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Many of you have seen the little barcodes on a letter, a billboard, online, or other printed material. Certain creative companies have put a QR code and nothing else on their marketing piece, to get curious viewers to scan it. They were a hit when they came out, and Apple i0S 7 even includes a QR scanner in Passbook. The barcode can take the viewer to any location that the creator wants; ideally, a website, or a good landing page. We use QR codes for our direct mail pieces; mostly integrated with PURLS. While Apple Pay is the gateway to the next hit marketing tool, NFC, we have to content ourselves with QR codes until Apple Pay allows developers to create apps that will work with NFC chips outside of payment.

Originally, we thought they might be QR codes might be completely dead, after reading articles like this one. However, these are the beliefs about QR codes and how to save them from failure:

QR codes don’t lead to the right place, or are hard to read

Marketers use free generators to create QR codes, and sometimes they’re fuzzy, or the generator is hiding ads within the code. The QR codes we make are with a special generator that are always crystal clear and lead the right place. Make sure you invest in a good generator, and double and triple check with multiple phones that the QR code is going where it needs to go.

Marketers don’t see a ROI on QR codes

If you’re using a free generator, then you don’t have a way to track viewership. If you have Google Analytics set up on your website, the reports are going to read QR codes as direct traffic instead of referred traffic, which doesn’t help you at all. Make sure to create a dashboard with your QR code generator, like United Connect. Every time someone scans the QR code, it’ll be tracked with a dashboard, especially if it’s a direct mail piece, and you’ve included a PURL.

Just use text message marketing instead, it’s easier

Yes, there are alternatives to QR codes, like text message marketing. However, text message marketing requires an involved process that includes opting in, and for you to rent a short code and keyword. A QR code takes seconds to set up once you have the generator, and a QR code is much easier to include on a direct mail campaign than text messaging.

QR codes only lead to a website – that’s not useful

There are many innovative ways to use QR codes, such as including a QR code on a business card – scanning it will automatically download a V-card, link to a podcast download, link to an app download, connecting to a social media network, and more. Another cool invention is Xsync, which is mobile file sharing. Xsync can use QR codes to download songs, videos, podcasts, and even money.

By: Chase Kirkwood