The Mobile Marketing Handbook, Second Edition

The Trouble with QR Codes

Recently, a colleague of mine sent me an email with a mobile marketing question. What she wanted to know was how small a QR Code could be and still work. Someone had told her that having a QR Code on your business card is a good idea.

Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.

For my friend, it is a horrible idea. Let me tell you why. She was planning to use the code to drive traffic to her website from her business card. But, her website is not mobile-friendly. Until she gets the chance to mobilize her site, the last thing she needs is a QR Code.

Imagine she handed her QR Code enhanced business card to a prospective client with a smartphone who decided to scan the QR Code. Then it sends them to her desktop site, which is virtually useless on a smartphone. What good is that?

Unfortunately, this mistake is quite common. Otherwise very smart marketing campaigns are marred by a mobile action code that causes definitely non-mobile action. It defies common sense, especially when there are so many great things that can be done with QR Codes.

QR Codes can not only link to mobile friendly websites, they can also:

  • Launch a video
  • Save contact information onto the scanner’s phone
  • Open and start an email
  • Send someone directly to an app’s download page in an app market
  • Link to a mobile friendly PayPal order form

On second thought, here’s what my colleague could do with a QR Code on her business card. She could use it to sell her book. That’s right. Instead of sending people to the home page of her desktop sized website, she could send them straight to a mobile friendly order page for her book. If the business card was designed to give them enough information about the book to make a buying decision, then she could close the sale on the spot.

Or, better yet, she could use the QR Code to get people onto her email list by setting up the code to send an email to her email program to get her free report. The person would scan the code, their email program would open and, with just a quick tap on the send button, they would be on her email list.

Naturally, it is important to make sure that the QR Code action is explained. People need to know in advance what the scan will do, so they are not surprised. And, no matter what, a QR Code should never send the scanner to a desktop size site. Never.

About Kim Dushinski

Kim Dushinski is the Founder of the International Mobile Marketing Business Network and President of Mobile Marketing Profits, a mobile marketing training firm based in Denver, Colorado. She is the author of The Mobile Marketing Handbook: A Step by Step Guide to Creating Dynamic Mobile Marketing Campaigns now out in its second edition. She teaches mobile marketing for the University of Virginia’s Online Graduate Certificate in eMarketing. Kim was named one of the Mobile Women to Watch 2010 by

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