The answer is yes, if used them properly. We see advertising campaign after campaign that use QR codes as the main focus of their advertising. We don’t believe this is the right strategy for Challenger Brands. We have found the greatest results come when QR codes are used as an integrated part of the overall strategy and not the main strategy.
Here’s a good rule of thumb. Your advertising and marketing campaigns will generate the greatest results when you provide your prospects with the response options that are most convenient for them, and not you. For example, not everyone uses or understands QR codes or how they work.
Depending on which study you read, and your target audience, QR code penetration can be 10% or less. This statistic alone tells us that QR codes should not be a stand- alone response tool. Instead, we strongly recommend you let your prospect make the choice on the response option that works best for them by providing as many options as possible, including email, website, text, phone and yes, QR codes when appropriate.
So, how do you best use QR codes? The following are some tips that we have found that will maximize results.
1. Don’t assume.
Many people still don’t understand how QR codes work and the advantages of using them. So we suggest that when using QR codes in any promotional materials, include a very short line of copy that describes what a QR code is, how to use it and the benefit it will provide when scanned. We have found that this simple, yet often overlooked tactic, can increase your QR response rate significantly.
2. Don’t drive traffic to your website.
This may sound obvious to most of us, but we continually see QR campaigns that drive traffic to regular web pages. These are simply too hard to read and will immediately turn off your prospect. Instead you should build mobile-optimized web pages for all of your response traffic.
3. Test first.
Again, this may be in the “no-brainer” category, but we continually see campaigns where the QR codes are incorrect, go to the wrong web page or simply don’t work. Imagine the impression this leaves on the credibility of your brand.
4. Keep your landing pages updated.
One of the advantages of using QR Codes is their ability to be easily updated. This allows you to update copy, photos, offers, etc. on your landing pages. Remember, QR codes can deliver repeat visits if done properly.
5. Is there cell coverage?
I was recently in a subway station in San Francisco. While waiting for the next train, there was a series of large, very expensive advertising posters for a product that caught my attention. Their entire campaign relied on QR codes to generate their response. So I scanned their code only to discover that there was no cell phone coverage at that subway station.
The lesson here; if you are going to use QR codes in an out of home application, be sure to test the geographic locations for cell coverage!
As with all Challenger Brand marketing strategies, QR codes should not be a stand-alone approach, but a strategic tool that is part of your overall, integrated marketing program designed to increase your ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment).