If you’ve heard the effectiveness of QR codes called into question, keep in mind it’s largely due to misunderstanding and misuse, not any flaw inherent to the technology. Effectiveness is dependent on businesses using QR codes in appropriate places, optimizing associated URL’s for mobile viewing, and educating customers on how and why to scan QR codes specific to promotional campaigns.
What is a QR code?
“QR code” stands for Quick Response Code. It is a two-dimensional barcode that camera-equipped smartphone users can scan so as to be connected to an assigned URL.
Why should my business use QR codes?
The more options customers (and potential customers) have for connecting with your business, the better. This is especially true of offline print promotions intended to direct people to do something online. Including your website’s URL in print promotions is crucial in this regard, but a QR code offers app-happy smartphone users what can be a fun and easy alternative. Plus, it allows you to connect people directly to a page (with a long URL people might shy away from typing in) that will more effectively convert visitors than, say, your website’s home page.
How do I get a QR code?
QR codes can be created online, downloaded to a computer, and printed directly onto products and promotional materials.
How do customers (and potential customers) use QR codes?
Smartphone users can download a QR code app. Then every time they see a QR code associated with a promotion that interests them, they can scan the code and immediately be directed to the associated URL. Of course, not all smartphone users know this, so include some simple text within your promo that instructs them to download the QR code app. Also, make it clear why they should scan the QR code (e.g., contests, discounts, giveaways, videos).
Where are the best places to use QR codes?
The best places to use QR codes are on print materials that are scan-friendly. This may include posters, ads in magazines and newspapers, storefront displays, or the product itself.
You may consider including a QR code on billboards, as you may have noticed many businesses do, but keep in mind these can be hard to scan for smartphone users driving by. So you may want to limit QR codes to billboards at intersections or where there is a lot of foot traffic. Otherwise you’re wasting valuable real estate on an ineffective QR code.
Above all, avoid using QR codes online. This may seem like a no-brainer to you, but not to everyone as it’s a common misuse. Just keep in mind that the purpose of QR codes is to connect the real world with the virtual world. If they’re already online, use links not barcodes to direct traffic.
And no matter where you use QR codes, test them first, at various angles and distances.
To what should my QR code link?
The more enticing your promo offer, the more likely smartphone users will scan your QR code. While you can simply link to your website’s home page, it’s best to link to URL’s where customers (and potential customers) can sign up for contests, discounts, giveaways, and similar content that offers a tangible incentive. Just be sure to note in the print promo what scanning will enable them to do. And be sure the URL associated with your QR code is one optimized for mobile viewing.
Can I track QR codes?
Yes, and by all means, do! You can create a custom campaign URL and track QR codes through Google Analytics.