Posted by Maureen Carruthers at 9:30 AM on March 9, 2011:
QR codes are popping up all over. As is often the case with new technology tools, popping up with them are numerous articles about what they are, how to create them, and examples of how they are being used. With all that press, it’s easy to worry your business is falling behind and you must drop everything else RIGHT NOW to avoid missing the marketing innovation of the century.
Of course, it could turn out that QR codes aren’t all they are cracked up to be - or they just aren’t a good fit for you and your right people. Many new tech breakthroughs get early adopters salivating about the possibilities, only to prove ultimately pointless for most business owners.
But which is it? Rather than doing all the research and then finding out the new tech isn’t a good fit, how about just answering a few questions to figure out if researching QR codes is worth your time?
QR Code Compatibility Quiz
Will QR Codes help you grow your business? Answer the 4 questions below to find out. Give yourself one point for each “yes” answer. Then add up your score and interpret it below.
1. Do your customers use smart phones?
The only way to “translate” a QR code is to scan it with the camera on a smart phone. If your customers don’t have smart phones, these codes are worthless.
2. Do you have simple forms you want customers to fill out?
If you want customers to sign up for your mailing list or complete an online survey, making it easy to do in the moment is key. Using a QR code link to the survey rather than to a traditional URL means customers can scan the code and complete the form before they leave your store, which means you don’t have to count on them remembering to do it when they get home.
3. Does your business have a mobile app?
If your company has it’s own mobile app, advertising it with a QR code can dramatically increase downloads because scanning the code takes customers right to the install page - eliminating all of the potentially confusing (and distracting) steps it takes to navigate to it through the app store.
4. Do your customers respond well to “secret” offers?
If so, QR codes open new opportunities to extend your offers. Just send customers a short tutorial about how to use QR codes via e-mail newsletter, or other semi-private communication channel, tell them about the new “QR club” and how to play. Then, display the actual code (without comment) in your store or on your website.
(Note: If you use a QR code, make sure it points to a mobile-optimized web page that rewards visitors for clicking. A page offering discounts or free gifts will definitely work, as will limited edition products, insider information, scavenger hunt clues, or even just a funny joke or story. What won’t work is pointing the code to your website’s homepage or a standard advertisement - not only will you not sell anything, you’ll train your customers to avoid scanning future codes.)
0 points: QR codes probably aren’t for you. Ignore at will!
1 point: QR codes are iffy for your business, but you may want to read at least one article linked in this post before crossing them off your list.
2-3 points: QR codes have a lot of potential for your business. Consider incorporating one into your next marketing campaign and measuring the results.
4 points: QR codes go with your business like peanut butter goes with jelly. Once you start using the codes you may wonder how you ever lived without them.
The best part of Internet quizzes is comparing scores. If you’d like to share, report your score in the comments and let us know if (or how) you will incorporate QR codes into your marketing.
When Maureen isn't excercising her Cosmo-style quiz writing skills she can be found answering nonprofit marketing questions at Low Hanging Fruit.