QR Codes, or quick-response codes, are everywhere these days. You see them on billboards, magazine ads, direct mailers, on the side of buses … everywhere! Forward-thinking mortgage companies are beginning to incorporate QR codes in their campaigns. But, there’s a problem ... according to a Forrester Research study, only five percent of Americans who own mobile phones actually used the 2-D barcodes in the three months ending in July of 2011. That comes to approximately 14 million users or early adopters as we call them. As for the demographics of users, they are young, affluent and male.
Despite the low usage however, marketers continue to be loyal to this latest technology for obvious reasons ... you can track hits/activity, provide great information and drive inbound call activity to make your originators more productive.
My opinion is that these QR codes will gain further traction with consumers, but we need to be aware of the challenges so we can overcome them. For now, QR codes are just another example of the latest “shiny lure” that marketers feel they need to adopt in order to appear innovative.
Here are three reasons why they have not caught on as of yet:
►People are confused by how to scan them
►There’s not much uniformity among apps that will read them
►When scanned, people are disappointed by where it takes them, like a company Web site or some boring landing page
The last bullet is the one that bothers me the most because I have seen this all too often. It leaves people with a certain level of disappointment because they are expecting to see some quality information—something exciting that isn’t just your home page that will be informative and encourage action—a video, mortgage calculator, contest, etc. You need to excite their senses while providing high-quality information or somehow giving them a reason to do business with you. If you fail to do this, consumers will not scan your code again and it will add to the wave of discouragement and be a disservice to your company.
Here are just some ideas that come to mind when considering the use of QR Codes:
►Provide contact information so that when scanned, your prospects will now have this contact information on their phones and carry it around with them
►Give instruction on financing options
►Take them to an informative video
►Link to a mortgage calculator
►Share information on new products being rolled out
►Link to a page that allows consumers to offer feedback on your marketing
►Allow those who scan to be entered into a contest of some sort that encourages interaction with your company
It is a fact that adopting the latest technology, done properly, will position you as being ahead of the curve and therefore have the tools to best assist prospective clients in accomplishing their goals. However, the first step is asking yourself the question as to what you want people to do once the code is scanned. Where will it take them? What will they see once they get there? What will they do next and why do you think they will do it ... or what reason have you given them to do what you would like them to do? It all comes down to having a strategy in place. Think like your customer and put yourself in their shoes. If you just take them to your Web page, forget the code and just use your URL because it’s easier. Attach the code to something special, something that is designed to drive action!
Patrick H. Seroka is president and chief executive officer of Seroka, the only Certified Brand Strategists in North America specializing in the mortgage industry. With Seroka, you'll experience unique, second-to-none client service and benefit from compelling marketing communications. Plus, we guarantee your growth. For more information, call (262) 523-3740 or e-mail [email protected]