Quick Response (QR) Codes are those black and white squares affectionately dubbed “a psychedelic postage stamp” earlier this year by CNN that are popping up in print ads, on storefronts, business cards, TV and nearly everywhere else these days. But what exactly are they and how should you incorporate them into your business’s marketing campaign?
QR codes have been popular in Japan for over a decade and were invented in 1994 by DENSO, a subsidiary of Toyota. Based on bar codes, which are one-dimensional and can store up to 20 numerical digits, QR codes take things to another level by adding a second dimension. This means QR codes can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters and much more information. Marketing campaigns can be enhanced using QR codes to lead consumers to video clips, app downloads, special promotions, and more.
Over the past few years, campaigns overseas have found interesting ways of harnessing QR codes, whether it be retailers catching audience attention mid-commute, like British retailer Argos or hair product company Unilever promoting its Clear Shampoo in Thailand by shaving QR codes into healthy scalps.
Whether a QR code appears in an eye-catching, innovative manner or in a more traditional print medium, there are a number of key factors that will determine its success:
Wherever Your QR Code Leads, It Must Be Optimized For The Mobile Web
This is a rather fundamental aspect of QR codes that is often overlooked. Consumers will clearly be using their mobile devices to access information via QR codes. If your code simply points to your website, users will face improperly formatted pages with long load times and difficult navigation. They will be left thinking that the company is trying to embrace new technologies, but is missing the point with their efforts, which reflects poorly on the company overall.
Offer Exclusive Value
Related to the first point, what makes participation in this campaign of value to the user? If the QR code simply goes to the company website, why bother? QR codes need to offer exclusive information, offers or perks that will lead to purchases. A great example is currently being offered for the holidays by JC Penny where gift givers can use QR Code “Voice” Gift Tags to record a voice message for gift recipients that they can access via their mobile phone. These tags provide value and content while being directly tied to consumer sales.
Prompt Your Audience with a Call to Action
Once there is a value added to a campaign by a QR code, that value needs to be expressed to the audience. In the case of Unilever’s Clear Shampoo, the viral and novel nature of the campaign prompted over 10 million hits. In more conventional forms, QR Codes need to be accompanied with an explanation of why someone should take the time to scan. This can be done with a catchy tagline and simple instructions.
We have created a free QR code generator for anyone to use. Click here to visit the QR code generator page under the TrueHit Designs Tools menu or simply use it below:
TrueHit Designs can design and add QR codes to your business cards, postcards, banners, flyers, or other promotional items to create a truly interactive marketing campaign for your mobile-enabled target web page. For more information, contact TrueHit Designs at 973.748.1357 or contact [ a t ] truehitdesigns.com.