Smartphones have exceeded 50% market penetration since the beginning of 2013. As smartphone adoption rates increase so will the literacy involved in using associated technologies. There hasn’t been a better time to include QR codes into your marketing mix. But it’s not enough to have a great mobile marketing platform to generate and manage your QR codes, you also need a great marketing strategy, specifically, one that keeps in mind the mobile nature of QR codes.

There are three important things to keep in mind when developing a marketing strategy that includes QR codes. First thing to keep in mind is the ‘pre-scan’ (basically, the things that lead to a scan). This can consist of, among other things, ad placement and presentation.  The second thing to keep in mind is the ‘post-scan’; once a person scans the barcode, will it lead to conversion? The final thing to keep in mind is success attribution. You must set up the campaign in such a way that you can run an analysis on your campaign to see which advertising mediums and presentations were most successful. Let’s go into more detail on each of these aspects.

1. Pre Scan QR Marketing

Skycore can generate an unlimited amount of QR codes for you, but it is up to you to use common sense in their placement. One thing you most likely do not want to do is place a QR code online, any QR code placed online can just as easily be clicked (assuming the QR codes response is to direct to a landing page). There is also no reason to place a QR code in places like the subway where there is no reception and the lighting is bad. You might also want to try and avoid placing the QR codes in places where the scanner is moving relative to the target; this excludes ads on taxis as well as highway billboard ads. It’s also important to keep in mind the texture of the surface the QR shows up on. Curves, folds or creases can distort the QR code; this excludes the use on flags, banners and t-shirts. There is also research indicating that most scans are done at home or in a retail environment. This might be indicative of a reluctance to use a camera or scanner in certain environments. The research must be taken with a grain of salt, however, since it may be the case that most scans happened in those environments since those environments are where barcodes are most likely to appear. Still, it’s important to survey your audience and see what environment they would be comfortable scanning in (you can easily create and distribute mobile surveys on the Skycore platform).

While ad placement is important to consider, it’s worth nothing if the ad itself isn’t designed to drive the scanning action. The most important way to encourage someone to scan is to provide them with a reason to do so. It is not enough to simply imply a reason scanning the barcode would be worthwhile. A marketer must spell it out to the consumer with a clear, concise, and compelling call to action. The CTA must be one of the most prominent parts of the ad, if not the most prominent. It is also important to have a large QR code. Large QR codes (not too large though) are not just easier to scan, but are in their own right an eye-catching CTA that says “Scan me”. You might also want to add a set of instructions on how to scan the code, for the many recent smartphone adopters.

2. Post Scan QR Marketing

Now that you’ve gone through all the trouble of getting people to scan your QR code you want to retain as many of them as you can. There is no surer way of losing a mobile prospect than sending them to a desktop landing page. You can easily build a versatile mobile landing page with Skycore’s mobile page builder. With the Skycore platform, each landing page you create is automatically assigned a QR code image which you can easily save and distribute to the ad creators. Once a customer arrives at a mobile optimized landing page, navigation, aesthetics and retention are increased dramatically over a desktop page.

On the landing page you can put many things that increase the relevancy of the landing page and ad. You can add a map that lists nearby locations to give the customers a sense of relevancy and immediacy. Offers can be placed is Passbook pass format directly on the landing page along with an opt in for future offers. Engaging images and videos can also be placed on the page to complete the customer experience. Mobile landing pages can be every bit as versatile as their desktop counterparts.

On the mobile landing pages, as on the QR code advertisements, the call to action is important. Whatever action you want the person to perform must be clearly stated on the buttons used to prompt the action. Aside from having a compelling reason to click, it’s also important to draw attention to the button or opt-in form by giving it bold and contrasting colors. The Skycore mobile landing page builder was built with this in mind and there are many options available to draw the prospect’s attention.

3. QR Code Marketing Data Analysis and Attribution

Using QR codes, it’s easy to track what succeeds and what doesn’t. Since customers don’t have to type in a URL to reach the landing page and since customers don’t see the actual URL you have the freedom to use unsightly and complicated URLs in your ads. Previously URLs in offline marketing collateral had to be simple so that customers could type them into a browser. This limited the ability to include parameters in the URL that would otherwise have helped track the source of the landing page visit or conversion. But now, extremely long  URLs can contain multiple parameters and then be shortened into a TinyURL which can then be encoded into a QR code. Now you can track the success of various offline advertising incarnations with analytics tools that read and generate the various URL parameters. This can help in tracking which advertising mediums and collateral design have the biggest return on investment.

In addition to tracking the advertising medium and variation that lead to a scan or conversion, you can also collect very detailed location data about the landing page visitors. If the customer’s settings allow it, the landing page can collect the visitor’s exact location at the time of scan using the phone’s GPS. Location data can then be correlated with other data such as conversion data and time data as well as data about which advertisement the customers was exposed to. Analyzing all these data points it should be easy to find out who is converting and under which circumstances.

All marketers should be aware of the power and precision that QR codes bring to the table. But while QR codes do have a lot of potential, proper execution is key. If you want to integrate QR codes into your offline marketing initiatives, be sure the integration is more than just pasting a QR code on all ads.

You can try out QR code integration for free on the Skycore mobile marketing platform or call us (617.314.7688) for custom options.