I recently wrote about QR codes and I have seen the little collections of dots pop up more and more recently. What I’ve noticed is that many business owners are missing out on some important points about using QR codes.
Here’s my list of five essentials when using a QR code in marketing for your business.
- QR codes are read by smartphones or other mobile devices so make sure the page you are directing visitors to is optimised for mobile devices. It’s pointless using a QR code on advertising if the page is inaccessible or hard to navigate on a handheld device. Things to think about are:
- Shockwave Flash – flash videos don’t work on iPhones, iPads and many other mobile devices.
- Frames – these can be hard to navigate on a handheld device and may even render your website unreadable.
- Large images – although data speeds are improving, very large images will take longer to download and if your page isn’t set up correctly the image may display at full size on a mobile. Slow and frustrating!
- Forms – if you have a form on the page, make sure it works on a mobile.
- Send the visitor to a landing page for that campaign. One of the greatest advantages to businesses of any size when using the Internet as a marketing medium is the ability to split test and measure results. It is easy and cheap to create separate pages for each campaign, or multiple pages for one campaign, and this gives business owners the tools needed to measure the performance of every piece of advertising. If you have only one QR code and all it does is send visitors to your homepage, you are missing out on extremely valuable information on the effectiveness of your advertising and how well any special offers or promotions are working.
- Use a unique URL for each piece of marketing. This doesn’t mean you have to create multiple pages of identical content if you are only making one offer. QR codes are free to generate so you can use a different one for each marketing piece, so if you want to send all your visitors to the same landing page, but still want to track each QR code separately, install Google Analytics on your site (if you haven’t done so already) and use the Google Analytics URL Builder Tool to give the URL a unique tag.
- Test the QR code before running a campaign. This seems obvious, but if you run off 10,000 door hangers or place an ad in a national paper with a non-functional QR code you not only miss out on potential returns from the campaign, you may even tarnish your business’s reputation with existing customers. When you test your QR code, use the version of the image you will use in the advertising. Things to think about are:
- Image size – the more information the QR code holds, the bigger the image has to be to be read by a camera;
- Distribution medium – a QR code printed on a laser printer in your office may be easier to read than the same image printed in a newspaper, displayed on an advertising screen or on the back of a business card.
- Make a compelling offer to people who have scanned the QR code. You want people to buy something from you* when they respond to your marketing. Anyone who has taken the time to get out their phone, scan the QR code and go to your website is at least curious. Make it worth their while and make a unique offer to people who come to your site through the QR code. These things are still new and relatively unknown and you can capitalise on the curiosity factor. I have heard of one real estate agent using QR codes on property signs and adding a label “If you don’t know what this black and white box is, give me a call and I’ll explain it to you”. One way of using a QR code to appeal to people who don’t have a smartphone.
So there you have it. Use this checklist when you’re using QR codes and you’ll get much more bang for you buck.
*Any marketing or advertising Guru who tells you your marketing or advertising is working by “building your brand” is feeding you horsesh*t, most likely in an attempt to sell you more advertising space or to cover up their own ineptitude: marketing is only working if you shift some product!