10 Things Not to Do When Using QR Codes for Marketing
We recently came across a few lists about how not to use QR codes. Some were helpful and some were humorous. While some of those lists were good, we’ve got a few things of our own to say, as always. Our list is intended to serve as a guide and to help outline some (not so) best practices when using QR codes. The caveats below should help give you a better understanding of what to do and what not to do when considering using QR codes.
1. Don’t put a QR code in locations with limited/no wi-fi or data access. Why? It’s simple. If you don’t have a signal, you don’t have the ability to actually scan the code. Make sure you place any codes only where a signal is available.
2. Don’t make a QR code too big or too small. Going extreme in either direction, too large or small, can cause scanning issues. Be sure to check what size works best for the media you’re using.
3. Don’t put a QR code out of reach of the scanner. Have you seen a QR code on a highway billboard or the side of a moving vehicle? It’s likely these sites are too far out of reach for people to scan the code. Make sure your codes (and any other marketing collateral) are within reach of your audience.
4. Don’t put a QR code on your website (or in your email). People are already on your website; they don’t need to scan something. That’s actually making it harder for them. If you want to send them somewhere else, use a link. The same goes for email, especially considering that many people read their email on mobile devices and thus have no means to scan the code.
5. Don’t send users to a web page that is not optimized for mobile. If someone is scanning a QR code, it’s via a mobile device of some sort. You’ll want to make sure the user experience is optimized for mobile. If it’s not, it’s very likely visitors will quickly leave your site. Give them the best experience possible.
6. Don’t send users to a cluttered web page. Just as you want to make sure any page is mobile-optimized, you also want to keep if generally clean and clutter free. QR stands for quick response, and in most cases, you’ll be using it for a quick actionable item. Directing to cluttered pages makes it difficult to navigate and understand what you’re supposed to do.
7. Don’t slap a QR code onto your marketing and simply hope people scan it. Give them a reason to scan it. Why should people scan it? Do you want to give them an offer? Do you want them to fill out a survey? Do you simply want to give them more information? Know why you’re using it, and give people a reason to scan it.
8. Don’t promote QR codes to an audience who doesn’t know or use them. If you’re promoting to an audience who doesn’t use a smartphone, you’re not going to get a response. You want to use them with an audience who knows what a QR code is, uses a smartphone, and already has a scanner app.
9. Don’t send users to a page that automatically plays media (without letting them know first). Do you want to be directed to a page that automatically plays a video or blares music at you? Probably not (though in some instances it may make sense). You want to give a little warning so someone can put on headphones or lower the volume if they choose.
10. If you choose to brand your QR code, make sure they still scan! Did you know you can custom design your QR codes? If you decide to “spice up” the design, make sure they still scan! Adding colors, reducing contrast, and incorporating other design elements can make the codes harder to scan properly.
Keep in mind that a QR code is essentially a link. Remember they are quick response. Putting thought and strategy behind your QR codes will help put you on the road to success.
Do you have any QR code success or horror stories? Let us know in the comments.
101 Series: What is a QR Code?
No doubt you’ve heard of QR codes. You’ve almost certainly seen them around town, on mass transit, or in print ads. But what exactly is a QR code?
QR code stands for quick response code, and is a variation of a barcode. Simply stated, it’s a link in the form of a specific image that can be scanned with a barcode reader. In most cases, QR codes are show as a small black and white square box. They are however, customizable, and can results in some interesting designs. One of the best features of the codes is that they allow a user to quickly go from one medium to another, without the need for text input. This allows you to create specific call to action elements in your ads.
QR code usage has grown tremendously as smartphones have become ubiquitous. We certainly have seen some interesting uses recently. There are also a lot of mistakes that are made when QR codes are used in marketing. Want to know what to do and what not to do when utilizing them for marketing purposes? Well, more on that later.
Check out the other installments of our 101 Series posts:
The Five Things You Shouldn’t Have Missed This Week: Friday, August 24
Volvo Ballerina Stunt with Faith Dickey - via I’d Rather Be Slacklining (see video)
China’s Green Pedestrian Crossing - via m0iety
Vibram mobile ad succeeds in driving viewers to online store - Mobile Marketer
Naked Harry scandal a watershed moment for UK press - via CNN
Microsoft gets a new logo for the first time since 1987 - via Seattle Times
The Five Things You Shouldn’t Have Missed This Week: Friday, July 27
The Augmented Reality Shoe Store - via DigitalBuzzBlog
London Eye To Become Twitter Sentiment Gauge During Olympics - via Media Bistro
Foursquare Introduces Promoted Updates For Mobile: “Search Ads For The Real World” - via Marketing Land
Carolina Panther Ryan Kalil Takes Out Full-Page Newspaper Ad Guaranteeing A Panthers Super Bowl Victory- via Deadspin
Fashion Retailer Integrates Instagram Onto Product Pages - via Mashable
Web Design Trends: Modular Design and the Responsive Web
“Design is intelligence made visible.”
Here at The Halo Group, we keep our eye on design trends, and one area that’s continually evolving is web design. We are always exploring popular trends in online development and design, one of these trends are responsive websites.
The mass proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices has certainly had a big impact on web design. Today’s websites need to conform to many different dimensions and screen resolutions, from phones to tablets to huge monitors. That’s why building a design that adapts in response to screen real estate is crucial to providing an optimal user experience.
We recently developed a small site for City Doctors, www.citydoctors.com, a project from St. George University. Using a responsive framework, the site’s features collapse into a more streamlined layout as the screen resolution becomes smaller. To see this in action, visit the site and resize your browser window.
Notice how the design changes its layout to accommodate the shrinking browser window. Doing this only makes sense for delivering the content in the best way possible. Many elements that typically fit well on desktop (or laptop) screens become too small for mobile devices. No one wants to have to pinch to zoom in and out simply to read the content on a web page. Menus, in particular, need to be rethought for touch navigation.
So what’s the best way to implement responsive web design? One hot topic with web developers is figuring out which approach is better – progressive enhancement or graceful degradation. In years past, graceful degradation was the clear winner. Websites were built for modern browsers and large resolutions first, taking advantage of newer technology. Then the site was further developed to adapt to older, less standards-compliant browsers (*ahem*: looking at you, IE) and smaller resolutions, so that they would gracefully degrade and not look odd or suffer design/functionality breakage.
To us, the best approach is to use a combined technique of progressive enhancement and graceful degradation. We believe in delivering a stellar experience to the user in any medium, thus promoting our clients’ brands through the best designs possible. To that end, we keep it all in mind up front – from the desktop to the smartphone. Having a holistic approach allows us stronger control in brand consistency, and it avoids the pitfall of putting too much emphasis on the design in any one form.
By Dan Warfel, Web Developer