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How and when to use QR codes?

QR, or Quick Response codes, are those bar codes we often see printed on various marketing pieces, and if you are anything like me, I’m sure you assume that no one ever bothers to actually scan them. However, that is not quite true. While scanning QRs does require a bit of technological knowledge and a scanning app ready to use on your mobile device, with the proper motivation you can really get people to scan your codes.

But why would you use QR codes in the first place?

Well, they’re free, but that’s not a good enough reason. Why would I want someone to use their mobile device to interact with my marketing piece? One good answer is that the conversion rate on mobile devices is much higher than on desktop computers. If I can get someone to respond to my advertising using their cellular phone, I definitely increase the chances of generating a lead.
Add to that the fact that QR (free) technology allows us to code almost everything we want into the bar code, such as an automated e-mail with the recipient address and subject and text fields pre-filled, or an SMS message – and you understand how we can prompt our user to contact us with almost no effort on their side.

So that answers the “when” – use QRs when you are focused on lead generation. If you are looking for incoming e-mails or phone numbers, adding a QR can help and definitely doesn’t hurt. Click if you want to know how to generate a QR and watch this simple tutorial video.

But how do we get people to actually scan our QRs?
Here are a few tips:

  • Visibility – make the QR easy to spot and scan. Good apps like i-nigma can scan a code in less than a second, even the small ones – but make it easier on your users to locate the code through their camera.
  • Call-to-action – deliver clear written instructions and/or graphic ones. For example, next to the QR write: “Scan this code now!”. You could also use an arrow graphic element to lead people’s eyes towards the code.
  • Free give-away – offer an incentive for free – that’s the big one. People will take the effort to scan if they can get something in return. For example: “For a FREE report of recently sold houses in our neighborhood – scan this code now!”

Make sure that recipients of your marketing piece have other means of reaching you in addition to the QR, but adding that feature can generate additional leads for you at no cost – so why not use it???