You’ve seen these QR codes showing up everywhere. Grab the nearest magazine to where you're sitting and you will find one next to an advertisement. Guaranteed. The basic function of QR codes in marketing is when you scan them your smart phone, the code will take you directly to a website or provide information ranging from contact profiles to raw data.
QR codes are free to create, just Google “Create QR Code.” They are fun and the median income of the QR consumer is well over the national average.
But too often QR codes are used improperly. There are a few key things to avoid when marketing with a QR code, some of these may seem obvious, but major brands like Best Buy and many smaller companies fall prey to these simple mistakes:
1) Almost everyone is going to scan your QR code with a smart phone, so make sure you are sending them to a mobile-friendly website. This drives QR users crazy! You have two options here: Create a mobile-ready website or create a landing page that is mobile ready.
2) Sending people to your home page from your QR code.
This is a huge marketing opportunity. Take advantage of the fact that people who know what a QR code is, are excited to scan them. It's like a treasure hunt on your phone.
A better strategy is to send your QR code to a special QR code page. This page should be mobile friendly and it would be a great place for a promotional invite or special material. Even sending the user to a page that asks them to connect with you on various social networks would be a great idea.
3) Not double-checking that the code works. It happens.
4) Branded QR codes are just starting to show up.
There is a great feature to QR codes -- you can distort up to 30 percent of the pixels and still use the QR code. This means you can manipulate almost 1/3 of the square code and the user can still scan the QR code and be directed to your URL of choice.
Here are a couple of cool examples of custom branded QR codes: http://mashable.com/2011/04/18/qr-code-design-tips/. Notice the soft edges, color, and use of images.
QR codes are a useful way to get a high-tech user to your website, to connect with you, or even review your company. I personally have two on my business card and we have used them in marketing both online and offline. Follow the tips above and you will see an increase in your conversion with your QR code marketing.
Jabez LeBret has authored three books and is a managing partner for Get Noticed Get Found. Over the last nine years he has delivered over 700 keynote addresses in five countries. His main area of expertise is managing Gen Y in the workplace, advanced Facebook strategies, LinkedIn strategies, Google+, SEO, local directory optimization, and online marketing. He recently relocated to Chicago.