QR Codes for Education Marketing
Date posted: October 20, 2011
At one time, a prospective student would pick up brochure if they wanted to learn more about a school. In today’s digtial age, however, students are much more likely to visit a school’s website on their computer or smartphone. But even that still requires a bit of effort, since, at the very least, a school’s URL has to be typed into a browser. QR codes are set to change all that. A QR (quick response) code is a graphic that contains a set of instructions that smartphones can read, so long as they have the proper app installed. Think of it as a new-and-improved barcode for the 21st century. Just point your phone to the code, and you’ll instantly be brought to a website, Facebook page, video – or anything else you can find on the net.
For schools, QR codes mean a quicker and more seamless communication with existing and prospective students. They can be printed on any surface, so they can be placed on posters, ads, business cards, direct mail pieces, etc. Most smartphones can save QR codes in memory, so users can access information later if they wish. What’s more, like most digital marketing vehicles, QR code use can be measured with Google Analytics, so marketing departments can know exactly which codes are being accessed. This information can then be used to optimize recruiting campaigns, and maximize marketing dollars. QR codes are also free to generate… making them a virtual no-brainer for schools looking to increase the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.
An example of this can be found at St. Leo University. St-Leo has done the following to increase engagement among existing and prospective students:
- Facilitated the application process by inserting QR codes on marketing documents allowing prospective students to access an on-line application page directly
- Promoted school events by printing a QR code on a T-shirt under the tagline “Scan me for a Good Time” which sends students to an events calendar
- Increased engagement by creating a QR code game where students search for “hidden” QR codes and compete for prizes
Another example of innovative use of QR Codes is the Mohawk College Continuing Education Catalog. The catalog was recently singled out in an article by Learning Resources Network (LERN) Magazine, a leading periodical on continuing education, and the largest association of continuing education institutes and professionals in the world. The magazine applauded Mohawk College’s use of QR codes as a way to increase engagement and immediacy with their catalog. Here is an example of a QR code being inserted in a Mohawk College Continuing Education program description as a way to provide readers with even more information:
On its own, QR codes may not be enough to improve your lead generation and marketing ROI, but as part of a comprehensive Web and social media marketing strategy, they are becoming another useful weapon in the education marketing arsenal. In fact, the example above shows how QR codes can work well with other initiatives, as St-Leo’s codes lead students to the official school Facebook page. This approach will increase the amount of “likes” and no doubt help the school increase its share of social media voice.
With so many potential avenues for student engagement, other educational institutions are sure to follow St-Leo’s example soon. Don’t be left behind.
For more information on QR codes and how St. Leo University is using them, read eCampus News’ article.