Although the Quick Response (QR) code has been around for a number of years, it continues to be challenged as to whether or not it is an effective marketing tool. Although there are a myriad of reasons as to why some marketers might feel that the codes are ineffective, when QR codes perform below expectations, it can normally be linked to poor execution within the campaign itself. Below are the most common mistakes marketers make when using QR codes:
- Linking the QR Code to a Desktop Website instead of optimizing the content for mobile use
- Linking the QR Code to useless information (no value for the user)
- Providing too little or no instruction to prospects(there is still a bit of a learning curve with the technology)
- Printing the QR Code too small, or using a URL that is too long, both of which can make the code more difficult to scan
- Utilizing QR codes on campaigns targeting the wrong demographic (groups with low smartphone usage)
- Placing the QR code where it can easily be overlooked, or on signage where there is insufficient signal strength
- Using a QR Code that is not trackable, making it impossible to gauge results
Perhaps the worst mistake a marketer can make with QR codes is not making the underlying content mobile-friendly. If the user scans a QR code that takes them to web page that is difficult to navigate on a mobile device, it can create a frustrating experience. Not only does the marketer run the risk of a lost sale, but they have potentially alienated a viable prospect from engaging in future promotions.
Not all prospects are familiar with QR codes, so when they see them on a mail piece or signage they may have no idea what they are supposed to do with them. It is important to include simple instructions like “Scan Me with Your Smartphone!” so there is no question as to how they can access the underlying content. This is particularly important if you are utilizing a QR code for a campaign targeting a demographic that might not be technologically savvy and perhaps needs a little guidance when it comes to using their mobile devices.
When properly executed, QR codes become an extremely useful asset to a marketing campaign. While new technologies like augmented reality and Touchcodes, can appear unique and awe inspiring, they are still in their infancy and are not as widely used or recognized. QR codes are inexpensive and extremely easy to integrate with existing traditional marketing channels. One of the biggest appeals of QR codes is their versatility. They can be reproduced on a large range of marketing materials including direct mail, posters, banners, signage, and promotional items such as coffee mugs, or even apparel. The codes can be linked to any digital content like a Facebook profile, video, or a company’s mobile website. This flexibility allows the marketer to direct the person to the place they want them to be, and engage them with relevant content thereby guiding them down a projected sales funnel path until a successful sale is completed. When used correctly, and with the proper demographic, QR codes can increase campaign response rates with a large portion of the population who jump at the chance to use their mobile devices!