QR Codes for Politics: Should I Use QR Codes for Politics and Advocacy?

by Joe Fuld (He/Him)

QR Codes

QR Codes for Politics and Advocacy: Will They Work for my Campaign?

Thinking about how to use QR codes for politics and advocacy? Whether you are in politics, membership, or advocacy spaces and do any kind of targeted communication, you need to think about how QR codes can be useful for your work and what the limitations are.

Since the pandemic, QR codes have entered a new wave of popularity to such a degree that they have become ubiquitous–from parking meters to TV ads, they can be found everywhere. QR codes for politics and advocacy are in great demand, but make sure you have a strategy for how to use them. Here are a few tips:

A QR code be helpful for politics, membership, and advocacy: The ease of use and increase in response rates that QR codes allow for in printed materials, including direct mail, has changed our approach towards them.

Why now and not before?: Smart phones easily recognize QR codes in your phone’s photo app and more than 85 percent of users in the US use a smart phone.15 percent of Americans only use smart phones for their internet.

What can QR codes do?: There are QR code applications for any kind of campaign you can think of (fundraising, membership advocacy, registration, persuasion, and turnout). These can all be enhanced through the use of a QR code, but the results are not all the same and usually not an overnight sensation, so expectations need to be managed.

For fundraising: In a time when number nine envelopes can be hard to come by and fewer transactions are done by check every year, a QR code can combine the tangible nature of direct mail with the immediacy and ease of digital use. It can make donations and sign ups faster whether it is at a door or through the mail.

For membership: Getting members to act or renew their membership can be tricky. Anything that can increase a conversion rate, even the slightest, is welcome.

For events: There are lots of ways to use them. QR code for sign-ups including volunteer forms yard-signs, house parties etc. can be helpful. A QR code can be put on a poster, a table, a tent or even a t-shirt to get engagement.

For advocacy: QR codes are a vessel for increased engagement. Use QR codes to sign up for text alerts, sign a petition, become an advocate or tell a story.

For voter registration: Drive people to the right place to check their registration, register to vote and to understand changes in voter laws.

For persuasion: A QR code can help a voter get more information than what can be conveyed in a walk piece or piece of mail. A QR code conversion can continue a conversation with a voter or member so they can understand the difference between candidates or issues. The code can then connect to more contrastive info, such as a video or a sign up, for a follow up conversation.

For turnout: QR codes are now part of the solution getting folks to sign up, make a plan or get information on a change in polling places. It is important to remain strategic on your approach to placement and execution since use and conversions will vary

Test approaches: QR codes are a tactic, not a strategy. How QR codes will work for your specific application will need to be tested.  How you use them, where you use them, and what they should look like, will continue to evolve. Furthermore, the assumptions we make about QR codes will be confirmed and modified based on real results.

Design tips: Simple works well– you want to make sure the code does not get lost and the placement on where the code goes is very clear.

Don’t overestimate expectations: Conversion rates for QR codes vary greatly based on placement design and the action the QR code is linked to.

Don’t include more than one QR code in a piece of mail: Having multiple QR codes on a flyer or a piece of mail with different goals will likely reduce the conversions. Instead, focus a piece of mail with a single goal, then mail the QR code in a simple way for users to engage or take an action.

Have a goal for your application: A QR code is a tactic not a goal. Have a strategy in place, then a QR code will likely be useful for your goal. Don’t try and use a QR code just because it is cool. Maximize its’ functionality.

Will QR codes always be useful? As folks continue to use QR codes for shopping and food ordering, marketers will use them more and more. They are cheap to create and have a ton potential. It also helps mailers and other materials for conversions. As people continue to recognize the ease and functionality, there is no doubt that QR codes will continue to grow in popularity. 

Have questions about using QR codes for politics or advocacy? Drop us a note.