Thanks to this hurricane, I’ve been catching up on some print reading and am pleasantly surprised at the increase in QR code usage. However, that surprise quickly turned to bewilderment as the realization set in that these codes are still being utilized poorly. Below is just a sample of the few I found in two magazines. Three issues here:
– None of these QR codes are supported by any text. No call-to-action, no description of what you might get by scanning them…nothing.
– There is no attempt to teach the readers how to scan the codes (or even what they are).
– All of the codes direct users to the companies’ main websites.
I’m a strong believer in QR codes and, though they haven’t picked up the way I originally expected, they have enormous potential. Still, there needs to be some education here – you can’t simply assume everyone knows what QR codes are and/or understand how to scan them with smartphones. Like any other call-to-action, brands need to entice us to take action. Unless your QR code is part of some grand teaser scheme, I’m not going to scan it unless I believe it’s worth it. And that leads me to the most important observation of all – you have to make the juice worth the squeeze. Scanning a QR code takes more effort than simply reading a message. And you’re absolutely setting yourself and your audience up for great disappointment if your QR code leads to your website.
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