
If you have an inventory of products or groups of products you could also use one for each of these, and point to specific product details, tips or video. The QR Code provides an opportunity to engage your customer once more in the decision process.
Here is how
1) Your first 2 questions
What is the purpose?
You want to increase the interactivity of your brand to you customer
What is your expectation?
These questions need to be defined before a code is generated.
2) Create a Call to Action
Don't just think that if you add a QR Code it will scanned. Without clear instructions or defining what the user will expect it will not be used.
Keep it brief, "Download our 2012 catalogue", "Follow us on Facebook", "Sign up for our newsletter", "Register for special discounts" etc.
Here's a perfect example...
You're out downtown and stand in front of a restaurant you've never been to. In the window they have a QR Code displayed. Their call to action is "Read our reviews", you can then scan the code, read the reviews of that restaurant, and then decide to walk in or walk by.
Here's what really happened.
You stopped. Scanned the code and read the reviews.
It's now 50/50? whether you will go in or not.
Compared to 0% if you continued to walk by.
The restaurant engaged you to learn about the food & past customers.
What would your call to action be?
3) Design & Usability
It has to be easy to read, visible, and scannable - (test the code 0-30% error correction, and make sure it works on each mobile OS). You can also create a designer code, as studies show they have higher scan-through rates.
Most of all remember, your QR Code is being scanned on a mobile device. If your website or link is not mobile friendly... make it!
No one will want to scan a code and go to a confusing website, page or file, that doesn't work on their device.
The design of your landing page or website is critical, if you want a customer to view your product - link to products, if you're promoting a contest - go to the contest page. Use direct links, don't have your user fumble around looking for it. They will leave and you will not accomplish your goal.
The user's experience is meant to be quick, provide them with value, if you don't you will loose them.
4) Measure the Metrics (Analytics)
Let's get technical
A properly created QR Code will have the ability to track at least something. If you generate a code and there are no metrics included, choose a different service.
It's not just about the # of hits a QR Code generates, it about the final engagement.
How long did they stay on your site? Did they watch the video? Did they fill in the form?
You want to change a viewer into a visitor.
Is your campaign time sensitive? Concert tickets for example. You would hope to see a spike in scan-throughs while that particular QR Code promotion is out in the public realm.
However if you are using your code to just continually connect, then you should see a consistent amount of scan-throughs at any given time. (Consistent visibility - A window sticker on your commercial vehicle, newspaper, in-store advertising etc)
5) Social Metrics
Now the nitty-gritty
You'll have to think both the long-term and promotion duration when using QR Codes. You're engaging your customers like never before, keeping your brand front of mind.
If you would like to learn more about QR Code or to implement a QR Code into your business, contact Treehouse Studio, and we'll direct you on the right path to QR success.
November 15 2011