3 Tips For the Smart Use of QR Codes

For our first blog post at Embellishable, I wanted to discuss a growing trend in marketing technology that many people are asking about: QR Codes. QR codes have actually been around for several years, but they are now starting to become much more common. If you aren’t familiar, QR codes are 2-D symbols containing data that can be read by a QR reader which is available on most mobile phones. Most codes contain a hyperlink that opens a webpage in the user’s phone. Many people are confused as to why they are seeing so many of these “bar-code-like” symbols all over the place, and others have eagerly started to use them without really understanding their potential. Here are some tips for making the best use of QR codes:

  1. Put QR Codes on actual stuff

    I see people putting QR codes on their websites, facebook pages, and email signatures (maybe because this can be done fast and for no cost). But unless your purpose is to have people bookmark your link in their mobile phone (which is valid), a QR code on someone’s computer screen isn’t terribly useful. It’s faster, after all, to click with your mouse. The real power of QR codes is placing them on stuff in the real world. QR codes essentially make things that aren’t on the internet – clickable! They can be used to link the physical and digital worlds. They are often used in printed materials like business cards, posters, brochures, and advertisements. But what is becoming more popular is to put them on actual products like t-shirts, mugs, flashlights, or any number of promotional items. Anything that you are customizing with your name, logo, or contact information, you can consider including a QR code!

  2. Make Landing Pages Relevant

    Just as with internet ads, you want QR codes to link to relevant content. Don’t just send people to your home page. You can make as many codes as you’d like, so customize them for your audience. If you put a QR code on a mug, the page it links to should at the very least say something like “Thanks for clicking on my mug!”. But the more relevant the content, the better. If you are distributing promotional products at a certain event, the code should take them to a page related to the event and those type of customers. You can really create an effective, and measurable, campaign by using a code with a special offer or for other specific use, such as linking to emergency contact information for an urgent care center (see photo).

  3. Make Landing Pages Mobile Friendly

    Since QR codes are read by smart phone apps, you want the page that they reach via the code to look nice on a mobile phone — not to mention any pages that are linked from that page. There are many tools available that create mobile-formatted versions of your webpages or even your whole website. And be sure to test your code before printing on hundreds or thousands of cards, magnets, or keychains!

There is certainly a lot more to QR codes, but these basic guidelines will get you started on the right track. As consumers are spending more and more time browsing and shopping on mobile devices, QR codes look like they are here to stay and are a great way to make it easy for people to engage with you “mobile-ly” if done effectively and creatively. Have fun!

Let me know in the comments if you have any interesting uses for QR codes!

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2 Responses to “3 Tips For the Smart Use of QR Codes”

  1. Ruth September 6, 2011 1:11 pm #

    Interesting blog post. If you were to print a code on your business card would you most likely direct it to your website?

    • Craig September 6, 2011 1:13 pm #

      Good question. You could, but it’s better to have a page that specifically welcomes people that came to your company’s website via your business card – especially if there is more than one person at your company.

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