Oh no you think, I’m so over QR codes. Hasn’t that topic been beaten to death? Why should I read yet ANOTHER article about them?
Fair questions. So here’s my answers- if you think I’m full of bologna, then quit reading and tell me in the comments. If it makes you think, re-evaluate, or sparks the creative juices, then please tell me that too 🙂
- They can inspire your audience to take action when you most want them to.
- No “I’ll do it later”, when there is a greater chance of forgetting. They take the action immediately. You get the result you want.
- In our busy worlds, the audience can actually feel a sense of relief that it’s “one less thing I have to do.” Check it off the list if you will…..
Where we as marketers fall down
When QR codes first arrived, I immediately thought, “Wow, these are pretty cool. Imagine someone taking the action you want them to take when you want them to take it.” But, I’m not seeing this result. And why do I think this is?
Because we’re not telling our audience two CRITICAL things:
What the squiggly-lined box is actually called, AND
What they’re supposed to do with it.
The average person is clueless
Just because someone owns a smartphone does NOT mean he or she knows the full capabilities of that phone (I’m a heavy user and I know I have no clue about 3/4 of its potential).
If you had no knowledge of QR codes and saw this:
Think you’d go into overload and just ignore it? If it’s unfamiliar, people tend to. Most people won’t take the time to go do the research about QR codes, then come back to wherever they saw the code and proceed through the process. So in essence you’ve lost them right there.
(shameless self-promotion here- this really is the code for my agency newsletter, Premium News, so feel free to scan away to sign up . I use the Mobiletag app on my phone, but there are scads of apps in your app store to choose from. Download, open the app, and center your phone over the code. Most instantly recognize and the signup form should open right up).
We’re assuming our audience knows EXACTLY what to do
The old saying applies here, “To assume makes an ass out of u and me.”
If we’re going to use QR codes, then we have to include an educational component as part of our process. We have to give people specific instructions what to do to take the action we want them to take. I totally appreciate that it may not be ideal or even feasible to have a written, multi-paragraph tutorial right next to the code display.
So our education really has to take place BEFORE the call-to-action.
If I really want people to scan my signup form code, then I need to educate them before we even get to that point. Here are several educational ideas you can steal:
A blog post explaining exactly what a QR code is and how to download various apps, and then how to use them to scan.
An insert in customer correspondence explaining the same above (you could modify your post to fit on the insert)
Various social media posts addressing same
Explanation on your website
Explanation via traditional channels such as direct mail and print advertising (because I think a truly successful campaign must be integrated along many channels)
I have to be specific. I have to lead them along. I have to teach them. It’s what I do in insurance. I educate my customers, as well as the general public, and do it at a level they can relate with. So, why should our marketing be any different?