4 Dos and 4 Don’ts of using QR codes for marketing

bad use of qr code
This Qr code resolves to an error message inserted bottom right

QR codes in marketing have been around a while now, but I am still amazed how often they are done badly.  Recently I scanned a code on a billboard at a busy train station only to find that the QR code 14 trail account had expired and would not resolve, the marketing team behind that must be wondering why their expensive billboard campaign has not brought in any clicks.

Do you use QR codes or are you thinking about using them? Below are some Dos and Don’ts to help you get the best out of your QR code:

The Don’ts of QR codes

 1. Don’t put a QR code in places with no Wi-Fi or  poor data access. At worst no one can scan the code at best it will be slow and the user will probably not wait.

2. Don’t put a QR code out of reach of the users mobile phone. If the user has to make an effort, look silly or just can’t physically manage to scan the code then they won’t. If the code will appear in a magazine or mailshot then consider where on the physical page it will be, codes near the fold are always harder to scan.  I’ve seen QR codes hanging high up from ceilings in busy shopping centers or on adverts at the side of the road. Also your website or emails are not the best place for QR codes, how do I scan them if already reading them on my phone?

3. Don’t link the code to a page that is not optimised for mobile. QR codes are scanned by people using mobile devices, so your landing page needs to be optimised for mobile otherwise users will drop out quickly. In fact you web pages should be optimised for mobile full stop.

4. Don’t use a QR code in your marketing materials with out a clear call to action.  Simply putting a code on and hoping people scan it will not work. Give them a clear reason to scan it.

The Dos of QR Codes

1. Do use Black & White for your code. If you do want to brand them with a colour make sure there is at least 55% contrast between colours.

2. Do use a URL shortner like Bit.ly or goo.glA shorter URL not only makes the QR code easier to scan but it also gives you the possibility to track the scans.  You should also include this short URL or a full URL next to the QR code.

3. Do offer value for users who scan.   To scan your code a user needs to take out their phone, open a scanner app, hold the phone correctly over the QR, scan it and then wait for the content to load. If all that then happens is they find an online version of the same ad be it a webpage or video do you think the user gets much value from this and will be engaged with your message?

4. Do test before you go live, then test again.  As the example in the image above shows, testing is very important.  Test the QR on different phones to make sure its easy to scan also test the content it links to on mobile devices also.  Make sure you test the production / live version of the QR and the linked content before you launch.

One thought on “4 Dos and 4 Don’ts of using QR codes for marketing

  1. So right those tips. In latin america QR condes have not been successful because low data quality and few wifi penetration. In my experience Brasil is worst than Mexico on Internet quality.

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