Mobile marketing has become synonymous with modern-day digital marketing. Mobile now accounts for 72% of US digital ad spend, as mobile devices continue to be the leading source of internet traffic on all channels.
However, not many marketers can run expensive mobile advertisements or build mobile apps to engage users.
QR codes offer a cost-effective way to leverage mobile marketing to drive customer engagement and retention.
Here is a comprehensive guide to how you can use QR codes to enhance your mobile marketing strategies.
What Are QR Codes and How Do They Work?
You must’ve come across QR codes at least once in your life. If not, check the last Amazon package delivered to you, and you’ll find a QR code on it.
QR codes are a modernized version of standard barcodes that are nowadays seen almost everywhere. Product packaging, digital wallet payments, and even WhatsApp Web — you name it.
QR codes work like barcodes: You can link a piece of information to them. Users scan the code and can access the information attached to it. However, there are two differences between these two types of codes. First, you can link more data to QR codes. Second, users don’t need a specific scanning device to scan these codes — a smartphone camera is enough.
What Can a QR Code Do?
Marketers can use QR codes to trigger a wide range of actions. These include:
- View a website or landing page
- View a social media profile
- Dial a phone number
- Send an email or text message
- View a special offer or message
- View a Google Maps location
Moreover, generating and using codes requires no specialized tools or technical skills. You can create one for free using a QR code generator. You can also generate dynamic codes and change the content linked to them without changing the code itself.
How to Use QR Codes for Mobile Marketing
The uses listed above might have given you a slight idea of how QR codes can enhance your mobile marketing strategies. Let’s delve deeper now.
You must’ve come across Burger King’s “QR Whopper” giveaway TV commercial. During the commercial, a QR code floated around the screen. Upon scanning the code, you’d be redirected to their website, where you could avail of coupons to buy a free Whopper.
There are many other ways to use these codes for marketing. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Include QR Codes on Product Packaging
If you sell physical products, your product package is probably the last touchpoint with the customer. Most customers would use your product, throw away the packaging, and never think about your brand ever again. This means no customer retention. In fact, the retail industry has one of the lowest customer retention rates (63%).
QR codes can help you turn your product packaging into a driver of engagement and customer retention. You can include a code on your product package and link it to your social media profile. This way, you can encourage your users to connect with you on social media, thereby building a long-lasting relationship with them.
Get Users to Download Your App
With mobile usage on the rise, businesses across all industries are launching mobile apps to stay connected with their customers. There are more than 4 million mobile applications listed on the Google Play Store and App Store combined. Clearly, getting people to download your app isn’t easy.
QR codes can help you increase downloads to your mobile app. If you have a physical outlet, you can include a QR code in your store and link it to the app download link. Starbucks, the world’s leading coffee chain, uses this strategy to boost app downloads and promote its new line of coffee products.
Apps help promote loyalty programs and improve engagement and thus, improve customer retention and build customer loyalty.
Share Memorable Experiences
QR codes can turn a boring experience into something engaging and memorable. You must’ve seen museums using them to share on-demand information about the displayed artifacts. You can adopt a similar strategy to increase customer engagement.
Suppose you’re a travel agency that wants to sell its new travel package. You can include a QR code on your brochure and link it to a video of your happy customers having a great time after buying your package.
Gamification is another effective way to drive user engagement. For example, you can link a code to a quiz and give users a small reward after completing the quiz. These touchpoints are crucial to enabling retention.
Encourage Users to Leave Reviews
One can’t stress enough the importance of customer reviews. As many as 90% of shoppers read reviews online before making a purchase. Positive reviews demonstrate the quality of your service, and act as a symbol of credibility and trustworthiness. However, getting customers to leave reviews is not easy.
QR codes make this difficult task less challenging. With QR codes, you can make it easy and convenient for users to leave reviews. You can include QR codes on product packaging or inside your store and link them to the review page. Customers who leave reviews can be rewarded for their time and effort, improving brand perception.
Yelp, a review publishing website, uses QR codes to collect user reviews.
Enhance Your OOH Advertising Efforts
Despite the surge of digital marketing, out-of-home (OOH) advertising is here to stay, and it’s only getting bigger. Brands like Nike, Walmart and Domino’s readily use OOH advertising to increase brand awareness and reach a broader customer base.
However, there are two drawbacks to OOH advertising.
First, it doesn’t inspire action. A person sees your billboard — now what? How would you convert that interested prospect into a customer? Most companies include phone numbers on their billboards, but people are too lazy to pull out their phones, open their phone app and dial a number.
Second, OOH advertising isn’t trackable. There’s no way to find out how many people saw your billboard and visited your store after that. You can’t track the ROI of your advertising campaigns, which is a major drawback, provided that OOH advertising is quite expensive.
QR codes resolve both these challenges. By including a code on your billboard, you can encourage them to take action. For example, if you’re a salon business, you can put up a QR code and link it to an appointment booking page. Users can scan the code to reach that page and book an appointment.
Also, QR codes are highly trackable. You can get insights into how many times your code was scanned and which devices were used. You can also link your QR code solution to Google Analytics to get more valuable information.
Walmart, the world’s leading retail company, used QR codes for their Virtual Toy Store campaign.
Why You Should Use QR Codes for Mobile Marketing
There are numerous reasons for including QR codes in your mobile marketing strategies. These include:
- Cost-Effective: You can use QR codes for free. Almost all QR code generators don’t charge you to create static QR codes. While dynamic ones come with a nominal cost, their benefits clearly outweigh their costs.
- Convenient: QR codes are convenient for both marketers and users. They’re effortless to create and require no expensive software or skills. Users can scan them from their mobile camera without needing any specific software either.
- Versatile: You can use QR codes almost everywhere. Product packaging, inside the store, and OOH advertising materials are a few examples. Additionally, they serve all sorts of purposes, such as driving website/social media traffic, sharing information and getting reviews.
- Measurable and Trackable: With QR codes, you can eliminate the guessing game from your OOH advertising campaigns. They are trackable and measurable, allowing you to determine how your campaigns in each location are performing.
- Environment-Friendly: QR codes require no additional resources like paper or electricity. You can include them in your existing marketing materials. Furthermore, they are sustainable; a single QR code can continue to serve your business for years.
- Competitive Advantage: Many businesses are still unaware of the marketing benefits of QR codes. By becoming an early adopter, you can gain a significant competitive advantage and set yourself apart from the crowd.
QR code marketing is booming, and it’s only the beginning. As more businesses realize the marketing benefits of QR codes, they can potentially be the next big thing in the mobile marketing space.
If you want to bridge the online-offline gap in your advertising campaigns and enhance their performance, QR codes can be an excellent addition to your advertising and marketing strategy.
So, which benefit of QR codes do you like the most?
- Are the New iOS 15 Features a Game Changer for Mobile UX?
- Conversion Funnels for Product Managers and Marketers
- The Ultimate Guide to Mobile App KPIs
- App Analysis: Gorillas vs. Flink
Akshay Deogiri is an SEO Outreach Specialist at Beaconstac, enabling businesses to bridge their gap between the digital and offline worlds through custom QR codes.