Are QR Codes becoming Old Hat?

QR Codes Web Link

In today's rapidly changing technology environment what was tomorrow's latest technology innovation can rapidly become consigned to the rubbish dump. Keeping abreast of the relentless rate of progress is becoming increasingly difficult for all businesses working to a tight marketing budget. No sooner do they invest in a particular marketing strategy than the goal posts are moved and their strategy becomes "old hat". For instance, what about QR codes? Are they now becoming outdated before a good percentage of people would even recognise one?

QR codes have been all the rage over the last few years and whilst they can still be a great marketing tool it is no use just inserting them just for the sake of it, without having a compelling reason and proper plan in place. Not only do businesses need to encourage potential customers to scan the code in the first place but then they need to keep them engaged, once they have landed on the relevant page. There is nothing more off-putting to a potential customer who has scanned in a QR code on their mobile device to discover that the landing page has not been set up properly for mobile use. If the landing page does not display properly, is difficult to navigate, or does not showcase your products to best advantage, you are likely to be doing more harm than good.

Also what is the point of having a QR code if it does not have any tracking in the URL? Without tracking you have no idea how many people scanned it or whether they should do more or less QR placement. The simple question of was it worth it cannot be answered.

QR codes can still be a great cost effective and simple way of engaging your customers, particularly for small businesses on a tight marketing budget, IF used in an appropriate place and at an appropriate time. Personally, I'm not sure about the trend of relatives putting QR codes on headstones in cemetories, so that future generations and visitors alike can scan the code to find out more about their relative. If the person was of historical significance, such as a writer, painter, investor etc then maybe. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Having a QR code below a blue plaque on a building or on a War Memorial to access the information would be far more appropriate surely?

Tips for QR best practice

  1. Make sure the QR code serves a purpose and adds to the user experience.
  2. Make sure it leads to a landing page of a properly mobile optimised site.
  3. Place your QR codes in locations where people have the time and opportunity to see them and scan them - be this a physical location, such as in-store, or in printed magazines/newspapers     
  4. Don't just use QR codes for the sake of it.
  5. Make the QR code big enough so that it can easily be scanned - remember people may well be on the move, when trying to scan it.
  6. Encourage people to scan it by telling them what they stand to gain from scanning the code.
  7. Make sure you have tracking in place.