QR Codes – Going from Print to Interactive

What are QR Codes or Quick Response Codes.
– Why are they showing up in advertisements and other pieces? QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that effectively store data of all types – text, graphics, numbers and web addresses. This data, once scanned by a smartphone, can take users to
on-line materials. QR Codes allow marketers to reach potential buyers anywhere – buyers no longer need to be in front of their desktop computer to research a company or take advantage of offers.

QR Codes are being used to provide links to websites pages, special offers, coupons, contact information, maps and other interactive items. For example, you can scan a QR codes on a store shelf and the QR code information can take you to a special landing page where you can download a coupon for the item on the store shelf. There are many possibilities, but it relies upon people have smartphones and their smartphones being able to read a QR Code.

How can I read a QR Code with my phone?
– With the proliferation of smart phones, barcode reader applications are now available for the phones. Most readers are free and available at your phone application store. A popular QR code reader for Android and Blackberry users is Barcode Scanner. iPhone users can use i-nigma. The QR code reader uses the camera on the phone to scan, read and interpret the QR code.

With the application loaded on your phone, try scanning a QR Code. You will see that a QR code can be a link to a web page, text, phone number, or SMS. In addition to using QR Codes for advertising purposes, people use QR Codes on business cards. On your business card, a customer can scan the code and get a phone number, email and address. Then using their smart phone they can use that information to make a phone call, send an email and navigate to the address. Consumers want immediate access to what’s relevant and QR codes are being used to make that possible.

How do you create QR codes?
– There are a number of sites for generating QR codes and many are free. An Internet search for QR code generator will offer many choices. One that has worked well for us is: https://createqrcode.appspot.com/. With this generator you can use to create a QR code to phone a number, send a text message (SMS), map a location, send you to a web page (URL), or create a contact to add to your contacts. Once you have created a QR code it is best that you test it with a number of phones to makes sure it can be read properly. If you are creating a QR Code that is going to a web page then our recommendation is to create a QR code that goes to a landing page. That way you can measure the effectiveness of the QR Code (and associated campaign). Creating campaigns or pieces that use QR Codes requires you to test various elements and to design the pieces so that the QR codes can be interpreted properly.

Tips for Implementing QR Codes

  • Remember a QR Code needs to be scanned. So a QR Code on a speeding bus is not good, but a printed advertisement, postcard, or business card is.
  • When creating a piece with a QR code, make it engaging and worth the users time. The reason for scanning the QR Code must be obvious and compelling.
  • Try not to just send someone to your web page. Send them to a special landing page with an offer. Make it worth the person’s time. The landing page will also provide you a way to track the results from your effort.
  • When possible, try to optimize your landing page for the mobile user. Remember the people who go to the landing page used their smart phone to scan the code.

QR Codes can take a printed piece and transform a user’s experience into an interactive experience. Be creative, have fun and get results!

, ,