6 Steps to Successful Marketing with QR Codes

Johannes Ahrenfelt Co-founder, 99SQUARED Limited

Posted on June 22nd 2012

6 Steps to Successful Marketing with QR Codes

QR Code for MarketingWhilst QR codes are popping up almost everywhere, many businesses are looking to capitalise on the success of the 2-D barcode but because there is not much information about successful QR marketing strategies, some of those businesses are making some huge – and sometimes costly – mistakes. Because of this, I've put together a few step-by-step tips to help you utilise QR Codes to their full potential.

STEP 1. Clarifying Your Objectives

There is no use working on a QR marketing campaign if you don’t know exactly what the Code should do for your customer or exactly why you want to go down the QR marketing route. Many businesses have begun to use this technology simply to show that they are familiar with the latest cutting-edge technology – but then they do not deliver quality content to their consumers. Therefore, you need to understand the purpose behind your QR code marketing campaign before you begin. Consider your consumers’ mind-set: do they want to save money? Save time? Gain exclusive access/content/opportunities?

STEP 2. Make it Purposeful for the Consumer

Firstly, are you intending to do a “one-off” campaign, that is, you will only share one piece of information or message with the consumer – then you only require a static QR Code. If you are looking to share different content at different times during the day/week/month then you need a dynamic QR Code. The choice is simple, go with a Code you can control as you can provide targeted messages at various times which means there is a reason to scan your Code.  

Step 3. Mobile-Friendly Content

Next, if you’ve launched a marketing campaign with qrcodes but you have little exciting information for your consumers, or you’re just planning to link them to your generic website, there is little point in you even starting the campaign. Most desktop sites look terrible on a mobile browser and so it’s important that you link to a mobile-optimised website so that when it loads, the consumer doesn’t immediately get exasperated. You also need to make the process of scanning the code exciting enough to get the consumer to scan it.

Step 4. It's All About Exlusivity

Imagine you're a a customer Browsing through lots of different products. You suddenly notice a QR code with a call to action the encourages you to:  take out your mobile device, launch an app,  scan the code and finally act to whatever message is displayed on your phone.  if you wish on the homepage of a .Com  website you would not be impressed. This is where many businesses fail to use QR codes effectively. It truly is all about offering exclusivity, whether that is an exclusive offer, exclusive content like an e-book or White Paper,  download a brand-new MP3 file, or exclusive access to forthcoming event. Giving consumers the same information through the QR code that they could already get elsewhere is ultimately a waste of a great opportunity. So,  think carefully about what you can offer your consumer.

Step 5. Make Sure Your Code is Right for Your Customer

Since QR codes are still comparatively new for many people, consider adding an explanation where you use one.  Think about it, why should they scan your code in the first place? There is no need to provide a lot of detail, but rather than placing the QR Code on your marketing material and hope they 'get it', you may want to explain something like:

“Scan this product to download the recipe straight to your phone”

"Scan to Like us on Facebook and get 20% off this purchase!"

and so on. So, work out your target market, think about why someone would want to scan and think about the Call to Action.

Step 6. ROI: Track Your Campaign

If you don’t know how many people are scanning your codes, which campaigns or sources are receiving the most unique scans, how long they are spending on the link and where in the world they are, it will be difficult for you to understand exactly how effective your marketing campaign has been. Use a QR Code software where you can schedule content in advance but also be able to tag campaigns to compare how well different Codes did in different campaigns but also in different media.


Above all, don’t forget to update the content that your QR Codes links to. Leaving it static could mean lots of wasted advertising opportunities. Be creative with your content and with the Code itself and you and your business could soon be reaping the rewards of marketing using QR Codes. 

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Johannes Ahrenfelt

Co-founder, 99SQUARED Limited

Thanks for reading my bio and article, I hope you find both interesting. If you do, why not connect with me online? People say that my coffee is too strong, what can I say, I love things in life that have taste. I also have a passion for writing about social media, education and tend to Tweet more than I should. I've had the fortune of publishing my ideas both online as well as in the traditional book format. When asked I also provide advice on mobile technology, Social Media and education. I am also the co-founder of 99Squared Limited where we provide unique ways of using QR-Codes for business and the public sector. Blog: www.johannesahrenfelt.com | Company: www.squarecode.biz
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Leslie Patterson
Posted on November 25th 2012 at 5:31PM

I really do think that you have to provide some intensive to customers in order to follow where your code leads. Perhaps some free coupons, exclusive tips, or any other incentive. Great article! Here's another. http://blog.printplace.com/printed-media-qr-codes-increased-customer-interaction/