How To Use QR Codes Properly: A Nerdy QR Code Guide

How To Use QR Codes Properly: A Nerdy QR Code Guide

Posted on December 13, 2016 Mary Merritt

Every time a marketing department misuses a QR code, a small fluffy kitten cries. I've been asked this question a few times since NerdyMind started up: "What do you think of QR codes?" It's a fine question, but you will undoubtedly be surprised by my answer, which is generally: "I would like to punch them in the face."

Okay, that's not my real answer. Nor do I really feel that way about QR codes. It's funny, I have seen them used in very creative and impactful ways, and I have seen them used in a way that would surely make a kitten cry. America is experiencing serious QR code fatigue, and it is mainly because folks have been trained to be disappointed in what they find after they scan the code. I would be willing to bet that most people out there immediately regret taking the time to scan the darn code, and that's a crying (kitten) shame.

Here are some helpful tips on how to use QR codes to accomplish an objective. I mean, come on, a QR code should serve a purpose, right? You shouldn't just use them to use them, RIGHT? Please agree. With sugar and strawberries on top?

1.  First rule: Make sure you are using a QR code for some kind of purpose. Please don't use it just to use it. Save the kittens!

2.  Don't assume that everyone is going to scan that thing. According to Forrester Research, only 5 percent of Americans scanned a QR code between May and July of last year (2011), the latest data available. Use your time wisely, my friends.

3.  DON'T, I repeat DON'T put a QR code on a clever piece of beautiful creative and then just send the person to the homepage of your website. Sync it up people! Unless that same creative is on the homepage to support your campaign, you should create a specific, customized landing page that treats the scanner with EXTRA respect. They are part of the 5 percent! Treat them like they are special for the love of all things NERDY.

4.  If you are using a QR code at an event, the same rule from above (#3) should apply. Make a customized landing page that makes them feel special, while giving them exactly what they are looking for. They are at the event, it's fresh in their mind, that's what they are looking for. GIVE IT TO THEM. Keep it simple silly-heads!

5.  Wherever you send these people, remember they are on a GOSH DARNED PHONE or MOBILE DEVICE of some kind. Make sure the destination is mobile-friendly, or at least browser-tested on a plethora of mobile devices running both iOS and Android. If they get to a janky page that is all jacked-up, they will hit their home button and leave straight away. Let's just say that kind of user behavior has long-term negative effects.

6. If you put a QR code on your packaging, please send the user to directions on how to use your product, product reviews, product videos...but specific to that SKU. Whatever the content is, make sure it is specific to that exact product.

I know the clever thing for me to do would be to put a QR code into this post and then make a customized landing page for it, but who has that kind of time? If I follow rule #1, then I don't need a darn QR code.

However, I made a QR code that points to a book that I want to buy...and it involves cats and oatmeal. Scan it and enjoy.