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Five Tips for Implementing a Successful QR Code Campaign

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In this article, you'll learn...

  • Five practical tips for crafting an effective QR code campaign
  • How QR codes can enhance customer engagement
  • QR code landing page pitfalls to avoid

Using QR (quick response) codes can help enrich your brand's customer interaction by adding a dynamic element to static forms of media.

Mobile-device users who have scanned a QR code (about 6.2% of the total mobile device audience) were most likely to have scanned QR codes in newspapers and magazines and on product packaging, a June 2011 survey by ComScore found.

A print ad, coupon, package, or other static marketing piece with a QR code that links to an audio or video endorsement of your product delivers a more engaging customer experience.

QR codes can be inexpensive to implement and can provide a measureable return on investment (ROI). Here are five tips for implementing an effective QR code campaign.

1. Carefully plan what you want the customer to experience

Before your IT and marketing teams create your QR code landing page, take time to plan the exact experience you want the consumer to enjoy. What information do you want to share with customers that they won't get on your website?

Give them something new and dynamic. Don't just send them to your homepage; it will be too busy and (possibly) too difficult to navigate on a mobile device screen.

Do you have interesting audio or video to share about a specific product or service you offer? Maybe a short tutorial on how to use your product? Send customers to a page where they can sign up for your email newsletter and receive a free e-book download for doing so.

What fresh content can you deliver via the QR code landing page that will enhance this touch point with the customer?

Action point: Give customers content that is unique, useful, and compelling. Don't just send them to a busy homepage.

2. Create a mobile-friendly landing page

Take the time to develop a landing page that will be quickly loaded on a mobile device and easily read there without visitors' having to constantly adjust the page or "slide" it around on their screens.

For example, if your audience is made up of busy parents, think of how they might be standing in a store with their children busily gathered around them. Create a seamless and simple engagement experience between them and your brand.

If you direct a customer to a busy storefront Web page that is graphics-heavy, the page could take too long to load, causing the customer to abandon the query.

QR codes often show up on retail catalogs; when scanned, they take the customer to a storefront. For customers using the average smartphone screen, that is a frustrating and difficult experience. It would be more productive to send customers to a mobile-friendly page that highlights a few of the company's more popular items—or one specific product line—and provides compelling content about those products.

Keep graphics to a minimum, but when you do use them make sure they nevertheless reflect your branding. Text should be spaced appropriately so it is legible on smaller screens. If a button on your landing page starts an audio, video, or download, make that button easy to find and use.

Action point: Create a branded landing page that is quick to load and easy to navigate.

3. Provide a way to get to your website for more information

Once a customer has enjoyed the content on your landing page, she may want to go to your website to get more information, to place an order, or to email the URL to herself for future browsing on her laptop.

Provide an obvious link to your homepage, storefront, or product page.

Action point: Give customers a way to engage further.

4. Establish tracking and analytics capabilities

Make sure your technical team has established a way of tracking traffic to the landing page.

If you have a QR code appearing in several publications during the same timeframe, set up separate landing pages and QR codes (even if the content on the pages are the same) to track the response across publications. If you provide a way for customers to go from the landing page to a cart page, set up a special cart page just for that originating URL for further tracking.

Action Point: Carefully plan how you will measure ROI, and make sure the analytics tool is in place before deployment.

5. Test, test, test

Have 100 coworkers and friends test the entire process—everything from scanning a print version of the QR code to viewing all of the delivered content, including watching videos, listening to audio files, or taking actions offered on the QR code landing page.

Ask them to provide feedback, including information about what type of device they used, how the text and graphics appeared, how long the page took to load, what (if any) issues they encountered when playing media, etc.

Action Point: Gather a test sample, and work out all display, navigation, and technical issues, (no matter how minor) before deployment.

* * *

Use QR codes as a way to communicate with your customers via channels that may otherwise be noninteractive. To make your QR code campaigns a success, provide customers with interesting content on a platform that is easy to navigate.

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Michelle Eichhorn is director of marketing and events for Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.. She can be found on the Web at and @eyecorn on Twitter.

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  • by Jason Middleton Wed Feb 1, 2012 via web

    Great article, we do lots of promotional products featuring QR codes, so its good to have some tips to share with our clients

  • by Nathan Hammond - Basin Printing & Imaging, Dur. CO Mon Feb 27, 2012 via web

    You can track multiple QR codes pointing to a single domain through URL-tagging with Google Analytics. This way there isn't the hosting/production of multiple domains. In addition, G.A. profile for the campaign will give metrics on the campaign as a whole, while referral information will give insight into the effectiveness of each individual code.

    Big thank-you for expressing the point of needing to plan the content out first as being one of the most important elements in a QR campaign. I see far too often people deciding "lets do QR" than as a second thought "What should the QR do?"

  • by Steven Wed Apr 11, 2012 via web

    Good tips. I would add that making a proper QR code is important. Having the URL shortened is critical because the longer the URL the denser and harder to read the QR Code becomes.

    I use this site create codes as it takes care of everything and I can even change the URL after the code is printed. It also hosts images if you want to point to a coupon.

  • by Jonathan Thu Jun 7, 2012 via web

    I think QR codes are a waste of time the consumer does not use them. Do you really think it easy to scan and use a QR code? These things were DOA.

  • by Ruth Orr Thu Aug 9, 2012 via web

    I totally disagree Jonathan! In a retail store, there is follow through. I think it depends on the business. The customer is a first time shopper, they scan the code, like your page and receive a % off coupon. Everyone is happy!

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