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The Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Integrating QR Codes Into Your Marketing Tactics

August 22 2011

This article was written by our wonderful new contributor, Erik Goldhar of Clikbrix.

We are at about the 18 month mark where QR Codes have, and continue to be rapidly adopted as a bonafide marketing technology for REALTORS®. Still, despite the explosive uptake in the technology we are noticing that many are still not using it the best ways possible to optimize results. Here are the most common pitfalls and what not to do when implementing QR Codes:

1. Do Not Link Your QR Code To Your Desktop Website
People scan QR Codes with their Smartphones. If you link them to a Desktop website the experience will not be great and opportunity will be lost.

The most important thing to remember in QR Code marketing is not the QR is the site your QR Code resolves to.This site needs to be built for MOBILE devices. Building a mobile version of your site does not mean creating a mobile version of your entire Desktop site.

It's critical to put yourself in the mindset of the mobile user, who is typically short on time and short on attention. Concentrate on providing them with the information they details including rich property imagery, your contact information and ideally a concise yet compelling description of you. The "Top 10 tips on how to stage your home" and "Mortgage Calculators" are valuable but best left for your Desktop website.

2. Do Not Link To Useless Information
In a similar vein as above, provide value to the user. There is no value in driving people directly to your Facebook profile or Twitter Profile. Again, property information and your contact information is what the house hunting, mobile shopper looks for and expects.

3. Do Not Use A QR Code That Can't Be Tracked
If you can't get a return on your marketing investment then why do it? The beautiful thing about QR Codes is that they act as a tracking mechanism for previously un-trackable static print such as For Sale signage and business cards. But not all QR Codes are created equally so make sure yours are trackable in order to gauge an ROI of some kind.

4. Do Not Fail In Educating Your Users
comScore just released a report that 14 million Americans scanned a QR Code in the month of June. To us this means that 290 million did not. We are still in the learning curve of the technology so it's fundamental that you help your users learn about the technology and at the very least guide them to get a QR Code Reader installed on their phones. Wherever you apply your QR Code make sure you include instructions to help people find the best QR Code reader for their phone type. This shows you care about your visitors and that you are an expert regarding the technology.

5. Do Not Print Your QR Code Too Small
We know that real estate (pardon the pun) on your marketing materials is precious, but you you need to understand that if the QR Code is too small it won't work. At a minimum we recommend the QR Code be printed no smaller that 1inch by 1inch. Also remember that you are using QR Codes to attract attention and differentiate yourself. Therefore, if you have the space...the BIGGER THE BETTER! (Look below to see an example of a small, poorly-placed QR code.)

QR Codes for homes

6. Do Not Use A Long URL
The longer the URL the more pixilated the QR Code will be. The more pixilated the QR Code is the greater chance it will not scan (especially at smaller sizes). Use a URL shortener to graphically simplify your QR Code ensuring it will have a high scan rate across devices and readers.

7. Do Not Forget To Use Your Short URL Along Side Your QR Code
As mentioned above you should always embed a short URL into your QR Codes. We also noted that 290 million Americans did not scan a QR Code in June. Therefore, always include your short URL next to your QR Code for those who don't know how to, or simply aren't interested in scanning your code. By leaving the short URL out you needlessly forsake all prospective buyers. By including your short URL you have provided access to everyone.

8. Do Not Be Generic! You Should (Clikbrix can help) Always Brand Your QR Codes
You invest a lot of money cultivating your personal brand. You need to consider your QR Codes as an extension of your brand. You wouldn't put a generic For Sale sign on a front lawn so why use a generic QR Code? There are many imaginative options in terms of QR code design.

9. Do Not Place Your QR Code Where There is No Internet Access
This is simply common sense! We are increasingly seeing QR Codes displayed in subway stations underground. If a successful scan requires an internet connection then make sure there is one available.

10. Do Not Place Your QR Code Where It Will Be Missed
This may seem like a no brainer but as you can see from the image attached to this post many seem to forget this simple fact. I would need to crouch down on the grass (or be a Smurf) in order to scan the code in the example. Ensure your codes are big and bold, applying them to areas that give them prominence and are easy for your users to scan.

11. Bonus: Do Not Wait To Get Started With QR Codes And Your Mobile Website
The comScore study noted above shows that QR Codes are gaining in popularity. The momentum will continue before plateauing. Remember, at the end of the day the QR Code, while highly functional, is merely a link/driver to your mobile website. As technology evolves this link/driver may change over time but what will not change is the huge consumer uptake of the mobile web. Job #1 is to build your mobile website, and once it's launched, integrate QR Codes as your primary tool to drive people to it.

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