Quick Response codes, or simply QR codes are square barcodes that usually look like this:

They can vary in color and shape, and marketers use bright creative QR code design, shapes and forms with additional meaning as well to attract the clients’ attention. QR codes are put on print materials such as brochures, catalogs, cards, outdoor ads, posters and flyers.

QR codes have a great potential for engaging mobile audiences on a new level. Just like any other technology, QR codes require proper use but their ability to grab the attention of your target audience, tie up the online and offline together, along with the fun from scanning that the client gets, are worth the effort of how to use them in marketing. However, many marketers still experience problems with QR code marketing, and today we’ll dig into the issue to check on some of the best practices and most common mistakes.

QR

The technology behind QR codes is similar to the one used in barcodes but QR codes can contain more information including URL addresses or downloadable content. Some QR codes are automatic trigger for actions on the user’s devices. The widespread usage of smartphones stimulated the popularity growth of QR codes, and most QR code apps can be downloaded for free to share your landing page, bank account address or check out a viral video.

Also check out: App development cost

How Your Clients Can Use QR Codes

With the help of QR codes, your customers can:

• Visit your landing page with product information, trial offer and registration form – users get an opportunity to scan QR codes at fairs, events, billboards, and you can tell a lot more about your product or company regardless of the place due to the advantages of QR code.

• Dial a telephone number – QR code implies trigger actions for iOS and Android smartphones, so your company can be contacted much easier on the client side. Go ahead and share your call center number if phone contacts matter to your business results.

• Display a Google Maps geolocation. This is relevant for companies with multiple local offices as clients need to find them easily, and for tourism companies as sights can lead to landing pages with additional historic information in the language of the mobile device user (which is especially relevant for spots attracting international audience).

• Send a text message – if you need to transmit some complicated textual information to your client (a unique promo code, a telephone number, a banking account information, an address, etc.), you can use this option for additional communication.

• Send an email – this is another kind of trigger event you can use not to make your client print out your email address as it’s not always convenient on the go.
Download contact details card – this is great for B2B businesses, a lot like broadcasting your business card to many people at once instead of just handing it to everyone separately.

• Open up a social media profile – luckily, social media profiles load rather fast in corresponding mobile apps, or they just open up in the cross-platform mobile website versions. Anyway, the process gets easier on the customer side.

• Pay for products and services instantly – this feature is on if the credit card information is already logged in. Generally, it also depends on the country you’re paying your bills in, and the availability of such QR code scanning services with extra banking coverage.

• Integrate the product information with other mobile services that inform about customer ratings, prices and nearby alternatives to purchase it.

• Learn more about complementary products and where to buy them (in fashion or automobile industries, for example).

The range of industries that can use QR codes is not limited, and there are various benefits of QR code for business as it is another tool for communication, and effective internal and external communication is an essential driver of business success.

Retail can engage customers and share coupons to large audiences, tourism and restaurant businesses can bring their clients to the loyalty programs, companies and real people can receive their payments with the help of QR codes, AppStore or Google PlayMarket developers can invite more users to the app download pages, and large events can connect people from offline to online groups on the Internet.

Check out how companies use QR codes: mobile game developers get creative with their ads, postal card companies develop virtual playlists that can be scanned and played, coffee shops engage augmented reality and entertain their guests with dancing figures, museums add life and dynamics into static classical paintings, and Christmas gifts from department stores are accompanies by a scannable greeting message. You only need to be persuasive enough for the user for him to take time and integrate a QR code scanner in Android app or iOS device to communicate via QR codes.

Angry Birds

Most marketers have recognized the potential behind QR codes and their application for marketing but little research has been conducted to see how users implement a QR code reader to mobile app, how exactly they scan things, where they do it and what they expect as a result. You need to remember that mere putting a QR code on your printed materials or outdoor advertising won’t guarantee high traffic to your website or good downloads for your mobile app. You still have got to sell the QR code to your client first. What exactly does it mean?

Best QR Code Scanners

1. QR Code Reader by Scan. This is a free QR code scanner known for its speed and user-friendliness. It also gets a high accuracy rating, and is available for both iOS and Android.

QR Code

Available for iPhone, Android, Windows, and Kindle.

2. I-nigma. It is the most accurate code scanner in the market that has a lighting speed. The experience is flawless, and the app is recommended for scanning especially complicated QR codes.

I nigma

i-nigma is available for iPhone, Android, Windows, and Blackberry devices.

3. Zapper. This is also a very accurate QR code reading app, and another reason to install it is the special feature of paying your restaurant bills (available in some countries).

Zapper

Available for iPhone, Android , and Windows devices.

Best QR Code Generators

1. Scanova. This is a paid QR code development service with wide range of extra features including automatic error correction, dynamic corrections if needed, extended analytics and exquisite designs. It has a 14-days trial.

2. Visual Lead. This paid service offers great design opportunities because any part of your picture can be turned into a QR code.

3. ZXing project. This free QR code generating service has an error correcting report but you’ll need to share your contact information in exchange.

4. SNIPP. This free service has many colors, styles and features, and a handy autotesting feature for all QR codes.

Ways to Power Up Your QR Code Marketing

QR Code Marketing

Photo credit: clevercupcakes

• You have to make sure your QR code brings value. The user has to open up the scanning app, put the camera close enough to the QR code, and then wait until the content loads. As you see, QR code scanning takes certain time and efforts on the behalf of the customers, so they have to have a good reason for scanning it in the first place. If it turns out that your QR code only offers another ad from you, it will be a disappointment as your client is already seeing dozens of ads everywhere he goes, online and offline. Besides, you need to make a big and contrasting QR code print if you want to put it outdoors – the users need to have a comfortable scanning experience, or they will just give it up.

• Test the code before publishing it. You can try certified instruments like Google Googles or Passbook built into iOS.

• Stick to mobile optimization. This is especially important with QR codes – your landing page should be mobile-ready, fast to download and easily readable with structured menus and big fonts for comfortable reading.

• Make sure there is a dialogue in your QR code content. Your customers most likely face information noise daily – brands and companies keep on telling them about products, offers, services but most of the time, it’s a one-way dialogue. Meanwhile, QR codes can offer something more letting your customer leave the feedback and talk to you in response. Therefore, the most effective QR code marketing campaigns will drive action instead of just pushing through to gain customer’s attention and being egocentric.

• Marketing channels integrated with the QR code need to be effective. If your target landing page is confusing, or if the link is not working, or if you require a Flash player installation from your QR code scanners, it just won’t work. Just a reminder: all links in the marketing communication chain need to work flawlessly for you to fulfil your goals. So make a double check of your related marketing channels instead of focusing on the QR code only.

• Include UTM tags and other analytics ties to monitor the results of your QR code campaign. Just as with other URLs, you shouldn’t forget about Google Analytics integration, so that you can realign your process depending on the analytics results.

QR codes can be a real boost for your marketing campaign, especially if you’re using a lot of print materials or offline events. Nevertheless, you need to be customer- and task-oriented to guarantee high efficiency of QR coding campaigns. What is your experience with QR code marketing? If nothing, it’s high time to ignite your business with QR marketing. We are all ears for your original view via hello@erminesoft.com.

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