June 2, 2011 – 1:37 pm
|| Asif Anwar
There are very few things that connect the real world with the digital world and QR Codes are one of them. There are several QR Codes scanners available for your mobile phones and handheld devices that will help you to generate a certain call-to-action. Previously, you had to wait for print media to generate traffic for your site. However, with QR codes, this can stimulate quick responses from your potential customers. Again, the use of QR codes are not limited to print media as it has several other uses.
What are QR Codes and What Can you do with it?
QR Codes, or Quick Response Codes are 2D barcodes. The traditional barcodes you see with zebra stripes are really 1D barcodes. The name Quick Response itself tells you that they are used for generating quick responses for various devices, including mobile devices and smartphones. The pixilated square barcode is capable of generating various functions, that are defined by the mobile devices. Some of the things you can do are:
- Send an event invitation with the ability to save ICS event file in your mobile phone
- Send contact information to save them on your mobile phone
- Use mailto: tags to send email immediately
- Send information about a specific location or any maps app your phone uses
- Allow people to call a number in a snap, instead of having them to type in your long digit numbers
- Automatically generate an SMS message/template to be sent to another mobile device
- Show specific text, hidden text, or coupon codes in your mobile
- Get instant connection to an WIFI network
- And last but not least, push the scanner to a specific URL
Please click to learn more. See here for a list of various QR Code Scanner Apps for smartphones. Most are free.
Getting Ready for QR Code Marketing
Google has been providing it”s chart API for QR Codes for free and it has been the best source for marketing for many businesses using the QR Codes. There are some free online tools to generate QR codes, which actually uses the QR Code Chart by Google Chart API. You can find them by googling “QR code generator”. To make the QR Code marketing to work for you, your business, and your site, you need to get some things working properly to get the most out of it.
- Make sure you have valid contact mechanisms
- Make sure your QR code is not too complex and contains too much information. If your code is complex it will generate comparatively smaller pixels and many QR scanners on lower quality smartphone may not be able to read it properly
- If you are using coupon codes, make sure they are properly working
- If you are pushing the QR scanner to a specific URL, make sure the URL is properly working
- Prepare a proper URL from Google URL Builder to make scanning activity trackable in Google Analytics. This usually adds an extra tracking parameter at the end of your URL immediately followed by question mark (“?”). So, your URL can contain parameters like: campaign source, campaign medium, campaign term, campaign content, campaign name or any other custom parameter
- If you are using the Google URL builder, also make sure you have canonical meta in place for the site. This will help your site to fight duplicate content problems
- You can also get an easy to memorize short URL from bitly or other traffic tracking URL shortening tools
- You can automate the use of QR codes using Google Chat API and embed the code on your webpage using permalinks or the URL structure on your site or blog. Here is an article on how you can do it
- Test your QR code to see whether it is working properly using various QR Code readers and on various devices and also make sure it can be tracked in your web analytics tool.
Print Media to Business QR Code Strategy
Most of the QR Code marketing experts will suggest you tips, strategies, and idea on using QR Codes for your printed marketing materials. Because, the best utility of QR codes is it’s ability to connect print and digital media through your smartphone. QR codes are a great way to generate traffic for your site through yellow pages, billboard, business cards, and print ads.
Here are some examples of print media where you can use QR codes:
- Business Cards: Download business card or point to the URL on your site where business card can be downloaded or a featured video or promo can be played in mobile.
- Billboard: You can direct people to a site or shop via QR Code on a billboard. Here is a good article: How to Turn Your Billboard into an Interactive Marketing Campaign and Measure ROI
- Newspaper/Magazine Ads: If your are advertising in a newspaper or magazine, wouldn’t it be nice if you can show your newspaper audience a video advert in your mobile website? You can do this with QR Codes.
- Newspaper/Magazine Articles: Making your voice heard and allowing comments in print media is a hard task. However, at the end of each article in newspaper and magazine, you can print the QR code to make them go to the URL of the article and help them to make comments on the online article and make them more engaging.
- T-Shirts and Promotional Souvenirs: If you give away promotional souvenirs, then it’d be nice to have QR codes on them with call to action messages.
- Various other print media: The use of QR Codes in print media are boundless. Use your creativity in making your print media audience visit your site.
Cross Device Audience Transfer Strategy with QR Code
Aside from print, QR Codes work with digital screens, be it small or as large as a billboard. You can help your visitors to transfer content to their mobile phones or other handheld devices from any other devices. You can help them land on the same URL through the page they see on Desktop/Laptop screen. If you have a recipe site, it’ll be very convenient for your visitors to transfer your visitors to the same page in mobile, because it’s very convenient to move around with your mobile instead of laptop.
You can also help your audience to read your content in multiple devices by posting a QR code at the top, bottom, or sidebar of any article online. You can also encourage them to engage any content with other mobile applications. You can also send the audience of Interactive TV Ads to your site. If American Idol would use QR codes to send SMS template with QR codes on TV screen, then voting would be a snap.
QR Code Bookmarking Strategy
The web is getting stuffed with so much information these days. People are overwhelmed with more information than they can consume. So, they have even less time for many things. For those quick surfers, you need a mechanism to make them stay with your site, even if they don’t have much time. Bookmarking strategy with QR codes is a great way, and will ensure future traffic for your site. You can have the QR codes printed in your site, shop, promotional media, and business location with proper messages encouraging the QR scanners to bookmark your site.
Here are some messages that can help you understand this strategy:
- Bookmark this product to shop later (QR code in products label)
- Bookmark this shelf in our shop to shop later (QR code in product shelf)
- Read more information about this product (QR code in products label)
- Bookmark the commercial or feature of this product (QR code in products label pointing to video URL)
- See other product, if an item is out of stock (QR code in product shelf)
- See the available sizes & other features (QR code in products label)
- Save Contact for this products (Onsite QR code in product for sale. e.g. your in car dealer place)
These messages should represented with respective QR codes to generate proper call to action. Instead of allowing your visitor memorize a long URL, you can help them to bookmark even deeper and specific link on your site.
Place or Large Physical Product to Site or Contact Strategy
QR codes can be on any place or large physical products (e.g. cars) that are for sale or at any point of sale location. Usually to guide people to some information on the place or products – QR codes are interactive and can help people to make contact or visit a website from a specific location.
Property to Site with QR Codes
Like all other display products, property is a great place where you can advertise your site. It is very convenient for people coming in taking a snap on a QR code that makes them visit your site. Moreover, if you have a real estate bidding site, it’s better to have people visit the property listing. And this also can be a good idea for traditional marketing for your property auction site.
Tourist Place to Travel Site with QR Codes
If you have information rich travel site, you can engage people in travel destination to get travel information, maps, DYI guide, and various other information on your site. As you spread to more destinations, the greater traffic you’ll have for your travel site.
Shop to Site with QR Codes
If your shopping site is more interactive than your physical store, then it is convenient for your shop visitors to get more info and interact with your products online. Or maybe if you don’t have any product in inventory, they also can see the products you sell and can get availability alert.
Convert Window Shopping to Online Shopping
Window shopping one of the great advertisement media and has been around for a very long time. Add a touch of interactiveness to the window shopping of your potential customers with QR codes. You can help them to buy online even if they don’t have time to shop at your store.
Use your creativity to find various ways you can advertise your site on any place or large physical products. Usually, try to seek what type of utility would help a person to purchase a product from a specific location and how can the information and interaction with your site can help you potential customer.
Facebook Page Promotion with QR Codes
Facebook Marketing is great way to connect your audience, create brand value, and engage with your customers. Now-a-days, there are many strategies to increase your fan-base and QR codes can be one of them. People that visit your shop, window shops, and/or engaged with your business location – are more likely to be your fans. By directing the audience with QR Codes placed in various locations or one prominent location, you can increase the fans for your Facebook Page. With QR codes, direct them to this location: http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=http://www.facebook.com/Your-Page-URL
If you ❤ us
Then also like us in Facebook
Or you can create a multi-functional mobile sites where people can also become page fans, follow you on Twitter, and interact with other social web apps. You can also offer some special discount, coupon codes or freebies which visitors can get access to by paying with a tweet for your business or a like on your Facebook page.
Word of Mouth Sale Strategy with QR Codes
“Hey! Where did you buy it from?” is perhaps the commonly asked question by everyone when they find a cool product. And the oral answer to this question might point to a domain name, but the answer very rarely points to any specific page on the site where the product can be purchased. QR codes can very effectively help in this for Word of Mouth marketing strategy to point to more specific deeper links and/or encourage effective engagement.
Credit Note: Photo Credit is available on QR Code
QR Codes on Product Labels, Tags, Packages
In word of mouth marketing, information spreads from mouth to mouth. But, you can make it more interactive with QR Codes in product labels, tags or Packages. This will help your potential buyer to get more information about the product or make a purchase online from your mobile site or from desktop.
Buyer to Shop with QR Code
Referral QR Codes on product labels can also point to the location of your store or contact information to encourage word of mouth marketing. For referred customers, you can use QR codes on product label and redirect to them to a page where they can get coupon codes, get direction to come to the store, and/or purchase online.
The QR code marketing tips, strategies, and ideas mentioned in this article is just a tip of the iceberg on what you can do with QR Codes to increase visitors and sales through your site or business location. You can be more creative on gathering more QR code marketing tips, ideas, and strategies based on these strategies or other innovative strategies.
Have fun with these QR code marketing tips & strategies and happy marketing.