- You’ve heard of QR codes
- You’d recognize a QR code if you saw one
- You’re not sure what to do after spotting a QR code
In this post I’ll demystify what those silly little QR codes are and how to use them. This is a must-read if you intend to do any QR code marketing. It might just save you from ending up on this embarassing list of QR code fails.
What is a QR Code?
Quick Response, or “QR” codes, are those small black & white squares that you see on some posters and ads. Here’s the kicker, though… they’re nothing special. A QR code is just a link in the real world that points to something online. In most cases, they contain a website address which your phone will visit after scanning the code.
We get many requests to create QR codes… to which we always reply: “Sure, but where is the code going to send people?” If you think of a QR code as being a map… it can point people in any direction you want, but what will they find when they get there? That’s the part you really need to think about.
The 10 Commandments
- Thou shalt not link to a non-mobile friendly website: People scan QR codes with a phone, so the link should point to mobile-friendly content.
- Thou shalt not assume people know how to use QR codes: Include simple instructions with your QR codes. Also provide a written URL just in case they don’t have a QR code scanner.
- Thou shalt not fail to delight: Make it worth scanning. Link to a dedicated landing page, an offer, contest, or video – something that will engage the user and encourage them to come back for more.
- Thou shalt not pay for a QR code: QR codes are free to create (you can generate a free QR code on our website if you like) Spend money on what matters—what the QR code links to.
- Thou shalt not place QR codes where people likely won’t have cell service: You want them to be able to load your page, right?
- Thou shalt always use Analytics: Tracking your QR code performance will tell you if it was the bomb, or if it just bombed; you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
- Thou shalt test and re-test your QR code before print: You wouldn’t expect to run into ‘broken’ QR codes, yet we come across them all the time. Don’t let it happen to you.
- Thou shalt make sure your QR code is scan-able: It may have tested well at your desk, but what about in the real world. Context matters…are you sure that code is big enough?
- Thou shalt not encourage your target audience to endanger themselves: Yes, this means a QR code on the billboard on that busy street is a bad idea. You don’t want to encourage distracted driving do you?
- Thou shalt not overuse QR codes: If you simply want people to visit your website, just use your web address. Unlocking ‘hidden’ content, in a publication/ad as an example, is a great idea. Get creative & delight people…