How to Succeed with QR Codes

QR Codes are everywhere, but how can you best utilize them for your success? In todays' blog we'll discuss some of the strategy and execution around these much-used codes.

If you’ve ever scanned a QR code, you’ve been exposed to the concept of QR code roulette. Where will it stop? Nobody knows.

A history of bad QR code scan experiences can leave users feeling a little like Alice, falling down the rabbit hole, with no idea of what to expect when they get to the other side. QR codes produce a little bit of a one-sided conversation, where you have to assume you know what the person who is scanning the QR code wants to know. This article is designed to help you make the QR code experience easier on your users, and hopefully, easier on yourself as well. 

Goals and Why Calls to Action Matter

The first question you need to ask yourself is what are my goals? 

The second question you need to ask yourself is what are my customer’s goals?

The third question you need to ask yourself is how can I and my customer both accomplish our goals?

The cool thing here is that you have the power to alter your customers’ goals with a nifty little thing known as a ‘call to action.’ At its heart, a call to action is both an encouragement and a promise. The right call to action says something along the lines of “do this to get this.” 

In the context of QR codes, a call to action is generally printed in the immediate vicinity of the QR code itself, and offers a brief (think six words or less) explanation or exhortation of why scanning the QR code is valuable to the person looking at it.

For instance, if I’m looking at a QR code, and I see “scan here to enter for prizes” printed right next to it, I will immediately align my goal to yours. As the customer, I don’t even need to know what your goal with the prize giveaway is. Mine is firmly established: I’m going to scan this code, and I’m going to enter to win a prize. 

Where and why would that start to break down? 

Your Goals

The first is with your own goals. If they’re nebulous, and you’re just trying to capture eyes on your website, content, or (shameless self-promotion alert) your Liiingo, you should just admit it right now and move on to exploring your customers’ goals. If eyes alone are not your primary goal, think about how you can accomplish that goal if you can capture your target audience’s interest for the 5-10 seconds they’ll probably be willing to spend looking at whatever’s going to be behind your QR code. 

You’ll need to be brief, and state your arguments effectively, both in your call to action and what you provide your customer. 

It always pays to be ruthless with content you expect people to not give their full attention to. After all, when was the last time you said “I really hope I get to scan some QR codes today?” In all likelihood, unless you’re incentivizing your target audience with a clear call to action and something they’ll find rewarding, you’re not going to have people who are intrinsically engaged just because they like your product and saw a QR code on it. 

Their Goals

Once your goal is established, you need to question your customers’ goals, and what you can do to align the two. Usually, you’d want to do some market research to find out what kind of questions your customers have and what they’re interested in knowing more about. If you’re not going to do the whole direct-incentive-in-your-call-to=action thing (see “enter for prizes” spiel above), then your call to action should specify that the answers to the customer’s questions are just a quick scan away. 

If your goal is to sign up more customers for product emails, newsletters, or other forms of engagement, you can do things like include popover alerts, or place them at the top of the page. Just be careful not to fall into…


What’s the pit of customer despair, you ask? That’s when you give a customer a QR code with a clear call to action and then leave them utterly disappointed in what they see when they scan the code. 

You just can’t do this to people. Their time is too valuable to waste on something they didn’t ask for and didn’t want. And people quickly learn to distrust brands over behavior like this. It’s like breaking a promise. That’s not a feeling you, or any business, can afford. 

So how do you avoid THE PIT OF CUSTOMER DESPAIR?

Clarity and Delivery

First, if you have a clear call to action, make sure that the reward for following that call to action is immediate. If you said it’s going to be there, make sure it really is. Never bait and switch.

Second, if you’re using QR codes to provide information about a product or service, make sure your QR code is pointed as topically as possible. If it’s got to be to a webpage with a lot of other things on it, good news- you can use anchor tags on your web page to not break it up into a million pieces, but still be able to link directly to the spot where you want your customers’ eyes to go. 

All that said, the number one mistake we see people make is to land users on a homepage. Homepages used to be the bread and butter of the internet world, but as the amount of content everyone has online has proliferated in the years since the web became truly worldwide, they aren’t as relevant or helpful for users anymore. That’s not to say you should never link to your homepage, but if your call to action isn’t saying something like “visit us online” to be clear that they shouldn’t expect contextually relevant information, then you’re going to have disappointed people frowning at their phones in the middle of the store aisle while your product is in their hands. That’s not a good look. 

If you don’t have a website, or you’re looking to supplement, that’s no problem. Take a look at Liiingo’s Essentials, Elite, or Enterprise products. We have solutions that allow you to create pinpoint level pages without turning your customers over to the wilds of internet search, which let you create QR codes for every product and service you offer.