According to recent studies by Comscore and Pew, only 6% of mobile phone users scan QR codes, even though 87% use their phone to access the Internet. QR code users are more likely to be male, young to middle-age and upper income.
With such low adoption rates, what’s the fuss about QR codes, and why write about them?
Recently, I came across a remarkable video of QR code use with amazing business results:
What can we learn from this? This video reminds us that technology is simply an enabler; when marketers combine technology with consumer insight, it’s a win!
Instead of slapping a QR code on every consumer touchpoint, find situations where this technology can add real value. Here are some examples:
1. Support your brand: I like this Patagonia ad for many reasons, but I especially like how it uses a QR code (bottom right) to support a call to action (take the Common Threads initiative pledge) that ties into the brand’s promise. Nice!
2. Provide a Rewarding Experience: Asking someone to scan your QR code is asking them to do extra work. Put yourself in the shoes of the user. What’s the “payoff”? Is it worth pulling out your phone?
Consider using a QR code to link to the following:
- valuable content (free downloads, videos, etc.)
- a special offer, coupon or gift
- a contest, instant win promotion, etc.
- to demonstrate a product or service (like a real estate tour!)
- exclusive VIP access or offer
- customer reviews at point of purchase, post sale product support, etc.
- Note: Socialqrcode.com and Likify.net provides a QR code that you can scan to create facebook likes — a useful application in certain situations.
QR codes are everywhere, but shouldn’t be. If you ask consumers to use a QR code, make it worth their while.
Three QR Code Don’ts
- Don’t link to a page that creates a poor user experience. At the risk of stating the obvious, make sure that the URL you link to is optimized for mobile, since that’s how your user will be viewing it.
- Don’t be boring . Engage and delight your user, or why bother?
- Don’t screw up the execution. Test, to ensure codes are scannable in the environment where they are likely be used (no subways!)
Use QR Codes Correctly … Or a Kitten Dies!
Scott Stratten of Unmarketing explains the dangers of thoughtless QR code marketing. He explains the problem (and the solution) better than I ever could:
PS – This must be “Save a Kitten Month”. The photo accompanying this post is from a recent Mike Volpe Hubspot webinar ; according to Mike, we’d better get marketing automation right, also … or more kittens will die!
Bottom Line: QR technology still has pretty narrow appeal — but if you create a worthwhile experience, provide an incentive, or make life easier for the end user, it can be a marketing win.
Share any examples of QR codes you love … or, personal experiences with QR codes that were disappointing!
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