QR Codes: Don’t Make These Mistakes

QR codes are all the rage these days. You know, those funny barcodes that are popping up everywhere. They can be a great addition to a marketing piece, but quickly become useless if not used properly. Don’t make these mistakes:

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1. The QR code is not accessible

Take this bus ad as an example. First of all, the ad is close to the top of the bus. Secondly, the QR is at the top of the ad, meaning it was quite high. As someone who is “vertically challenged”, I actually had to climb up on the seats in order to scan the QR code.

In fact, in this instance, I had to move the black strip seen in the photo below (excuse the blurry picture) over to be able to scan the code at all.

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TIP: Your QR code should be used in a place where a potential customer will be able to scan it.

2. Call to Action does not match the destination page

Using our example, the text beside the QR code says “Register by January 4, 2012” so I thought by scanning the code I would get a registration page or at least a page listing all the sports I could register for. No such luck. However, at least I did get a mobile-friendly website. The thing is, it would have been easier for me to type ossc.ca in a browser than to go through all the effort to scan the QR code.

TIP: Make sure the QR code destination leads to a mobile site that is linked with the call to action (you are putting a call to action, right?)

3. QR code just leads to mobile version of your regular site (or worse, not a mobile site!)

If someone is taking the step of scanning your code, you should provide them with content that engages them and is different from your main website. Maybe it’s a special contest page or a short video. Be creative and unique.

TIP: Create a site that is intentionally meant for a QR code, containing original content, not just a repeat of your main website.

Bottom Line: Only time will tell if QR codes will stick around for the long haul, but while they are an “it” item, make sure you’re using them effectively by having them accessible, connected with a clear call to action, and pointing to a exclusive, mobile website.

Question: What’s the worst QR code offence you’ve seen? Do you have an example of a great use of a QR code? Share below – bonus points for pictures!

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  • http://www.lydiadifrancesco.com Lydia Di Francesco

    Yes… so that would count as a #fail.

  • Jennifer Forbes Walker

    I have seen QR codes on the TTC subway. Don’t you need an Internet connection to read them?

  • http://www.lydiadifrancesco.com Lydia Di Francesco

    You’re welcome Loreto! Glad you are maximizing the effectiveness of QR codes.

  • Loreto Cheyne

    Thanks for the tips Lydia. Some of my clients are already using QR codes-and yes, we are following your tips!

  • http://www.lydiadifrancesco.com Lydia Di Francesco

    Thanks for sharing Deanna! I like their use of the “surprise” element.

  • http://www.storylinepublicrelations.ca/what-we-do.php Deanna White

    Example of a great use of QR code by Giant Tiger http://youtu.be/kfD1ZOzt-OU

  • http://www.lydiadifrancesco.com Lydia Di Francesco

    LOL!!! Thanks for the laugh Meredith! I’ve often thought the same thing. Goes back to my main point about the QR code being accessible.

    Thanks for sharing this example.

  • Meredith de Mora

    Not sure if it is the worst offence, but I have to question the QR code lawn signs that are along the grassy median down Hunt Club.  What is a driver supposed to do…slow down, take their phone off BlueTooth, lean out the window and hope they are slow enough and close enough to scan the code…try explaining this one to a cop after you rear end someone!