QR Codes Are Ineffective ... If You Use Them Incorrectly
I recently spoke with a college student about my experience in the public relations field and working with social media. As we finished our conversation, I gave her my business card so she could contact me if she had questions in the future. She turned the card over and said "what's that?" She was referring to the QR Code on the back of the card. That's right, a 20-something college student had no idea what a QR Code is. Needless to say, I was surprised.
And then I opened my email to find "Finally, an Alternative to the Much-Hated QR Code" in the day's top stories. Todd Wasserman wrote, "Marketers have been trying to make print and outdoor ads interactive for years, but despite their efforts, consumers are largely rejecting QR Codes." Looks like QR Codes are really taking a hit.
However, I disagree with Wasserman. Consumers are rejecting QR Codes because marketers are failing to find functional uses for them. While the QR Code is not cutting edge technology, it still deserves to be in everyone's marketing tool bag. It's just important to make sure that you're using them correctly.
Here are four quick tips on using QR Codes correctly:
- Don't use a QR Code somewhere it cannot be easily scanned. This would seem obvious, but over the years, I have seen QR Codes on moving vehicles and buses, billboards and on television commercials-- ridiculous uses of the technology.
- Make sure the QR Code is large enough to scan. Many phones don't have the camera resolution to recognize really small QR Codes. Make sure that your code is large enough to be scanned on most phones (typically 1.25 inches square).
- Make sure your QR Code links to a mobile-friendly site. Since nearly everyone scanning your code will be using a mobile device, it's worthless to send them somewhere that's not mobile friendly.
- Always include a backup URL. Many people have smartphones and know how to scan QR Codes. However, it's still a good idea to include the URL under the code to make sure that you don't block anyone from participating.
Here's a good resource for using QR Codes correctly in print: http://www.themobilists.com/2011/10/11/qr-code-best-practices-in-print/
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