Connecting with your offline audience online can sometimes seem harder than it is. Businesses will often focus on their online audience and neglect the potential offline audience. That’s not a bad thing if your audience only spends time online, but that’s not always the case. People still travel to work, go to the movies, go out to eat, play sports - they live offline. They might even still read a magazine or newspaper. Don’t forget about that aspect of their lives.
One of the solutions to connecting with your offline audience online has been present for a few years now, and its name is QR Code. A popular question today is: Aren't QR Codes dead? The simple answer: Not if your target market spends time offline.
What are QR codes?
QR (quick response) codes are primarily marketing tools, and are basically upgraded barcodes that allow a person to scan them with their smartphone, upon which a person is led to a website, or shown a coupon that they can show at your store for a discount; or they can be shown a short video, etc.
QR Code Applications
Mark O’Neill of SmallBizTrends gives 12 applications for QR codes, of which I’ll list only a few more interesting ones:
- Use a QR Code to direct a customer to the URL for your website, Facebook, Twitter or other social media page.
- Use it to share a text message (anything from “Happy Holidays!” to “Have you seen what we have upstairs?)
- Use it as a discount code to be taken to the checkout counter for 10 percent off, for example.
- Use it on your business card with your contact details embedded inside the code.
Pros and Cons
Advantages of QR codes are that they are easily made and/or generated, scanned, and easy to share and notice.
Disadvantages are in that sometimes a person will need an internet connection in order to connect to whatever it is you have put on the code; and not everyone has a QR code scanner on their phone to begin with. Another obstacle might be distributing a QR code because in order to capture your offline audience they need to be printed out and glued to a surface like a poster, included in a magazine article, or put on flyers that you can share with people on the street.
Here are 10 examples of how QR codes are used in stores around the world and here in the US.
The best thing you can do to capture your offline audience is to define your audience first before creating anything. Once you define your audience, and decide on the best message to send using QR codes, go to where they spend time outside and establish your presence.
So, how to create a QR code? Is it easy? Is there a website that does it? Does it cost money?
It is as simple as ABC. HubSpot recommends 4 websites for generating your QR code absolutely free: Kaywa, GOQR.me, Visualead, and QR Stuff.
We also recommend using Canva's free QR code generator.
Simply go to any of these websites, and follow a few simple steps:
- Choose the type of content you want your code to link to (website, social media page, phone call, map location, etc.)
- Insert/upload the content (type in website URL, upload a picture, insert phone number, etc.)
- Customize your QR code if possible. Some of these tools allow you to change size, color, etc. of your QR code. You can make the colors match your brand or if the tool allows even insert your logo.
- Download your code and print it out.
- The next step is to test your code to make sure it works. Most QR code readers are absolutely free to download from App Store, Google Play, or Windows Store.
People are wary of strange online links and QR codes are no exception, even if they are offline tools. If there is a chance to benefit from it, someone will always find a way to misuse it, so, once you test your code, make sure people know what they’re getting when they scan your QR code by creating a call-to-action around it before you print them out in mass quantities, and as mentioned before, you can customize your codes by adding your logo and brand colors as well.
Make sure your codes are not too big or too small, and that they are easily noticeable before you print them out as well. All you need to do now is distribute your codes by placing them on a bus stop, or a message board of some kind, or wherever it is your audience spends time offline. Not everyone has a data package, but most people do so make sure there is a free WiFi signal nearby if possible.
If you need help defining your audience, or developing a strategy for the best way to make your business available to being found by your audience, before you even reach out to them, contact us today. We are here to help you.