QR Codes, Should you or shouldn’t you?

QR Codes are all the rage right now. We are seeing them in many places. But how and where is the right use for these codes? A QR Code is designed to give someone more information. It could be contact or product info, directions or a promotion.

The first consideration should be your audience. What are you trying to say and to whom? Sometimes using them “just because you can,” isn’t a solution. Remember using a QR Code requires a smartphone and reader app, but not everyone has a smartphone, yet, so know your audience*. And not everyone knows what a QR Code is, so remember to include instructions on how to use the code.

There should be a reason to use the code. What will the user get for scanning the QR Code? Is what they will get clear to them? Offer them something that they will value or find informative. Remember they are paying for a dataplan, so don’t waste their time and kilobytes.

Placement is important. Putting a QR Code on a billboard along the highway, probably isn’t a best practice. A person needs to be able to get their phone out, launch the scanning app and focus the smartphone camera on the QR Code to take a picture. That is hard to do at 55 MPH. Make sure you are using the code in a way and place that allows someone to scan it without causing an accident.

Make sure the destination is mobile friendly. Don’t send someone to your standard website, they aren’t typically designed for small screens. You will frustrate your visitor and could lose them. Make sure the QR Code links to a mobile friendly destination.

QR Codes can be personalized and are trackable. Consider that you can make codes that are unique to each recipient in a mailing. If you do that, you can personalize their experience (in print & on the web) and track who participates.

Instant feedback. People don’t have to wait until they get home to enter a code or get on their computer. You can get immediate feedback or participation. Think of how and where you are using the code. Are you at a tradeshow or event? You could create codes for information, contact, or even a contest that you redeem instantly.

QR Codes can have a positive impact on your marketing and your brand, but make sure you are using them appropriately and with the right audience. Otherwise, they can have a negative affect.

Be creative in their use. Many companies just use them as links to web pages with text. Do something unexpected, have fun. Remember the audience using smartphones and QR Codes tend to be a younger audience.

If you would like more information on QR Codes and personalized QR Codes in particular, give our sales staff a call. We would be more than happy to answer your questions and work with you on a campaign.

* The Pew Research Center in July of 2011 estimated that 35 percent of American adults own a smartphone device. The types of people adopting smartphones vary, but the highest concentration of individuals range from “financially well-off and well-educated; under the age of 45; and African American and Latinos.”

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