Quick Response (QR) codes are turning up more frequently in small business advertising and marketing materials, including posters, business cards, packaging, drink coasters and you name it. But unless local businesses use them properly, QR codes are wasting your time. But few businesses are using QR codes in a way that lets them track their marketing campaigns effectively, says Scott Wilson, founder and CEO of RankHigher.ca, a Canadian internet marketing and SEO firm.
“QR codes used the right way can be a fantastic marketing tool,” says Wilson. “Wouldn’t it be great to track your web traffic directly back to that beer coaster in the restaurant or the coupon you mass mailed to thousands of homes? That’s vital information for any marketer. The problem is that most companies are missing these opportunities because of basic mistakes.”
Here are the three most common QR code miscues and what to do about them:
Miscue #1: Using cookie-cutter QR code patterns churned out by online generators, which are mistakenly read as direct traffic to a website by Google Analytics. Solution: Have the QR code send traffic to a URL location where Google’s tracking software can monitor your marketing work and redirect to the desired location.
Miscue #2: Using long URLs in QR Codes makes complicated codes that are difficult or impossible for consumers to scan. Solution: Keep the URL short so your QR code will be simpler and easier for scanners to read, not to mention easier to fit on a business card.
Miscue #3: Using third-party services, such as bit.ly, to shorten URLs attached to QR codes, leaving them vulnerable to potential technological problems or service changes. Solution: Host your QR code URL on your own domain so you have full control to quickly fix errors. If a third party URL shortener goes down, so does your entire QR code marketing campaign.
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About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.