The 10 Commandments of QR Codes

The 10 Commandments of QR Codes

Chances are…

  • You’ve heard of QR codes
  • You’d recognize a QR code if you saw one
  • You’re not sure what to do after spotting a QR code

In this post I’ll demystify what those silly little QR codes are and how to use them. This is a must-read if you intend to do any QR code marketing. It might just save you from ending up on this embarassing list of QR code fails.

What is a QR Code?

Quick Response, or “QR” codes, are those small black & white squares that you see on some posters and ads. Here’s the kicker, though… they’re nothing special. A QR code is just a link in the real world that points to something online. In most cases, they contain a website address which your phone will visit after scanning the code.

We get many requests to create QR codes… to which we always reply: “Sure, but where is the code going to send people?” If you think of a QR code as being a map… it can point people in any direction you want, but what will they find when they get there? That’s the part you really need to think about.

The 10 Commandments

  1. Thou shalt not link to a non-mobile friendly website: People scan QR codes with a phone, so the link should point to mobile-friendly content.
  2. Thou shalt not assume people know how to use QR codes: Include simple instructions with your QR codes. Also provide a written URL just in case they don’t have a QR code scanner.
  3. Thou shalt not fail to delight: Make it worth scanning. Link to a dedicated landing page, an offer, contest, or video – something that will engage the user and encourage them to come back for more.
  4. Thou shalt not pay for a QR code: QR codes are free to create (you can generate a free QR code on our website if you like) Spend money on what matters—what the QR code links to.
  5. Thou shalt not place QR codes where people likely won’t have cell service: You want them to be able to load your page, right?
  6. Thou shalt always use Analytics: Tracking your QR code performance will tell you if it was the bomb, or if it just bombed; you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
  7. Thou shalt test and re-test your QR code before print:  You wouldn’t expect to run into ‘broken’ QR codes, yet we come across them all the time.  Don’t let it happen to you.
  8. Thou shalt make sure your QR code is scan-able: It may have tested well at your desk, but what about in the real world. Context matters…are you sure that code is big enough?
  9. Thou shalt not encourage your target audience to endanger themselves:  Yes, this means a QR code on the billboard on that busy street is a bad idea.  You don’t want to encourage distracted driving do you?
  10. Thou shalt not overuse QR codes:  If you simply want people to visit your website, just use your web address.  Unlocking ‘hidden’ content, in a publication/ad as an example, is a great idea.  Get creative & delight people…