As I watched the Republican Presidential debate a few weeks ago, my thoughts went to the QR Code (yeah, it was that boring). The QR Code is the newest entry into the mobile marketing arsenal, but the one that continues to get attacked by its competitors.
Detractors of the humble QR Code complain that they require a smartphone that less than half of Americans yet own. There also is a learning curve that only half of those that even own a smartphone actually have used it to scan a QR Code yet. That’s because they are difficult to scan, provide useless information, or don’t tell you why you should scan them in the first place! Sounds like the Republicans talking about Obamacare.
QR Codes do nothing more than provide an easier access point than typing in a cumbersome, long URL into your smartphone.
At the end of the day, that is the true value of the QR Code. And, it’s why the QR Code is here to stay until something better comes along.
Now, if you want to maximize the use of the QR Code, consider the following as Best Practices for your QR Code:
- Tell the consumer what they are going to get when they scan. Unless, of course, you are offering something dumb like a link to your regular old web site. Nobody cares.
- Assume that it’s their first time. You remember how nervous you were your first time. Tell them where they can download a QR Code reader. Better yet, put one on your own web site to get the traffic there.
- Offer a text message short code element as well. Remember, not everybody has a smartphone. In fact, less than half of us do while 82% of us now use text messages. To maximize your participation, always include a text message access to your content as well.
- If you are directing users to a web site, make sure that site is mobile-optimized.
- Use a Custom QR Code. Our studies show that Custom QR Codes, with the branding of your message included, deliver 3.4 times the results of a standard black & white one.
Perhaps, the QR Code is nothing more than a novelty whose lifespan is limited, but for now, with 3% more Americans owning a smartphone every quarter, I’ll take my chances that the scanning of QR Codes will continue to increase.