When QR (quick response) codes started popping up everywhere, marketers deemed them the next big thing. As with any new technology, the real estate industry was not far behind trying to think of creative ways to use them. From property signs, print ads, and business cards, QR codes are showing up on all different types of real estate marketing pieces. However, too often, they are done improperly – preventing them from being an effective tool. Here we’ll look at several things to consider when using QR codes:
1. Where does the QR code link to?
If you’re asking someone to scan a QR code, they will be using a mobile device. One of the most common mistakes is sending a consumer to a non-mobile friendly site. This makes absolutely no sense and will likely frustrate any consumer who has taken the time to scan your QR code. If you can’t read the site on a mobile device, you are wasting a consumers time. Additionally, what information is a user looking for? Likely, if they’re on a mobile and scanning a code, it’s because they want certain information right then. It doesn’t make sense to link to your homepage on a flyer for a home – it’s likely they want more information about that property right then. QR codes are beneficial to quickly display additional information that the consumer wants right then. Don’t make them navigate a non-mobile friendly homepage – that’s not a motivating incentive to scan a QR code.
2. Where have you placed your QR code?
You’re asking a consumer to pull out their phone, scan a code, and access something right away. This is incredibly important. First, make sure your QR code is scanable. Too often, you see QR codes in places that make it difficult to scan. I’ve seen QR codes on shopping bags – which rarely lay flat enough to scan. I’ve seen QR codes on billboard along busy highways – it is not only difficult, but unsafe, to pull out a phone and try to scan a QR code while flying down the freeway. Also, one of the most common mistakes I’ve seen REALTORS® make – they place them on internet communication – on their website and in their email signatures. This makes absolutely no sense. If a consumer is already online, what, if any reason, would they want to pull out their phone and transition to a mobile interface. Unless the QR code has a specific mobile action attached to it (e.g., adds contact info to your phone or is a link to download a mobile app), there is almost no reason ever to place a QR code online.
3. Have you educated your consumer?
Just because you know what a QR code is and does, does not necessarily mean your consumers do. Have you given them a reason to scan your code? You need to have a certain call to action that provides an incentive for a consumer. Does scanning the code show them a slideshow with more information? Does it download your mobile app? You need to clearly communicate to the consumer what additional information they will get by scanning your code. If you are not providing more information than what is already in front of them, there is no reason to scan. Also, for the less tech-savvy, do you still provide a way for them to access the additional information? Or are you cutting off that whole audience? Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to put a tiny URL by a QR code – so even if you aren’t mobile-savvy, you can still get the information you want.
4. Make sure your code works. Scan it.
This is pretty straight forward.
While QR codes might be considered by some as “cutting-edge” or a “must-have” in and increasingly mobile world, you always have to think of an individuals motives and the user experience. Before ever placing a QR code in your marketing – ask yourself if it makes sense. Would you scan it? Would you be happy as a consumer with what you see? If you aren’t – then don’t put it. Any benefit of looking like you’re on top of the marketing trends is immediately discounted if you aren’t using them in proper and creative ways.
Andrew Violante is the Social Media and Communications Coordinator at Alain Pinel Realtors where he oversees social media strategy and implementation for the brokerage.