Oops! QR Code Mistake!

By | March 18, 2011

Many of the QR codes I’ve scanned lately have left me impressed. Some had sophisticated experiences on the back end. Others simply took me to YouTube videos or information pages of interest to me. Whether sophisticated or simple, they worked.

That’s why it was a bit of a shock the other day when I scanned one that didn’t work well at all. It was from a printer marketing his expertise on — uh — QR codes. The QR code itself worked just fine. It was the end result that was counter-productive.

The printer was advertising an upcoming Webinar on the “what” and “how” of QR codes. The code on the promotion piece was large and attractively designed into the layout. I was invited to “mine the treasure” offered by these codes by attending a free Webinar. Great!

I snapped the code and was taken to a traditional webpage where the type was so small I could hardly read it. I had to zoom in to read anything. Even then, I could only see a small portion of the page and had to navigate around. It was hard to find anything.

The page contained several articles, one of which was on the seminar and the benefits of attending. Once I got the type large enough to read it, that was fine. But then the kicker. Below it was another article on how to download a QR code reader. Why would I need a QR code reader? Hadn’t I already scanned the code?

The result of my experience was that this printer was so focused on creating the Webinar and designing the mailer that it forgot to consider the user experience of actually scanning the QR code. In QR code marketing, the user experience is everything. The poor end result undermined its attempt to position itself as a leader in this area of marketing.

If you are going to be doing QR code marketing, don’t make this same mistake. Before taking anything live, scan the QR code yourself. See what the page(s) look like on your mobile device. Make sure that you, as the user, have an experience that lines up with the value that you are presenting as a service provider with the skills to help your clients implement these codes.

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One thought on “Oops! QR Code Mistake!

  1. Rob Blakely

    Thanks for posting, Heidi. I completely agree that the user experience is everything. We often incorporate personalized QR codes in the direct mailers we create for our clients that lead to Personalized URLs (PURLs). For example, we are currently running a campaign for our client, Capitol College, in which each prospective student they are trying to recruit receives a personalized mailer with a QR code. The QR codes lead the students to a PURL where they can view a personalized video tour, apply for enrollment, or register for an Open House with just one click. The response has been outstanding so far, and we think it’s because we follow certain guidelines when it comes to creating PURLs, especially if we’re driving the recipient of a print piece to their PURL via a QR code.

    It is extremely important to us and our clients to make sure the codes work, and to lead the recipient to valuable content. We try to make sure the website is relevant, fluid, and is not overly complex or long, while still interactive and engaging by incorporating multimedia and other entertaining features. We also pre-populate forms if we have the data available, and/or give the recipient the opportunity to update their information. And of course, we optimize the PURLs for viewing on a mobile device.

    Because we are dealing with personalized information, which varies per recipient, it is also imperative that the codes on the mailers lead to the correct PURL. Fortunately, since we use XMPie to create the campaign pieces (mailers, PURLs, SMS messages, etc.) and the corresponding QR codes, we don’t have to worry about them all matching. With XMPie, consistency is guaranteed.

    Learn more about us and our services and solutions at http://www.echoeffect.com.

    Rob Blakely
    VP, Business Development, echo communicate inc.

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