A lot has happened with QR codes since I last wrote about them in October 2021. (For example, the Coinbase Super Bowl ad in 2022, and its demonstration of security risks.)
Now that I’m revisiting my October 2021 post on QR codes, I wish I could change one word to make myself look smarter.
See if you can guess which word I want to change.
I have since chosen to adopt QR codes for some of my Bredemarket work, especially in cases where an online reader may need additional information.
Did you find it?
Instead of writing “online,” I should have written “offline.”
I don’t know whether I just made a typo, or if I intentionally wrote “online,” but I shouldn’t have.
Why QR codes rarely make sense online
Because if you’re online, you don’t need a QR code, since you presumably have access to a clickable URL.
But if you’re offline—for example, if you’re watching a commercial on an old-fashioned TV screen—a QR code makes perfect sense. Well, as long as you explicitly identify where the QR code will lead you, something Coinbase failed to do in 2022. “Just click on the bouncing QR code and don’t worry where you’ll go!”
But there’s one more place where QR codes make sense. I didn’t explicitly refer to it in my 2021 post, but QR codes make sense when you’re looking at printed material, such as printed restaurant menus.
Or COVID questionnaires.
Which reminds me…
What I didn’t tell you about the Ontario Art Walk
…there’s one story about the Ontario Art Walk that I didn’t share in yesterday’s post.
After leaving Dragon Fruit Skincare, but before visiting the Chaffey Community Museum of Art, I visited one other location that I won’t identify. This location wanted you to answer a COVID questionnaire, which you accessed via a QR code.
I figured I’d do the right thing and answer the questionnaire, since I had nothing to worry about.
- I was vaccinated.
- I was boosted.
- I hadn’t been around anyone with COVID.
- I didn’t have a fever.
I entered the “right” response to every single question, except for the one that asked if I had a runny or stuffy nose. Since I had a stuffy nose, I indicated this.
But hey, it’s just a stuffy nose. What could go wrong?
When I finished the questionnaire, I was told that based on my answers, I was not allowed in the premises, and if I was already in the premises I should leave immediately.
Which I did.
And which is why I didn’t write about that particular location in yesterday’s post.
Bredemarket, pressing the flesh (sometimes six feet away)
But back to non-health related aspects of QR codes.
The Ontario Art Walk was actually the second in-person event that I had attended that week. As I noted on Instagram, I also went to a City of Ontario information session about a proposed bike lane.
Now that COVID has (mostly) receded, more of us are going to these in-person events. My target market (businesspeople in the United States) is mostly familiar with the century-old term “press the flesh.” While it usually applies to politicians attending in-person events, it can equally apply to non-political events.
Whenever I go out to these local events, I like to have some printed Bredemarket collateral handy in case I find a local businessperson looking for marketing services. After all, since I am the Ontario, California content marketing expert, I should let relevant people in Ontario know this.
In those cases, a QR code makes sense, since I can hand it to the person, the person can scan the QR code on their phone, and the person can immediately access whatever web page or other content I want to share with them.
On Saturday, it occurred to me that if I ran across a possible customer during the Ontario Art Walk, I could use a QR code to share my e-book “Six Questions Your Content Creator Should Ask You.”
Unfortunately, this bright idea came to my mind at 5:30 pm for an event that started at 6. I dummied up a quick and dirty page with the cover and a QR code, but it was…dirty. Just as well I didn’t share that on Saturday.
But now that I have more time, I’ve created a better-looking printed handout so that I’m ready at the next in-person event I attend.
If we meet, ask me for it.
Making myself look less smart
Well, now that I’ve gone through all of this trouble explaining how QR codes are great for offline purposes, I’m going to share the aforementioned handout…online.
Which has probably prompted the following question from you.
- It gave me the excuse to post the question “Why?” above, thus reiterating one of the major points of the e-book.
- Because I felt like sharing it.
- Just in case you don’t make “Event X” that I attend in the future, you can experience the joy of printing the flyer and scanning the QR code yourself. Just like you were there!
- To demonstrate that even when you provide a piece of content with a QR code, it’s also helpful to explicitly reveal the URL where you’ll head if you scan the code. (Look just below the QR code in the flyer above.) And if you receive the flyer in online form rather than printed form, that URL is clickable.
But if you don’t want to scan the QR code or even download the PDF, the link is https://bredemarket.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/bmteb6qs-2212a.pdf.