Should You Use QR Codes in Your Next Promotion?

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
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Sample QR code Whether you’re familiar with QR codes or not, chances are you’ve seen them on brochures, flyers, and maybe even websites. They are growing in popularity, and some of you may be wondering if it’s a bandwagon you should hop onto. Let’s help you figure that out.

First a quick lesson – QR stands for “Quick Response” and it’s basically a barcode for smartphones to scan. Scanning a QR code will link the smartphone to a website or message. Instead of having to type in the URL of your website promotion, users can simply scan the QR code and the phone will open up a browser and sraight go to that URL.

Sounds pretty snazzy, right? Should you be setting up QR codes? Let’s find out…

Are your customers tech-savvy?
If your customers are older or tend to be computer novices, then they are unlikely to know what to do when presented with a QR code and don’t care enough to find out. If your audience isn’t likely to own a smartphone, then QR codes are a waste of your time.

Do you do any offline marketing?
If all your marketing efforts are online only, then you don’t need to bother. QR codes on a website are pointless because the user is already online. The beauty of QR codes are their ability to get offline users to your online store via mobile phone.

Are you ready?

If QR codes sound like a great fit for you, then you first need to determine where you want to use them. You could include them on the flyers you hand out at trade shows or festivals. You could print it onto the back of a t-shirt and wear it to popular hangouts like malls and Starbucks.

Set up your website

Where do you want to direct visitors once they scan your QR code? If it’s simply to get your website more widely circulated, then your homepage will suffice. If you are running a special promotion, set that up first before you jump to code generation.

Generate your code

There are numerous websites that can generate your QR code for free. Trying searching for “qr code generator” to find one you like. The code you see in this article was generated at QR Stuff.

Test your code

Before you publicize your shiny new QR code, make sure it works! Scan it with your smartphone and make sure it does what it’s supposed to do. If this is your first time scanning a QR code, you may need to install a code reader. Once you’ve determined that your code works great, test it again after you’ve printed it. You want to make sure the printer didn’t smudge or otherwise ruin your QR code.

Track it

Finally, to gauge how successful your QR campaign was, you should have some way to measure your QR visitors. An easy way would be to direct your QR code to a specific page that gets traffic from nowhere else. You can track traffic to that page using analytics or even a simple page counter. This is how you will be able to determine if QR codes are worth you time in future promotions.

Zoe is a web designer by day and a caped super-hero by night. Okay not really, but she really is a web designer at Nexternal with over 14 years of experience coding HTML, CSS, and other magical web things. She also enjoys helping others, which is a bit like channeling her inner hero.      Google+ Profile

3 Comments

  1. I frequently use QR codes to complement a website listed on a brochure or business card. I use them to link to email opt-in forms to capture new leads and use a special promotion as the bait to get them to fill out their info.

    I also use shortened urls next to the QR code that will redirect to the special offer page I want them to go to. Since you have limited space on a business card, this is a great way to make sure they get where you want them to go.

    Most importantly though, you MUST, be able to track the lead source for all this traffic through Google Analytics. Instead of having to create multiple landing pages with different urls. Just create one landing page (it could even be your main homepage) and then use the Google URL Builder to append important lead source, campaign name, and content data to the URL.

    Then create your QR code off of that really long URL. Anytime someone scans your QR code and goes to your site, Google Analytics will fetch the lead source info you attached to the URL and generate traffic source reports for you.

    Reply
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