Using a QR code? Don't forget 2 simple strategies to boost their effectiveness

We see lots and lots of QR codes added to advertising today. Rarely, though, do businesses take full advantage of the QR code's graphic placement in their message. Just plunking your QR code into your ad is wasting a potentially valuable marketing message. Above is a page sample from the wonderful and visually lovely Flor product catalog. Let's take a moment to learn from Flor — and take advantage of two strategies used here to boost your QR code marketing effectiveness.
  • Include your web link in small print underneath the QR code. Remember, not everyone uses a smartphone. Why waste your message on only those who have one? In the example above circled in pink, Flor has included their web address just below their code.
  • Use a call to action next to the QR code. Give viewers a headline or some kind of message that provides a reason to use the QR code or visit their website. Entice me, invite me or make me feel like I simply must check out what you're offering. On the page above, Flor uses an orange burst with the text "see what makes Flor different." In the sample below, next to the pink star, they include the text "Keep the inspiration coming" above the QR code (which links people to their catalog subscription page). This approach is so much more interesting and inviting than using a "naked" QR code.


If needed, shorten your web page addresses. There's a trick for shortening those long URLs so that you actually can include them below your QR code in tiny type. Many of us are stuck with a very long string of characters and numbers on our page links — many are too long for practical use in advertising spaces. There are free services that allow you to shorten your long website page address into a very compact one. Try http://tinyurl.com/. This one is just like the name says: turns your long URL into a tiny URL. Another site commonly used for this is https://bitly.com ("shorten, share and track your links").

In the page sample above, Flor shortened their QR code page address from "http://www.flor.com/catalogrequest/index/catalogsubscribe?utm_source=catalog&utm_medium=%28none%29catalog&utm_content=catalogrequest&utm_campaign=fall2011qr&rcode=catalog" to http://good.gl/nMBgr. The shortened URL is easy to write down or type into a browser.

QR codes are cool...we see them everywhere as a mark of our connected web culture. Don't forget to make them more effective by treating them as part of the advertising message.