Using QR codes? 6 simple strategies to boost their effectiveness

Using QR codes? 6 simple strategies to boost their effectiveness

There was a time when everyone was crazy about using QR codes in marketing materials. And just by using them, you were guaranteed advertising success. You were cool. Your business was on trend.

Except it didn’t work this way. Most advertisers weren’t using them properly and therefore weren’t experiencing success. To reap benefits from integrating QR codes into your advertising, keep reading.

QR stands for “quick response” code.

QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes which can quickly and easily be scanned by most smart phones. They’re free to create and easy to use. They can perform all kinds of useful functions when scanned, from directing you to a web page, to dialing a phone, to hosting an image.

Businesses rarely 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. Let’s take a moment to learn from the Flor product catalog — and take advantage of two strategies used here to boost your QR code marketing effectiveness.

QR-scan11. Include your web link in small print underneath the QR code.

Remember, not everyone uses a Smartphone yet…or wants to pull it out and snap your code at the moment they’re reading your ad. Why waste your message? In the Flor example circled in pink, Flor has included their web address just below their QR code. You should do that, too.

2. 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. Flor uses an orange burst with the text “see what makes Flor different.” They also 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.

QR-scan23.  If needed, shorten your web page address.

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 URLs — and they are too long for practical use in small advertising spaces.

Shorten your long website page address into a very compact one with these free services:

In the FLOR page sample, Flor shortened their QR code page address from to The shortened URL is easy to write down or type into a browser.

4. Make your QR code large.

If the code is a central feature of your business card design, rather than squashed into a corner, viewers will have no choice but to scan the code (assuming they have a Smartphone).

5. Be creative and thoughtful.

Have your code take viewers to a clever video introducing yourself or your services, to a web page to win tickets to your next event, or to a specific product you’re selling via ad or brochure. This last idea can be really useful for nonprofit organizations seeking donations — have the code take donors directly to the secure web page for entering credit card data.

6. Optimize your website for mobile devices and set up Google analytics to track your QR code web traffic.

Remember that wherever your code leads, it has to be easy to look at on a Smartphone, and therefore should link to a responsive website.

QR codes  are a mark of our connectivity and digital culture. Make them more effective by treating them as part of the advertising message.

Useful QR code links