Why you won’t scan this QR code

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You won’t scan this code because you’re already here.

Believe me, I love using QR codes. They can save people time and deliver some great information. But you have to be realistic on where you use them.


Some other reasons why you won’t won’t scan them include putting them on a moving vehicle or in a urinal (yes, it’s been done). But sanitary issues aside, I think the number one reason people don’t scan them is that they have no good reason to. Me included. And I love the things. You have to offer something of value in a location that makes sense.

I think the best use I have seen recently was when I was on vacation with my family recently in Washington DC. We had a map and were trying to figure out what to do next. We were sitting in our hotel lobby for a breather. On the map were all of the attractions available to us – a dizzying number – too many and too scattered for my kids to make a decision. But on a couple of locations on the map were QR codes that were effectively sneak peak videos of certain attractions. So I was able to scan them with my mobile phone and show the kids what we’d see. Bang – zoom – we were on our way, knowing what we were in for. Saved us the agony of traveling across town and being disappointed in our decision.

Don’t waste their time
Just like any promotional piece, make sure you’ve got a compelling reason for the audience to act. What do they really get from friending you on Facebook? Are they getting value from a link to “About Us” that reiterates what they just read in your brochure? Make sure you’re adding something meaningful. At the end of the day, you need to provide value to your customers and prospects, not waste their time. My map story saved me an hour of convincing my kids to go somewhere they didn’t want to go. That’s worth any entrance fee you might charge me.

It’s mobile, so make it mobile
When you have a great offer and have made someone scan your QR, don’t disappoint them when they get there by not making the landing page mobile-friendly. Squeezing and pinching a website that is not mobile friendly is not a great user experience. If you can’t afford the time or investment to do it, don’t bother including the link, because you’ll be delivering the wrong message.

So make sure that you keep your customer at the center of your thinking when using QR codes. What’s valuable to them? What do they need? Where are they? Because if you’re already here, you don’t need to scan this QR code.