QR Commandments: What Not to Do

Posted by: Nicholas M. Roberts

With every post I either get excited for the future of QR codes or give some recommendation about how to improve their use. I’m always explaining what you can do, but I have yet to touch upon what you should not do at all costs. It is very easy to [design a beneficial] QR marketing campaign, but it is just as easy to mess one up. Here are a few QR Commandments to learn before you send those codes to the presses.

THOU SHALT NOT use the latest phone capabilities as thy standard.

The newest phones can handle a lot more than even the ones produced last year. However, both new and old phones can use QR readers. When someone with an older phone tries to process a code and it leads them to a website with complex effects, there are glitches and errors. This tip affects different platforms as well. As of this writing, Android can handle Flash but iPhones cannot. Consider the entire potential audience before starting a QR marketing campaign.

THOU SHALT NOT post a QR code that leads to a website in a place where there isn’t any phone reception.

QR codes are already being implemented on nature trails, but if your trail is in a forest reserve, completely blocked by mountains and tucked away from cell phone towers, QR codes are not for you.

THOU SHALT NOT waste everyone’s time.

Many people are still in the [adventure] stage when it comes to QR codes. They’ll scan any code they come across. However, if they discover that most codes only lead to a worthless website, they will stop scanning altogether. Make scanning your QR code worthwhile. Offer a coupon, provide useful information, or link it to a secret contest. Don’t just reiterate a bunch of information they already knew. A QR code marketing campaign is more than tagging a code at the bottom of your flier instead of a web address.

THOU SHALT NOT let thy linked webpage die.

Sometimes promotional items last a lot longer than your contract for a website. Even if a particular contest or event has ended, keep your website up and running so that when people scan the QR code that leads to the page, they will see something. Your best bet is to update the page. Include pictures of the event after it happened or give them a link to another useful page; just don’t let the page die.

THOU SHALT NOT link to a non-optimized page.

A lot of websites have separate mobile versions, which are great. Some standard sites are easy to use on mobile devices too. However, some sites are big, complex and require a lot of scrolling. If your site is like this, do not use it for your marketing campaign. I suggest developing a separate mobile-compatible site.