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How to Use QR Codes

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blog-video-youtube-captureI have encountered hundreds, if not thousands of QR codes over the past few years and out of these thousands of codes I have seen and scanned myself only a very small minority—perhaps under 10%—have been used correctly in both the technical and creative realms.  Often times I find a QR code campaign that appears as if little to no thought went into it, and that someone just threw it on as an afterthought.  Quite often I find codes that are technically sound but lack creativity and provide the customer with no added value or good reason to scan the code in the first place.  It is a rare sight when I find a code that is both technically sound and gives the consumer an interesting reason to scan the code and be engaged.  Before your QR code campaign ends up like one of these thousands of failures here are some pointers you should follow:

Get the Technical Basics Down

What this means is ensuring your QR code density is low for quick and easy scanning (you can do this by using a link shortening program like qfuse.it or bit.ly).  Make sure there is a nice white border around your code, again to ensure quick and easy scanning.  Make sure your QR code is clearly visible and has a call to action.  Make sure your QR codes have analytics so you can analyze the scanning data and make changes as needed based on this information.  And lastly, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A MOBILE OPTIMIZED SITE!!!  This cannot be stressed enough.  If you don’t have a mobile optimized site, don’t even bother using QR codes, it isn’t worth it.  Anyone who scans your code and goes to your desktop site on their small mobile phone will quickly be exiting your site and you will have lost them forever.

salvation_army_qr_code.jpg.728x520_q85Creativity and Usefulness

Don’t just connect QR code to your website and call it a day, this serves no purpose and will again ensure the consumer quickly exits your site.  A QR code should serve a purpose and give the consumer a reason to scan your QR code.  Don’t waste their time.  This means only use a QR code if you are going to offer them something useful like coupons, discounts, interesting information, or entertainment.  And when you do offer something interesting make sure you clearly state what they will get upon scanning the code; convince the consumer it is worth their time to scan your code.  BE CREATIVE.  This might mean being creative with the code itself, its location, its size, or it might mean being creative with where the code takes the consumer or what the consumer will receive from scanning the code.  Perhaps it takes them to an online game or app, or maybe it takes them to a video or song.  Think outside the box.

Engage the consumer and keep them interested, provide them with added value and great content, ensure the technicals are perfect and you will see your QR code campaign bring back a fantastic ROI.  Use codes poorly like everyone else and your ROI will be lackluster at best.

Of course it helps to adhere to best practices as well as using a platform that helps manage all of your codes, mobile sites, and analytics in one place.

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About The Author:

Tim is an established sales & marketing professional, assisting Quick Fuse Media with discussions on mobile technologies and best practices.

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