There’s been a great deal of “spirited discussion” regarding QR Codes and whether they’re a passing fad or an effective marketing tool. I’ve written several articles on the topic including “QR Codes: A Beginner’s Guide“, “REALTORS®! QR Codes: STOP using them WRONG already!“, as well as one about a Houston, TX based company which is using them in a rather ingenious manner for equipment service and support entitled “Unlikely Industry Embraces Technology – QR Codes for Customer Service“.
My take on the whole topic is simple. QR codes are inexpensive and often free. QR codes aren’t going away any time soon. More and more consumers recognize QR codes and are using them. When they DO take the time to scan a QR code, they’re expecting something in return. It might be quick access to valuable information in the form of a mobile website or app. Other possibilities include a coupon, promotion, perk, or something else that they’ll “get” for their effort.
I see too many business owners try to force QR codes into their business because they think it’s “cool”… or because everyone around them are using QR codes. Finding an EFFECTIVE way to use them for your business is the key.
Some common mistakes I see include:
- Using QR codes on websites.
- Using QR codes on Facebook business pages.
- Using a QR code as a “Profile Photo” on a Twitter account or some other social networking site.
- Linking a QR code directly to a promotional video.
- Linking a QR code to a phone number.
- Linking a QR code to a Facebook business page, Twitter account, or LinkedIn account.
So… when I see an effective use of QR codes, I like to point it out. In this case, the business is “The Wine Company”… a fine wine distributor and importer located in St. Paul, MN.
While fueling up at a gas station in Lakeville, MN the other day, another larger truck pulled in to do the same. The first thing I noticed was how the QR codes were incorporated into messages on all sides of the truck. The second thing I noticed was the person behind me at the pump scanning the QR Code. Of course, I had to as well. It took me straight to a very simple mobile website which was easy to navigate, provided an abundance of helpful information (while also including some humor), allowed me to connect with them via their social network, and they encouraged me to look for their QR Codes in fine restaurants and retail outlets which will “open up a world of wine information, tasting notes, stories, accolades, and food and wine pairing suggestions”. You know what? I really want to do that now. I’ll be looking everywhere I go. It worked.
I know I’ve said that QR codes shouldn’t be used on websites… but you have to know the rules before you know which ones you can break. This is one of the best examples I’ve seen when it comes to the use of QR codes. Go ahead… try it on the photo above. You can also try it on the photos below for a little different information.
Like I’ve said… using QR codes EFFECTIVELY is the key. It might be for customer service or retention. It could be for marketing and promotion. Wondering what’s best for you? Contact me and I can help.