Many businesses are turning to QR Code Marketing because you can create the codes for free and hyperlink them to almost anything on the web. However, many businesses are making one critical mistake.

QR codes can be a powerful tool for companies to provide extra information to their consumers.

If you’re unfamiliar with QR Codes, the “QR” stands for quick response: the information embedded in the code can be decoded by a QR code reader app on your Smartphone.

QR Codes can be very effective marketing tools if the campaign is executed correctly. They can breathe life into your old print ads by making them interactive. Additionally, you can use them to develop leads and make your advertising more measurable and accountable.

I always emphasize the importance of integrating offline and online marketing to maximize your marketing dollars and efforts. When used properly, QR codes can effectively integrate offline marketing with online marketing to encourage people to engage with your message.

For your print advertising to be most effective, it must have a strong “Call to Action”. QR codes can facilitate strong calls to action.

What can you link to QR codes?

The possibilities are endless, but here are just a few examples: your website, how-to videos, audios, new product announcements, coupons, restaurant menus, a text message with a special offer, or the mobile version of your website. You can get really creative with your QR code campaigns. How about a QR code on the back of your business card that links to a video or special offer?

So what’s the critical mistake that many businesses are making when it comes to QR code marketing? The content or link of the QR code is NOT “mobile-friendly”. People can’t read the information on their Smartphone without having to scroll left or right to see the whole page. Many businesses link to traditional desktop web pages which do not provide a good mobile viewing experience. Buttons and fonts are often too small to read or click on with a thumb.

I saw a QR code campaign by a major Canadian coffee house that was guilty of this mistake. They asked you to scan the code to enter a contest online, but the contest page was not designed to be viewed on a Smartphone. The font was so small that I could barely read the content without having to pinch and scroll the page. The user experience was very poor, which likely deterred many people from entering the contest.

Similarly, one of my local gas station chains was running a major promotion giving away thousands of dollars in prizes. They had a big QR code on the flyer, but when you scanned the code, it directed you to their desktop website. This is what happens when people jump on the latest marketing tactic without understanding how the media really works.

The key point to remember is that your QR code content must be designed in a way that allows seamless viewing on a Smartphone. You don’t want to turn people off because of a bad viewing experience.