Advertising ⊚ Branding ⊚ Communications

7 QR Code Best Practices

QR codes are cutting edge, hip, and the new way to engage with the consumer. But what's the right way to use them? What are best practices? I want to share what ours are in hopes of more people executing better QR code campaigns and projects. Keep these 7 rules in mind when utilizing QR codes to enhance your business.

Not sure what a QR code is? Read this blog post. Or, get inspired on different ways to use them.

1. Keep QR Code Size Large

QR codes can be printed in many different sizes. Ranges vary from business cards to giant billboards. Keep in mind, the more content that is contained inside the QR code, the more complicated the QR code will be. The more complicated the QR code, the harder it will be for smartphones to read.

If your QR code links to contact info, only put what's absolutely necessary. If your QR code links to a website, make sure the URL is as short as possible. eg. I wouldn't use - that's too long. Use, it'll be simple, the URL will be short, and it's trackable. Read more on how to do this.

2. Implement Twitter/Facebook Share Icons

If you're creating something awesome, you should make it easy to spread. The goal should be to make something engaging and to create a unique experience that people will want to share. Seth Godin might say to do something remarkable. Make sure that the Twitter/Facebook share icons are the mobile-friendly share icons. This will ensure that your users have the best experience.

3. Set-up Tracking

Since you can, why not set up tracking. You want to know how many people scanned your code. However, don't measure your success solely based off the numbers. Keep in mind, the people that know about QR codes are likely early adopters and/or up-to-date in tech. They are also likely to have an audience on Twitter and Facebook. If you give them something valuable to share, they might spread it. People spread awesome, as Scott Stratten often says.

4. Have a Call to Action

This may sound simple, but it must be said. Don't just slap a QR code somewhere. Put a message next to the barcode that tells someone why they should scan it. Give them a reason to pull out their phone. Maybe offer a free song, a link to a video or commercial, or maybe a coupon. Right now, everyone might scan QR codes because they're curious what it contains. In time, when more and more of them start invading the US, people will want a reason. Give it to them.

5. Link to Something That Stays Around

So you print a QR code on a sign inside your store or you put it on a flyer. A few weeks pass by and that code is no longer relevant. So you kill the page it used to link to or you replace it with something else (that doesn't match up with whatever it was originally scanned on). Why? Just because your print campaign is dead, doesn't mean that the story won't live on. If you do a great job, people will want to share their experience. This could be through Facebook, a photo on Flickr, or maybe even a video. Allow the story and functionality to live on.

6. Make the Landing Page Mobile-Friendly

QR codes are great, but they are only the door to more engaging content (eg. a website). It's important to make sure that the landing page of the QR code is mobile-friendly. That is, it's optimized for smartphones. Images, navigation, content, and video should all be optimized for the small screen and mobile broadband constraints. Optimized content you could link to includes Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, to name a few. This is our specialty. We'll be blogging more about what goes into a mobile website soon.

7. Be Creative

At the end of the day, be creative. QR codes are cutting edge. Create an experience that your guests will never forget. Show them how cool their smartphone is and what else they can do with it. Empower them. There is something psychologically noteworthy when someone is able to scan something on their personal device and then walk away with it. Encourage this engagement. It will set you apart.

Did I leave something out? Would love your thoughts!

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