Get Ready for QR Codes


Unless you’ve been offline for the last couple of months and avoided anything connected with marketing, you must’ve heard of QR (Quick Response) codes. They’re all over Mashable (click to see how they work), New York’s Central Park entertains visitors with them, and Calvin Klein Jeans has decided to replace the “old-school” billboards with scannable codes. Your email marketing can use QR codes to fuel lead generation, too, at no additional cost.

So what’s all the fuss about?

Quick Response code technology was invented back in 1994 by Toyota’s daughter company, Denso-Wave, to track parts in vehicle manufacturing. In practice, they’re typical barcodes, it’s just that they contain dots instead of bars. But that’s where the similarities end.

QR codes were designed to work with dedicated barcode scanners and camera phones, which were pretty rare in the 90s, so uptake was slow. But when the smartphone market exploded, the technology came back with a vengeance.

Today QR codes storing addresses and URLs can appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards, everywhere! Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader application can scan the image of the QR Code to:

  • display text,
  • display contact information,
  • connect to a wireless network,
  • send a pre-composed text message or email,
  • open a web page in the phone’s browser.

They can even like a fan page on Facebook. Here’s where it gets interesting…

QR codes can take you to any digital land the marketer wants you to visit, e.g. YouTube, splash pages, online galleries, sign up forms, social media profiles and more. And fortunately, for marketers, more and more smartphones come equipped with reader apps today.

Now that you’ve had your QR code primer, here’s how to incorporate this technology and make it generate conversions for your email marketing programs.

How can your business benefit from QR codes?

You’ve probably already connected the dots, but QR codes are a great way to generate sign ups since they can cross channels from hard copy print to mobile, social media and email marketing with ease.

Forget about chasing visitors down to collect business cards at events or scribbling the email addresses of important leads on the back of a napkin in the hotel lobby.

Instead, as prospects stop by your booth, for example, they can use their smartphones to scan the code with the URL of your encoded web form and sign up on the spot, or at their convenience.

The whole process takes only seconds. Plus you save yourself the hassle of re-confirming all the new emails.

Tip: If you assign an REF number to a web form that is promoted by a QR code (it’s really easy in GetResponse), you’ll be able to track the number of sign ups captured. You can then compare it with other ways of directing traffic to web forms (e.g. PPC campaigns, social media, surveys, etc.) and analyze the conversion rates.

Which are the best places to put the codes?

Just think about what you want to achieve. Which sources get the most traffic or exposure?

Basically, you want to embed them on or in any materials you might distribute to a prospect. It doesn’t matter where. Or whether they’re digital or print. You just want to choose materials that will provide the best exposure.

Here are a few print examples to get you thinking:

  • Leaflets, brochures, press releases.
  • Signage at events, public access, and for sale sites.
  • Business cards – always!
  • Invoices, receipts, quotes.
  • Matchboxes, pizza boxes, menus, etc.
  • Training materials, CD covers, packaging.
  • Any POS location (retail industry).
  • …any print materials on which you would typically promote your website.

Naturally, the more original your idea (vide Calvin Klein Jeans), the more publicity and attention it’ll get.

How do you obtain a QR code for your email campaign?

Well, this we’ll explain in the next post, so be sure to stay tuned for more! We’re just about to include the QuickResponse code generator in your GetResponse Multimedia studio accounts, and we’ll walk you through it early next week.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear about how you’re using QR codes and the results you’ve been getting, so please share them in the comments below. For now, I have only one question…

Are you ready to cash in on QR codes?

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