If your business is going to advertise a service on your website or get someone to sign up for a newsletter, QR codes are a quick way to get people to the appropriate landing page, but you have to use them properly.  I will briefly explain QR codes and give you three tips to make sure you’re using them properly.

You’ve probably seen them at bus stops, on signs or in restaurant queues or on restaurant menus.  QR codes are usually square and are designed to be “looked at” with the camera on your smartphone or tablet using an app such as QR Reader.  Some shopping apps (such as Amazon) even have the function built into their app so if you’re standing in a store, you can scan a QR or barcode and they’ll bring the item up with what they’re selling it for.  Makes you nervous if you’re a brick and mortar retailer.

Realize with a QR reader, that people are using it on a mobile device, so that means that the web browser on that device is going to have to open it on a page on your site that renders it of the correct size and readability to get the conversion or action that you’re looking for (page views, subscribers, etc).

Here is an example of a page that doesn’t convert well.  These two ads were featured in the monthly print version of American Shipper magazine.

The first is for FedEx:

FedEx QR Example
You’ll notice the QR code in the lower right-hand corner.  If you take a picture with QR reader software and go to it on your browser, it’s quite small.

In fact, it’s nearly unreadable.

This page is the identical rendering that you would get if you were to visit it from your computer.  And that’s fine when you’re viewing it from your computer.  But the formatting will be inconsistent if you pinch to zoom or try to see their USP or call to action for what they want the page to do.

Let’s contrast that with an ad for Crowley:

Crowley QR ExampleCrowley understood that they had a message for the page and wanted to convey that on the page and wanted to insure that people visiting that page would also be able to see it properly.

It’s a spacious image (and if you notice the dots underneath the mobile picture on the right side, they’re offering a slider with multiple images) and the text has been sized for easy reading by the visitor.

Imagine if you were doing the same with a newsletter signup.  Make sure that you’re using a mobile conversion page for your email client provider to get people to the page with little pain and converted, therefore avoiding the dreaded “shopping cart abandonment”.

Three simple tips for QR codes.

  1. Use a link shortener.  Different devices have different quality cameras, and long web addresses make for tightly-packed QR codes.  A link shortener like goo.gl or bit.ly make for a shorter address and will more readily convert because they’re readable regardless of camera quality.
  2. Make sure that the landing page is campaign-specific.  Don’t direct it to your regular site (if your regular site isn’t responsive / adaptive and resizes for the device).  If you need to set up a mobile site for those pages, don’t be afraid to do “m.xxxxx.com” to be kind to your visitor.
  3. Track the people who visit from that campaign.  The only way to tell if something is a success or failure is to measure it.  By installing analytics on your side, and tracking the referring sources for traffic to a particular page, only then will you know its reach and more about the visitors to the site.

By using QR codes properly, you can add another dimension to the reach of your marketing.  Like all marketing efforts, remember who and how you’re doing it to ensure maximum return.


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