Even though the quick response (QR) codes were used in the Japanese automobile industry almost half a century ago, they haven’t taken off in the rest of the world until recently.
Nevertheless, these tiny, squared sized bar codes can be turned into extremely powerful marketing tools. And since these QR codes can include up to 1,000 characters, you will be able to cram a lot of information into them.
Any person that’s got a modern cell phone and uses its camera to scan your QR code will be presented with one or several options: they will be able to call you, send you an SMS, visit your website, and so on. In fact, why don’t you scan the QR code on the left side of the page? If you’ve got a QR reader application installed on your smart phone (most of them are free) you will be sent to this web page right away.
The quick response codes can have pretty much any size, provided that the camera that was included with your cell phone has a decent quality (and most of them are more than decent these days). This means that you can include a QR code as a part of your new business card, for example.
The larger the QR code, the easier it is to read, of course; many companies print huge codes and hang them around the city, thus giving the people the ability to scan them while they are waiting for their busses to arrive.
Using QR Codes for Business
So how do these QR codes help your business? I see many business owners using them in a wrong way, slapping their website address on a QR code and hoping for the best. Creating an effective quick response code is an entirely different endeavor; you should make sure that your code stands out from the crowd because it presents a unique sales proposal.
I have mentioned the fact that a QR code can store up to 1,000 characters; this is more than enough to write a tiny copywriting masterpiece that is bound to attract new people, making them get in contact with you.
It all starts with the headline; if several people scan your code and they aren’t excited by what they’re seeing on the screen, they will move away from your QR code, forgetting about you, your business, and your offer forever.
In fact, a great QR headline is supposed to have two roles:
a) It has to present your potential customers an irresistible offer.
b) It has to calm your potential customers’ fears.
How would an entrepreneur that wants to build his / her own website respond to a QR code that displays this headline?
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Now that you have got your readers’ attention, tell them what benefits they are going to receive if they buy your product or service. Do your best to make the customer realize that he or she really needs to own whatever you are selling.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs make the big mistake of listing their products’ features, instead of concentrating on their benefits.
Here’s an example: if you sell vacuum cleaners, don’t tell your potential customers that your product has a 40 feet power cord, but that it can clean the entire house without them having to change the power plug. Don’t just tell them that the vacuum cleaner has got a HEPA filter – very few people know what that means! Rather than that, tell them that the HEPA filter traps all the harmful particles that can affect the people suffering from allergies.
The idea is to spend at least a few hours converting your products’ or services’ features into benefits. Then, use the QR code to list these benefits; don’t forget to list the same benefits on your website, of course.
Can your product help the clients save time? Or does it offer the same features as your competitors’ products, but costs less? These are clear benefits that can be easily understood by anyone.
The Unique Selling Proposition
Still, in order to make your offer irresistible, you need one more ingredient: your unique selling proposition / point, also known as USP. This is the key ingredient of any sales letter, no matter if we are talking about a QR code or a landing page on your website.
Given the fierce competition in most industry sectors, which leads to a market that’s being flooded with lots of similar products and services, what is the unique benefit that your customer is going to receive by purchasing your merchandise?
Coming up with a valuable USP can be quite difficult, especially in industries where innovation isn’t a key ingredient for success. Nevertheless, you can wrap your offer differently, making it the most attractive in its category by offering additional services, for example.
Do your main competitors offer free shipping? If they don’t, this might be the USP you were looking for. Are you selling bread makers? Then you could invest a few hundred dollars to have a “Bread Lovers’ 101 Favorite Recipes” e-book created and bundled on a CD with your bread making machine.
Don’t skip over this step: if you don’t have a USP, it is going to be very hard for you to attract new customers.
Creating a Proper Landing Page
So now we have got a QR code with a killer headline, listing the product’s benefits clearly and having at least a unique selling point – where do we go from here? The answer is simple: it is the time to focus on your website’s landing page. While the QR codes can’t store that much information, being unable to show pretty pictures, videos and the like, your website can do all of that.
This is the place where you should explain all your product’s benefits in detail, thus reinforcing your potential customers’ need for your product or service. The landing page could also offer your customers an additional discount that is only valid if they make the purchase within the following 3 days, for example. And don’t forget to add a big (red?) button for a call to action that’s hard to miss.
This really is the best way to use QR codes for business. But how can you generate those QR codes? We are giving away our free QR Architect application – get it from here. The program will create QR codes for websites, phone numbers, SMS, emails, geographic locations and even plain text. It is a Windows application that works great on all the PCs running Windows XP or a more recent version of the operating system and includes a detailed instruction manual.
Have fun with it, and if you think that this article is useful, please let the world know about it by clicking one of the social sharing buttons.