3 Secrets for a Successful QR Code Campaign This Holiday Season
3 Secrets for a Successful QR Code Campaign This Holiday Season
A QR (Quick Response) code is a type of 2-dimensional matrix barcode that has become popular with mobile consumers due to its fast readability with an on-board mobile phone camera and comparatively large storage capacity. QR codes are seemingly everywhere this Holiday season. Small wonder: people who scan QR codes tend to have higher-end mobile devices (and so appreciate the finer things in life) and are likely to have some disposable income as well. People scan QR codes for price comparisons (81%), product reviews (63%), and to receive special offers (63%) (Source: ScanLife)
Hereâ€s what reading a QR Code with an iPhone app Red Laser looks like:
According to comScore:
14 million Americans scanned a QR code in June 2011
60.5% of code scanners were male
53.4% were 18-34 years old
36.1 percent had a household income of at least $100,000.
How do you reach these millions of Olympic Caliber Shoppers?
Not surprisingly, getting these QR campaign secrets wrong causes serious problems that could repel customers instead. Here is one example. Mochi Massage is a high-end SF downtown spa. Mochi is running a QR code ad campaign, implemented using street signs, like the one shown below:
This strategy makes sense: stressed out Holiday shoppers might be willing to simply scan a barcode to get a comfortable 30-minute massage discount, as well as stress-free mobile directions on how to get to the establishment. Unfortunately, the Mochi Massage QR code falls far short of the goal. Why is that? Missing the sweet spot outlined in my QR campaign secrets (presented below in reverse order):
Secret #3: Track your QR code scans
In the Mochi Massage street sign example, the URL encoded in the QR code is simply a link to their desktop website:
Tracking is key for any new technology requiring some investment risk, such as QR code campaigns. Without tracking it will be impossible to tell if the company should put up more walk-up signs, provide coupon handouts with QR codes or employ a different marketing strategy altogether.
Fortunately, tracking QR codes is very easy using Google Analytics (ask me how), or by using a URL redirect service such as Bit.ly.
Secret #2: Use a mobile-optimized landing page
While many potential points of access are possible, QR codes are most often scanned with a mobile phone. The web page your customers will see after scanning your QR code should naturally support the device most people use to access the page. While this is a simple concept, it is astonishing how many companies do not take the time to create a mobile-optimized page. That is a mistake. After scanning the Mochi Massage QR code, the first page customer sees on his or her iPhone is the un-optimized desktop web page shown below:
Instead of providing comfort, the design irritates the customer by forcing them to poke and prod the page, zooming and panning multiple times. Especially unpleasant when browsing with one hand and holding heavy shopping bags in the other. So now, Mochiâ€s customers feel more stressed just trying to read the page; you can sense their shoulders getting tight as they crane their necks to see what the page is about in the glare of bright afternoon sunlight. Relaxing initial customer experience? In the words of immortal Rudyard Kipling, â€œNot so, but far otherwise.â€
Which brings us to our #1 secret:
Secret #1: Provide a clear value proposition
All the panning and zooming necessary to see the page is certainly irritating, but they are minor compared to finding nothing of value once zoomed in:
A customer has taken the time to open and unlock their phone, launch a special app and take a picture of your code. In our fast, post-Internet world, that’s a large amount of work and a high level of commitment to your ad campaign.
Interestingly, Mochi Massage is showing some small value on their website, but because the page is not correctly formatted and the discount appears in the right bottom corner (the last place anyone would look while “keyhole browsing” on a mobile device) any value proposition is completely lost:
In addition to that, there is no clear call to action for the next step the customer should take, such as to get directions, email or call for an appointment, both actions that naturally integrate with mobile context of use.
Start with Value. Build for Mobile.
For example, here is a DesignCaffeine, Inc. QR Code for URL bit.ly/designingsearchbk that leverages all 3 secrets:
1) Clear value proposition:
By scanning this code, you will get:
a free download of Chapter 1 of my book, Designing Search: UX Strategies for eCommerce Success
ability to read the downloaded PDF right on your iPhone or Android
a link to buy the book on Amazon.com, right on your phone
instructions on how to get your free copy of Lou Rosenfeldâ€s Search Analytics for Your Site (when you leave an Amazon.com review for Designing Search)
ability to easily share the link with your friends using a variety of sharing services available on your mobile device, so you look smart and helpful.
2) Mobile-optimized landing page:
While not precisely mobile, the web page you will see when you scan the code is Future-Friendly.
The page is part of the new site that was designed by DesignCaffeine, Inc. and custom-built for us by Bill Erickson Word Press Consulting. (Incidentally, Bill is offering an amazing special of his own: â€œDesign to Website, Five Days, $1,500â€ so check it out http://www.billerickson.net/wordpress-consulting/psd-to-genesis and let him know I sent you.) I will tell you more about Future Friendly designs in the next articles, but feel free to drop me a line today if you are curious.
3) Tracking QR code scans:
The encoded URL uses a Bit.ly redirect for tracking. While itâ€s also simple to implement a Google Analytics tracking code, I like Bit.ly, because it has fewer characters and so allows the barcode to be more compact and robust. A QR code with a shorter URL is more likely to be scanned successfully with greater number of mobile device QR code readers even when bent or partially defaced (although that depends also on error correction level, something we wonâ€t get into here) The key point is: smaller URL is handy, if you are planning to put your QR code in the corner of your printed promotional material (instead of taking up space front and center).