My recent immersion in QRcodeland gave me a couple insights into truisms of broader digital marketing.
Whether barcode scanning takes off or not, asking people to interact with your brand online by any method requires you to make things very easy for them, and very rewarding.
1. There has to be a payoff. For the customer.
Many otherwise beautiful, interesting, and well designed IRL-to-digital campaigns are roasted by the likes of Roger Marquis for not making user participation worth the effort.
A crappy (read: boring, useless, overly commercial or non-mobile) “scan resolve”—the thing you get or place you go for scanning a code—ticks people off for wasting their time and does the practice of scanning (or “making the effort to go to a website”) no favours.
Any ad that leads people to a website has to have a fat reward. People have mustered up their time, attention & effort to follow through on your call to action. Don’t bore them by sending them to your brochure-with-a-slideshow for “more information”. Give them a #$%@!! coupon.
Lesson: Convert people (and it takes more than a trip to your precious website to do it), for Pete’s sake. Go out of your way to own my next ice cream purchase with an offer I can’t refuse.
2. Explain the payoff. Clearly.
The wisdom of 2d barcode communication design: even if your audience is people who sleep with their iPhones under their pillows (in airplane mode, relax), you need to explain the value proposition of packing up the donkeys & sherpa-ing up the mountain to your website.
People may know how to get there, but why should they bother? Are you gonna give them a deal? Enter them in a contest? Show them an exclusive (and saucy, for good measure) video? Sell it, copywriters!
Case study: Pampers diapers come packed in a plastic bag that includes a code you can go enter on their website.
Presumably this code gets you something good. I’ve never entered one. I’ve fastidiously saved the stupid plastic bags 10 inches from my laptop, intending on entering the code “when I have time”…and never quite getting there.
What’s holding me up? Don’t I want…whatever it is I’ll get?
Apparently not enough. I haven’t been sold on what’s in it for me. Maybe the box says what I’ll get, but the “point of action” doesn’t answer these questions: How hard is this whole code thingy? Am I going to need to enter my personal information? Sign up for something? Collect 100 diaper box codes before I get my $2 rebate?
Without the reward in my mind, I can’t be bothered to find out.
Lesson: Sell people on what they’re going to get when they choose to interact with you (ie, the benefit). Don’t expect them to know how to boil ravioli.