The theme for this month’s Mobile Monday column is QR codes. Many marketers think QR codes are overrated because they don’t see great results, but usually this is because people don’t use them effectively. We want to help right that wrong.
This month, we’ve talked about QR code placement and what sort of content to use QR codes with, but a successful QR code campaign requires much more than slapping a QR code next to your logo. (Tweet this idea)
For a QR code campaign to be successful, it needs to be in a good location, the actual code needs to link to interesting and mobile-optimized content, as we’ve already discussed.
But the campaign also needs things like clear directions, important contact information and URLs, and a strong call to action to scan the code.
Clear Directions (Tweet this idea)
Don’t assume that everyone seeing your QR code campaign already knows what a QR code is. Even if they are familiar with them, every QR code campaign is different and needs a set of directions that clearly state the purpose of scanning the QR code.
Directions should include the words “scan” and “smartphone,” and the fact that scanning requires a free app on your smartphone. In the past, I have been surprised to find out that the reason several of my friends never scan QR codes is because they assumed a QR reader app would cost money. In reality, most of them are free. It might seem like a tiny detail, but it may make a huge difference.
- To learn more about (insert product name here), scan this code with your smartphone using a free QR reader.
- Scan this code with a free QR reader on your smartphone to save our contact info quickly.
- Download a free QR code reader on your smartphone to scan this code and unlock a 20% off coupon!
Important Contact Information and URLs (Tweet this idea)
You don’t want to shut people out of viewing your content just because they don’t have a smartphone or don’t want to download a QR reader. While it may be appropriate in certain circumstances, like unlocking an instant coupon, you don’t want to exclude people from becoming fans or customers or learning more about you.
So if your QR code links to a mobile version of your website, still include the website URL; it will also be helpful for people who plan on visiting your website later. If the QR code saves your contact information in the reader’s smartphone, still list your business’s phone number and website. A QR code should never replace important parts of an advertisement, it should provide a quick and easy way to add to it.
This is especially important when it comes to entering contests. If customers think that you’re only letting people with smartphones enter to win a prize, they may accuse you of discriminating, as shown by Kate Trgovac’s anecdote.
Strong Call to Action to Scan (Tweet this idea)
“Scan this QR code!” is not a strong call to action; it’s just directions with no incentive. Marketers may love QR codes and scan most of the codes they encounter out of curiosity, but most people will not go through the effort without knowing what the effort is for.
Explain to the readers what the incentive for scanning the QR code is. What if it scans to a video trying to convince them to buy a product that they were going to buy anyway? Or what if the code saves your phone number into their contacts, when they already have it? While your QR code content may be awesome and valuable to a lot of people, it may not be to everyone. If someone scans the code and isn’t happy with where they land, they may view your more negatively than they did before.
Real life examples of QR code campaigns that are more than just a code:
- This realtor’s ad includes directions, reasons for scanning, and an alternative URL, but makes downloading a QR reader sound more complicated than it needs to be.
- This ad for The JFK Presidential Library and Museum has a great call to action (Shake hands…Follow the campaign) and includes the URL.
- While the call to action for this QR code campaign is too vague, the directions are very clear.
- The Nissan Altima QR campaign includes directions mentioning it requires an app, an strong call to action that explains what you get by scanning the code (offers, videos, etc.), and includes an alternate way to get the information (URL)
What do you usually include in your QR code campaigns? Share in the comments!