Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.


Are You STILL Using QR Codes?

Are QR codes even worth using anymore?

I admit it. I carry a cell phone around with me that can read QR codes in an instant. Yeah, it’s the new iPhone 5. Works a whole a better than my last phone, the iPhone 3, which was my last phone.

QR Codes not optimized for smartphone
Why is it so hard to optimize a QR Code link landing page for smartphones?

Nonetheless, I scan QR codes all the time. Why? Because I want to see if they work. And, it appears that many of them fail miserably.

Most QR codes miss at least one of the three main items that are required for a successful QR code. One, they have to be easy to scan. Two, there has to be an explicit stated reason to scan the QR code. And three, the link that you are taken to must be easy to read and optimized for a smart phone, since most QR codes are scanned on a smart phone.

When I was at Expo West in Anaheim in March of this year, I scanned about 15 QR codes. Not one of them had all three of those items in place. Most had the first two, but failed on the third – which is the optimization of the landing page for the QR code.

I’ve seen a number of articles in the past few months that lament QR codes, and some even go so far to say that QR codes are dead. I don’t think QR codes are dead, but I do think that they are not used quite as much as they used to be. Just a couple of short years ago they seem to be ‘the new thing’ but it never quite materialized in that way. Instead, QR codes are more effective when used for a very specific purpose such as downloading a sell sheet at a tradeshow, or linking to a specific landing page for more information then you can easily show.

However, it still comes down to this small but apparently difficult challenge: getting all of the elements of your QR code right before launching it. First, make sure people know exactly what they get when they scan the code. Describe what it is they’re going to get when they scan it. Is it more information? Is it a contest they can enter? Is it some downloadable PDF file that gives them more information? Is it a white paper?

Next, make sure the QR code is easy to scan. Black ink on a white background on a fat surface is best. It should be at least an inch to an inch and a half in size. If you really want to make a big deal every cougar out of your QR code make it a foot in size and invite people to scan it. Put it in their face.

Third, create a landing page that looks great on a smart phone. A typical webpage comes up on a typical smart phone with such small font and graphics that it is useless and people will just go away.

Finally, test it! Print out your QR code in real size, scan it with several smart phones in your company, examine the results and make sure it all works.

No, I don’t think QR codes are dead. But it appears that most companies attempting to use them are slowly killing them by misuse.


Misssspellings, Grammmmattical Errorrrs and other Miss Takes

In the past year or two I’ve had a handful of clients that had to either re-do tradeshow graphics or send in umpteen versions of the files because people kept finding things they wanted to change.

One company even had to re-do graphics two days before the show because the company’s name was misspelled. Uh-huh.

It happens all the time, of course. We send out proposals for projects and later find a few errors that we should have corrected. No one is immune from the grammatical and punctuation error disease.

So when I came across this in my in-box this morning from Todd Hunt, I thought I’d share it:

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, former star of “Seinfeld,”
received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last week.

Too bad they misspelled her name Luis Dreyfus (without the “o” and without the hyphen).

Hollywood honchos reportedly learned about the error only after a passer-by (no, not me — I wish) spotted it as workers were installing the star.

So they scrambled to create a temporary replacement in time for the ceremony, and promised to fix it permanently.

Reminded me of other stars whose names are often misspelled.

Ann-Margret (not Margaret — Swedish you know), and the hyphen is part of her name.

Ginger Rogers (not Rodgers).

And Katharine Hepburn
(not Katherine, Catherine or Catharine).

Todd is good at watching out for those types of things. His “Hunt’s Headlines” newsletter is always short, useful and entertaining (subscription information below).

No matter how often you look at a tradeshow graphic or brochure that’s going out for printing, getting one more set of eyes on it can’t hurt. Proofing by a couple of people is good, normal and usually adequate. But double-checking your double-checking is also good.

After all, when you miss something and the boo-boo goes out for public consumption, people WILL notice – at least some. And they’ll remember that mistake – and your company – and think “Why didn’t they proof that any better?”

HUNT’S HEADLINES is a free e-Letter from Todd Hunt, business humorist, speaker and author. Book him now to add fun to your next meeting and send members back to work smiling, with tips to improve communication and success. For information,

photo copyright via Creative Commons by Yarl

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