QR Codes: Basics & Best Practices

QR Codes: Basics & Best Practices

Most people have seen the speckled black and white box of a QR Code. Most likely, you know that they’ve been around for a while, but have had uneven uptake among industries and around the world.

2020 changed this, making QR codes a popular feature for both marketing and customer communication efforts. The reason for this shift and its continued popularity has its roots in, like many other things, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why the QR Codes Resurgence?

Most people agree that typing in a long URL is cumbersome, and many customers simply won’t visit the website in real time if it takes too long. Companies during the COVID-19 pandemic found that having an online set of patient instructions or an online restaurant menu was a great way to save paper and avoid cross-contamination between visitors.

Earlier in the QR code evolution, many phone operating systems incorporated the ability for a QR code to be read into the normal photo application on their devices. QR codes could be generated and placed on posters or table tents and each person could use their individual phone to aim at the code and get right to the correct website. It saved time, saved paper, and could direct users to any website on the internet.

Now, with the added benefit of keeping people safe from spreading the virus, 2021 has seen no slow-down in QR code use. Here are a few QR code basics to keep in mind:

Applications For QR Codes in Marketing

Within website marketing in particular, the uses for QR codes are essentially to drive engagement and to prompt further research.

Whether you place a QR code that connects to a special offer on a product’s packaging, add a QR code to a billboard or bench ad, or include QR codes in sponsorship materials or magazine advertisements, they play into a person’s curiosity and prompt them to look further. Since a QR code is shorter and more automated than a long URL, the main benefits are that these codes can take up less space in your design and make it easier for your audience to get to your offer.

While the most straightforward website to link in the QR code is your own home page or product page, you can also create a game or giveaway that rewards viewers for visiting. Many people are also using QR codes to make it easy to leave a Google or Facebook review of a product or service, one photo click and they can start typing their thoughts.

4 Tips for Excellent QR Code Use

Test the Experience Before Deploying

Not every QR code redirects perfectly, and sometimes, unexpected snags will be enough for people to abandon the experience of using the code. Make sure you have multiple people with various levels of tech savvy try the process before you launch.

Use In Combination With Other Tactics

Some people won’t love the QR code, no matter what you do, but it’s a good combination effort: don’t make an entire advertisement a QR code, for instance, because in most cases you’ll also want text and photos to draw in multiple audiences.

Make it Worth It For Customers

If you are first deploying QR codes in marketing, consider a coupon, offer, or early launch information when someone uses a QR code. Even if you won’t always use QR codes for discounts, this little win at the beginning can cue viewers to expect great things when they check out a code.

Track Your Impact Using Web Analytics

QR Codes lead to a particular website URL, and with your site, you can track whether the web address that you use for your QR Code is actually getting more traffic than before the code was deployed.

Tracking helps you know what kinds of language and design around the code were effective in getting people to try them out and follow through.

With these strategies in your pocket, you’re prepared to make QR codes 2021’s most surprising win for your website marketing and business operations.

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