What do QR codes mean for a publisher creating print content?
Publishers have been looking to maximize mobile and web for the better part of three decades, searching for ways to drive engagement quickly and easily from print readers. Who would have thought that one of the earliest solutions to the problem would still be a leader 25 years later: the QR (quick response) code?
Essentially a variation of a barcode, QR codes are now all over the world, used in everything from manufacture inventory to advertisement. Almost every phone is now automatically programmed to read them too.
So anyone with a smart phone can read a barcode. What does that mean for a publisher creating print content? The answer: you can drive someone from a static page to interactive media, turning a reader into an action-taker online in seconds, and you can even turn a profit from it!
1. Enhance your print content with digital, complementary content
Print publications have a number of limitations, from column inches and content-advertisement balance to page count. This means that a lot of great content gets cut from a story before it reaches the final publication. On top of that, there is a lot of story-related media that cannot go into print, like an interview recording or video footage of an event. With QR codes, a publisher can allow a reader to instantly gain access to all the story that did not make the print publication.
2. Generate results from print Calls-to-Action that are easy to track
Calls-to-action in print are very hard to track. A retailer drops $1,000 on a full-page print ad promoting a promo code or exclusive sale, and how many walk into the store and buy? Unless you are doing some very complex technological tracking and collecting a massive amount of data, the answer is probably "I don't know." With QR codes, you can drive the reader directly to the called action, and instantly gather a lot of information. The reader gets what they want quickly, and you or the advertiser can know the actual results of the campaign.
3. Increase exposure and the chance of purchase
Due to the ease of scanning QR codes, it is easy to lead a reader from a print story or an ad talking about a product or service to the purchase page. No more hoping the reader follows a multi-step funnel to eventually convert. Just send the reader directly to what they want. The easier the process is for them, the more sales are likely to come.
4. Build "Likes" and "Leads" quickly and easily
Social media is a difficult medium for publishers, mainly because the pace of the user is faster than the content creation of a publisher, and everyone is consuming multiple things at the same time. That said, if a publisher could easily tie their print audience into the social media audience, this issue could be solved. QR codes make that possible by giving readers of a print magazine easy access to like a page, comment on or share a post, fill out a form, or any number of other quick actions that connect the person to the publisher's digital presence while also driving engagement with the print.
BONUS: Brand QR codes to fit your colors, style and needs
The original design of the QR code was not meant to be pretty, but instead, functional and easy for a scanner to read. Technology has come a long ways since then. QR codes no longer have to be a square, black and white, unbranded code. With a savvy designer, it is easy to make a QR code into its own branded ad tailored for the publisher, advertiser, or just personalized in general. Also, the options for what happens when you scan a QR code are now vast as there are more customization options. Do some research and figure out what you want to use it for, and make it happen!
If you need help with QR codes, or need someone to help create your branded QR code, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help!
To learn more about QR codes, their history, and how they work, click here. For more information regarding the use of QR codes for magazines and newspapers, click here.
If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.
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