Are you using QR codes to drive traffic to your mobile website? If not, you should be. QR codes are the latest marketing craze here in the States, but they’re old news over in Japan. For those not familiar with QR codes they look similar to bar codes. They are those little square barcode-looking things that you’re seeing everywhere you turn. Marketers are putting QR codes in creative places in order to deliver a message or drive readers to their website.
When you see a QR code on a product, TV commercial, business card, etc. you can whip out your smart phone, open your QR code reader, and snap an image of the QR code. You are then taken to a marketing message or website landing page from whoever created the QR code. As you can probably guess, QR codes are great tools for driving readers to websites from anywhere on the planet. In this article we are going to review the benefits of using QR codes, list some of the top QR code generators, provide tips for creating successful QR codes, and review the steps you need to take to create your very own QR codes.
Benefits of Using QR Codes to Drive Mobile Website Traffic
Photo by ideum
QR codes are the latest craze. You see them everywhere now. The main reason that we are seeing the widespread use of QR codes is due to the overwhelming benefits QR codes provide both the creators and the consumers of QR codes. The following are some of the top benefits QR codes can provide website owners:
- QR codes are new and “cool”, which leads many people to want to find out what they are all about. This means a steadily increasing number of QR code consumers are out there just waiting to spot your QR code.
- QR codes can be printed on almost anything (See “10 Cool And Inspiring Uses Of QR Codes: The Latest Hottest Thing“). There are no excuses for being unable to get QR codes in front of your target audience. Find out where you readers spend their time, what products they use, and get creative with the placement of your QR codes.
- QR codes require no URL input into a web browser or mobile browser. Simply scan the QR code and land on a website. It’s that easy!
- QR codes are easily trackable. You can create different QR codes for each of the different vehicles which you place the code. This way you can track which vehicles are performing best.
- QR codes INCREASE mobile website traffic! Want to attract new website visitors? Start using QR codes.
These are just a few of the many benefits QR codes can offer website owners. Now that you have a better understanding of how QR codes can benefit your website, let’s review some of the top QR code generators in case you want to start using them!
What can be Linked to a QR Code?
We have glossed over a few of the main things that QR codes are usually linked to, but there are quite a few different things that you can direct QR code consumers too. Obviously for website owners, linking consumers to your website is a good idea, but what if you have a YouTube Channel and want them to see a new video you produced? What if you’re hosting an event somewhere and want to provide a map to the event? These are a few of the many things that can be linked to QR codes. Let’s review a few others:
- Website or landing page URL
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Text message
- Google Maps
- Calendar event
- Social media services (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- RSS feed
Even though the goal is to increase website traffic with QR codes there are definitely different ways of doing it. Using QR codes can be an effective marketing strategy, but they don’t just have to be used to drive direct website traffic. Sometimes it may be better to drive people to a YouTube video and then hope that the video is valuable enough that they want to click-through to your website from YouTube. It really depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Many of you will use QR codes to drive QR code consumers directly to your website, but I wanted to show you that there are more uses than just driving website traffic if your needs change.
Tips for Creating QR Codes
By now you must be salivating at the opportunity the QR codes can provide you. Before we get into the steps you need to take to create a successful QR code campaign, let’s first go over a few tips that might help you ensure success. For the most part, creating QR codes is a very easy task. With that said, there are still things that you can do, and things that you can avoid, in order to ensure that your QR codes function properly. Here are a few tips that you should consider when creating a QR code:
- Size Matters – Some people create QR codes so small that QR code readers cannot reliably scan them. The absolute smallest that you want to go with the size of your QR code is “1 x 1″.
- Adequate Quiet Zone Space – Quiet Zone space is the white space around your QR code. When printing the QR code on your marketing vehicle be sure to have enough white space around the code. This helps QR code readers read the code. A good rule to follow is to have the white space be about 4x as large as one of the QR code modules (the little black bars that make up a QR code).
- Have a Plan – Like any other marketing tactic that you implement for your website you want to have a plan for your tactic. Be sure to take time to think through your goals for the QR code campaign. What are you trying to achieve? Determine how you’ll determine success. Figure out the best possible way to achieve those goals and then go ahead and implement the campaign.
- Set up Data Tracking – Many QR code generators provide data tracking and analytics. That’s great, but what if you decide to put QR codes on a few different vehicles (ie. your business card, a poster, etc.), how will you determine which vehicle is driving the most response? Be sure to create separate QR codes for each vehicle.
- Use URL Shorteners - Using URL shorteners help with data tracking, but more importantly, some QR code readers cannot properly launch longer URLs. Having a shorter URL will guarantee that everyone who scans your code will land on your website.
- Utilize Landing Pages – Don’t simply link your QR code to your home page. Link them to a specific landing page, blog article, etc. Serve up your QR code consumers a specific piece of information.
Create a QR Code
OK, it’s FINALLY time to create your very own QR code. For this example, we are going to use Maestro, which was recommended above. Each QR code generator has different steps involved and, even within the same QR code generator sometimes the steps are different depending on what you’re linking to (ie. URL, text, email, etc). We will create a QR code linking to a URL since that probably what most of you will be using QR codes for. Follow the steps below to create your own QR code:
- Come up with your QR code plan – Determine your goals and what you will link to
- Navigate to QR code generator website
- Grab the URL you want to drive QR code consumers to and shorten it with a URL shortener like bit.ly
- Paste your shortened URL into the URL field
- Add a heading to your QR code – This gives QR code consumers an idea of what they can expect if they scan the image
- Add a sub-heading to your QR code – This is optional and simply provides more information to QR code consumers. Add a call-to-action here.
- Click ‘Advanced Options’ and set the width of the QR code. Remember not to make it too small. Think about the vehicle you’ll be using and then set the width based on that.
- Download the QR code image or copy the HTML to paste it into your website.
Some QR Code Generators
There are a ton a FREE QR code generators out there. Some are better than others. Here’s a few of our favorite QR code generators:
That’s it! Pretty easy, huh? Again, each QR code generator is slightly different, but for the most part, these are the main steps you need to take to create a QR code. Please be sure to scan our QR code to join 1st Web Design on Facebook! ;)
Is anyone currently using QR codes? How have they been working for you? Please leave your comments below.