If you were looking closely at some of the ads during the Super Bowl, you may have seen them… strange little icons at the bottom of the screen. They’re known as QR (quick response) codes and they’ve become more popular than ever — embraced because they’re a simple way to bring the offline (physical) into the online (digital) world.
Unfortunately for the Super Bowl QR codes, once they were scanned they didn’t take viewers to online content that was optimized for a mobile device (rookie mistake) and some just didn’t work — dropping the ball and leaving viewers wondering at the competence of the company. Still, the idea that they were there at all shows how popular they’ve become. And while some experts think people aren’t yet familiar enough with QR codes to make them a viable marketing option, the numbers who recognize and use these unique little codes are growing.
In June 2011, estimates have 14 million U.S. adults (a healthy 6.2% of the total mobile audience) having scanned a QR code.
What’s great for business is that QR codes can store a ton of information — over 4,000 letters and numbers in a very tiny space, unlike traditional, linear barcodes that can only accommodate 20 numbers. Creating the QR code is amazingly easy… QR code generators are abundant and free — advantages that are drawing the attention of businesses of all sizes.
Some of the best suggestions for using QR codes we’ve found…
- Add QR codes to business cards so viewers go to your website, blog or social media sites. What’s more, the QR code can be easily scanned by anyone and added to their contacts.
- Add QR codes to print pieces that bring viewers to product videos, spec sheets or even “Buy Now” pages. The technology is there to capture the amount of traffic that came to the page through the print piece.
- Court social media followers by linking that QR code to your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn page.
- Add QR codes to product packaging so viewers can go to useful resources, user manuals, customer service contact details, surveys.
- Use QR codes for company or customer events that link to a Google map, an RSVP page or materials attendees will need.
- Use QR codes on office equipment to link to online manuals or customer support.
And there are surely others.
The great thing about promotional products is that you can print virtually anything — including QR codes — right were customers and prospects will see them every day. And unlike a print piece that gets tossed, or a TV ad that gets ignored or forgotten, a promotional product is a tangible, physical, here and now presence. You can touch it, hold it, use it. By putting a QR code on a mug for example, you give everyone who sees the cup immediate access to relevant content — super important to the growing numbers of tech-savvy recipients out there.
Of course you will have learned from the Super Bowl… learned to be sure the online content is suited for use on mobile devices. And you’ll test the code before you print it on anything… to be sure it works.
Beyond giving customers and prospects access to quality online content a promotional product is a tangible representation of your business and the value you place upon the relationship. You’ll want to choose something that’s of a respectable quality, tied to your business and supremely useful. While that’s a tall order, our promotional products consultants are specially trained to help you find something from our huge selection that’s right for your needs and fits your budget.
Last but certainly not least… you’ll be leaving recipients with a good feeling… a feeling of being valued and understood… while also setting up the unconscious need to return the favor (i.e. give you their business) the first chance they get.