Avoid These QR Code Mistakes

Mon, 08/22/2011

DONT’S in a QR Code Marketing Campaign

With Quick Response Codes (QR codes) becoming more popular this summer, the platforms for which they are being used, are evolving. They are popping up on movie posters, websites, trailers, album covers and even apparel. Just recently, a man even got a tattoo with a QR code that linked to a YouTube video. QR codes have a space on both online and print. However, QR codes are also serving up a few headaches as well. Though, these can be avoided! In a recent article I read in Mashable, Matthias Galica, CEO of ShareSquare, touches on the 5 Big Mistakes To Avoid in Your QR Code Marketing Campaign. The following are a merge of both Galica and my thoughts on QR don’ts.

Mistake #1: Not Testing the Code

You’d think, “Well of course I’ll test the code...” I actually read this and laughed a bit because I agree with Galica that there is an error with the code when you least expect it. I came across a QR code at the beginning of this year in a magazine. I got my Smartphone out and scanned it. It took me to an invalid domain. Thinking that it was clearly a mistake, I scanned again. It landed me at the same invalid domain. I will protect the company’s name; however I will tell you they are one of the top five most recognized brands in the Nation. Just remember, test the code before it is published and distributed.

Mistake #2: Getting Too Fancy With Text

Though QR Codes are branching out into more creative spaces, there are limits. I have heard that QR codes are now showing up on buses. In my opinion, QR Codes don’t belong on moving vehicles, period. I can only imagine pulling out a phone, while driving and trying to scan another moving object. It just doesn’t seem smart to me. That being said, a main point Galica points out is to not get too fancy with your URL. “If your goal is to get people to a mobile web experience, you should only ever encode a short URL. Don’t include any plain text, since many barcode scanners won’t tease out the link. It should be an easy, barcode scanner that they can “click” and be directed to where they need to go.” Too many steps and you might lose your audience.

Mistake #3: Serving up Non-Mobile Pages

I truly think this is such a huge error and commonly disregarded. Many times your QR Code will scan with no problem. However, you are directed to a non-mobile standard website. In Galica’s view “Get acquainted with HTML5 to give your mobile web app that native app feel. Hire a developer to build your mobile site or use a non-technical modular CMS.” You want to make sure that your audience fully understands what your client is trying to relay to them.

Mistake #4: Putting QR Codes Where There’s No Data Signal

Placing an ad with a QR code in a tunnel downtown whether it be a subway or the bus station might not be a good idea. This is because everyone knows that the service down there drops, drastically. Galica says, “make sure you know where the ads will be, and if possible, run tests to make sure they are visible and will still work.”

Mistake #5: Not Offering Enough Value

Ask yourself this? Why do you want your target to scan your code? What’s the value they will get out of it? Would you do it? Galica points out that - this last point is highly subjective but also probably the most important. “The proper mindset is to reward the user for scanning your QR code. This “reward,” however, will change depending on what you’re trying to promote. Try to avoid redundancy (a digital copy of your flyer), irrelevance or dullness (your company’s street address).” Simply, create something that will be worth fetching.

Keeping it simple, double checking everything, ensuring your placement is right for your audience go a long way in getting it right. QR Codes are supposed to create excitement and curiosity. So have fun with them. Be smart about it. Hope you found something worth your while.

Erica Beindorff DCG West

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