I've been spending a lot of time lately investigating and writing about the role of QR codes in marketing. A few weeks ago I continued my experimentation with QR codes, especially with scanable QR clothing, but added in a promotion angle combined with a mobile friendly micro-site and mobile friendly registration site.
Here are the results of that experiment.
All three took them to a simple microsite where they could learn more about the promotion, view a video tour of the boathouse they'd stay in, "like" the microsite or click-thru to register to win. You can visit the QR friendly microsite (pictured to the left) by clicking on the link you just passed over.
Once on the site I invited everyone to register to win a 2-night stay in New Orleans at a boathouse on Lake Pontchartrain. In my last QR Code experiment I simply invited folks to connect via LinkedIn. I had a similar experiment this time with similar results, but more on that at the end of this post.
So what did I learn... well here goes.
QR code scan vs URL - Total 57 Clicks/Scans
Computer: 30 clicks
Android: 9 scans
iPhone: 13 scans
Blackberry: 3 scans
iPad: 2 clicks
Now, to be fair, it was almost impossible to scan my shirt unless you were right in front of me and even though I had a huge QR code on my final slide, the room was set up so that it was wide vs deep... so if you were sitting far right or far left, you couldn't scan the slide. But even with all of that, 57% of all SoMeT attendees played along and visited the microsite, of which 49% of those entries started as QR scans of either my shirt or the slide. NOTE: because I used the same QR code on both the slide and shirt, I couldn't break scans out. And yes, I know I should have done that... ran out of time.
Once at the microsite, five folks "liked it" and thirteen (23%) viewed the embedded YouTube video.
Of the 57 visitors to the mobile microsite, 82.5% (47 people) clicked thru and provided an eMail address to register to win. Not a bad capture rate. Imagine if this had been a trade show or a festival where the marketing goal was lead acquisition. 82% capture rate of visitors would be pretty high. So that you know, I only asked for a First Name, Last Name and eMail address. I could have asked for more but remember, I knew at least some (ended up being almost 50%) of the folks would be entering that data on a mobile device. So even though my site was mobile friendly, it's still a pain to enter data on a mobile and as email marketing folks will tell you, the more you ask for up front the more folks that will choose not to register. So, I opted for the least amount of information I'd need to select and notify a winner.
I notified the winner on November 24 and in that email included links and an invitation to follow me at either my Social Media-Digital Marketing Agency site or here at my personal blog. I should have created unique Google tracking links but it was the day before Thanksgiving... so I cut a corner and didn't... thus my data here isn't perfect but it is interesting.
For the time period 11/24-12/1 I had 35 direct URL visits to my Converse Digital site. Similarly, during the same time period the home page of this blog had 22 direct visits. And lastly, I had five new email subscriptions to either my personal or corporate blog using emails that were also found in the QR registration database. I can only assume those folks found me via this conference and promotion.
I think it is fair to say at a minimum, amongst audiences that are QR friendly (and I knew QR was a hot topic amongst CVB/DMO types) QR codes can be a very good lead acquisition tool. Further, in a mobile friendly environment like a trade show or conference, they could possibly be the preferred method given their mobile friendly nature.
Further, when paired with a mobile friendly acquisition site, like the one I deployed here, you can expect to see very favorable follow through to generate a trackable lead. I would add here though that in order to do this, you need a prize. During this conference I also created a "R U Following Me" QR shirt that linked to my Twitter profile and it only had seven scans. To be fair, I wore this on the second day of the conference and everyone who wanted to follow me had likely already done so as I presented my Twitter handle on my final slide (I presented on the first day). I plan to wear this shirt to future events to see if I get different outcomes but so far, in both this case and the LinkedIn QR shirt I wore to TribeCon, the shirt was more of a buzz generator than a scan generator.
Lastly, QR is very interesting to folks. The codes generate buzz. At both SoMeT and TribeCon, I watched as groups of people would look at the shirt, point at the shirt and then to their phone, and engage in conversation that was pretty obviously about the shirt. At SoMeT folks were far more willing to come up and talk with me about the shirts then at TribeCon, but in both cases, the shirts caused a stir. Given the difficulty in breaking through in today's over communicated environment, this alone is a huge win if you ask me.
What's This Mean To You and Your Brand?
I think there are a couple of big takeaways from this experiment.
First, buzz works but you have to be buzzable. QR is a buzzable technology.
Second, you don't have to spent a mint to experiment with this technology. I did everything by using DIY platforms like Cafe Press for the shirts, EZ.com's Pro account to create the QR codes AND the microsite. And I used a simple Wordpress WPTouch plugin to render my Converse Digital site as mobile friendly. The video was shot using a flip, edited on my laptop and uploaded to YouTube where I indicated that it was only to be shown to folks that had the direct URL. Thus, you can search YouTube but you won't find this video... it's hidden to all but the folks that find it via the microsite. Lastly, the stats I used here come from Feedburner, EZ.com, and Google Analytics.
Total cost of experiment: less than $100 not including my time. NOTE: Andy Meadows over at EZ.com was kind enough to donate an EZ.com account to me so that I could conduct this experiment. So, if you do this you'd need to sign up for a paid account. But still, that's like $24 a month -- not bad. But even with that cost, you're still in a pretty good place to either fail small or win big.
Third and probably most importantly, like other social media experiments I've run, I'm once again reminded that in social media, it isn't about the platforms or technology but the creativity and ingenuity of the people applying those platforms that matters. And frankly, your social media strategies and budgets should reflect that. Invest in chefs not recipes. That's where the real ROI is going to come from.
Speaking of, if you're looking for creative, curious and effective social media help, I'm looking for a few good clients that want to get ahead of the competition. Click that link above if you're one of them.
But enough about me and what I think. What do you think about all of this? What questions has this post created in your mind? Go ahead... that's what the comments section is for... so use it.
And hey, if you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing so you can have posts from this blog sent directly to your eMail in box. And don't worry, I'll never share your email with anyone and I don't send anything but blog posts... because that's not what your here for right?
SoMeT photo credit: @BillGeist