Advancement in modern-day technology has led to a ripple in almost all facets of businesses today. Businesses aren’t the only ones with access to more advanced technologies and devices. Consumers do too. Matter of fact, by the end of 2021, globally, there will be a whopping 3.8 billion smartphone users. This steep hike places a great opportunity on the table for businesses: Hyperlocal marketing.
With hyperlocal marketing, a business can effectively deliver its marketing message, product information and offers into the smartphones of the prospective customers nearby and raise the bar for good customer experience.
While brands today do not doubt the utility of a QR code, not all of them know it all, when it comes to the entire journey of a QR code; from the very inception of the idea to its placement. Read on, to get the best out of your QR code, the next time you chalk one out.
Clear purpose identification is salient to the journey of a QR code. The reason is simple, it will define the medium, placement, and content of the QR code. For instance, if the purpose of the QR code is to open/redirect a user to a particular address or location of the business to generate a lead, it would make more sense to print it on the business card of the firm, than, say, social media posts.
The next step is the creation of a QR code. Post the establishment of the purpose, the creation of the QR code starts. It has everything to do with the action that the QR code would trigger upon scanning.
When creating a URL QR code, one of the most important things to keep in mind is the URL length. The rule of thumb is, the shorter, the better. The simple reason behind it is that with a longer URL, the resulting QR code will have too much clutter in the middle and would make the process of scanning the code slower and more tedious to undertake.
A Dynamic QR code ramps up the functionality of a QR code and takes its utility to the next step. If you choose to create a dynamic QR code, you can change the link behind the QR code anytime, as per your need, without having to replace the QR code. This means that if you have a dynamic QR code installed, you can carry out a full-fledged marketing campaign with it, by changing the action that the code triggers as per your needs, and get the necessary insights and analyses from it. Another feature that gives an edge to dynamic code over its static counterpart is that with the former, you can let go of the worry of having a highly cluttered code even with a long URL and significantly reduce the scanning time, without disturbing the purpose.
Don’t forget your CTA
Another thing to keep in mind while creating a QR code is to add a CTA for your users. A simple CTA like ‘Scan here to visit our website’ on the space beside your QR code can greatly help the users and reduce the apprehension attached to scanning a blank QR code.
3) Designing the QR Code
A simple black and white QR code with no context whatsoever is less likely to serve its purpose than a customized, well-designed one. This is why it is necessary to work on the design and aesthetic appeal of the QR code. In fact, there is a lot more than just the color of the QR code that can help the case.
A custom QR code generator allows you the flexibility of changing the color of the QR. The best use of the same is to match the QR code’s color with any specific color scheme of the background or even your brand’s identity or logo. This will serve the two-fold purpose of creating brand recall and identity for the QR code and also providing a credence quality to the code.
Contrast is an important element of the QR code, not only because of the visual factor but also of the functionality of the code. A QR code with at least 40% contrast between the background and the foreground will pop-out on the display and would be easier to scan, reducing the overall scan time.
Adding your brand’s logo in the QR code is a great tactic for your marketing campaign. A customizable QR code allows you to place your logo in the middle of the QR code and give an identity to your QR code. An important thing to keep in mind is that the logo should not be a large one, as it would halt its scanning. It is even possible to add the logo of the brand in the background of the QR code with the QR code generator.
It is a general practice to leave some space around your QR code, along its boundary. 4 blocks of space is considered ideal so that the QR code scanner can easily and quickly scan the QR code. Make sure when you’re designing the QR code, or printing it on your collateral, this breathing space is not disturbed by the other elements like images, copy or frame. It is absolutely important to not tinker with the three squares on the edges of the QR code for the work seamlessly.
Avoid multiple QR codes at one place
The multiplicity of QR codes in one space can lead to the scanning of the wrong QR code. Not only that, but it is also possible for a QR code to intrude the breathing space of another QR code. Therefore, it is important to have a wide distance between two or more QR codes. Placing two QR codes on each of the ends of the collateral or paper is a good practice for avoiding this possibility.
3) Downloading the QR Code
A QR code can be downloaded in numerous different formats, including .png, .jpeg and .eps. Each of these serves a different purpose and therefore, this step is crucial.
Format of QR Code
If you are creating a QR code for, say, a banner or a poster or a big hoarding, downloading the QR code in a simple .png or .jpeg format would not work. The simple reason behind it is that the code will look blurred or distorted once increased in size. Therefore, it is better to download the QR code in a scalable format like .svg or .pdf or .eps. to avoid distortion.
4) Printing material of the QR codes
The material on which the QR code is printed is an important consideration. In fact, it is as important as the contents and the design of the QR code. Choosing the right material depends on the purpose of the QR code. One important thing to factor in while printing the QR code is the glossiness of the material on which the QR code is printed. If the material is reflective in nature, it would make the scanning of the QR code difficult. Similarly, if the surface of the material is rugged or rough, it can distort the QR code, reducing the scannability and durability of the QR code. On such surfaces, if your QR code is busier and more cluttered than usual, it will delay the process of scanning and could go unused as well.
5) Positioning and placement of QR code
The last step in the journey is that of the positioning and placement of the QR code. This last step defines the scan rate of your QR code to a great extent, simply because of the factor of proximity and reach.
Position of the QR Code
Your QR code should be accessible to the eye-level of the person. Only then the QR code would get noticed and scanned. If the QR code is a part of your OOH ad, then placing it too high or too low on the advertisement can create prevent the users from scanning the code. Similarly, the QR code should be placed at a spot in your collateral where it can be easily seen and without any clutter.
Distance, Size & Scan Time
The distance at which your QR code is placed directly impacts the scan time taken for the code. Scanning a QR code takes less than a couple of seconds and anything more than that would lead to a decrease in the overall number of scans.
For QR codes on mediums which are afar, smartphones follow a 10:1 ratio between the distance of the QR code from the device and the size of the QR code (in inches). So, for instance, if the distance between the QR code and the device is 100 inches, the minimum size of the QR code must be 10 inches. This can be used as a rule of thumb, although other factors like the lighting have an important role to play.
For QR codes on mediums like magazines, business cards, and pamphlets, which are scanned from up close, the minimum size, generally is 0.4 inches excluding the margins (by ISO 18004-compliant QR Codes.
Once you have followed the above steps and you are ready to roll out your QR code or put it out on display, make sure you test it for the functionality. Remember to test your QR code with multiple mobile devices many times and with different QR code readers. Scan the QR code in different lighting levels and if the code is for an OOH advertisement, test it from a distance as well.
Another important thing to test while putting out the QR code is to check the internet connection of the area where the QR code is being installed if your QR code redirects the user to your website upon scanning. When you are sure of the soundness of the QR code and the availability of the internet connection, you can simply go ahead and install your QR code.
Brands that have nailed their QR Code journeys
Businesses and brands today are resorting to the use of QR codes in their marketing efforts. Today, QR codes are being used by 2.71 billion people and as mentioned, this number will only increase in magnitude.
Brands use QR codes in numerous facets; from generating leads to communicating necessary information like offers and product updates. Here are some of the brands that have not only used QR codes but also used them to their best.
1) WeChat made connecting easier for its users.
Now almost a full-fledged social media platform, at the time of its inception, We Char resorted to QR codes for making it easier and simpler for its users to add each other on the application. The brand simply provided a QR code to each of the users and allowed the user to customize the QR code with colors and tacky shapes of their choice.
2) Quicker checkouts with QR codes by IKEA
IKEA made the checkout for its customers much less of a nightmare by introducing QR code checking out option. In-store customers can simply scan the QR code of items they wish to purchase with their smartphone and add them to the cart, which would be turned into a combined QR code to be scanned and checked out at the counter.
3) Chili’s QR codes to promote Healthy eating
In its drive to promote the 7 new items on its menu and also informing the customers of the nutritional value, Chili’s installed QR code in 800 of its restaurants across the US. Upon scanning the QR code on the menu, the user would be displayed the nutrition contents of the food items.
4) KFC’s amazing giveaways QR codes
The QR codes installed by KFC allowed the customers a chance of winning hundreds of exclusive, amazing prizes, including KFC for a year, a trip to Vegas and much more. All this was done to promote its Classic Pot Pie. Upon scanning the code, the users would be redirected to a landing page where they could feed in the code written on their cup to win prizes.
So, are QR codes worth all the effort?
QR code is no new concept, and in all possibility, it is here to stay. The multi-purpose nature of the QR codes allows the brands to carry out a wide array of activities with them, and the use of Dynamic QR codes can take the utility to a whole new level.
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