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QR Code Marketing - 3 Must Do’s

I find talking to folks about QR Codes to be interesting conversation. Folks generally fall within one of two groups. One group has a deep understanding and might even feel insulted when asked; do you know what QR Codes are?

The second group may have seen them with no idea of what they are. So let's start with a brief description.

Q-R short for Quick Response, is a 2 dimensional advanced bar-code similar to the more traditional 1 dimensional picket fence style code used on grocery and retail store items. The advancement comes in that these two dimensional codes or QR Codes can store information both vertically and horizontally. This gives them the ability to store 1000’s of alpha-numeric characters inside.  Amazing don’t you think?

So what can they contain? Links to websites, personal contact information, even short messages to name a few. Our main use is to store URL information for our clients giving their mobile users quick access to targeted mobile-friendly content that would be of greatest interest to them.

If you are planning on implementing public QR Codes there are a few things to remember to maximize their effectiveness. Since you decide QR Code placement you know where the QR Codes will be seen and from that what the person will likely be doing when they see it. You know they will likely scan this code from a smart-phone or tablet computer. Having this information allows you to get extremely targeted if creative.

QR Codes should be put in complimentary places.

I had a conversation with a business owner looking to increase his business by utilizing QR Codes. He printed QR Codes on invoices that pointed back to their company homepage. For the most part, this page just gave reason after reason as to why someone should do business with them. If someone is receiving invoices from you, they are already doing business with you. I question having a QR Code on a document that is most likely viewed in an office behind a desk is best use for a QR Code. If determined to do perhaps a better practice would be to send them to a page announcing a new loyalty program for VIP customers would have made more appropriate. Of course this company felt that QR Codes were ineffective.

QR Codes should always be accompanied with short URL’s.

Believe it or not a QR Code application isn't installed on every mobile device. All mobile visitors should be given a way to get to the same information. Be sure to accompany your QR Code with a URL, preferably a short URL so it’s easy for mobile visitors to type and get to where you want them to go. People can’t accept offers they never see.

Destinations from QR Codes should be targeted and mobile-friendly.

Someone has just scanned your QR Code with their mobile phone at location-C. Based on the item your QR Code was printed on and its location you have a good idea what the person is currently doing. Why would you have this intelligence and then simply send them to the homepage of a non-friendly mobile website? Use this information to thank them for taking time from their activity, and share with them information about a product or service you have that’s complimentary to what they may have just done or seen. Since your company is hidden behind this graphic make sure when visitors get to your destination that’s the first thing they see. Welcome them with well designed, properly formatted content for their device. If your website looks poorly on mobile devices don’t entice someone to visit utilizing a technology that promotes mobile device use. If using a QR Code direct them to something specific and targeted that will be easy to read or view from a mobile device.

When QR Codes Go Right.

So let’s end this on a positive note. Travelling, I find myself in many restaurants. I love Mexican food and look for the local establishments opposed to the big box names. When I go I’m always armed with both my smart-phone and tablet so I can check emails without interrupting the music or movie I’m watching during dinner. Drinks came and as I looked over the menu I found QR Codes printed by many of the items. Being curious, I clicked the QR Code and was taken to gorgeous video that allowed me to hear about the fresh ingredients they used and was able to hear the searing of the fajita steak and see the smoke as it rose from above it. The only thing I could not do was taste the food which was next up on my agenda. I ordered my meal and was not disappointed. It was a wonderful meal. After dinner, I paid the check leaving a healthy tip to show my appreciation when I noticed another QR Code on the receipt. I already had dessert so what could this be. Perhaps another video about the wood used in their toothpicks? Again curious, I scanned the code. This QR Code took me to a well designed page thanking me for my business, offered me a coupon I was able to store on my phone and present for a 15% discount on my next visit and gave me the ability to share my experience through email and social media with my friends, co-workers and family. I went back to that restaurant 2 more times on a 4 day stay and have it on my go-to list when I’m back in the area. Completely stuffed as I walked slowly to my car, only one thought came to mind. Do you think this restaurant believes QR Codes can be effective?

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