Creative QR codes were first noticed in Japan, where companies thought of using these mini bar codes to get closer to their customers. It wasn’t long before the ‘mobile tagging’ craze took over, and today, we can spot some really innovative uses of QR codes that definitely help you to expand your customer base. To some, it may seem like a passing whim, but statistics proving the caliber of the QR codes as an effective marketing tool, tell a different story. QR codes have been around for more than 15 years now; long enough to tell you that they’ve been tried and tested.
How could you work them to your company’s advantage, then? There are several ways to do that, and a few of them are listed right here.
Creative Uses of QR Codes in Marketing
Yes; it is the oldest trick of the trade. Rewarding your customers with freebies is a fabulous marketing tool. It could be a promotional offer that includes slashed rates of the product or a membership or even future discounts. Run these codes as a part of your print medium advertisements and/or plaster it across your store and watch your fan base multiply.
Choose your Spot
The most obvious spot for advertising is a purchased product. You’re assured that it stays with your consumer, so why not make use of the product’s part to make your company visible? QR codes can be printed on product labels, price tags or product bags. It is a clever spot to put a QR code on, and you don’t even have to buy advertising space. Embed information about your company, special online offers or priority deals.
Your company may have an online presence, but aren’t you overlooking a very obvious spot to market it 24×7? Display windows in your store are sure to be arresting, but why exclude customers who happen to view them beyond your working hours? A QR code displayed here, lets you get in touch with someone who is interested in your product, but may not necessarily return.
Be brazen at public places, conventions, fairs or seminars and put forth your company’s profile in a “subtle” QR code. Even better, embed your company’s logo into the code (shouldn’t be too difficult, but ensure its functionality), so that you arouse enough curiosity without revealing too much information. Put up QR codes on banners, employee t-shirts, visiting cards, etc., which will ensure visibility.
QR codes that direct the user to the shopping page’s URL will be a sure-fire hit. Do make sure that the page is mobile-friendly, or else the entire purpose of the QR code would be wasted. Likewise, you could use QR codes to connect with Facebook or Twitter, and be liked or followed instantaneously. However, pulling this off might be slightly tricky as people who are looking for more information may consider it misleading.
Restaurant menus can include QR codes next to popular dishes, which lets the user connect to a URL that allows them to view the preparation. QR codes are also used in art galleries where they are strategically placed next to the exhibit. Scanning them gives you inputs about the artist and the exhibit as well. In fact, each business can have their own list of things that they want their customers to know about.
Although it won’t suit all products, organizing a treasure hunt through QR codes is an excellent way to engage potential customers. And what could be better than to have a prize at the end of it? As mentioned before, it can be bothersome to organize, but well worth a try for a new product from a recognizable brand.
Create a Buzz
QR codes can be so designed that they make phone calls and send messages to your company. Just be sure that your customer service department is capable of handling inquiries and feedback, or at times, brickbats too. While this does not really qualify as a marketing tool, you can spread some exclusive offers so that the customer does not think of it as a meaningless gimmick.
QR Codes Gone Waste
An innovative marketing tool it certainly is, but overenthusiastic usage of the QR code really kills its very purpose. This is how QR codes can be completely mismanaged. (Hint: Location, location, location)
✘ A subway is the worst place to place a QR hoarding. Unless the underground has Wi-Fi, placing a QR advertisement makes no sense at all, as the idea is to engage people with information on the go. We can’t expect people to save our QR image and scan it sometime later.
✘ QR codes in in-flight reading material is a dubious one indeed. Seriously, a QR code is not something that is cherished; it is just a ticket to more information. And unless the viewer gets immediate access to it, (impossible when he’s flying) you’d rather not print it at all.
✘ QR codes on billboards that are high up there, completely miss the point. People are not interested in craning their necks to take a picture of something they may not even want to know about. The key is easy accessibility.
✘ When QR codes appear on buses or trains, one does wonder who put them there and why; unless they really wanted those buses and trains to break down, so that the frustrated commuters and random pedestrians could then scan it.
✘ It would be a sin to let your QR code get entangled in the Android/Apple face-off. Create a code that is flexible for both, so you make sure that it does not leave out either smartphone user.
QR coding is a contemporary communication tool and you can think of several ways to integrate it into your marketing plan. It definitely is cost-effective, and according to many, it is the ultimate marketing medium of the future.