As the lines between online and offline marketing continue to blur we have received more and more questions about the use of QR Codes in printed and offline advertising.
QR codes are particularly effective in engaging potential customers (i.e. parents and pupils) at the early stages of the customer journey. At the initial ‘get in touch’ stages where a parent or pupil is selecting a school, you need to have a strategy in place to get visitors back to your site to re-engage with them, especially if the initial contact was an offline situation.
Using QR codes to drive traffic to your website is undoubtedly one of the most effective uses of this new technology, as is providing a QR code linking to further information on a topic from a printed prospectus such as a video, virtual tour or image gallery.
Here are a few pointers when deciding where and when QR codes might be appropriate:
There is a fairly practical decision that needs to be made when it comes to using QR codes, and that is the physical environment in which the user will scan the barcode. For instance, areas where there is no Wi-Fi or 3G connections simply will not work, nor will putting the barcode 30 feet in the air!
Those that scan in your code will be doing so on a mobile device. So you need to make sure that the content that you are linking them through to is mobile friendly. If it is difficult to read or is not accessible altogether then your campaign will not be successful. Think navigation and user experience.
The more personalised the content to your user the better. If you can tailor the content they receive to their particular situation, then your campaign will be all the more effective. For example, what you might want to tell a first time visitor will be different to someone who has been to an open day, visited the school and met some of the staff.
The Social Networks
Think beyond the school’s website to how you might extend the user journey via social networks and social media. Be aware, you do not want to limit your campaign to only those that have a login but if your campaign gains momentum through social media the results with undoubtedly be more impactful.
Here are a few pros and cons of QR Codes:
Ease of use
QR codes can be added to just about anything, from the school prospectus, fliers and leaflets to adverts on the Underground, and this versatility can be very useful for marketers. Their range of use is also extensive.
QR codes can be tracked
Using web analytics, and by using unique codes for different placements, marketers can gain some valuable information about how well campaigns are going, and what works and what doesn't.
Easy way to send mobile users to online content
The QR code offers, as the name suggests, a quick response mechanism which saves users the effort of typing in a URL.
Used well, and in conjunction with a mobile optimised landing page, it can grab parents and pupils at the exact point where they have shown interest.
They appeal to mobile users' curiosity
Perhaps this will change once the novelty wears off, and codes become ubiquitous, but on seeing a QR code, I have the urge to scan it, just to find out where it leads.
QR codes can be cost effective
Creating the QR code itself doesn't have to cost anything.
Other options are available
Users need to download a QR code reader
This is the big drawback for many. Mobile users have to download a (normally free) QR reader app before they can even begin to use them, which limits the audience.
Scanning can be a long process
The actual process of scanning a code can be a pain. Users have to get their phone out, fire up the code reader, before scanning and waiting for the landing page.
With a fast internet connection this may work fine, but on a variable 3G signal, many users may lose patience.
There have been some excellent, creative uses of QR codes, and these generally have a number of common factors:
Give customers a reason to scan
Curiosity alone may be enough, but if you can provide a more compelling reason, then users will reach into their pockets and scan the code.
Create some added value for users
This doesn't necessarily mean special offers, but extending the experience for mobile users.
Another is using QR codes on locations within the school for open days and tours, providing further information on the facility, area or its history.
Get the landing page right
People are on a mobile, so landing pages, as well as subsequent purchase or sign up processes, need to be optimised for mobile users.
Mistakes to avoid
Not optimising your landing page is the obvious one, but there are other common mistakes to avoid.
Not including a call to action
Explaining why people should scan a code and what they can expect to find helps.
Give people time to scan the code
How long this process takes may depend on the dexterity of the mobile user, but I'd say at least 10-20 seconds. It is not therefore helpful flashing up a QR Code on a plasma in reception which disappears every 5 seconds.
Don't just use QR codes for the sake of it
If you use these codes, it should have a purpose, not just to show off.
If you would like to learn more about how your school can make the most of QR codes then give one of our sales team a call on 0845 262 2030 or complete our online enquiry form.
Tue, April 3, 2012
by School Website filed under