News and views to improve the strength and vigor of all your direct response marketing activity.

While QR codes have been around since the 90s, you’ve seen them proliferate in the public eye over the last few years as a go-to touchless menu option in response to the pandemic.

You’ve probably also noted their more frequent use in marketing materials, as well as mentions in many blogs and business publications, not to mention a commercial in this February’s 2022 Super Bowl LVI.

But more than being trendy … do they really work?

As a direct marketer, I’m saying “work” as in driving measurable response to a CTA. Not merely functioning in terms of taking you to a desired URL or digital asset.

It’s one thing to have a QR code functionally bring a café patron to a list of daily specials they’re eager to peruse. Or to facilitate downloading a pdf from the landing page a consumer has already decided to visit.

It’s another thing altogether to intrude on a prospect’s day and have them decide to check out a product or service that wasn’t on their to-do list. And yet another thing to have tracking in place enabling you to attribute their action to that QR code.

The (very short) answer is: “Yes.”

If you have the time, there’s lots you can read on QR Codes in Ad Age, Fast Company, and other respected publications.

But assuming you’re a busy marketer, you are in fact busy. And you’d appreciate the Q&D* on QR codes. If so, you’ve come to the right place. *Quick and Dirty

The lowdown is: We have been able to directly attribute measurable response rates to QR codes, as much as 26% of the total response a mailing piece may generate. We’ve also seen QR codes generate over 3x the activity of a phone number or URL in point-of-sale materials in past months.

The QR code here is a prominent graphic — married to a copy CTA promising an engaging destination: a “quick and easy Medicare Matchmaker Quiz.”

So there you have it. Short and sweet. QR codes do work creating DR activity from marketing materials.

5 Steps to making QR codes an effective DR performer

Of course, there’s more you’ll want to know to make a QR generate measurable, attributed response. It is more than just adding a graphic to your marketing communications. Just as there is more to generating phone calls than simply sticking an #800 phone number in an ad.

1) Get a QR Code Generator — Of course! Obviously the first thing you’ll need. And there are lots to choose from. Our team has recently been using qrcode monkey and the aptly named QR Code Generator. But, then again, this may actually not be your first step. Particularly if you “have people” who will be doing the actual work. If you’re a “plan the work, then work the plan” type of operator, you may want to skip directly to …

2) Identify Your Response Strategy — Before getting a QR code (or before using it at least), you’ll need to reflect and answer:

  • a) What do I need this consumer to do at this stage of their own, personal customer journey;

  • b) What offer is most appropriately enticing (information, savings/dollar promotion, shopping/decision aid; personal advice; or other service/asset

3) Create A Compelling Offer — Or, “How will this appear in the Creative?” Similar to the #800 example above, plopping an action device into your messaging is different than giving it value. A proper #800 number CTA wants to be perhaps a “Priority Hotline,” or framed in a way to provide implied value. Something more than the number you want them to call.

In our example here the QR code is your path “to start our quick and easy Medicare Matchmaker Quiz.” An interesting and worthwhile thing for the consumer to do, viewed through their own self-interest. Which brings us to … BCBS South Carolina Landing Page designs

Your prospect’s customer journey of “a thousand steps” starts with a QR code. To help them reach your final goal — a closed sale — you’ll want to craft the code’s destination carefully as well.

4) Develop A Spiffy Lead Destination — Call it “engaging,” “nifty,” or whatever term you like, but be sure your prospect heads somewhere rewarding. More than a pdf with mere “content,” answer their questions and needs, fulfill a desire. Make it as fun and engaging as your time and budget allow.

Which (literally) in this example, brings us (and 65+ leads in S. Carolina) to … The “Medicare Matchmaker Quiz” — an award-winning execution in its own right.

When you can help make selecting the right Medicare plan, in a market with well over a score of plan options, “a piece of cake,” you’re doing a good thing for that consumer shopping for health insurance.

5) Deploy Effective Tracking — Last, and actually most important of all: You need to demonstrate the code worked. To distinguish each response channel: phone, URL link, and QR code. And, ideally, track each lead source through to site engagement and purchase or enrollment. Beyond KPIs, you need tracking that can “show you the money!”

And that’s “all” there is to it! Well, a good bit of effort, truthfully, but it can be well worth the effort. If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not QR codes can work, they definitely can. Also, I’ll note that our recent tests have largely focused on 65+ consumers. Younger cohorts may respond even better.

If you’d like to chat more about the ins and outs of QR codes, CTA options, offer creation, lead tracking, or any other aspect of direct marketing, please do contact us. We’re here to help inspire the direct results you want to see from your next marketing campaign.