Why TIM will increase your QR code responses by over 20%

Print is not interactive.

Many people struggle with the use of print in a multi-channel world.  You read it and then you put it down again.  You can’t integrate it with other channels.

The closest you can get to making print work with other channels is to include a url.  But even this requires the reader to physically go to a computer and type the url in.  It’s not exactly user friendly.

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But print can interact with other channels very effectively

One way to create this interaction is to use QR codes.  QR codes are a great route to making people take a next step immediately.

QR codes are the blocky codes that you see on so many pieces of print these days.  Scan a code with your smartphone and you’ll be given more information.  Or taken through to a website.

People who use QR codes on print will create more solid relationships with their audience.  The QR code can help the audience receive information in the way that they want.  And QR codes are measurable.  So it is possible to be in control of campaigns.  And to achieve more from a marketing budget.  You’ll know exactly which campaigns perform.

People who don’t use QR codes will only have a passing contact with an audience.  They won’t achieve solid partnerships.  And they will struggle to understand which campaigns are working.  So they won’t achieve as much from their marketing budgets.

The best way to make QR codes effective is to use the TIM principle.

So what’s TIM got to do with QR codes?

Tim stands for Tell, Incentivise, Measure.  These are three important principles to use with QR codes.  But I often find that they are completely forgotten.

Let’s go through these principles.  The first one is Tell.

Tell people what to do

It is often assumed that everyone knows what a QR code is.  And this is certainly not the case.  Recently, a senior person at a print management company looked completely blank when I mentioned a QR code.

Therefore, you need to tell your audience that this is a code that they can scan with a smartphone.  And to tell them what will happen if they scan the code.  Often people would have been delighted to scan the code.  But they didn’t know that this was what they were supposed to do.

But it’s not enough that people know that they should scan a QR code.  They still need to understand WHY they should scan it.

Incentivise people to scan a QR code

If you want someone to scan a QR code you need to give them a reason.  You need to encourage them to make that scan.  People don’t do something for nothing these days.  Ideally you should offer something of value to your audience.  And you should tell them the value.

If you scan the QR code next to this article, you’ll be able to download my free e-book “10 Common Print Buying Errors and What To Do About Them.  It’s worth £25/$41.  (Or, if you don’t have a smartphone, go here).

So once you have incentivised your audience to scan the QR code everything is in place.  But how successful was your campaign?

Measure the use of the QR code

QR codes are completely measurable.  I created my QR code for free using http://bit.ly  This also allows me to see exactly how many people have used the QR code, and when.  There are a number of similar solutions.

But by using solutions such as this you have transformed your print.  It is now interactive and measurable.  You’ll know exactly how effective it is.

Of course QR codes aren’t the only way to make your print measurable and interactive.  These days there are a number of other solutions.  They include augmented reality and digital watermarking.  And some people think that they are better.

Aren’t QR codes a bit old hat now?

Sometimes it seems that QR codes are in danger of being overshadowed by other technologies.  But QR codes are now becoming understood by the general public.  And other technologies aren’t yet.  QR codes remain quick, cheap and easy to implement.  You don’t need expensive and complicated technology to put them into practice.

But to make QR codes really work, you need to remember the TIM principle

Here are three things you can do to get going with the TIM principle

  1.   Create a QR code and add instructions on how to use it
  2.   Make sure you have a reason for people to scan the code.  Create a gift with a value
  3.   Track use of the code to measure the success of the campaign

Suddenly you will find that you have print that is truly interactive.

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