Did you think that QR Codes were everywhere in 2011? If so, you should expect to see more of the same in 2012. Sure, there are absolutely going to be other mobile technologies (such as NFC, perhaps) that will push their way a bit further into the mainstream.
But with QR Codes, the momentum of creating awareness has been in full swing for quite a while now. What does this mean? Well, even my grandmother knows how to scan a QR Code! Thus, advertisers, marketers, educators, etc. should find ways to incorporate QR Codes into their printed materials to reach the growing mobile audience. Here are a few tips to help them incorporate QR Codes that their audience will scan.
5 Tips for Increasing Your QR Code Scans
1) Provide instructions near the QR Code
Yes, awareness of QR Codes has increased dramatically over the past few months. But there are still plenty of people out there that don’t know what they are or how to use them. To assist those folks, provide instructions near the QR Code on your printed materials.
This could be done by simply including text (i.e. “Scan the QR Code with your smartphone”) or by incorporating an image that displays a smartphone pointing to the QR Code, or an image that depicts how the QR Code could point to a smartphone that is displaying a website.
2) Give people an incentive
As marketers first become familiar with QR Codes, they often rush too quickly to incorporate them. Thus, they’ll skip over fundamentals such as “Why would my audience want to scan this?”. Rather than just slapping a QR Code on your printed materials, develop a reason why you should have one. Will it make it easier for your audience to access a map or directions? Will it make easier for people to contact your company or to make a purchase?
Include that reason somewhere on your printed materials to let people know what benefits they’ll receive by scanning the code.
3) Allow your designer to have input
In some cases, graphic designers have developed well-crafted print advertisements or direct mail pieces that they are very proud of. But at the last minute, someone may request that a QR Code is included. This may not only cause some grief for the designer (because they are being asked to make a last-minute change, one that does not necessarily fit it into their vision), but it could also negatively impact your audience. If a QR Code appears to have been carelessly slapped onto printed material, the chances of it being scanned may be reduced.
Thus, try to allow your designers to offer creative input during the development process. They may be able to utilize the error-correction rate that is built into QR Codes, or to simply find a creative way to include it that will tempt your audience to scan it.
4) Educate your audience ahead of time
Yes, QR Codes exist primarily to make print interactive. But you can use other medias to increase awareness about them. Create blog posts on your website that talk about them. Produce a video that demonstrates how someone could successfully use their smartphone to scan them. Put on one your social media pages or in your email signature for a little while. Talk about them in your eNewsletter.
By taking those steps, you may not only create curiosity, but you may increase the chances that your audience will know what to do with them when they see one in on your printed pieces.
5) Shorten the destination URL
This one is very important! Yes, QR Codes can hold a lot of data. But the more data that you have in a QR Code, the harder it may be for someone to scan it quickly. Make sure to use a service that shortens your URLs before generating the QR Code.
I hope that you find these tips helpful! If you have any questions about how to increase the success of your QR Codes, please let us know.