How To Use QR codes Successfully For Dummies

How To Use QR codes Successfully For Dummies 16 Comments

My name is Yvonne and I work in the online industry. I like to write and read articles that are opionated and about the digital world.

Use QR codesIt is hard to ignore the surging use of QR codes these days. They are everywhere: on bottles, posters, flyers and even billboards.

But according to several research agencies marketers and organisations still don’t know how to really use the QR code to their advantage.

The QR code is a nifty tool for anyone who likes to build a bridge between their online and offline marketing efforts. Several big corporations have been using the square dotted symbols for years but how do they use them effectively?

Chances are that they are following the next ten steps to make a success of their QR code marketing strategy.

1. Know your target group

This sounds very simple but it simply has no use promoting a product with QR codes when your target group does not have smart phones or does not know how to use it.

2. Use vector files (.eps)

Creating a QR code is reasonably simple. You only have to find a generator via google. But make sure it is created as a vector file (.eps) as they are more compatible with printed posters and flyers than .jpg or .png files.

3. Do not use flash

The majority of smart phones cannot display websites that have incorporated Flash files. iPhones cannot display Flash files and only a handful of Android phones are able to. Therefore it is useless to create something that can only be viewed by a tiny amount of people.

4. Shorten your URL

Use modern technology to shorten your URL’s. This way your QR code will only take a small amount of space when it is scanned.  The amount of information your QR code contains also determines the scan ability of the code.  You want your QR code to be scanned quickly and efficiently, you can only do that by making sure the QR code does not contain too much information.

5. Only use mobile websites

The most common mistake made by marketers is that the QR code links to a regular website. Smart phones do not interact well with regular websites and will usually crash and fail to open the page.  Only use websites that are compatible with smart phones. People are not prepared to wait and will lose interest if it takes too long.

6. Do not make the QR code too small

Most people agree the QR code is a hideously looking thing. It is therefore understandable that you want to make them as small as possible. But do no make them too small. A functional QR code is 0.5 inches by 0.5 inches. Otherwise phones will not be able to scan it.

7. High contrast design

Using colours in your QR code is a better way to smarten it up a little bit. But make sure the contrast between the different colours is high enough for phones to still pick up the codes. If you are unsure how to do this leave it to a professional. There are several really good QR codes manufacturers around, that will gladly take of your QR code design.

8. Keep the distance in mind

Keep in mind that there can only be a small distance between the phone camera and the QR code.

 9. Measure results

By using an app that shortens your URL you make your results measurable. It is important to know how often your URL gets scanned. This way you can determine whether you have created a successful campaign and whether you will continue using it or not.

 10. Test the usability of your QR codes

Just like anything else in life, you need to test the codes yourself first. Use different devices and ask several different people whether they find the QR useful, in good working condition and worth scanning in the first place.

Image Credit

My name is Yvonne and I work in the online industry. I like to write and read articles that are opionated and about the digital world.


  1. Hello Yvonne,

    Sadie in France here. 🙂
    Thank you for taking time to come and share you QR Code knowledge with Kostas’ readers. I’m a big fan of them myself and think that they can be used in limitless ways! Like most things it is often our imagination with limits things. I concur with tips that you’ve given.

    I happen upon a chap from the USA called Ken Santucci, he wrote a guide called the QR Code Explosion, it was that first got me interested in QR Codes and via Social Media we are in direct contact. He is definitely a gentleman worth following in the Mobile and QR Code World having just developed his own Mobile platform too along with his son James. That is called FEM – Fast Easy Mobile. He is a very helpful and approachable gentleman.

    Very enjoyable post for me!

  2. Thank you Sadie, I am glad you liked it.
    I will have a look at Ken Santucci’s book later.

    Have a great day!

  3. QR code is a great invention people made. I’m making mobile apps currently and find it really cool to implement QR codes into them. I’m amazed at QR code coupons app builder allows to create. They are really helpful for small businesses.

  4. I have been using QR codes in my business cards, it works very well. What I will do now is to shorten the url to create the QR codes; just tested after reading your article and it speeds the process to open the website significantly. Thanks so much.

  5. Hi Alicia, I am glas you found the article helpful.

  6. Nice guest post by Yvonne,

    I made the mistake of adding a overly-small QR code to the back of my business cards. Because of the way printing works, by the time the image was compressed that far, the image simply will not scan. This became a big source of frustration for me.

    Besides shortening links, I also say cloak/mask your link on a URL you own so that you can change the URL if you ever move the page later. Business cards will be around for years in someone elses hands and you do not want the QR code to go to a 404 because you had to move a page.

    1. Kimberly,

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience here. I have no experience with QR codes at all since I still used a basic cell phone. When I am away from the office, I’m away from my computer and by that time, I need the break.

      At the same time QR codes do seem like a cool thing to try and thanks for letting me know not to make the code too small and use an URL that I can control even into the future.

      ~ Jupiter Jim

  7. Hi Yvonne
    Just a quick question, I created an app at Appgeyser and the app has a QR Code, is it ok to resize it the way I wanted or the original size should be retained.


  8. Hi Herbert,

    Thanks for your question. I would just try it out if I were you. No QR code is the same so I would say: try to re-size it and try out the code with different phones. If it works, great! If it doesnt: you know you should stick to the original version. That’s all I can advise really. Goodluck and let me know how it goes.

  9. Nice. QR codes really are the next big thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ll appear on calling cards. Thanks for your tips though.. 🙂

  10. I have used QR codes in the past and really like them! Thanks for all of these great tips, especially the one about mobile. I’ll have to fix mine.

    I am just about to have new business cards printed & was wondering about putting a QR code on it, thanks Kim I love you suggestion about the URL, you’re right we defnitely don’t want them going to a 404!

  11. All great tips for the QR code Yvonne. I appreciate you mentioning about what is required for the smartphones. Just purchased my phone and exploring everything that I can do with it for business. So this will be a good reference for me.

    Thank you Kostas for sharing your guest author. Yvonne provided really good information here.

  12. Its really Awesome stuff Yvonne. You have provided complete information about QR code.
    Point no. 5- Only use mobile websites, is really worth mentioning point- generally we do mistake by avoiding this.

    All your 10 points are really worthy and efficient. Thanks for sharing with us 🙂

  13. Thnak you for the positive comments everyone. Really appreciate it!

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