8 Tips for a Great QR Code Campaign


Bordeaux QR Code Example

We see them everywhere.  And hear about them constantly.  Hype is followed by confusion, leading most to a lifeless campaign, barely worthy for the consumer’s ever shrinking attention.

The QR code.  So much potential, yet so many unanswered questions.  Where do I begin?  Who is the audience?  How many people know what a QR code is?  What should it link to?

As you work through your tourism marketing strategy, consider this article a quick reference guide for the QR code campaign.  8 tips and questions to consider before creating that little black and white square.

8 Tips for a Great QR Campaign

Create the content first.

It is the common trait of a poor QR code execution, lackluster content.   Often the result of pushing the medium before the message, it not only ruins your campaign, but every other QR code the consumer may come in contact with.  Create the compelling content first, then, ask yourself two questions.  1) Would this content be logically accessed by a mobile phone?  2) Is the content too complex to be accessed by a simple URL?

Then, the strategy.

What is the goal?  Downloading wallpaper to the customer’s phone?  Eh, not so much.  We already have great content, but what do we want the consumer to do with it?  Why are we asking them to scan our code?  What do we want from them?  Once you determine the goal for your QR campaign, you can begin to assess the success of the campaign.

Understand why URL length is important.

It is.  In simple terms, the longer the URL, the more complex and detailed the QR code image will be.  See the example below.  Two codes, both going to the same Travel 2.0 article.  One is using the full URL (http://travel2dot0.com/2011/04/why-your-qr-promo-sucks/) and one is using the full URL filtered through a link shortener (http://ow.ly/6AhLw).

See the difference?  One is much more forgiving when scanned quickly or with a poor quality camera phone.

QR Code Example

Think about your audience.

The average QR code is being scanned by a middle-aged (34-54) woman, looking at product packaging and interested in downloading a coupon.  Now, what did you say about free wallpaper?

What should I do with this little box?

Provide guidance to the newbies.

Depending on which stats you want to believe, the majority of mobile users do not know what a QR code is, let alone scanned one.

Recent numbers peg that knowledge to about 36% of people, but for our purposes, let’s just pretend you need to explain QR codes to everyone who interacts with your visitors guide, print ad or bus shelter poster.

Unlike the example to the right.

Mobile always.

This really should have been tip number one.  There are countless examples of a QR campaign that directs to a non-mobile site.  That is a huge mistake.  Like only printing the first nine digits of your toll-free number (877- 225-436).  Yeah, don’t do that.

Evaluate the real-world placement.

Recently, I noticed a QR code in a 30-second television spot.  Only issue, aside from being ill-conceived, the code was only on-screen for about 4 seconds.  Not enough time to get my phone, walk up to the TV, open the scan app and take the picture.  Poor placement.  Or what about a subway ad, ski lift line or side of a bus?  Consider cell signal, time available and size.

Test, test, test.

Don’t just test the link on your computer.  Print a version, plaster on a window or in a magazine.  Snap a few pictures, try to download the code.  Does it work properly?  What about size of the code?  Signal?  Does it go to the right mobile page?  Test and then, test again.

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