QR or “Quick Response” codes are rapidly becoming a popular and effective way for marketers to extend special offers or unique content to smart phone users. QR Codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can be read by most smart phones (via the camera function) and automatically link the mobile user to a marketing offer, website or video. If you haven’t noticed QR codes yet, you will soon. Many leading marketing brands will be using them with much great frequency in the near future.
QR Codes can also be a great, low cost marketing tool musicians can use to provide unique content to their fans.
How Are QR Codes Created?
There are several free online tools for creating QR Codes including myQR.co and the ZXing Project. The process of creating a QR Code is remarkably simple. Just decide what type of content you want to share, a video for example, then paste the URL (web address) of the video is the space provide. See below:
A unique QR Code image will then be generated and displayed that can be saved to your computer. This image will have the specified url embedded into it and can be scanned by any smart phone with a QR reader and camera functionality. It’s probably worth mentioning that Android based phones come with a QR reader built in but iPhone and Blackberry users will need to download a free QR code reader app.
QR Code images typically look like the one below but they can also be different colors and sizes. The image below is “live” if you have a QR Code reader installed on your smart phone go ahead and scan the image.
If you scanned the image successfully a video of the song “Island” by Austin Collins and the Rainbirds should now be available for streaming on your smart phone.
Music Marketing Ideas for QR Codes
OK, so creating QR Code images is easy and cheap (free!). Now what? Even though some marketers use QR Codes in online campaigns I tend to think offline marketing applications are a better use for this tool. After all if a fan is already online isn’t just clicking a link easier then pulling out a smart phone and taking a picture? In short, any place music fans might be using their smart phone their primary point to access the web could potentially be a good place to use QR codes for music marketing.
Some of the interesting places QR Codes can potentially be used for music marketing include:
- Tour Flyers / Band Posters
- The Merch Table
- Email Sign Up List
- The Tour Vehicle
- CD Jackets
- Business Cards
- One Sheets
- Outside of any Mailed Package
From a fan engagement standpoint the content or offer that is delivered when a QR code is scanned is the primary driver for a successful QR code marketing campaign. Fans experienced with scanning QR codes are expecting to find unique content or a special marketing offer when they scan a QR code. Simply linking a QR code to your band’s website homepage or Facebook Fanpage will only leave your fans disappointed. Also, be sure to consider that when fans scan your QR code will be viewing your content or offer on a smart phone screen. Make sure the content or offer is formatted for easy viewing on a smart phone.
What sort of content or special offers make sense to offer music fans via QR codes? The options are almost endless! Just let creativity and common sense be your guide. Here are a few QR code content or marketing offer ideas:
- New or unreleased band videos
- A personal video message from the band
- Discount codes good for X% off at the merch table
- Discount codes good for X% off at the band’s webstore
- Fan contests
Using QR codes can be a fun and unique way to engage your fans when they aren’t on their computer. Marketing with QR codes is a pretty new tool. If anyone has ideas for using QR codes to engage music fans feel free to post them in the comments section of this post.