QR Codes Require Businesses To Educate Customers

QR codes for mobile marketing give businesses many new opportunities to offer value to customers. Businesses can follow specific strategies to educate their customers about the value of scanning QR codes.

Research indicates that in June 2011, approximately 14 million Americans scanned Quick Response codes, or QR codes, with their mobile phones. Since that figure encompasses only 6.2 percent of the mobile phone market, QR code scanning demonstrates significant room for growth. Statistics indicate that most scanners are males who make more than $100,000 per year and are between the ages of 25 and 34. The top three places where people scanned codes were in print advertisements, on product packaging and on websites. Most people did their scanning, surprisingly, while at home.

Educating customers to take advantage of QR codes is an ongoing process. For customers to learn the value of scanning, businesses have to provide them with exceptional values when they do scan. However, only 30 million Americans who have mobile phones actually have smart phones. While some of the newer phones come with QR code apps, many other smart phone users have to go to their app store and purchase the app. This extra step creates an obstacle to adoption for many consumers.

Businesses can try several different strategies to educate their customers about this powerful technology:

--Provide special offers for customers who scan. Populate a website with QR codes and offer customers who scan either discounts or freebies. Another idea is to place QR codes on a restaurant menu to offer instant discounts on daily specials.

--Add QR codes to business cards. QR codes may lead customers to a Twitter feed or directly to a company website. The codes may also lead customers to a company's "About Us" page or to a Google maps listing that gives customers directions to the business location.

--Place QR codes on marketing materials. Codes added to brochures, flyers, handouts or presentation materials may direct customers to Twitter or direct them to "Like" a company on Facebook. Codes may also lead consumers to a how-to video about using a product or service.

--Substitute QR code for social media directive. Instead of posting a "Find us on Facebook" sign, companies should post a QR code that leads customers to a Facebook check-in page. Another idea is to link the QR code to link customers to a review of the company on Yelp or Trip Advisor.

--Use codes for communication. Let a code take customers directly to a Twitter feed or to an email newsletter. QR codes may also allow customers to send the business owner a text message.

In this high-growth area of mobile marketing, the possibilities for offering value to customers through QR codes are only as limited as a business owner's imagination. However, businesses should decide on an objective for their code campaign before slapping codes up on all available media. When businesses know exactly what they want to accomplish and exactly how they will deliver value, QR codes will become an invaluable marketing resource.