The great thing about marketing and online media is that there is something new out there every week, to be discussed or to learn about. The not so great thing about being in marketing and online media is that there is something new out there every week to be discussed or to learn about. While time is at a premium, I want to give you the heads up on Quick Response (QR) Codes–the next marketing frontier.
What is a QR Code?
You may have seen them on flyers, coupons or in stores. Basically a QR code is an image that you can scan with your phone to communicate and store a very precise ID, associated with a product, an advertisement, a business, or an individual. It works like a landing page. You will need an app to do the scan the code. Then a really cool thing happens, you get a web link to more information or you can be directed to a social media site, like Facebook.
How to use a QR code in a Small Business
QR codes effectively allow businesses to connect information quickly and easily with consumers at a personal and/or local level. QR codes offer a connection to a brand on a person’s phone/tablet so it is always accessible. Other ways to use QR code include click to call, map tie-ins, QR readers and other native features that offer value by creating useful interaction, versus simply viewing an ad message.They are also appearing on business cards, invoices, fliers, or even in emails and every piece of direct mail I get from JC Penney’s.
QR codes In Action
Restaurants: At the Old Chicago restaurant chain, you can click a QR code on a Beverage Menu Insert and see what is on tap at various different restaurant locations (nationwide)! This is helpful if a customer is working on drinking beers on their “World Tour”, where each beer is assigned a number. A customer may choose to go to a different location based on what is on tap or if they are traveling, they can see what is available. Restaurants have also advertised Daily Specials on a QR code.
Travel/Hospitality: While on vacation in Deadwood, SD, I noticed a poster on each building with a QR code as I walked down Main Street. I scanned the code and got all of the information about the building. I could create my own walking tour of the community-fun and easy to do.
Auto: In the auto industry, QR codes on an in-store poster can go directly to a landing page where a customer can get directed to a page with a coupon and easily sign up for mailings. It is also helpful to list a vehicle’s history, if you are in the used market. Exclusive daily in-store specials take the customer to deals that may boost the average sale.
Healthcare: My first healthcare postcard with a QR code arrived last summer. I have kept it and scanned it in for you, sorry the image isn’t a bit more clear, but you get the idea. Mary Pat Wiley’s Blog post explains the many ways healthcare can use QR codes. Prescription bottle with QR tag links to drug interactions, generic versions and sets a reminder on your phone to take the medication? That’s forward thinking.
Now that you are all abuzz with excitement on QR codes, stop and think. If you have a smart phone, get your feet wet and start scanning the codes and use them. If you still aren’t convinced, the stat might surprise you - 25% of the mobile web users are web only (meaning they don’t use a desktop computer)! If you’re a small business, consider first if you’re in a tech-savvy industry where your customers will commonly know what this is and use it, or if you’re in a highly tech-aware location. If you fall into these segments, this could be worthwhile experimentation.
Is your website viewable on a Mobile Phone? If it isn’t, call VI, we can get your site mobile-friendly quickly for you.
Are you using QR codes in your marketing efforts? We would love to hear what is working for you.
Even at Vivid Image, we have started using QR codes in our advertising. Before you take your advertising efforts down the QR trail, make sure you understand when, why, and how it makes sense. I love the tracking capabilities with QR. Stay tuned to QR code efforts in your communities and discover where local interactive marketing is being used!
PS. Be aware that things like mountains and remote areas can hinder a connection and frustrate a user trying to use the code.