When Macy’s launched it’s Backstage Pass Campaign earlier this month, it didn’t hold back the cool factor – QR Codes that led to a sweepstakes, quick home-décor tips and video of some of our favorite celebs including Sean “Diddy” Combs and Martha Stewart, promising our Macy’s shopping experience to be like shopping right along with them. The not-so-familiar face in the campaign – the QR Code itself. For many on the Central Coast, QR Codes are still mysterious, maze-looking 1”x1” squares cropping up on our mail and TVs. After downloading a free QR Code reader to their phones, smartphone users use their phones to scan the square code, which redirects them to websites, videos, sweepstakes entry forms and more.
Marketers – from large brands like Macy’s to local businesses on the Central Coast – are trying their hand at QR Code marketing. The concept is simple, but there are a few tips to keep in mind as you build your QR Code campaign:
1. Content is king. What you say and how you say it will always be key in all of your marketing efforts. One business placed a QR code on the homepage of its website. Where it led: the homepage of its website. Oops. Consumers willing to take the time to pull out their phones and scan your code are looking for that something useful or special – that memorable element that rewards their effort. (Or validates their constant smartphone use. You know who you are.) A local business recently printed a booklet of things to do and businesses to visit on the Central Coast. On the cover of the booklet is a QR Code leading to a smartphone-friendly website equipped with hotel and restaurant booking options. Office Depot is placing QR Codes at Points of Purchase within the store that offers project ideas using the products in front of buyers.
2. Track it. Measure the click through rates of your QR Codes. Generate your QR Codes with enough developer prowess to ensure Google Analytics (which are already linked to your website) track the click through rates of your code. Need help? Let us know.
3. Give ‘em a hint. The novelty of zapping QR Codes simply because we can has worn off. Users now want to know what they’re getting into before going through the motion of pulling out their phones. Include a 3-4 word explanation of what they’re going to see to encourage them to go through the effort.
4. Get it right. Martha Stewart, the queen of perfection in the details, would likely bristle if Macy’s QR Codes didn’t function appropriately. Be sure your code links to the proper place. Double check your url functions appropriately. And ensure your content is produced well and gives the user a positive experience.
Like all technology, QR Codes will morph. (Facebook, anyone?) Users and the businesses marketing with them will want to share more information faster. Maybe the act of pulling a smartphone out of your pocket and scanning a code will become too cumbersome. If QR Codes eventually fall to the wayside, always keep Tip #1 in mind. No matter the delivery system, your content will be what your future customers will remember. Like Martha still says. It’s a good thing.