Best Practices for using QR Codes

QR Code QR Codes seem to be popping up everywhere nowadays. You have probably seen them here and there, even if you don't know what they are. They are actually a close relative of the Bar Code and are about the same size, but square and instead of lines has small black and white squares in a pattern across it.

The reason I bring them up is because; I think for the most part no one actually knows how to properly use a QR Code. There is no instruction manual, guidelines or overseeing board that will say yes or no to your use. For that reason I think they are getting a bad wrap and trust me, I didn't think they would survive ever since I saw my first one.

Plus unless there is instructions as to what you are suppose to do with it, people just don't know. Did you know you have to have a QR Code reader in order to know where the code goes? You can get a QR Code reader on any smartphone, so you'll need one of those first. Then there is the matter of where the code actually takes you or what it does. I break it up below as to how I think QR Codes should properly be used.

How not to use a QR Code

A lot of people are seeing this as a quick way to get people to their websites, but there needs to be more thought into this. A QR Code should not point to a non-mobile version of a website. Do you know how hard it is to view a full website on a smartphone? It is pointless. Another common mistake when using QR Codes is not having a call to action for viewers. Why would I scan something if I had no idea what it does or where it takes me?

How to properly use a QR Code

First of all, you need to make sure that what you want to do with the code is appropriate for the situation. Why are you going to use a QR Code? Here are some ideas that can be and are successful. Mobile sites - Sending people to your mobile ready website. An example for doing this would be to possibly giving them more information on whatever the QR Code was on. A magazine article, concert poster, etc. Coupons - People love getting deals on things. Have them scan the code and have it display a coupon they need to present at a store. This can also work for online deals, have the code display a coupon code they can use online to claim their deal. One final way to use a QR Code would be linking them to your Social Networks. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all have mobile versions and display beautifully on smartphones. Your audience can participate in the community right from their phones, wherever they are.

The last thing I would recommend when using QR Codes is having a call to action. You need to inform those who you want to scan the code why they need to, there has to be a reason.

Have more do's and don't's of using QR Codes? Lets hear them, leave a comment below.

Photo Credit: Clever Cupcakes on Flickr

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