QR code marketing could really benefit your advertising, and many businesses like yours are already using QR codes in advertising. But we're seeing that people aren't sure how to use QR code advertising effectively. In fact, we've found that most people using QR code marketing are completely missing the boat. We want to help you make the most of your efforts, and avoid making some common mistakes. If you're considering using QR code advertising, please keep the following in mind.
In case you're not sure what a QR code is, check out the image on the right. You've started seeing these popping up everywhere now. Smartphone users can scan these puppies, and they will instantly want to buy your products/services! Just kidding. They will be directed to a website/text/phone number – where you have one opportunity to impress them.
QR codes should be used to drive traffic to a specific page on a mobile website. Once somebody is on that page, what action to you want them to take? Since the user is using a phone, make it easy for them to call your office for more information. Here are a few creative ways to use QR codes in advertising:
- Print Ads – One of the best uses for QR codes. These could be in newspapers, magazines, coupons, etc. In order to be effective, figure out what you're promoting. If you're promoting a product, you want people to land on a mobile page that is about that product. If you're promoting a seminar, you want to direct people to a page where they can sign up for your seminar, or call to learn more. Either way, focus on the benefit the user will find when they reach the page.
- Pamphlets/Handouts/Articles – Another great use of QR codes. These are popular for promoting your company at trade shows, or similar events. You can write a brief paragraph about something beneficial about your industry, then have people scan the code for more information. Or, you might have a portfolio page set up that shows off some of your work/projects.
- QR Code Business Cards – A new trend is business cards with QR codes on the back. Use this code to get people to your bio page (everybody wants to see more of you, right?!), then provide an easy link to the main page of your mobile website. Or, have the code take them to a small promotion page, then use a call-to-action beside the QR code.
These are just a few good ideas for using QR code marketing. However, for every good idea on using QR codes, there are a bagillion mistakes. Please, for your sake, don't make the mistakes listed below.
- Using QR Codes on a website. We know you're excited about QR codes and can't wait to put them everywhere. But putting them on your website is not a good idea. Here's why: users are already using the internet. It is much easier – and effective – to provide a link to the page you want your visitors to see. It's a win-win situation. You are happy because you can create an easy way for users to stay on your website so you can track their behavior better. Users are happy because they don't have to waste time pulling out their phones and scanning the QR code.
- Using QR Codes instead of your website address. Your website is your most important marketing tool. You would rather have people show up on your full website than a mobile website. Also, many people still don't have a smartphone. It's not that they don't know about technology. They just may not want to burn through cash for a data plan. Don't penalize people who don't have the latest, greatest technology. Whenever you use a QR code, it's best practice to include a website address nearby.
- Using QR codes to provide duplicate information. This is minor compared to the other mistakes, and it's more of an annoyance than a technical issue. Picture this: you pick up a pamphlet that has information on it, you scan it with your smartphone, and you end up on a webpage that has… the exact… same… information. You probably won't stay on that page too long since you've already read everything! Instead, you should provide a paragraph of information, with a QR code and link to learn more information. Users are more inclined to engage with your page.
- Using QR Codes on Billboards. It wouldn't work well anyway, but it's also unsafe to have your customers trying to scan QR codes from their cars!
It's really simple. There are many free QR code generators on the market. A really simple one is the KAYWA QR Code Generator. Simply type in the URL you want to generate a code for, click “generate”, and *shizzam*… your code appears. You can even save it as an image for use later on.
We'd love to hear from you. What are some great ways that you have seen QR codes used in advertising? How about QR code mistakes? Or, do you have any great ideas for QR codes that you'd like to share with everybody?
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