At the Fort Smith National Park, Black and Evans decided to use the codes to deliver an informational video. Because of restrictions placed on the NPS regarding the use of social media—for instance, they’re not allowed to have Facebook pages or Twitter feeds—Black had to partner up with the city of Fort Smith to host the video on its YouTube page. They started using the first QR code in May, and when EContent spoke with them in July, they had had 208 views on the video.
Of course there is more to tracking than clicks and views. Bouldon uses a tool that provides additional statistics that she finds useful. She says, “QR codes are also trackable. By creating a free account on a QR code generator like www.beetagg.com, we are able to see how often codes are being read,” she says. “So far, I’d say the results have been slow but encouraging. The more consistently we place the codes in advertising and marketing, the more results we tend to see. We have also had positive remarks from potential visitors who have discovered us this way.”
As you might imagine, there are nearly limitless uses for QR codes, which can be printed almost anywhere and can even be scanned from a computer monitor. Black says one of the next videos they would like to produce for a wayside exhibit will be about a cannon that the park only has the budget and staff to fire about twice in a given summer. However, Mother Nature interfered with the filming schedule, which was rained out.
The low price of $0 makes experimenting with QR codes easy and virtually risk-free, though as ever, creating compelling content can be costly. However, it can also take the form of low-cost videos such as those Black envisions.
In Boulden’s case, her codes generally link back to an existing website so there’s no additional content creation cost. She sees many possible uses for this tool: “QR codes on T-shirts, hats and other Fort Smith or festival promos; QR codes on the card keys of local hotels, linking travelers directly to our website’s dining guide, things to do, or calendar of events; panels with QR codes with embedded videos at each of our local attractions—forming a QR Code tour of Fort Smith—QR codes on premium items given away at tradeshows and in goodie bags. … The possibilities are truly endless.”