Five Keys to Generate QR Codes that work


QR Codes have been popping up everywhere from bus stops, billboards, magazines and even in cemeteries. It seems more and more companies are joining the latest fad and using QR Codes to increase customer and user interaction.

While QR Code generation has been steadily growing over the last couple of years, so too have the number of cases where they have been misused. Whether on Twitter, LinkedIn or any of the major tech and design sites, one can find many stories and examples of QR Codes being used ineffectively.

Although criticism surrounding the QR Code is justified, it’s important to keep in mind that we are talking about a computer generated code. It’s kind of like blaming a car for not working when you never filled up with gas. Using QR Codes is fast and easy and with a few simple steps they can become a very effective tool to increase customer engagement.

Pushing a QR Code with no value is like pushing a car with no gas.









The fact that there are over six billion mobile phone subscribers that now have the ability to interact with companies from anywhere and at any time using their mobile phone has companies buying QR Codes like lottery tickets hoping one of them will hit the jackpot.

But unlike lottery tickets that have a one in a million chance of actually being productive, QR Codes always work.
The question is, what did you expect them to do?


The QR Code (abbreviated from quick response) is a type of matrix code or a 2D code that can store information and can be read by a QR Code scanner. The QR Code was originally invented by the Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing process. learn more about what is a QR code. 


QR Codes are very good at what they do. They were designed to store data and be deciphered by a QR Code reader that can interact with the 2D barcode. The QR Code was invented as a functional tool used by industries to track components and stock and it served its purpose well. The popularity of mobile phones and the advancement of new technologies has put a QR Code scanner in everyone’s pocket. There are over six billion mobile subscribers who now have the ability to engage with your business anywhere, anytime and from the palm of their hand using their mobile phone.

As @TerrenceOBrien so eloquently put it; “At its most basic level, a QR Code is a barcode on steroids”

QR Codes have become the most popular marketing tool to lead users from print to mobile and from an offline ad to an online interactive experience. From a marketing and advertising standpoint, the smartphone together with QR Code technology is a corporate dream that allows for anyone with a mobile phone to become a potential user or customer without limitations of time or location.

By scanning a QR Code users are redirected to an online destination for an interactive experience. Here are some basic examples of what companies can do with the use of QR Codes:

  • Lead potential users and customers to a company website
  • Invite new followers to your Twitter account
  • Launch or play a video or audio file
  • Offer special discounts and coupons
  • Prompt someone to LIKE your corporate Facebook page or connect on LinkedIn


With the mobile market booming and mobile devices outnumbering PCs the potential for customer engagement using QR Codes is huge. Here are a couple of QR Code tips to help you cash in on the marketing potential of the QR Code.

 1. Make sure your scanning destination is mobile enabled 

The advantage of the QR Code is it leads people from offline to online while they are on the move and using their mobile devices. If you are leading users to a website make sure it has been optimized for mobile phones.

People have a much higher expectation when scanning a QR Code than they do when clicking on a link. When a potential customer stops to scan a QR Code and is directed to an online destination that cannot be read using a mobile phone their disappointment has actually caused a negative branding effect.
A recent Google survey stated that 61 percent of people asked, said that if a site is non-mobile-friendly, they’ll simply “move on.”

When your QR Code directs people to a non mobile enabled site, you are actually helping your competition.

2. Give people an incentive to scan.

The new mobile era has offered a tremendous opportunity for businesses to engage with billions of potential users. However the mobile phone has also allowed people to always be on the go.

The QR Code has a very specific job, it acts as a bridge between the offline and online worlds. There is however one catch, users have to stop and scan the QR Code. People are in a hurry and just because you stuck a QR Code on an ad does not guarantee any engagement. Be clear and communicative, let people know where they will end up by scanning your QR Code. Be transparent and let users know how they will benefit from engaging with your QR Code.


3. Scannability
The QR Code is a tool to bridge offline to online content. The only way to cross that bridge is to use a QR Code reader. Due to the QR Codes unappealing looks many companies attempt to minimize the size of the QR Code so that it will be less intrusive in an ad design. When the QR Code size changes its level of scannability is reduced. Unless you are a programmer, play as little as possible with the sizing of a QR Code.

If you do decide to shrink the QR Code make sure you test your QR Code using as many QR Code readers as possible. Having a user take out their phone to scan your QR Code only to find it doesn’t work is as good as having an advertisement that reads “Don’t buy from us”

4. Positioning
When placing a QR Code, make sure it’s somewhere than people can take out their phone and scan it without putting themselves in danger

A QR Code that should lead to a lawyer’s office.

While originality is great, sometimes it destroys the effectiveness of the QR Code.

Can you ask the pilot to hold it steady for a second.

Here’s a QR Code that can be scanned but you might get hit by the train before reaching the landing page. Remember you are trying to make people’s lives easier not endanger them.


5. How To Generate Custom Design QR Codes

You don’t have to be confined to black and white lines and you don’t have to stick the QR Code in the corner like some kind of outcast. Visualead’s technology allows for a custom QR Code design that can actually turn any image, design or logo into a QR Code. The Visualead QR Code generator is a fast and easy way to create visual QR Codes that are more creative, communicative and effective call to action.


Please share your thoughts in the comments or on TwitterGoogle+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
In addition, to design your own visual QR Code and give any design the power of a QR, click here.



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