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Weekend Warriors: 7 Steps to Successful QR Codes

Posted on 3.02.2012

QR Codes have become the new marketing piece for businesses and their brands. The awareness of a QR Code is becoming more evident than ever; you can see QR Codes on billboards, magazines, television commercials – even on houses.

The beauty of the QR Code is the interaction with the mobile phone. Scanning a QR Code offer is like a box of assorted chocolates, never knowing what you will get next. That’s why we recommend that to maximize scan rates, you should tell the customer what they will receive.

With the increasing growth of QR Codes, businesses need to find a way to increase the number of scans and stand out from the crowd. QR Codes can often be associated to the Ugly Duckling in product placement. The black and white barcode does not match up to social media logos from Facebook and Twitter. Many may look at the QR Code and are unaware of what they are scanning. This is due to the lack of branding and direction.

How do we improve our QR Code Campaigns? Here are seven tips to help maximize success:

1. Use a QR Code Expert
QR Codes are extremely fragile and can be broken when adjusting sizes. Using a professional graphic designer will set up your campaign for the best possible success with a QR Code. Please note that creating a code can require much more than a free online generator might have to offer.

2. Tracking and Analytics
It is always good to know the success of your QR Code by the numbers. Using sites like, you know the number of scans your QR Code receives by the minute. With tracking sites, you will be able to find the stats of each code scanned and hope to build on future campaigns. If you are using a mobile site with your QR Code, you should also track these pages with Google Analytics to help manage future success.

3. Call to Action
Letting your users know what they are getting can increase your scan rate tremendously. QR Codes are like Christmas presents; we want to be excited when we open them. Give your fans a hint to what will be inside. For example: “Scan to Win”, “Scan for Exclusive Content”, “Scan to like”. Giving these clues will hopefully attract the user before scanning.

4. Other Forms of Entry
Not everyone knows how to scan a QR Code. Using an alternate point of entry will help your campaign in succeeding its goal. Sites like offer text message marketing campaigns that pair perfectly with QR Codes. Here is an example on how to incorporate text message marketing into your call to action: “Scan the Code or text “Promos” to “84444”.

5. Add Branding and Color
Standing out among a crowd can be difficult, especially in the realm of QR Codes. By branding your QR Code with both logos and colors, your code will shine. Would you prefer your television picture in black and white or full color? Taking this measure can be difficult and it is recommended to use a professional QR Code designer for the best possible scan rate.

6. Mobile Landing
Have you ever seen a movie that had an amazing preview, but the end result was dissatisfying?  If you give the user a clever QR Code or incentive to scan, be sure your result is MOBILE optimized. If your site is not mobile, your fan will have a terrible experience. Add social media links, incentives to win, and don’t forget mobilized contact information (a great way to generate leads!).

7. Testing, Testing and Testing
The final and most important step in a QR Code campaign is testing your end result. Before sending to print or any sort of live campaign, please be sure to thoroughly test your QR Code. Every smartphone device as well as scanner applications give different results (based on error). This means you should test your QR Code on at least one iPhone, Android and Blackberry device. It is recommend you also use at least two different QR Code applications to test these codes. The last thing you want to see is your campaign fail due to lack of testing.

If a user decides to scan your QR Code, they are interested in your product or what you have to offer; and this is exactly why you need to ultimately satisfy them. Going low budget on a QR Code campaign is possible, but will also limit your success.

Lack of experience may also hurt your chances of a successful campaign, which is why it is recommended to use experts. If you incorporate all of the above in your next promotion, you will be rewarded with a captivating QR Code Campaign.

About the author: Frank Mazza is the mobile developer and QR Code expert for mobile marketing firm Advanced Telecom Services (ATS), which has developed Custom QR Codes and mobile Web campaigns for clients such as Polo Ralph Lauren, CNN, Subway, Sprint, Garnier, Comcast, USL Lacrosse and the National Football League. See some of ATS’ unique QR Codes here.

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