QR Codes: Best Practices For the Best Results

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by Sarah Poore | Last Updated: Oct 16, 2017

Since learning about iOS 11’s inclusion of a QR reader in the native camera, it’s really hit me that QR codes are everywhere–and I truly mean everywhere. From product packaging to food wrappers to coupons, it’s true that those scannable squares have made their way onto pretty much any flat surface. Nearly one out of five Americans had scanned a QR code in 2013, and with Apple’s update allowing for even easier engagement, that number is bound to increase. When technologies like QR codes show amazing promise it can be easy to jump on the bandwagon without giving the implementation too much thought, which typically yields one of two results: One, you can use too many too fast and overwhelm the customer, or two, you can rush implementation and not pay attention to the why behind it. To avoid these missteps, here are a couple of ways that you can utilize QR codes to create powerful brand moments for your customers, and gain valuable information to better your marketing efforts. For Your Customers: Focus on Enhancing, Not Repeating A QR code that exists for the sole purpose of existing will do little for the user experience. It seems quite obvious, but users are more likely to engage and interact with content that helps them or wows them. Here’s an example: Say a toy manufacturing company included an instruction booklet detailing how to assemble the toy within the product’s packaging, and on those paper instructions they included a QR code that took the user to an online version of the instructions. Seems a little repetitive, right? So, repeated content won’t add to the convenience or experience that they have while building the toy, but something that would enhance the user experience? How about including a QR code that takes the user to a page with a video of someone assembling the toy, FAQs about the toy, and a link to contact the company if there are missing pieces or if the toy is defective? This content is ultimately enhancing the user experience with your product, which pays off when it comes to brand loyalty and repurchase. For You: Monitor then Monetize Here’s the secret sauce behind what makes QR codes so powerful for marketers: It takes intention to scan a QR code, which is pretty telling when it comes to measuring engagement and interaction from customers who used the QR code, unlike those that may have accidentally clicked on a link. QR codes have immense information potential, and putting in a little extra time and effort to keep a pulse on those QR scans if you want to maximize the value you can gain from it. Knowing key information–like what type of content resonates with certain audiences and what locations yield the most engagement–can greatly help in promotional efforts, give you a better understanding of your target market, and allow you to dig a little deeper into customer’s desires. As a best practice, generate multiple QR codes within one campaign, and keep track of the metrics tied to each of those codes. For example, if an apartment complex is using QR codes to engage prospective tenants with a video tour, they should create a different QR code for each of the display mediums (mail piece, billboard, sign outside of the complex, email) so that they can track which location yielded the most effective results. This is our second chance at getting QR codes right–something that doesn’t always happen with technology. With the amount of information that marketers can gain from QR codes and the user experience they can provide, it’s imperative that you invest a little extra time and effort for those sizeable payoffs (for both you, and your customers).

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