Primer on QR Codes: Keep it simple and value customer's time
QR codes, or Quick Response, are ubiquitous in advertising for everything from pizzas to mansions. What might surprise most retailers, though, is they are affordable to make and effective tool for measuring response to advertising.
That's the viewpoint of Joyce Boncal, owner of Advertise You in Newington. She will be talking about the topic of QR codes before the East Windsor Chamber of Commerce in East Windsor.
But first a little primer about QR codes. They are those white framed boxes with a seemingly random selection of squiggly black lines of varying sizes. Smart phone owners can scan the QR codes into their phones and get sent directly to a company's website for free products, videos or to sign up for more information.
Boncal said QR codes are best used when time is limited. She mentioned a recent networking event she attended where the QR codes were displayed on the attendees name badges. Scan the code in and - voila - you no longer need to pocket somebody's business card. The information is stored on your phone.
One idea Boncal likes to push is retailers using the QR codes in their window displays. Consumers who are window shopping - even during store hours - could get more info on a product, see a video if appropriate, and even purchase it without ever stepping foot in the store (and that could lead to after-hours sales, too). "It's very low cost to set up," Boncal said. "This is a very low-cost marketing campaign."
There are practical steps to setting up a QR code. When used as part of a printed piece, Boncal said, work with a printer who will perform quality control throughout the printing process. The first piece needs to work as well as the last one. Also, each QR code should be at least one inch by one inch for best results with a white border.
Also, a QR code needs to be a call to action. For example, it should say "Free Offer," "Discount" or "Video" below the QR code to let the consumer know what happens after the scan is complete. Plus, Boncal advises, don't use the QR code to get consumers to like a product on a social networking site. It's perceived as a waste of time by most consumers.
"You're asking the customer for five to 10 seconds - so you better be making it rewarding for them. The worst use is to have it open to a website.
There is free software available for setting up QR codes. Boncal also said any QR code used should be tied into Google Analytics to track traffic for even better information on where traffic originates.
"It's a good information generator for future advertising campaigns," she said.