QR codes are definitely gaining a more prominent place in the B2B marketing toolkit.
Here’s a what-why-when crash course in using QR codes for B2B demand generation.
What are QR codes?
QR is the abbreviation for Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed. A QR Code is a 2-dimensional black-and-white image that encodes thousands of alphanumeric characters of information, including text, URLs or other data. QR codes are readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera-equipped smartphones.
That means mobile users can snap a picture of one of these images with their smartphone camera and instantly decode the data embedded within. (Users simply install a free QR code reader app once to enable the decoding.)
You can imagine how much more convenient it is for any user to capture a URL or digital content residing on the web in this way instead of typing in links!
Why should I focus on them now?
It’s simple: smartphones are now the norm with business executives, who presumably form a significant part of your target audience. According to recent research from Forbes Insights:
- 82% of business executives have a smartphone
- More than half consider their smartphone to be their primary communication device
- 12% consider it to be their primary computing device, ahead of laptops, desktops and tablets (this percentage increases for executives under 40).
How can you lose by providing the smartphone users in your target audience, with more, and likely more convenient, paths to response? Also, Jeff Korhan of the Social Media Examiner points out that “QR codes enhance both your search engine and social media optimization. Now you can increase traffic to those searchable objects to further optimize them by encouraging more sharing.”
When should I use QR codes?
As I noted in a previous post, mobile applications are only effective when developed to support a specific audience’s needs, to meet a clearly defined goal in your demand generation program. Here are some areas in which QR codes typically deliver high value.
1. Integrate QR codes into signage at an industry event or conference to facilitate location-based marketing, deliver information and secure lead data quickly. Here’s an example of a conference ad produced for a client, Ciena, which included a QR code leading to a mobile-friendly landing page.
The landing page featured a synopsis of a highly relevant paper and a simplified registration form for lead capture.
Once attendees completed the form they gained instant access to the paper, which they could read at intervals, back at the hotel, on the plane…you get the idea.
The QR code made it extraordinarily easy to give attendees high-value information on the go and efficiently capture leads.
2. Add QR codes to DM packages. This is an excellent way to drive traffic to campaign microsites and other digital information online, compared to making recipients type in URLs.
Given the high percentage of senior executives using smartphones as their primary device, they’re likely to have their phone at hand while reading mail. Any step that is more convenient for your target audience is worth adding!
You can also alternate special offers by simply linking your QR codes to new landing pages, and you can combine then with email opt-ins to build your list.
3. Encode your vCard contact data and add the QR code to your business card, making it more convenient for your targets to contact you.
I agree with Jeff Korhan’s view that QR codes “take what social media is doing well now, bringing people together with technology, and extending it to enhance the experience.” Read Jeff’s article for more in-depth information on QR codes and how they work.