Marketing caution signI was recently driving home from a client meeting when I noticed I was following a car for a local business that was attractively sign written and company branded. I think this can be a very effective marketing technique for certain business types. After all you now have a mobile and visually impactful advert driving around in your local community. Great if that’s where your potential customers are and they can see your marketing message.

How not to use a QR code

So I was somewhat perplexed and a bit dismayed to see that the business owner had hopped onto one of the latest marketing bandwagons by adding a QR code!

As I said the main benefit of a branded business vehicle is that it is a mobile advertising hording so how on earth can someone on seeing your vehicle whilst it is moving, which lets face it is most of the time, scan the QR code?!

QR codes madness example

QR codes are showing up everywhere and to be honest in some bizarre and down right stupid places!

How to use QR codes effectively…

If the QR code used in your marketing campaign is to be effective, it should ensure it meets these 3 criteria:

1. The QR code must be easy to scan
That means it has to be positioned somewhere where people can safely and easily reach it, have the time to scan it and obviously they will need an internet connection to be able to do this.

2. Make sure you give people a reason to scan it
Don’t just think they won’t be able to help themselves! You need to give people some indication of what they will get by scanning it – a reward, an offer, a video, or access to exclusive content. Don’t just take them to your webiste Home page or contact page.

3. Use a mobile-optimised landing page
Your audience are scanning the QR codes on a mobile device or tablet, so they need to be able to view the website landing page, video or offer voucher on these devices. This doesn’t sound difficult but it’s a very common marketing mistake I see.

Think about the safety of your audience

There are a raft of great examples of bad and mad use of QR codes and here are a few of my life-endangering favourites…

Motorway madness

I hope nobody would try to scan this one! Dangerous to scan and it doesn’t give you a reason to. Don’t waste the space on a giant QR code, simply add your website URL. (HT:@rhodri)

Across a live Tube rail and just too small

Please don’t try to scan this one! (via Grapple blog)

On a coach

At least the lorry had a code big enough to scan! (via jlwatsonconsulting)

Car crash enducing!

Nothing more you can say really… (via Antony Juliano)

With the rapid adoption and growth of smartphone and tablet usage, QR codes can be a great way to conveniently and quickly shortcut your audience to marketing content you want them to see but please do use them wisely!