5 Common Pitfalls of QR Code Marketing

As the use of QR codes become more prevalent in the U.S., it's best to learn from the mistakes of those well-meaning marketers who have pioneered the tech territory ahead of you, by avoiding these common blunders.

Mistake 1: Failure to Test the Code!
Seems remedial, almost redundant right? But if you have ever neglected to test the Christmas tree lights before stringing them on your tree, only to find out they don't work, then this advice may be for you. Always tryout the proofs with an assortment of smartphones and scanning apps before you publish a promotional campaign. Since QR codes contain up to a 30% margin for error adjustment scale, there’s room for innovative branding and fine-tuning. But if the designer goes overboard on the "clever" cruise, test-scanning is an easy way to avert disaster before costly printing or production of the marketing piece has occurred.

Mistake 2: Fancy is Not Always Functional.
If your objective is to lead people to a mobile web experience, limit QR encoding to a short URL. Avoid use of plain text, since many barcode scanners (even premium versions like ShopSavvy) won’t be able to discern the link. Don’t hold your breath hoping that a user will copy/paste on a mobile device; it is not likely. If your QR code requires the user to do much more than point and scan to reach the proposed content, you're probably doing it incorrectly.

Mistake 3: Directing Smart Phone Users to Non-Mobile Pages.
If your QR code scans successfully, but you've pointed the user to a standard desktop website, when 99.9% of QR codes are scanned by a mobile device, you've failed right out of the gate. Get acquainted with HTML5 to give your mobile web app that native app feel. You can either hire a developer like us to build your mobile site, or use a non-technical modular CMS (content management system) like Paperlinks if it suits your campaign objectives.

Mistake 4: No Wireless Signal, No Bueno!
Where your ad (code) will run is just as important as how you utilize it. If you position your advertisement in a location with no wireless signal, you may as well not have launched the campaign at all. Instead, you will likely end up with aggravated prospective customers who may come to view your brand as a pain, and not a pleasure. Make sure you pre-determine Ad locations and if possible, run trial scans to make certain they are visible function properly.

Mistake 5: Not Offering Enough Value.
This point while highly subjective is perhaps the most essential. The user should feel rewarded for making the effort to scan your QR code. This "reward", however, will vary depending on what you're attempting to advertise. Try to avoid irrelevance, redundancy, or monotony. When combined with an unmistakable call-to-action near the QR code, we've determined the most persuasive campaigns have a tendency to offer one or more of the following:

  • Private rich media, images and videos
  • Limited or time-sensitive access
  • Free downloads or loot
  • "Instant Win" games
  • Exclusive offers, coupons or prizes
  • Elite "Mystery" information Meaningful assimilation with social media to activate viral sharing

The best recommendation is to "walk in the shoes" of your target customer. Ask yourself, "Would I take the trouble to pull out the phone for my campaign. Would I feel rewarded for the effort?" Ask a test group of your trusted friends and associates that same question, and be humble enough to hear the answer. Up front due diligence and careful planning can produce an exceptionally successful QR campaign. Not sure how to get started, contact us today for more information or a professional consultation!