Use QR codes effectively to connect online/offline and achieve ROI

Online and offline are merging. We need to engage with prospects and customers in different ways during the lifecycle of their relationship with a brand

We need to engage in the search and prospect phase, at the point of purchase (or initial conversion) or during the after-sales and support cycle.  One way to easily get to grips with the different ways you can interact with audience is to break down the user journey.

For the initial stages - the get in touch and get engaged phases - 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 in an offline situation. There are many ways of doing this but a good strategy is to become pragmatic and ensure you can run a campaign that takes hours to implement, instead of days.

Enter the QR code

QR codes are becoming very popular, even though they might still need further development to generate the results marketers expect. There are a few that argue there isn't a role for QR codes in engaging potential customers. And there are some great examples of how they should not be used or whether you can get humans to ever scan them, but until other means of technology are established I think the use of QR codes in driving visitors to your website is one that has real benefit in linking offline and online. 

As they are easy to generate, there has been a proliferation of QR codes everywhere, but not all of them are as effective as others. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind to ensure effective ROI when using QR codes that I have collected when I have been scanning codes:

1. Think surrounding

Take the physical surrounding into consideration when you plan your campaign offering. What do you know about the setting the person will be in? Where are they and what will they be doing? Using a QR code on a billboard on a busy high street may be a good idea but placing it in an elevator with bad Wi-Fi or 3G connections will not work. Think about the external environment that your target audiences are in and whether taking out their phones and scanning a code is physical possible or convenient for them.

2. Think mobility

You know that they are going to access your content from a mobile device. Make sure that your content and process is mobile enabled, and that it is easy to move along the conversion funnel to avoid drop offs. Navigation and user experience is important. Our research last year showed that 35% of consumers think mobile sites are often missing important functionality. You do not want to run a campaign that is geared to the mobile and then the content is limited in the mobile channel, especially if you are using QR codes for mobile commerce.

3. Think personalization

Personalize the content for each unique visitor. Use the preferences of the visitor, where they are (geography) and the context, then share your offering based on that. This is where it can become a lot more engaging for potential customers. For example, if you are using QR codes for an event, maybe you can adapt the offering based on when the person accesses the site and tie it with product or service offerings that are useful at that time of the day. A great example is Turquoise Cottage, a popular night spot in New Delhi, India, who have cleverly used QR codes to promote drinks offers and taxi service.You have to help the visitor here and knowing your target audience and how they want to interact is key to success.Personalising the landing page is a key element (which I have blogged about previously). Through recent developments, there is the option available to generate the QR code directly from within Episerver CMS. 

4. Think social

Can you use public social networks to run competitions and extend the user journey? Check-in and location based services can add a lot to a campaign and the possibility to interact with the user over time. A word of caution here is to not make it dependent on having a login as that can limit the number of participants in the campaign.

One of the best examples that I have seen that ties together all of the above elements, is Tesco's use of QR codes in South Korea. Get inspired!