You've probably seen QR codes in magazines, advertisements and on product packaging. Maybe you've scanned one with your smart phone. But how can you put that funny square to work for your own business's marketing? Here are some best practices for your QR code marketing ideas.
What is a QR Code?
A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a type of two-dimensional barcode. First developed in 1994 for the automotive industry as a way to track vehicles during the manufacturing process, the QR code has become popular in advertising for its easy scanning capability and large information storage capability.
What content should my QR code point to?
The information encoded on a QR code can be made up of any type of data, but the code has become popular for advertising and marketing to link to a company's web site for advertising messages. Wherever you point your QR code, the content should deliver on your communications objective. Codes can deliver all sorts of things:
- Text msg
- Website URL – is it optimized for mobile?
- YouTube video
- Telephone number
- Email message
- Google map
- WiFi Login (Android only)
- PayPal Buy Now link
- Social media (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc)
- iTunes link
Consider your audience
Most viewers will scan your QR code with a code reader on their smart phone. So make sure that whatever content your code points to will look good on the small screen. Unless your website is optimized to display on mobile devices, this is probably not ideal. Instead create a dedicated landing page that is purposely designed for viewing on the small mobile phone screen. This has the added advantage of being specific to your advertising message or promotion.
Where can I put my QR Code?
- Point of sale
- In print or direct mail
- Yard sign (great for selling a house or holding a rummage sale)
- On TV
- On a building
- On a mountain
Make sure you test your code before you print 7,000 tshirts with QR codes. Also, consider that viewers will need to scan your QR code with their smart phone, so think twice before putting your QR code on billboards or busses when manipulating a phone could cause distracted driving.
How big should my QR code be?
As a rule of thumb, codes shouldn’t be much smaller than a postage stamp. For print, about the size of a checkerboard square. If it’s on a skyscraper in Time Square, larger. Perform a Google image search for “QR codes” and you’ll find myriad shapes and sizes.
How do you make your own QR codes?
There are plenty QR code generators out there that are free for short term use, or allow long term or permanent use for a fee. What are some of the best QR code generators? Try http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ or http://www.qrstuff.com/ or http://www.scanlife.com.
Can I get creative with my QR code?
Absolutely! Most QR generators offer basic color treatments. Some integrate them into the design. http://contentdeveloper.com/2010/01/how-to-customize-qr-codes-with-your-brands-identity/.
Some brands embed their logo into the code http://2d-code.co.uk/adidas-qr-code/
I saw this one in a recent TV commercial for Macy's. http://qranywhere.blogspot.com/2011/02/macys-qr-codes-give-backstage-access-to.html
Manage expectations about usability
Not all QR readers are created equal. Ensure that you test your codes using multiple devices and multiple readers. ScanLife supports every major operating system including Palm, Java, Windows Mobile, Android and Apple.