QR codes are deceptively simple. They can be created for free in a matter of seconds and they provide an instant connection between the physical and virtual worlds, but that doesn’t mean you can just slap a code on a wall and call it a campaign. No, like any good marketing campaign, QR codes require creativity, nurturing and planning.

QR codes are deceptively simple. They can be created for free in a matter of seconds and they provide an instant connection between the physical and virtual worlds, but that doesn’t mean you can just slap a code on a wall and call it a campaign. No, like any good marketing campaign, QR codes require creativity, nurturing and planning.

When used correctly, QR codes can be a powerful marketing tool. But if you fall victim to these common mistakes, your campaign is doomed to fail.

The Destination is Lame

QR codes take effort to decipher. By the time you get out your phone, find the app, scan the code and wait for the page to load, your attention span is pretty much shot. So after all that waiting, the content better be awesome, and at the very least mobile-friendly!

Better yet, let people know exactly what they’re scanning for: promises of coupons, discounts, freebies, insider info or anything else that will help people carry out the scan from start to finish.
 

The Location is Lame

There are appropriate places for QR codes, and then there are places where QR codes go to die.

Appropriate:

  • Places where people kill time: buses, bus stops, airports
  • High pedestrian areas
  • Labels, business cards, posters, or any other place where people will want to learn more
  • Storefronts (to direct customers to online shopping when your physical business is closed)

Death:

  • Places with poor or no internet connections: subways, in-flight magazines, library basements
  • On things that move: vehicles, bums of a beach volleyball players
  • Inside a toilet tank or a wine bottle
  • On fast food packaging, where it will be obscured by greasy patches and melted cheese

For more examples of less-than-stellar locations, check out WTFQRCODES.

The QR Code Looks Lame

QR codes don’t have to be ugly. To make them more appealing and approachable, you can use Photoshop to round out the corners, change the colour (it can be anything as long as it’s contrasting enough to scan) and add interesting elements to the corners or sides for a unique look.

As well, if you generate your code with a 30% error correction you can easily replace the redundant boxes of code with your own logo.

The QR Code IS Lame

Did you test your QR code to make sure it works? You’d be surprised at how many companies direct their users to a 404 page or an invalid security certificate. And remember that although your QR code lasts forever, the information attached to it doesn’t have to. It’s easy to change the destination from the back end without changing the QR code itself, so there’s no reason to leave users with expired promotions or out-of-date information.

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