Plan Around Campaign Objectives
Know what your objectives are first. Is there some specific data you want to collect? Do you want to get more email addresses for future email marketing campaigns? Do you want to get more people to "Like" your business on your Facebook page? It's important that you create your QR code strategy before you start creating them. The way you execute your campaign will be much clearer when understanding your objectives.
Understand How People Use QR Codes
Research has shown that consumers have distinct preferences for what they'll scan. In a recent study on QR codes use in the U.S. and Europe, Pitney Bowes found that:
- 19% of U.S. consumers report having scanned a QR code
- That number increases to 37% among U.S. 18-34 year olds
- The most popular places for QR codes to be scanned were magazines (15%), mail (13%), product packaging (13%) and posters (10%)
Understanding how your customers use QR codes in relation to your product and marketing plan will greatly improve the odds of customers using your QR campaigns. If you're running just one or two campaigns, or you are new to QR marketing, consider using one of the more frequently scanned types of offers. Better yet, test different offers and find out which ones are most successful at getting your customers to scan.
Write A Compelling Headline
A headline is often the only thing someone sees before deciding whether to pay attention to your marketing piece. A headline doesn't have to be fancy or funny to be effective - though it can be! It needs to communicate a benefit to the reader. What do you have that they want to see, or buy, or learn more about? A shorter headline is almost always better. Try to grab their attention in as few words as possible.
Use A Strong Call-to-action (CTA)
Be clear in communicating the value of scanning your QR code. State whether it's a coupon or discount offer, an exclusive invitation, an entertaining video or additional information that's going to add value to their customer experience. Make sure that each QR code has a brief message that explains why someone should scan it.
Don't expect people to scan your code out of curiosity. Give them a good reason to pull their phone out, and keep your instructions as short and clear as you can: "Scan to like us on Facebook" or "Scan for a 20% off coupon."
Tip: Assume Users Aren't Familiar With QR Codes
Not everyone understands what a QR code is. If you're not sure how much your audience knows, play it safe by including a line of copy directing users on how they can download a QR scanner to their phone. An image of a smartphone is also a good visual way to explain how the code works.
Tip: Consider Including A Text URL Too
A QR code is a great way to give consumers a fast-track to your web page. But don't forget your less tech-savvy audience. If you provide them with a URL, they'll be able to find you even if they are unable to scan your QR code. Give people multiple options to make it easy for them to find you.
Make Your QR Code Easy to Scan
If viewers can't scan your code successfully on the first try, they might not give you a second chance. Make sure your code is big enough - at least 1" square on printed materials, but larger on posters and outdoor signage because people may be reading from a distance. It's important to have a clear space or white border around your code as well.
Tip: Use Codes On Easy-to-scan Media
As cool as it might look on a t-shirt, folds in the fabric will compromise the scanning process. If you're putting a QR code on a coffee mug, don't make it so big that it takes on the curves of the mug, making it impossible to scan. Take the time to think about how a user would scan the code. Use that information when determining the media to which you'll apply the code.
Use Your QR Codes In Many Places
This concept is simple, but effective. You might wallpaper your entire retail shop with QR codes, but it only provides a limited opportunity for customers to scan your code. To really increase the number of scans, send customers on their way with QR codes stamped onto their receipts; on postcards and flyers; and on give-aways like keychains, mugs and stickers. Anything that gets your QR codes in front of more people for a longer period of time will help ensure that your campaign is a success.
Design For Mobile Devices
If your linking a barcode to your website, have an optimized page that makes it easy for smartphone or tablet users to view your site. Think about the pass-along factor. What's going to make the user want to get their friends to scan the code as well? Don't simply drop a user off on your standard site and leave them to fend for themselves. Make it easy to engage with your business.
Test Your QR Code
Before you send it out into the world, make sure the code works properly. If a user comes across a QR code that doesn't work, you run the risk of them never coming back. Barcodes are meant to add convenience. Preventing a user from getting the right information isn't convenient.
Just as you would with a direct mail or e-mail marketing campaign, you'll want to find out how your QR marketing campaign is performing. Using QR codes is a great way to collect relevant data that you can use to get a better understanding of your customers and can leverage for future campaigns.
Keeping these QR code best practices in mind when you're putting together your QR marketing campaign will help you increase your chances of success and get more value from your QR code marketing dollars.
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