The Business Use of QR Codes
There’s no question that businesses (and marketers in particular), have begun to embrace QR codes as one way to implement mobile marketing. You are probably seen what looks like little black and white two dimensional barcodes appearing in newspapers, magazines and other print advertising. You may have even seen them on the brochures of certain businesses that you frequently purchase from.
Creative QR Code Use
Other companies have been creative in the way that they have placed their QR codes in their advertising. Some have used billboards, park benches and even the sides of vehicles. Others have used large events to promote their business with QR codes by having their and always wear them on their clothing.
QR codes work for small businesses, because they are cost-effective to produce. You can easily find a QR code generator on the web that costs nothing to use and allows you to create one with ease. You can then take the print out and place it inside of advertising or use it in a logo just as you’d do with any other printed material.
What about Profitability?
The question about QR codes is how actually increase profitability. Are companies that use them frequently investing their time and resources in a gimmick? Is there a way to use them effectively to reach mobile device users to entice them in order to buy more products and services? Most importantly, do customers recognize them enough to go through the trouble of scanning them? If they are, are they in use in widespread enough ways to justify the time placed in creating them, and constructing strategies to use them?
What are QR codes?
If you are already aware of QR codes then you’ll recognize them as squares with what looks like black and white coding. The codes can be scanned by individuals that own mobile devices including smart phones, iPad, iPhone’s, Tablet PCs and Amazon Kindles. The quick scan transfers the individuals using the devices from the point of the scan to a webpage of some kind.
QR Codes: Origin and Definition
QR codes were first created in Japan. They were used to store simple commands for mobile device users that wanted the convenience of not having to type in order to visit web properties. This same convenience has been used in QR codes in updated applications now all over the world. Companies place (embed) a simple command inside of the coding to lead a customer or prospect to a designated place.
The technology behind QR codes is fairly simple. What is more complex is to how to use strategy to bring prospects closer to making a purchase.
What Do We Know About QR Code Usage?
Statistical survey information regarding QR code use provides insight into how businesses can take advantage of this element of mobile marketing. Probably the most significant finding in statistical studies is, who is actually using QR codes. Studies indicate that those that frequently use them, fall but clean the ages of 19 to 34.
As you might imagine, this is very important for businesses that are considering investing their time into placing QR codes. If your business model is to reach older customers that fall outside of this age range, QR may not warrant your immediate attention. While that does not mean that you should abandon mobile marketing totally for this demographic, it does mean that you should focus your efforts on reaching older mobile device using other elements such as mobile apps and SMS
How Widespread Is the Use of QR Codes?
As of the end of 2012, five of 10 consumers surveyed actually knew what a QR code was. As a business owner, you can look at this in two different ways. First, you can tell that the adoption of QR codes is slower than that of other aspects of mobile computing such as SMS text messaging. Therefore, in terms of prioritizing QR code marketing, you would probably do so after other more heavily used consumer elements.
On the other hand, half of all people is still a significant number. While it does not necessarily indicate that these individuals are ready to use them, it does mean that they are aware of them. For the company looking to reach individuals in different ways and to test new promotions, QR codes can provide a viable avenue to look at.
How Many Mobile Users Actually Scan QR Codes?
Thirdly, only 30% of mobile users have scanned QR codes. Once again, this is an indication that this kind of marketing requires prioritizing. If you have not built a mobile website or integrated SMS marketing into your promotion, you’ll want to consider these other aspects, first.
Most if not all of your device users will be aware of and actively using websites and SMS. However, if you have successfully integrated both of these elements into your marketing already, and you’re looking to add one more avenues to reach more customers, then QR codes (growing in use) are a great place to look to expand.
How Do Consumers Use QR Codes?
Fourth, close to 90% of individuals that use QR codes are looking for more information. Therefore, the intent of the user is to go be on the information that they see either on the web or printed in a publication.
Therefore, you can provide in depth information that would be challenging to provide in other venues. For highly technical products and services that a user requires more information about, you can give your customer the information they need for decision making on the spot.
If your desire is to direct consumers to a sales page, you may want to consider using another method. It appears that if you are going to get individuals involved in the sales process, you’ll want to do it by providing them more information first. This may mean, that using squeeze pages as well as opportunities to join a mobile database would be appropriate initial steps.
When Do Consumers Scan QR Codes?
Fifth, the largest number of QR code stands tends to come from printed media such as newspapers and or magazines. This is probably not an indication that you need to begin using printed media, if you haven’t found it effective in the past. It may be something that you may consider worth testing.
If you are already using printed media, however, it is almost a given that you should be looking for opportunities to incorporate QR codes into your current advertising. When combined with the fact that consumers are looking for more information about certain products and services, you can lead people back to your website and into your marketing funnel by promising and delivering on in-depth information through a QR code scan.
In most cases, you will not have the opportunity to adequately explain your products and services in one magazine advertisement. However, by directing people to QR code scans, you will be bridging a gap that marketers and advertisers have been finding difficult for years: you will be moving people from printed advertisement to a website almost instantly upon their viewing it.
What Industries Are Using QR Codes?
Sixth, QR code use spans across all industries and all kinds of businesses. That means that if you can find a use for them according to some of the parameters that have been discussed here, then your customers and/or prospects are likely to respond favorably.
What do customers businesses find most helpful about QR codes?
QR codes are useful to small businesses that spend a considerable amount on printing and their own media. By strategically placing the codes inside of the media, individuals will be able to access more information to be experienced at their leisure than if they have something printed delivered to them.
Another aspect of QR code marketing is that companies are finding helpful is giving users instant sense of gratification for their desire for information. They will not have to wait until they get back to their personal computers at home and/or at work in order to access the information that they have come across in printed media or while they’re on the go. They will be able to get it instantly using a quick scan.
How These Factors Lead To Increased Sales
So the question is, how can you leverage this information to increase your sales using QR codes?
1. Implement QR codes in every printed media advertising promotion. If you have brochures, magazine advertisements and/or newspaper advertisements, you will want to make sure to give your readers the opportunity to scan a code. Give them the opportunity to find out more about specific products and services that you have on your website.
This may be an excellent time for you to use video creation to give users helpful information and to answer their frequently asked questions (FAQ). If you are already engaged in video marketing, then you will be able to help your customers solve problems using video and to direct them to products and services.
In essence, the printed media to QR code strategy should happen in two steps. Your scan will take them to more information. In your explanation, you will be able to help them solve problems and direct them to products and services that they can purchase from you in order to implement your solution.
2. Set up opportunities for prospects to become part of your e-mail database at the end of some of your scans. Since the primary goal of QR code scanners, is to get information there will be some cases where you should only deliver additional data in exchange for their contact details. Make sure that the incentive is something that they truly want and could use instantly.
The key in providing incentives in order to opt in, is instant gratification. Are you solving a problem that they need to solve right now? If you are solving a longer-term problem, more than likely your prospect may not be moved to trade contact information on their mobile device. However, if you are solving the kind of problem that individuals could use help with at that moment, you are well on your way to getting them to look past the opt-in process to get the information they need to use.
3. Consider your demographics. Go through your product line and determine which lines lend themselves to the 19 to 36 age bracket. Set up marketing funnels to give them more information about these products and services everyplace you’re promoting your business.
Since these individuals are open to scanning, give them opportunities to access more information that will ultimately lead them toward a sale. If you consider which of your products are “hot sellers” to this demographic, you’ll want to satisfy those that are information seekers inside of this group in every way that you can.
4. Consider the appropriate use of in-store advertising with QR codes. Think of those products and services that require your staff to give detailed technical explanations that they may or may not be equipped to give. You want to avoid scenarios where your customer will have to go back to their personal computer or to use their web browser in order to find the “more information” they need.
If possible, you’ll always want to keep them on your web properties and inside of your location as they seek information. If you have high ticket items that consumers use research for in order to make decisions, consider placing this information behind the scan of a QR code. Make sure that these codes are visible at the point of purchase.
Of course QR code insertion, should require testing. On the one hand, you do not want to have your buyer transfixed by the ‘paralysis of analysis’. When they are ready to make a purchase, even if it is on a large ticket item, you do not want to “confuse them with the facts”. You want them to make the purchase at the point they’re ready as opposed to doing more investigation
So, while every product won’t require a QR code to be placed, some will benefit your bottom line to have them.