Top 5 Ways Businesses Can Use QR Codes
by Thomas Harpointner, CEO of AIS Media Inc.
U.S. QR code (“Quick Response Code”) usage is increasing – rapidly. comScore reported in June 2011 that 14 million U.S. mobile users (6.2% of the total mobile audience) scanned a QR code on their mobile device. Not surprisingly, the study revealed that nearly 50% of a scanned QR code resulted from a printed magazine or newspaper. Over 23% scanned a QR code from a flyer, poster or kiosk. However, what may surprise you is that over 27% of users scanned a QR code from a website on a PC.
Here are some creative ways you can put QR codes to use:
- Contact info. Use a QR code on your business card that links to a landing page which contains all of your contact information and social network profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. You can also link a QR code to a map, providing directions to your business along with hours of operation.
- Product details.This can be particularly useful for retailers. Link a QR code to a webpage which contains more detailed information about a product including pictures, technical specifications, and user guides. QR codes can link to just about any type of content and provide additional information, including photos, reviews, directions, event schedules and even videos. Best Buy has already added QR codes next to most of their product labels and Home Depot plans to have a QR associated with every item in their store.Be sure to link to a mobile version of your website or webpage to provide customers the best possible experience.
- Discounts, promotions and giveaways. Use QR codes on your website, your advertisements and throughout your store to reward customers for their patronage and increase customer loyalty. Bluefly.com used a QR code during a 45 second TV commercial for “The Real Housewives of New York City”. Viewers who scanned the code were rewarded with a link to a special video episode and received a discount of $30 off $150 at Bluefly.com.You can take it one step further and tie in the viral power of social media marketing by rewarding users for Facebook ‘Likes’ and Twitter retweets.
- Use QR codes to increase your Fans, Followers and Subscribers. Link a QR code to a mobile-friendly landing page that contains Facebook ‘Like’ button, a link to your Twitter page or email sign-up form to create a greater level of engagement among your in-store visitors. Just be sure you provide people a compelling reason to scan your QR code and connect with you online. Keep in mind that the majority of people who connect with brands on social networks or subscribe to email lists do so to get special deals.
- Integrate the viral marketing power of social media into your QR code strategy. If you’ve developed a great offer around your QR code, you’ll want to spread the word – as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. A great way to help achieve this is by empowering users to spread the word about your offer to their social network. Likify enables you to create a QR code that links directly to your business Facebook page ‘Like’ button.
The comScore study also analyzed the source and location of QR code scanning and found that users are most likely to scan QR codes found in newspapers, magazines, on product packaging and do so while at home or in a store.
Reading a QR code on your smartphone requires a QR code reader app such as Red Laser or I-Nigma, both of which are available for free.
To create a QR code, you’ll need a QR generator such as Kaywa, which enables you to create QR codes that link to a web page, video, text, phone numbers, or SMS. Kerem Erkan offers more extensive capabilities and the option to customize the color and format of your QR code..
QR codes produce measurable results.
Since QR codes typically link to web pages, videos, images etc., it’s easy to measure performance. You can link your QR code to a specific web page (preferably mobile-optimized) and use a URL shortener such as bit.ly or goo.gl. Both services offer you the option of creating a QR code and provide useful performance analytics.
Have you used QR codes in your marketing? If so, please share how and the type of results you’ve seen.