Using QR Codes

QR codes are growing in popularity, not necessarily in quality.  QR stands for Quick Response.  The technology was originally developed for the automotive industry, where it is still in use today, and recently has been adopted by the mobile industry as a way to provide an action oriented link to a mobile web page (or other actions).  Here are a few pointers on how to properly use a QR code in your own digital marketing plan.

First of all, have a plan in mind.  How does the use of a QR code with your digital marketing plan.  Do you already have a mobile ready destination to take the user?  What will you provide for them when they access the QR code?  Make sure you provide something of value to them, either informational value or entertainment value.

Understand the setting and the context in which your QR code is placed.  Ensure that the QR code is accompanied by some text that clearly explains what to expect by scanning the QR code.  Place the QR code in a location where it can be scanned, not on the side of a bus, or on a highway billboard (yes, these exist).

Use the QR code in a creative way.  The destination URL you send them to can be to a YouTube video, to your Facebook page, to a promotional contest entry page.  Don’t tell them something they already know.  I have seen QR codes in magazines that link to a full size web page of the magazine ad.  No added value there.

Shorten your QR codes URL’s.  You can use one of the short URL services to reduce the amount of data that the QR code needs to store and that improve the scan quality of the code.  Make sure before your QR code hits the market that you have tried scanning it with the major brands of mobile phones and de-bugged it.

QR Codes are a hot item right now.  Many smartphone users are actively scanning them, while many still have not even downloaded the QR code reader app to their phone.  Some phones that are landing on the shelves these days have a QR reader app already loaded so the market potential is growing.  Start at the beginning, and have a plan, with some value to add to the mobile phone user.