Five Steps for Correctly Using a QR Code to Drive Business

Written by in Campaign Optimization on November 15, 2011

As Cat from Synotac mentioned last week, QR codes, or quick response codes, seem to be growing exponentially in popularity. She gave great advice on QR codes as a user, and now we are going to approach it from the marketer’s end. How do you effectively use QR codes?

We’ve seen them in shop windows, on mailers, at check-out counters, and even on t-shirts. But, other than having fun while putting them in clever places, what’s the added value?

QR codes are a way to store data – plain and simple. The commercial use we have been seeing most recently is as a way to generate traffic to business’s homepages. But is the homepage really added value?

The most common device used for scanning a QR code is a smart phone. Now, before you go and generate a bunch of codes because everyone else is doing it, let’s think about what this means.

For someone to scan your code it requires them to:

1. Stop what they are doing;

2. Take out their phone (for women, does this mean digging to the bottom of their bag?);

3. Unlock their phone (does this mean entering a password?);

4. Wait for the phone to unlock;

5. Open their QR code reader app (which, FYI, can be downloaded for free);

6. Wait for the app to load;

7. Stabilize their hand to snap a good photo;

8. Wait for the phone to load the link.

After all of that – then they can peruse the data you have stored.

What are you going to do to make all of that work worth it? Is your webpage really enough?

Using QR codes is more than just slapping the thing on a piece of paper – it’s about creating engaging content. To do this, you need to think about the person. Who would be interested in scanning your code? Where will they see your code? When they see it, what will they be doing?

Here are five steps for effectively using QR codes.

Step One: Stop and think. Is a QR code really a good idea?

This requires understanding who your customers are.  Here is a break down, provided by ComScore, of who was scanning QR codes in June, 2011. Do your customers fit this profile?

Step Two: Identify the Goal.

What are your goals? Do you want to drive traffic in to your store? Get more likes on Facebook? Fill the pipeline with qualified leads? Identify your goal so you can craft a strategy to attain it.

Step Three: Create an Offer that achieves your goal.

What will your offer be? Is it an online coupon? Free sample? Make it relevant to your goal.

Step Four: Place the QR code somewhere relevant.

If you want to drive traffic to your store, place the QR code in your window with a prominently displayed call to action like “scan this code and come in now to get 10% off”. If your offer is a coupon, placing the QR code in the window will appeal to people’s desires for instant gratification.

Step Five: Use design that converts.

A clear and prominently displayed call to action (such as, “scan this code for your free sample!”) will motivate someone to scan, and will alleviate the anxiety of not knowing what the purpose of the code is. Try these tips for designing mobile landing pages, or check out the Response Capture 5-Page Guide to Landing Pages for more tips on design.

What are the strategies you use when using QR codes?

For more in depth information, our friends at Synotac put together a very helpful Lunch and Learn on the topic. You can review the notes, here.


Jill Ferris About the author: Jill Ferris

Jill brings resources for you to use in creating more demand using Relevant Marketing. The questions used to build the “Decision Maker’s World” are part of Response Capture’s “Guide to Discovering Your Ideal Target Market”. If you would like a free copy of the guide simply contact us and we’ll send you one in 24 hours.


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