Quick Response Codes

By now you have likely heard of, seen and possibly even scanned a QR or “Quick Response” Code. In the last week I have seen at least three articles and a number of stats about how often they are used, who likes them and who does not, but I don’t want to talk about that, I want to talk about the questions you should be asking yourself if you ever get the idea that using one of these codes is a good idea, because they can be if used properlyContact Marc Cooper.

  1. Why do you want to use the code?
  2. Is your target audience likely to scan it?
  3. Do you have mobile optimised content?
  4. Do you have a strong Call to Action?
  5. What does success look like?

Why do you want to use the code?

A QR Code is just as it sounds, a quicker way to facilitate a response, so if you have nothing to offer in response to your ad, than they don’t belong on it.  If however, you want to facilitate a quick response to your call to action; watch a video, enter a contest, read an article, download a brochure, e-book or ring tone or whatever you are trying to do than fair enough, a QR Code may be right for you.

Is your target audience likely to scan it?

You probably have a little understanding of your target, and likely know if they have a Smartphone for example, if they don’t not only will they not be likely to scan it, they can’t as it requires a Smartphone or tablet with a built in camera just to get started.  Maybe they are early adopters and their uptake on technology is fairly high, but if they typically lag behind the tech curve than perhaps this is not for you, at least right now.

Do you have mobile optimised content?

So you have a campaign that requires a response for your target, they are likely to use a Smartphone and therefore it is possible and likely they will scan your code, the next questions is what will you serve up when they scan the code.  As I mentioned earlier there are lots of ways to use the code to facilitate a call to action, but is the destination optimised for viewing on a mobile device?  If you are thinking of directing them to your website, think again.  In most cases your site won’t be viewable by most mobile devices, or at least not in a user friendly way.  It needs to be easy to navigate and easy to read, not to mention offer an experience someone needs or wants to have on their mobile device.

If your current online properties are not mobile optimised, don’t worry, you can easily create a mobile experience, either just for your campaign or beyond, juts be prepared for some additional costs and time to ensure the content delivers a great mobile experience.

Of course the content needs to be relevant…

Do you have a strong Call to Action?

Not only does your content need to be relevant, it needs a strong call to action to entice the user to scan the code.  Simply placing a QR code at the bottom of your ad is not going to cut it.  Tell the user what they can expect if they do scan, for example, “Scan this code for a chance to win a trip for two…” or “Scan this code to download an e-book on topic X”.  And where possible the contest and or download should relate to your product or service, but that doesn’t just apply to QR code campaigns.  And PLEASE don’t just drive to a website or copy of your ad, if the user is going to take the time to scan the code we have to reward them with relevant content.

What does success look like?

And like any good response campaign, deciding what success looks like and figuring out how you will measure success before you get started is always a good idea.  For me the holy grail of measurement is a conversion, easy if you are selling a widget online, but not so good if you have long lead times or sell products through distributors or third party retailers.  If that is the case consider a conversion someone who watches your video, enters your contest or subscribes to a newsletter.  And finally, if you want to track the steps to getting there make sure the campaign team know about it from the start to ensure the program in all the right tracking codes because you never want to hear “I didn’t know we would need to track that”.

If you want to learn more about how I feel about QR codes give me a call, or send me an email.

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