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The Basics of QR Codes for Online or Offline Marketing

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You've probably heard the buzz over QR codes and even seen those strange barcode images popping up everywhere. From street corners, television advertisements and even as a new form of avant-garde art, QR codes may seem shiny and new to us, but they have had a long and storied history overseas.

As one of the 2011 marketing trends, industry leaders are betting on an astronomical jump of QR codes for marketing.

So before we help you answer the obvious question, let's figure out what in the world these cool little buggers are.

What Are QR Codes?

QR or "quick response" codes are an innovative way to connect new customers to your business. Embedded in these 2-dimensional codes can be any sort of information you want your customers to access through their smartphones.

Older mobile devices do not have the proper QR readers installed. There are several applications (apps) that are easily downloadable to turn any older device into a super QR interpreting machine.

However, the smartphone market is quickly understanding the upcoming boom in QR marketing and have already equipped their new smartphones with QR software.

Businesses embed special offers, secret links to private websites and promotional codes in the QR.

What Are the Marketing Metrics for QR Codes?

Those QR code fanatics truly believe that because of the instantaneous interaction between customer and business, you get a quicker and more accurate snapshot of the effectiveness of the campaign.

But, just like every other marketing strategy, there are basic metrics to monitor. And, no, they aren't shiny and new, but tried and true.

Impressions

How many people saw your QR Code? Unlike sending out an SMS message, where you have a quick snapshot of the number of people who viewed your message, QR codes are a bit harder to measure. Essentially, the number of impressions is determined through the action taken by the customer. With some QR code programs, however, you can monitor impressions. Furthermore, depending on how your circulate your code, it will equal the number of impressions.

Snaps

Similar to a click rate in email marketing, "snaps" are the number of times your QR code is, well, snapped. Since QR codes require the customer to take a picture or scan in your code, the number of snaps is the number of customers that looked at your landing page, promotional code or offer.

Snap Thru Rate

Beyond snapping a picture of the QR code, how many customers acted upon your information? What is the percentage of customers that viewed your QR code without snapping versus the number that snapped? If you have the original number of impressions, simply divide the number of snaps by impressions.

Action Taken

How many of your customers acted upon your offer or promotions? Ultimately, this reflects the return on investment on your QR code marketing strategy.

Since this is a relatively new marketing technique (at least in the US), this number will be smaller than your other established marketing strategies. Don't fret, however. As the use of QR codes becomes more commonplace, you'll find this number to increase.

What Else You Need to Know About QR CodesSoftware

Many online sites help you design and create your very own QR code. Most available websites make it easy for you to design whatever you want for your QR code. No technical expertise needed!

Applications

Beyond the web, QR codes are popping up on billboards, direct mail pieces, and flyers. However, if you're new to this world, stick to using web-based QR code. A simple way to test its effectiveness with your market is to include it in your next email marketing campaign. Ensure that you help your subscribers through the process of accessing the information. A surefire way to fail with QR codes isn't educating your customers how to use it.

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