The Seven Deadly Sins of Using QR Codes

Posted on May 3, 2012


 The Seven Deadly Sins of Using QR Codes

Tim Canada Sr Account Manager SiteMinis Inc.

In the past 18 months QR codes have taken the market by storm.  However, the use of QR codes by consumers has dropped off recently due to one resounding reason.  People have begun to associate QR codes with a poor experience.  While it is wonderful that many companies today are utilizing QR codes in their marketing efforts, there are seven major mistakes they are making when it comes to the use of QR codes. 

These are those mistakes.

Mistake #1: Don’t use a QR code – Many companies are not yet utilizing QR codes in their marketing efforts, needless to say, this is a huge mistake.  QR Codes act as a touch point to get consumers looking at a company’s brand, on their phones.  This means that consumers can effortlessly take information with them, making marketing efforts portable and shareable simply by seeing and scanning a QR code on a physical marketing piece.  This is a huge benefit and should be a no brainer.

Mistake #2: Leads to Full Non Mobilized Website (Or PC site) – This is a poor user experience.  When a consumer is taken to a PC site on their phones, and they have to stretch and pull in order to find what they want, the result is often that consumers will give up.  The goal of a mobile landing page should be robust imagery and ease of use, while maintaining the message of the location the QR Code was scanned on.  Therefore the destination of the QR code should lead to a page that carries through the message of the object the QR code was scanned on.

Mistake #3: Leads to a VCard – This is a great way to use a QR Code to share information.  The problem with it though, is that every phone is not capable of processing the VCard information.  Also, many people do not have the necessary software installed on their phones to see and manage VCard information on their phones.  In addition to all of that, VCard information is not branded with your company. So, by having QR codes lead to a VCard, the audience that is reached is not as large as it could be.  Those people that have a bad experience scanning a QR code going to a VCard, will rarely ever scan a QR code on anything that the same company is branded on again.

Mistake #4: Wrong Landing Page – Many companies are placing QR codes on marketing and merchandise items, but oftentimes the QR code is leading to a company’s full site, which, may even be mobilized.  This is a mistake. If a QR code is placed on a marketing piece or a specific product, the destination of that QR code should be consistent with whatever the QR code is on.  So, for a marketing campaign, if the QR code is placed on a sign for a specific deal, then the QR code should lead the consumer to a landing page that carries through that same message.  This helps to guide the consumer to the ultimate goal of the campaign, which is undoubtedly to get the consumer to take an action.  If the QR is going to a full, albeit mobilized site, then the company is making a mistake in leaving it up to the consumer to search and find the promotion that they have.

Mistake #5: Wrong Placement – People often make mistakes when placing QR Codes.  QR codes need to be placed on mediums that are accessible to consumers and allow the consumer enough time to pull out their phone and scan the code.  This can take anywhere from five seconds to a full two minutes.  So, QR codes on mediums like commercials and billboards can sometimes be ineffective if they are not also accompanied with an SMS text code option.  (ex. Text SWIFT to 313131)  An SMS text code function allows someone to see an opportunity but also provides them with something that they may be able to remember after they are done looking at it.

Mistake #6: Leads to APP Download – This is a huge mistake, simply for the reason that you are alienating anyone scanning your QR Code that doesn’t have the phone that your APP is available on.  By utilizing the mobile web for the QR code destination, the consumer base that can be reached is much broader.

Mistake #7: Leads to Email – In many cases QR codes are leading to an option to email a company/person.  This loses the brand message that should be maintained.  There is no engagement for the brand, and ultimately, no path for the consumer to follow to get to an actual action.  QR codes should facilitate the action of the marketing object the QR code is placed on.

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