Improved ad effectiveness with QR codes

Within the past few years, Quick Response Codes have become a mainstream marketing asset for businesses of all sizes. QR Codes are unique because they connect the tangible print world to the digital realm. Since they are free to generate, it is easy for even the smallest business to incorporate them into a marketing strategy. Keep in mind a few key things when leveraging the power of QR Codes. Tracking: As with any marketing tactic, the only way to know whether it works is by tracking results. All of the major QR Code-generating websites offer free registered accounts. Having a registered account means that a business can 1) keep track of all QR Codes that have been created, 2) manage the web address that the codes point to, and 3) most importantly, track the number of clicks/scans that each individual code has received.

Compatibility: Due to the number of smartphone brands on the market, not all phones read QR Codes the same way. Thus, it is essential that a QR Code is tested thoroughly on a number of different devices prior to being implemented. In real estate, the saying is “Location, location, location.” In the world of QR Codes, however, it is “Test, test, test!”

Functionality: It is important when using QR Codes to keep the ultimate goal in mind. What is the main goal of the code? Is it to educate? Entertain? Motivate? Be sure the code destination paves a clear road to the desired result.

Destination: The digital world is fast-paced, and consumers aren’t going to want to hunt for information. When you’re linking a QR Code to a website, it is important that the site is mobile-friendly (if it’s not a mobile site), and that the code links directly to the destination page. For instance, if the goal is to fill out an entry form, the code should land the user on the “Forms” page. Landing pages are great destinations for special deals or for one-time information.

Dos and Don’ts

Do use a QR Codes on: business cards, brochures, direct mail, print ads, storefront window signs, and any other marketing materials

Don’t use QR Codes in e-mail signatures, on Facebook profiles or on websites. The biggest exception to this rule is if the QR Code is linking to a smartphone app download page.

Do take advantage of the short-code URLs that many QR Code generators create automatically. These can be used for cross-promotion through e-mails, social media and other media.

Don’t get too fancy with the design. Although shifting the color to a dark blue or purple might be a good way to match branding, adding a company logo will most likely cause the code to fail on a number of, if not all, devices.

Do take advantage of the different features. QR Codes aren’t limited to websites; they can also generate e-mails, tweets, text messages and more. Just remember to test, test, test!

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Since QR Codes are free and easy to create, don’t be afraid to test them on a number of different marketing materials. Numerous codes can be created for the same destination but be used in separate campaigns – this helps with tracking the success!

Looking for a good QR Code generator? is an industry favorite, because it provides free accounts with great tracking; a number of file formats to download, including .eps; and it includes the functionality of changing the destination URL without altering the code. Do you prefer a different generator? Have additional questions? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

written by: Alexandra Guth