Michael Plummer, Jr. is President/CEO/CTO of Our Town America, a premier New Mover Marketing franchise.
Bridge the gap between traditional and digital marketing by learning how to use QR codes as part of your print marketing strategy.
Managing social media and executing relevant print marketing can quickly become a full-time job for small-business owners. While direct mail campaigns still deliver the most bang for your buck, small businesses need to have a social media presence in today’s digital world. Some experts might recommend updating your social media daily, which can be challenging, as finding unique ways to bolster your social media efforts can seem like a chore. Adding QR codes to your direct mailings is a game-changer, as it ties print and digital together.
The QR code, or quick response code, is not particularly new. Denso Wave, a Japanese corporation, invented it in 1994. Denso is a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Company, and the QR codes were used to track car parts during production. The small black-and-white squares rely on encoded data that can be scanned into a computer. In 2002, special software was added to mobile phones to scan the QR code, which helped launch the technology into the mainstream. QR codes have become an indispensable part of doing business for many entrepreneurs.
Up until the outbreak of the pandemic, QR codes were a mystery to many consumers. When the pandemic hit, restaurants across the country abandoned print menus to limit the spread of germs. It became essential for anyone dining out to learn how to use QR codes.
Marketing With QR Codes
Using QR codes in your marketing materials can help your business connect with customers and drive traffic to your website. At least 45% of people had recently used a marketing-related QR code, according to a survey of 1,100 people conducted by Statista in June 2021. The survey also revealed that 59% of people expect QR codes to stick around and be a permanent part of using their mobile devices.
Here are a few ways QR codes can help intensify the impact of your direct mail marketing campaign for your small business.
1. Boost website traffic. Including a QR code on your next direct mail campaign can help drive traffic to your website. This is especially useful if your website incorporates e-commerce or allows people to sign up for your services. You can also send people to your social media account to help gain followers.
2. Build an email database. Having an email database allows you to stay in touch with your loyal customers. You can use it to inform customers about sales, new items and special events. It’s a great way to remind customers about appointments and keep your business top of mind. A small business can request email addresses at the point of sale, but you can also rely on QR codes to collect new email addresses. Directing potential customers to a landing page where they can sign up can help generate new leads.
3. Generate customer feedback. It’s always important to gain customer feedback to allow you to improve services and offerings. Google reviews are a tried-and-true method for receiving feedback, and positive reviews can help boost sales. Another method for boosting feedback is to have customers scan a QR code leading to a page where they can input a review. Better yet, send them to a social media account where they can post publicly about their experience and engage with you directly.
4. Increase customer loyalty. Successful QR codes often encourage customers to scan them for a freebie or coupon. Offering special discounts to loyal customers helps foster repeat visits. Providing quality customer service is up to you.
5. Enhance customer experience. QR codes are allowing small businesses to enhance the customer experience by facilitating contactless payment and online ordering as well as providing detailed product information.
Steps To Ensure QR Code Success
Slapping a QR code on your marketing materials and crossing your fingers is not the best way to ensure success. My company has offered small businesses the opportunity to use QR codes on their mailers to help boost the effectiveness of their campaign, and we’ve learned some tricks of the trade.
Make sure to pay special attention to the positioning of your QR code. It should be in a place where it’s easy to see and include a call to action to encourage customers to scan it. QR codes no longer have to be black and white. Don’t be afraid to use color, and make sure your QR code is big enough to catch people’s attention. Creating a QR code to use as part of a giveaway or freebie is one of the simplest ways to get traction.
QR codes are just one of the many ways small businesses can bridge the gap between their print and digital marketing to help drive sales.