While the debate rages on whether QR codes are a passing fad or a marketing phenomenon, those little suckers continue to pop up all over the place. From product packaging to retail signs and even to food, almost any surface in the universe seems fair game for a QR code.
However, if brands deploy QR codes merely to claim they are using the latest social media marketing tool, then QR codes are doomed to fall in the "fad" bin, never to realize their full potential. The task for marketers is to use this interactive tool to deliver useful and meaningful experiences to their users.
SEE ALSO: Why QR Codes Are Here to Stay
So, how can you assess whether you are using QR codes to their full potential? Although very few QR marketing statistics exist, here are a few tips for businesses looking to deliver a meaningful QR code experience.
1. Define Your Purpose
The first thing to realize is that QR codes can be as much about utility as they are about marketing. The more your QR code enhances or streamlines the lives of customers, the more engagement you can expect. As such, the most important step in making your QR campaign a success is to think clearly about the purpose of your code.
Is the purpose to provide an instructional video, a photo catalog of products, contact information or product suggestions?
Or are you looking to incentivize mobile purchasing behavior through coupons and loyalty rewards?
What is the advertiser hoping to garner – an email address, social media engagement, a phone call?
Are you seeking to provide information about a single product or about the entire brand line?
The clearer you are about the purpose of your campaign, the easier it will be to discern whether your goals have been achieved.
2. Call On Your Customers
Now that you have defined your purpose, craft a customer call to action. Think of your QR code as a doorway, only you need to explain what's hidden behind the door. The brief text sitting next to your code should be the world's shortest elevator pitch.
For instance, you'll see high scan rates if your code says, "Scan this code for an exclusive gift" or "Scan this code for our lowest price." Be sure to explain any incentive associated with the code truthfully — it will increase trust, consumer interaction and the overall return on your campaign.
3. Design and Usability Is Key
Understand that looks matter. Ideally, opt for a designer code rather than a black-and-white checker box. Designer codes earn higher scan-through rates, look better on your materials, and even provide an element of security to assure users that this is indeed the brand's QR code (and hasn't been somehow covered over).
SEE ALSO: 5 Big Mistakes To Avoid in Your QR Code Marketing Campaign
In addition, the design of the mobile landing page is critical. The cardinal sin in QR code campaigns is directing users to your desktop website. Not only does a desktop site provide little added value over what a user could have obtained without the code, but the site usually looks and functions terribly on a mobile phone. If you do not have a mobile-friendly version of your website, consider using one of the many available tools to create one. Using one of these platforms makes it easier to update content in real time and track campaign analytics.
4. Measuring Scans
The most important metric of a QR campaign should not be the number of daily scans. Rather, the length of engagement time that your code is generating should be a marketer's primary indicator of campaign success.
If people are spending two to three (or more) minutes on a link, the campaign is a success. The power of a QR code is to transform the user experience from a "quick glance" to a "deep dive." When users spend a lot of time on your QR site, it shows that you have developed something captivating — a brand worth the interaction.
On the flip side, having a low number of scans should not discourage the advertiser, although generating zero scans is a definite red flag. If no one is scanning the code, it's likely that something is wrong its scanability, or that its placement is not conducive to scanning (think high-up ads on the subway).
Another thing to keep an eye on is the number of scans over time. If your QR code has been constant displayed (e.g., in your retail window or on your cashier counter), you should see a long tail of interactivity as people continue to engage with your code. Achieve this by providing fresh content and incentives. Unlike other marketing vehicles (TV commercials and newspaper ads) that typically only generate one big spike in impressions, QR codes allow businesses a consistent promotional tier. If the number of scans drops to zero after the first week, this is a sign that there wasn't enough allure to the experience.
5. Social Metrics
Finally, businesses should look at the points of interaction beyond the QR code experience to judge the success of a campaign. Did a business receive more hits to its website, more followers on Twitter, more fans on Facebook? While trying out the latest high-tech marketing tools is fun, we must ultimately be driven by results.
The QR code experience is limited only by your imagination. The more creatively you can provide a meaningful customer experience, the more interaction your QR code campaign will enjoy.
QR codes provide metrics by tying real-world marketing (outdoor signs, magazine ads, etc.) to the mobile web. By being imaginative, purposeful and experimental with campaigns, advertisers and consumers alike can reap rich QR rewards.