Recently at one of my favorite, local establishments I was enjoying a refreshing beverage in an increasingly futile attempt to cool down from the 100+ degree weather. Stacked on the table in front of me I spied a postcard promoting an upcoming food festival.
Cool! (as I hoped it would be in September when the festival ran). I picked up the postcard excited to learn more, and like all good (obsessive) marketers, proceeded to critique everything from copy to design.
Postcards are great for marketing. They are a relatively inexpensive way to sell and promote – a staple in the direct marketer’s toolbox. Postcards are something I’ve used with success selling products and events, for many years.
Unfortunately I often see postcards used ineffectively and inefficiently. And this one was no exception.
But, first, I was intrigued to flip the postcard over and find a QR code nestled in the bottom corner just waiting to be clicked.
For the uninitiated, these QR “bar code” symbols can be easily read by smart phones (usually with a QR reader app). Pointed at the QR code, whether on a printed piece or online, once your phone “sees it” you are taken wherever the QR’s code wants to take you – an offer page, coupon, invitation, and more. You can link a QR code to a URL, text, phone number or SMS. Used correctly, they are a great marketing tool.
I pointed my smartphone at the QR code excited to see what popped up on the screen. And – it – was – the festival website! With all of the same information I’d gotten on the postcard! But tiny and not easily readable in mobile form!
In fact the website address was on the postcard. Why even use the QR code??? Did they think that someone with a smartphone capable of clicking QR codes couldn’t enter a website address in a browser?
(I won’t even go into the fact that the website address didn’t point to a unique landing page, or an offer on a Facebook page, or anything that was trackable and measurable. How would they know if the postcard worked?)
Too many missed opportunities…
Deflated, I thought of all the fun promotional possibilities that QR code could have provided. What could have been done differently? Like any good marketing starting point, you need determine the purpose of your campaign.
This postcard for a food festival was clearly created to sell tickets to the event. It took just a couple of brainstorming minutes to come up with a few ideas.
Five ways a QR code can help your selling and promoting
- Offer a discount on a ticket purchase with an easy sign up link. The most obvious choice, but spice it up visually with a simple mobile landing page and, say, a big picture of a glass of wine with the percentage off and a “sign up now” button.
- Create a contest. The 100th visitor clicking through with the QR code wins two free tickets.
- Link to a Facebook page and ask for a “Like” in exchange for a reward/discount. Then link directly to a purchase page with a discount code.
- Make a compelling slideshow of images from previous events (or the ones being used for the campaign); and,
- Create short, two minute, video pieces with a links back to the sign up page. In this case, there were a number of vendors participating. Stories featuring a few of these vendors could be used in many cool and different ways.
To top it all off, each of these five tactics would provide trackable information to see what worked and what didn’t. You could (and should) split test several ideas to see how each performs.
Are you using QR codes yet in marketing campaigns? What other fun ideas do you think would work well in a mobile QR marketing campaign?
Oh, and if you haven’t already, go ahead and scan the QR code at the top of the page to see what we’ve got for you -