It seems like print ads these days are showing up with more tattoos than a coed home at Spring Break. What are these pesky little boxes with their jagged edges? Well, they are what digital marketing firms call Quick Response Codes or simply QR codes. According to a study from comScore, some 14 million U.S. smart phone users scanned these ugly little buggers in June of this year alone. These mobile barcodes may be unsightly, but they are quite functional. By scanning these rustic little icons with a mobile device, consumers are fast-tracked to a business’s webpage, landing page or microsite––saving them the trouble of punching in an unwieldy URL with their thumbs. Kind of handy, really. So if you and your brand are ready to launch into this brave new world of technological hijinks, here are a few things you should consider:
1. Build in Value. Never put a QR code in your ad just to send people to your home page. Have something of value waiting for them: downloable coupons, a discount, a sweepstakes, something.
2. Be Ubiquitous. If you are going to do this, go big. Place this mobile barcode in all your brand’s touch points: print ads, posters, bar coasters, menus, take ones, window clings, etc.
3. Make it Easy. Scanning a barcode should offer the consumer a brand experience that’s exclusive, dynamic and interactive. But never hard. Take into account where a mobile barcode is located on the ad. Consumers should be able to find it and scan the code quickly. For outdoor ads, place the QR code at eye level. In a print ad, the barcode should not fall into the fold.
4. Make it Cute. So why make the QR code look alien to your brand? Macy’s actually fashioned a QR out of their iconic star. It doesn’t have to be boring to be effective.
5. Test it Thoroughly. There is nothing more low-tech or low-touch than having your potential consumers scan a QR code only to be greeted by a 404 error. Not good. Not ever.
Follow these best practices and see if it doesn’t improve your marketing ROI.