The Quiet Resurgence of QR Codes

QR codes were a dog. They didn’t make much sense a decade ago when mobile responsive websites were the exception, not the rule. They required a separate “QR Code Scanner” application on your phone just to access them! They didn’t get you far, they limited the lifespan of printed material and seemed to be more of a hassle for the user than was worth the effort.

Slowly, quietly, they’ve been experiencing a resurgence, and this is going to be the year that marketers embrace them for all they can do.

I don’t believe that the pandemic can take credit for their rise in popularity. Similar to virtual events, QR codes also were growing in use before March of 2020. However, their hands-free delivery of information has all of us taking another look at them. If you’ve eaten in a restaurant in the U.S. in the past six months, you’ve had a QR code experience, and likely it was much more pleasant than the one you had a decade ago.

(I personally do not need printed menus to return. It did not add to my dining experience, and both chefs and management alike will have more flexibility keeping their menus digital. They’re hands-free, germ-and salsa-free, and can offer a personalized experience.)

QR codes are a great way to get someone to your website fast. They’re a vehicle for delivering your content immediately and accurately. When used strategically, they can be fun, customized, and impactful.

Where To?

Don’t limit the scope of delivery to your website homepage. QR codes drive mobile devices to a URL. Based on the audience that will scan your code, why not be more specific with the content you’re delivering to them? Create a custom landing page for a specific event or update your brand story page and drive them there first. You’re in the driver’s seat, setting their course for engagement.

You also can link the code to social media accounts, email addresses, and more!

Related Article: Digital Environment, The new challenge for retailers

Static or Dynamic?

There are many tools you can use to generate a QR Code. Static means the code you’ve generated is tied to a specific URL and cannot be changed. This solution works well when your sales team wants QR codes on their business cards that are unique to their contact details.

Dynamic means you can change the URL associated with the code. Generally, these codes are more custom-designed; they may even include your logo! Changing the URL gives you the flexibility to print this code on packaging or a booth design or materials and then customizing the content (URL) to align with a campaign, giveaway, or season. The code doesn’t change, so the investment to print materials that a user might have access to beyond a single campaign no longer means they might discover old content. Keep it fresh by changing the URL and breathing new life into the code.

Measure and Maneuver with the QR Codes

Remember, lead retrieval devices, and beacon technology? How about the years and tears it took you to measure social media ROI? Technology is always evolving, but one thing is constant for marketers, we need to prove the ROI of our investments and efforts.

Today’s QR code generators are data-rich. Not only can you manually capture data by using a code to drive scanners to a form, but there is so much more data exchange happening that paints a comprehensive picture as you measure success. From basic code generators (i.e., free) to subscription platforms, reporting on the number of scans, device type, and time period when the code was scanned are table stakes.

More comprehensive plans will deliver a robust dashboard that also will measure the GPS location of scans and integration with your Google Analytics account. Whether your code is static or dynamic will change what you plan to measure, then maneuver to meet your objectives better.

Whether you’re using a free QR code generator or investing in a code that aligns with your brand’s standard colors and icons, the opportunities to surprise and delight scanners are endless. I encourage you to take another look at this technology:

Bridge the gap between your brand and your consumer, especially with the growing trends in e-commerce. A QR code on your packaging delivers a story with your product!

Maintain the healthy, sustainable, paper-free habits we’ve adopted this past year. Evaluate where you could cut paper costs by offering a QR code delivering a custom content page instead.

Have fun with them! Create a mobile experience that’s interactive, fun, and memorable and may even generate some Word-of-Mouth Marketing.

The opportunities are endless. Let me know how I can help you harness the experience. [email protected]