Word-of-mouth marketing is king and online referral marketing is the jack of the trade. But is there a way you can employ referral marketing if the potential consumer is offline?

A B2B referral program is a strategic initiative where businesses encourage their existing clients or partners to refer other businesses in their network to the company’s products or services, often offering incentives or rewards for successful referrals. These programs leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing to expand their customer base and build stronger relationships within their business ecosystem.

Network marketing is one way to go. In fact, various companies like Avon Cosmetics and Amway have employed it. But it requires a huge investment for training and management. Is there a way to automate this?

There is. It’s called Offline Referral Marketing. It uses mobile technology that is growing popular by the dayQR Codes.

What is Offline Referral Marketing?

Offline Referral Marketing is the same as online apart from one difference. Here, instead of sharing content online-to-online, consumer shares content offline-to-online.

How can it help me?

Offline Referral Marketing will help you convert word-of-mouth marketing to sales. Your existing customer will market the product but will not sell it. He/she will only provide an incentive to the potential customer. The advantage is that it’s not as intrusive as network marketing.

This system works well for exclusive brands not looking to dilute their brand value by excessive marketing. Think of it as an ‘invite-only’ marketing, but offline.

How does it work?

The process can be best explained with the help of an example:

  • Each product (lets say a fitness tracker) has a concealed QR Code
  • The owner (lets assume Megan) of the tracker first scans the QR Code and registers with the brand. This unique QR Code is now tagged to Megan
  • Megan is on her morning run when she runs into her colleague Susan
  • Susan is worried about her fitness and Megan advises her to get a fitness tracker. Susan loves the idea
  • Megan then shows her the QR Code and asks her to scan it. Susan pulls out her smartphone and scans the QR Code
  • Susan gets an exclusive offer to purchase the tracker at a 20% discount. And she goes ahead to place the order using her smartphone
  • As soon as Susan purchases it, Megan gets a percentage of the deal for helping in making the sale

The result: Win-win situation for all.

Benefits of using QR Codes

QR Code offers various benefits while offering a seamless way to do offline referral marketing. Here are some of them:

1. Editable

Say you created a QR Code for a particular product. But after some time, due to some unforeseen reasons, you had to change the encoded details.

And you don’t want to create or print a new QR Code altogether. Here, dynamic QR Codes can help you out. They allow you to make changes to the information encoded in the QR Code. That means, you can make unlimited edits and your QR Code will still remain the same.

2. Scan tracking

QR Codes allow you to track their scanning activity by date, location (city/country), device, browser, and operating system. That means once your QR Codes are in the public, you will know if your target audience has scanned them or not.

In short, you’ll be able to draw valuable insights about your audience and optimize your future offline referral campaigns accordingly.

3. Event tracking

QR Codes also have the feature of event tracking. It allows you to keep an eye on your audience’s activity once they scan the QR Code. This can be anything such as a button for registration. 

With event tracking, you can further optimize your campaigns.

4. Customizable

QR Codes are fully customizable. That means you can customize the design by adding a logo and color or a background image to it. In addition, you can also change the pattern of both the eyes and data modules.

And since your use case requires attracting as many scans as possible, you should add a design to your QR Codes. Why? Because it is a fact that
customized QR Codes attract 50%-200% more scans than generic black-and-white ones.

5. Error Correction

QR Codes have the feature of error correction. It ensures that they will scan well even after they get damaged or dirty up to 30%.

6. High-speed scannability

Do you know QR Codes come alive within seconds of holding the camera in front of them? That’s right. They have high-speed scannability, which ensures a fast and better user experience.

How do I set it up?

To set up such an Offline Referral System, you will need the following:

1. Create dynamic QR Codes one by one

For each item of your inventory, you will need a unique dynamic QR Code that will be placed on the product. And you can place each QR Code on the product. To create it, you simply need a QR Code generator. And the best part is that it can offer you dynamic QR Codes. As mentioned above, a dynamic QR Code is trackable and editable.

When Megan purchases the tracker, she will have to scan this QR Code to set up her referral account. Note this is only a one-time activity. Once she signs up for a referral account, the QR Code becomes active. Now whenever Susan or any other friend of Megan scans the code and makes a purchase, Megan will get cash or credits in her referral account.

2. Create QR Codes in bulk

Let’s say you don’t want to create QR Codes one by one. And it’s the obvious choice. Because creating one by one is a hectic and long process.

Here, a bulk QR Code generator can help you out. It allows you to generate static QR Codes in bulk. You can simply select the appropriate QR Code category and create as many QR Codes as needed in bulk.

3. Create QR Codes programmatically 

In addition, you can also integrate QR Code generation with your referral management system using QR API. A QR API will allow you to create QR Codes programmatically in real-time within your system.

Sounds, convenient?

Best Practices

Here are some of the best practices that you must know while using QR Codes for offline referral marketing:

1. Add an appropriate CTA

You must add appropriate CTA to your QR Codes. CTA means ‘Call-to-action’. It is a small instruction text that tells about the action a users needs to take. Such text nudges the users to take the required action.

It could be anything such as ‘Scan here to get a 20% discount’.

2. Test scan the QR Code

It is always advisable to test scan the QR Code before putting them out for your target audience. 

3. Choose optimal printing format

If your use case requires you to use QR Codes on print media creatives, then make sure you export them in high-resolution formats—SVG, EPS, or PDF. That’s because they ensure that the QR Code doesn’t get pixelated no matter how much you zoom in or zoom out.

That is all you need to know about how QR Codes for offline referral marketing. You can now create your very own QR Code and boost your referral marketing program.

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