How NOT to Use QR Codes

As great as this new technology is, there are inevitably good and bad ideas regarding where and how to use them. The best way to launch a successful QR marketing campaign is to avoid the QR code mistakes made by many others. This includes where not to put QR codes, what not to put them on, and what not to include in their linked content. Fortunately for you, you can learn from other’s mistakes.

One important step is to recognize your audience. As QR codes are a new up and coming technology, you want to make sure your product targets those who are capable and willing to use it. Therefore, using QR codes to advertise early bird discounts and Centrum Silver probably isn’t the way to go.

Next is to be cautious of your surroundings. Sure, QR codes posted where the most people can see them is the best option. However, you need to be sure that the codes are posted somewhere that most people will be able to get cell phone service. Think of the no-nos such as underground subway stations and airplanes where you can’t even turn your phone on! If all a potential client gets is an Out of Service message when they try to read your code, not only will their interest fade, but their irritation will grow.

In addition to cell phone service, make sure it is a place where you can easily scan the code. Codes have been placed everywhere from license plates to t-shirts and trying to snap a photo of a code in a moving car is probably not the best idea. Not to mention, most people don’t want to ask a stranger to stop on the street so they can take a picture of his shirt. Fixed flat locations are really best.

Then, and this may seem simple, but make sure the codes work! Try them on every phone, every platform, as many QR code readers as possible, to make sure they actually link your potential customers to the correct information. A little bit of research and testing time can go a long way.

Once you’ve achieved all this, make sure the QR codes link to the best possible version of what you want your clients to see. Remember, these are being read on mobile devices. Don’t have a mobile version of your webpage? Then you better create one if you expect users to stay long after scanning your code. If you are not mobile optimized, then why would users want to view your information on a mobile device?

Also, make sure the QR code takes the user to a unique piece of information. Why is someone spending time scanning and reading your QR code if it brings them to a place that they could have reached 10 other ways. It should at least take them to a unique feature on your site which can also provide links back to regular pages for additional information you want them to see. But most importantly, make it worth their while!

Lastly, and this goes all the way back to the beginning, this is new technology! If potential customers can’t use it then what good is it? When space allowed, such as ad poster or print ad, include instructions! Three or four simple lines explaining what to do with this black and white cryptograph can make all the difference. Include a recommendation for a QR code reader and you’ve hit a home run.