Recently we talked with Patsy O’Connor about the state of QR codes for marketing, and asked him what he thought businesses should and should not do. We’ve been using QR codes, both as consumers and marketers, as well as recommending them to our clients, so we’ve come up with a few best practices for QR code marketing that you need to follow if you’re going to try this as a tactic.
Make sure the QR code points to a mobile-friendly website.
A dedicated mobile website would be even better. Just because a website looks good on your phone doesn’t mean it will look good on every phone or every tablet. Be sure to test your site, or better yet, design a mobile site that’s made specifically for mobile use. This has less content on it, has fewer menu commands, and is geared toward the person who’s only looking for basic information.
Nothing is more frustrating to a QR code user than when your code points to a nonmobile, unfriendly website. And nothing will make a potential customer leave faster . . . and never return.
Don’t put your QR codes where they’re impossible to use.
We’ve seen codes on highway billboards (they’re too small, plus I’m driving!); inside emails and on Web pages (which I’m reading on the device I’m supposed to scan your code with); on small business cards (they’re too small to scan); or on T-shirts (if they’re wrinkled, I can’t scan the codes).
Don’t fall for a QR code marketer’s shtick, and post them everywhere you can think of. Ask yourself whether the code will actually appear in a good/safe/reasonable place to use a phone. (UnMarketing author Scott Stratten also says not to place them in airline magazines, since the phones are supposed to be in airplane mode, which means no wifi, which means the code doesn’t work.)
Use dynamic QR codes, rather than static codes.
A static QR code can only point to one place, like one URL. If that URL ever changed, your QR code is broken. But if you use a dynamic code, you can change the destination URL. So when you’re creating a code, it’s better to use a dynamic generator like O’Connor’s BeQRious.com, rather than a quick one-off code.
There’s a lot of information to cover when it comes to QR codes, more than we can fit into a single blog post. We’ll discuss QR codes in the future, and how small businesses can benefit from using them.
About the author: Duncan Alney is the president and founder of Firebelly Marketing. He is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker, and photographer, and he’s working on his first social media marketing book, which will be out in late 2012. Duncan has lived on 3 continents and in 5 countries, but is proud to call Indianapolis home.
Expert Advice on QR Codes