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Message QR Codes Better to Improve Market Penetration

A new study out suggests that people with smart phones and tablets would scan more QR codes, if only they knew that their mobile device could do it.

QR codes help companies and cause span the physical and online. I recommend to many of my cause clients that they use a QR code to help add urgency and emotion to their appeals.

The study released in February 2012, by JiWire found that 18 percent of those surveyed in the fourth quarter of 2011 had scanned a QR code in the prior 90 days. The more interesting number is that 53 percent of those who knew that their smart phone could scan QR codes had done so in the previous 90 days.

Basically all smart phones and tablets with a camera can scan QR codes if they have the right app, which is usually free and oftentimes already on the mobile device.

What this tells me is that any QR code needs two messages surrounding it. The first is that smart phones can read it and the second message explains why someone would want to point their mobile device at it in the first place.

Too often, marketers rely on the relative novelty of QR codes to help drive usage. This study demonstrates that messaging around the QR code has to be more plainspoken.

For causes in particular, QR codes are better directed at something besides the front-page of your website. If that’s all you’re going to do, why bother with a QR code in the first place when you could just publish your URL?

One of the first rules of journalism applies here. As you’re considering where to direct QR traffic ask, “Who will care? And why will they care?”

Companies will frequently use QR codes to send customers to special offers or coupons.

Charities should think hard about what is most appealing about their cause and direct QR traffic to a microsite, a video, contests, games, or their own special offer. Charities that sell stuff could also do coupons.

Give people a real reason to scan that QR code and you can effectively span the physical and online world in a way that benefits your cause.

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