If you listen to some marketers, QR Codes are the coming thing. The best marketing tool of all time. Others say they’re hard to use and difficult to set up.
Neither may be completely true, but both have a little truth to them.
I’ve been scanning QR codes for a couple of years to see how they work, since I first picked up a smartphone app. And they’ve been, uh, mostly less than successful. In fact, I’d estimate that only about 1 in 4 or 5 QR codes scanned properly, and only 1 in 4 or 5 of those actually took me to a smartphone-optimized landing page.
Which begs the question: why should you use QR codes for your marketing?
I can think of only a few reasons. First, if you want to support your marketing efforts with a secondary channel, a QR code may be a good way to support that. Let’s say you’re offering a handout at your tradeshow booth, but you want to steer those people with smartphone QR code apps to download them as a PDF. You’re making the brochure or document available as a limited paper edition, but unlimited electronic downloads. A QR code should work just fine for this purpose – just make sure you state the purpose of the QR Code in easy-to-understand directions.
Secondly, if you want to share specific information that a smart phone user can put to immediate use, offering a QR code with a URL is a good way to steer people to that landing page. This might be a situation where you offer additional information for those that are looking for it.
As always, the caveats still exist: make sure the QR Code is easily scannable (high contrast black on white and large enough to scan), optimize the landing page so it looks good on a smartphone, and TEST the link right before it goes into action to make sure it works properly.
Yup, QR Codes CAN work. Just make sure that you have a damn good reason to use them.
photo credit: van Van Es