You’ve probably seen them and didn’t even realize you were looking at a whole new world of business marketing. QR Codes, also known as barcodes and quick response codes, are beginning to integrate themselves into every aspect of our lives, whether we realize it or not. New marketing plans and PR strategies include QR code marketing to create a more interactive environment for website visitors, magazine audiences, advertising targets, and much more. So, what do you need to know about QR Codes for your marketing plans?
What is a QR Code?
A QR Code is an image, much like a standard UPC barcode, that can be translated through the camera on your smartphone to display web pages, images, text, maps, nearly any type of brand message you want to convey. While QR Codes are relatively new here in the states, places like China and Japan have been using these codes for many years now in advertising and marketing strategies.
The technical definition of a QR code is ‘a specific matrix barcode readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones.
Why Are QR Codes Important to Marketing?
Here’s the deal; 77% of the world’s population own a mobile phone, and half a billion users have access to mobile internet. In terms of marketing, that might not mean much if you don’t understand your target audience, however, if you consider numbers alone and the fact that there are expected to be 73.3 million smartphone users in 2011, which will be over 65% of all mobile phone users, the possibilities really can’t be ignored.
How Do QR Codes Work?
With over 50% of all mobile phone users owning smartphones either preloaded with QR barcode scanning apps or available to download free scanning apps, the idea of scanning a QR Code to obtain additional product or brand information is becoming more and more mainstream. You might not even realize that you have a QR Code app on your mobile phone, or that you can obtain one for free in a matter of seconds.
The process is simple; you simply go to the app on your phone for QR code scanning. The most popular and free, apps include Barcode Scanner, ShopSavvey, Optimscan, ScanLife and Quickmark. Place the QR Code directly under your smartphone camera and let your app do the rest. It’s that simple, which is another reason why it’s a wonderful marketing strategy.
Marketing Strategies for QR Codes
No matter what industry you’re in, what your brand message is or what your marketing plan looks like, there’s always room for QR Codes. While QR marketing is still an emerging strategy, it’s always best to stay ahead of the curve in terms of marketing your brand. By offering a unique experience that is also incredibly interactive, you can remain one step ahead of your competition.
Offering an Interactive and Immediate Experience -- The greatest aspect of QR Codes is their interactive nature and instant results. An individual looking for more information is immediately connected to it. This cut down on time means a higher conversion rate and a greater chance that individuals won’t forget an email address, website URL, or business special before they get home to their computers. The days of waiting to get online until you’re home are over, and if you can’t capitalize on instant and immediate marketing, you will fall behind the curve.
Obtaining Instant Analytics – Many companies now offer instant QR Code tracking analytics that allows business owners to understand their audience in nearly the moment they scan the barcode. This is a great advantage to have over the competition.
Offering Direct Incentives – Many production companies and record labels now utilize QR Codes in magazine advertising to offer instant incentives for individuals to download music or watch movie previews. This enables users to read an article about behind the scenes of a movie, or the making of a great album, and then instantly watch the clip or listen to a song.
You can take advantage of this same idea by offering specials, discounts, and deals instantly through a QR Code that has been placed on marketing materials. You can also redirect patients to Youtube videos of medical procedures they might be considering, plastic surgery before and after videos, and much more. The marketing possibilities are truly endless.