QR codes (short for “quick response” code) have quickly become a must have marketing tool for many popular brands. You can’t walk through a big-box store without seeing dozens, if not hundreds, of QR codes strategically placed on products. QR codes are also often used on print media – everything from glossy magazine ads, direct mail pieces and even flyers stuck on windshields in parking lots.
QR codes are scanned with mobile devices, such as iPhones, iPads or Androids. Once scanned, it takes the consumer to a specific page on a website – usually one which has more information about the product, a mobile-ready coupon or a special offer.
I was recently at a home builders’ association meeting where we were discussing using a QR code in marketing our upcoming Home Show. One remodeler had recently incorporated a QR code on her print advertisement in a regional magazine, and she shared it with us. That was a smart idea; however, when each of the five committee members pulled out our smartphones (all different makes and models) to test out her code, we were taken to a goofy web-address that wasn’t her site. What had she done wrong?
As it turned out, she’d used her Android phone to create the QR code. While I am not sure exactly what the issue was, the result was the same – the rest of us couldn’t get to her site.
As it turns out, creating a QR code is quite easy and there are several free services available to help you do this. I use the one provided by Azon Media and can be found here: http://azonmedia.com/qrcode-generator
Keep these two key things in mind when you create your QR code:
- Since mobile devices are used to scan your QR code, make sure that your website is optimized for mobile. There is nothing more annoying than scanning a QR code to land on a web page that you can’t read on your phone’s screen.
- Have a purpose for the QR code. Sure, it is fun to show off your funky-looking “bar code” but it needs to have a purpose, and sending visitors to your home page isn’t good enough. Think of an action you want them to take, such as receiving a special offer or signing up for your e-newsletter, and direct your code to that specific page on your website.
There are hundreds of ways businesses are using QR codes today. Are you using QR codes, and if so please share how you use them in the comment section below. I’d love to include your idea in a future blog post.