What are QR Codes? What are the uses of QR codes in marketing?
Quick Response (QR) Codes are two-dimensional bar codes designed for use with smartphones and Internet-connected mobile devices. Customers and prospects use their smartphone to scan or photograph the QR Code by using easily attainable applications. Once scanned, their device will access a mobile website, mobile offer, or other digital content.
QR Codes can take the marketing you’re already doing and make it more effective. Companies typically add QR Codes to their printed promotional material including signage, business cards, product packaging, or media advertising. You can create or scan QR codes using QR Scanner app. Here is an example of a QR Code:
Potential uses of QR Codes include:
- Direct users to landing pages for their mobile subscriber list
- Deliver digital discounts and premiums
- Direct users to instructional videos
QR Codes originated in Japan and have been used effectively there for over a decade and They function differently from other mobile marketing components because they require a visual presence. Whether visible on a television screen or on product packaging, customers are required to be in close proximity to the code in order to scan it with their smartphone.
A significant benefit of QR Codes is that they don’t cost businesses very much to create, use, or maintain. You can even find some QR Code generators online for free. This makes QR Codes an effective add-on to existing advertising methods. QR Codes can be placed on business cards, on websites, or even in print media advertisements.
QR Codes help customers skip cumbersome steps in the research and buying process. Consider this example:
You’re walking around a city and see a poster promoting an upcoming event. Wanting to learn more, you scan the QR Code on the poster with your smartphone. You instantly get more information about the event and a link to a website where you can purchase tickets. You don’t have to remember anything or type some long URL into your phone. With the click of a button, the QR Code has connected your offline interest with online information and resources.
How QR Codes Can Impact Profitability
Businesses that use QR Codes are seeing the benefit in their bottom-line results. While the technology is not yet in widespread use, many companies have successfully integrated QR Codes into their promotional program to offer mobile users greater convenience and quicker access to the information they are interested in.
A formal definition of QR Codes traces their origin to Japan. Originally called quick response codes, these codes function as two-dimensional bar codes designed for use with smartphones and internet-connected mobile devices. The codes hold complex information that, when scanned by mobile devices, move users to specific pre-determined digital content.
QR Codes are used primarily by a younger demographic. The majority of those scanning the codes are between the ages of 18 to 35. When they scan them, the users are primarily finding the QR Codes in traditional print media, such as magazines and newspapers. Close to 90% of those who scan QR Codes do so to get more information from a source.
QR Code users don’t encompass the entire universe of mobile device users. Only 30% of all mobile users scan QR codes, and only 50% of the population even knows what they are. Their use isn’t limited to just one industry. The effective use of QR Codes is spread across several industries.
Saving On Printing Costs
QR Codes don’t require designers, copywriters, or graphic artists to produce. All that is needed is special software that is freely available online in order to produce a code. Business owners only need to decide what action they want their mobile user to take. They then use the software to embed that instruction into the QR Code.
QR Codes can be used by companies to increase customer engagement. Typically, if a company wanted a customer to be engaged from a television commercial or magazine ad, they would depend on the user to type in a correct web address to access the engaging content. QR Codes, however, can be used to take readers and watchers directly to the desired location on the mobile web.
Giving customers instant access minimizes delays and distractions. If you can deliver specific information about your product or service at the exact moment a potential customer wants it, you have a recipe for success.
When using QR Codes, mobile users don’t have to take extra steps to experience your content. This means that you’ll have an easier time keeping their attention as you move them seamlessly from print, package, and physical media directly to your presence on the mobile web. As more users experience your products, services, and information, both your brand and your business will grow.
QR Code Best Practices
One of the questions that business owners often ask when they’re first learning about QR Codes is, “how exactly do I use them in my business?” While many business owners are creative in the way that they integrate them into already existing marketing campaigns, it’s important to understand a few foundational uses when you’re first starting out.
There are eight fundamental methodologies used to successfully implement QR Codes. In addition to those nine methods, there are common placements that most businesses using QR Codes regularly adopt. Here we will present these best practices (the eight methodologies and placement list) as guidelines. Savvy business owners will be able to take this list and incorporate the methods into their marketing mix.
QR Codes can be used to take users directly to your company’s social media page or profile. Companies maintaining accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more will find different customers want to interact with them using different platforms. Providing an easy way for customers to access your profiles on these social media websites can increase engagement and deepen social relationship building.
Product Branding and Packaging
QR Codes can and should be placed on packaging to give buyers an easy avenue back to your website. In more advanced uses, companies can utilize QR Codes to direct buyers to signup pages for both email and SMS databases. Also, using QRs to direct customers toward 1) training videos and/ or 2) Tips based PDF manuals can enhance their customer service experience with your product.
QR Codes can direct users to press releases to add additional visibility to this PR practice. Business owners can use the opportunity of having their press release read to direct interested users to specific websites for additional information or more detail.
Users can scan the code while they read the release on their computer screen and be taken to the site that you predetermine. Adding this level of convenience will result in additional traffic from online press releases.
Businesses can leverage existing print advertising by adding QR Codes. Whether or not the print advertising is media-based (newspaper, television) or logo-based (t-shirts, mugs), QR Codes can be added with ease.
QR Codes can be added to promotions anywhere that companies are using their brand to promote themselves visibly. Of course, when users scan this code, companies can determine the most logical thing for them to see based on the site that they’re being moved from.
Companies should use the opportunity provided by product labels to encourage customers to seek more information through their QR Codes. If a company can successfully combine methods, they can also provide access to discounts, new products, and opt-in opportunities.
Businesses should incorporate QR Codes wherever they use signage (internally and externally) to link customers to related information. On external signage, the information typically displayed includes the store location, hours, and phone number.
When added to internal signage, QR Codes typically send users to a mobile webpage where they can join the company’s email or SMS database.
Another popular option is to present users with a discount or special offer related to the item they scanned. This can provide customers with an incentive to buy a product that the individual may be physically standing near or walking by.
Having QR Codes printed on various items of clothing can also benefit a company. Once again, it leverages promotional efforts that are already in motion.
Companies using clothing giveaways should add QR Codes to expose their company’s brand to those that may have never visited their website or tried their products and services. Businesses with temporary workers can leverage their time and contacts by adding QR Codes to any company based clothing that they may be wearing.
Companies whose executives carry traditional business cards should add in QR Codes to the cards. While there is no guarantee that customers will scan the business card, the practice gives life to a method of promotion that is proving to be less effective as marketing methods progress.
QR Code Placement
- When codes are added to printed advertisements, the scan should take the user to corresponding pages on the business’ mobile website.
- Codes placed on business cards should lead to either a database signup page or free information that is helpful to prospects.
- For entertainment companies and restaurants, QR Codes should be placed on menus and entertainment announcements.
- QR Codes should be placed conspicuously on all company vehicles.
- QR Codes placed on flyers should direct users to relevant offers or opt-in opportunities.
- QR Codes placed on packaging should direct users to discounts on related products or services.
These QR Code best practices are guidelines that business owners should use to stir their creativity. They shouldn’t replace good market research or customer relationships. However, these guidelines should be used to extract more value from existing promotional methods. By giving mobile users convenient access to web pages that request they take action, companies maximize the use of QR Codes.
Direct Mail and QR Codes
In a combination of marketing methods, some businesses are successfully using QR Codes and direct mail. This requires that business owners print QR Codes on direct mail pieces being sent to customers and prospects. As discussed earlier, QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes that mobile device scanners can read and direct users to web-based content.
Because QR Codes bridge the gap between print media and the mobile web, companies are using this relationship to attract customers and prospects into their marketing funnel. Customers that use print media are typically difficult to move into an email and/ or SMS opt-in database lists.
That’s why companies are adding QR Codes to their direct mail Since the marketing piece is typically personalized and targeted, the codes provide a great incentive for the receiver to seek more information on the mobile web. Upon arriving at specific web pages, companies have the option of providing subscriber opportunities or coupon incentives.
Tracking is a major emphasis on direct mail, and QR Codes can make this process much easier. Although some tracking can and will result when customers come to your location with certain codes and coupons, a QR Code can also provide insight on who is reading your mail and what their likes and dislikes may be.
As an example, if a business owner provides an offline coupon only attainable by scanning a QR Code, then those that redeem the coupon will give the business owner an idea of how many of their customers use smartphones, as well as how many customers are motivated by mobile discounts.
It’s important to note that the QR Codes can only aid a business owner in this process. Since those that don’t have smartphones will not have their responses registered, the method isn’t complete in providing information for response-based analysis. Therefore companies should continue all of their existing tracking processes for direct mail.
If you want to create/scan QR codes then you can use a Secure All Formats QR Scanner & Barcode Creator. This app is able to retrieve fast and accurate results of barcode or QR Scan and it is available freely on the web.