Best Practices for Using QR Codes

By | November 10, 2010

If you had to list the best practices for QR codes, what would they be? Would you focus on implementation (making them readable)? Defining the target audience? Design of the mobile website? Campaign goals?

As I have continued to watch these applications develop, I recently had to update my Marketers Primer “QR Codes: What You Need to Know” because some really terrific new best practices are emerging. Truly, QR campaigns are becoming more sophisticated, and as marketers begin to understand how target audiences are interacting with them, the campaigns themselves are changing.

One of the best practices I’ve seen emerging lately is “Tweet this” and “Like this” for Twitter and Facebook applications. The Ace Group recently did a Calvin Klein campaign that was intended for the United States, but thanks to social media, it ended up going viral. The 70×60 wallscape with QR code was supposed to be up for only a week, but after getting hits from all over the world, the client kept it up twice as long.

Another best practice is making sure that the code points directly to the content on the (preferably) mobile site that relates to the campaign. The code should send them directly to the page they will expect based on the call to action — in other words, it’s a campaign-specific page, not just a mobile content page.

How do you educate your clients about these and other best practices? Printers and MSPs are adding their own blogs. Case studies. Customer newsletters and emails. Increasingly, I’ve been hearing requests for free or brandable (fee-based) white papers and other promotional materials they can send out to customers.

Among those I, personally, have written include:

Print’s New Frontier: QR Codes: Bridging the Gap Between Print and the Web (distributable and brandable as your own); available from Great Reach Communications; sample by request)

QR Codes: Best Practices; (distributable as a response incentive or as part of a self-promotion campaign); available from Digital Printing Reports

Using QR Codes to Reach Today’s Busy, Mobile Consumer (distributable); available free from interlinkONE

There are other options as well, of course.

The point is that, as in the early days of 1:1 printing, the key is getting the word out there. First educating customers about how and when these codes work. Then staying on top of the best practices and making sure you’re on the leading — not the tailing — edge!

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4 thoughts on “Best Practices for Using QR Codes

  1. Patrick Whelan

    Great article and thanks for all your efforts in producing the QR Code Primer. Printers are already telling us how much they needed a tool like this!

  2. Kate Olsen

    Nice tips. Just like to add few more, QR codes helps entering to the mobile culture and the youth market. They offer an immediate, trackable response mechanism for marketing efforts.

  3. Heidi Tolliver-Nigro Post author

    Yes, absolutely. These are only the two I added to the report. There are currently 10 best practices in the list, including tracking everything!

  4. Patrick Donnelly

    I have posted a bunch of examples from a marketing perspective on how QrCodes can help boost ROI with some of the printing techniques and considerations you have posted.

    As you have probably guessed, the technology is there. It is up to us to help convince the decision makers and marketers on how powerful this new tool is.

    My goal with QrArts LLC was to show people that these codes do not have to be boring and that they can have an amazing user experience behind them to enhance your brand. Check out our blog http://www.QrArts.com for examples of our work.

    Thank you,
    Patrick Donnelly, Director of Marketing, QrArts LLC USA

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