QR codes (or Quick Response codes) condense information into two dimensional op-art squares that connect offline media to online content via a smartphone. Also known as mobile tagging, QR codes act like URL references on offline media and other flat surfaces.
Why Bother With QR Codes Now?
The growing use of smartphones is driving the increased use of QR codes. While smartphone penetration is only about 30 percent of the U.S. market, this number is on the rise. What’s more, since only 22 percent of Fortune 50 use QR codes, according to research from Burson Marsteller, the adoption of QR codes is just beginning. This opens the opportunity for your business to capitalize on this growing trend and impress your clients.
As a content marketer, why should you be interested in QR codes? Here are seven justifications you can provide to your management team.
Not only can you use QR codes to attract new prospects, but they can also encourage users to spend more time with your content. Whether you’re representing a museum, a transit map or a company-run scavenger hunt, QR codes can provide additional information despite space limitations.
Connect offline and online content easily
With QR codes, readers don’t need to type in a complex URL. They can just snap a photo and are taken to the appropriate page. For example, QR codes are great in printed magazines where you want to direct a user to a specific page or a video without requiring users to enter a long URL.
Make mass media responsive
Attract prospects in locations that you might not consider marketing your products and services. You can place QR codes on a broad range of materials such as business cards, conference materials, store signage and windows, product packages and flyers. Consumers who snap their smartphones over the QR code may become your new customers for your business.
Provide additional product information
This is particularly useful to supplement an ad, or give additional usage information via product packaging. Bear in mind that it can be difficult to use a QR code through plastic wrapping.
Give prospects more relevant information when and where they want it. Research shows consumers prefer to get product and sales information via their smartphone when they’re in retail establishments rather than consult store personnel. Retailers can benefit by placing QR codes on products, shelving, circulars and signs to provide information that helps close the sale.
Drive customer action
Get prospects to raise their hands for coupons and other forms of marketing materials via a QR code. To this end, incorporate a call-to-action in your advertising or offline content or surface.
Make media trackable
As with any marketing program, it’s important to track your QR code metrics. Since QR codes are still a relatively new technology requiring a smartphone and a QR code reader, results may be low. Compare QR code usage to the usage of URLs added to content marketing.
If you are new to using QR codes, here are some tips to get started:
- QR codes should link to a URL that is optimized for mobile viewing
- QR codes should be at least one inch square and placed in areas that have connectivity
- Depending on who you are targeting, you may want to provide instructions on how to use QR codes since they are relatively new
- An incentive may be needed to motivate prospects to scan since they may need to install a QR code reader.
Are you using QR codes? If so, how are you using them, where are you using them and what results are you achieving?