How to use QR Codes effectivley
Well we know that I am a fan of QR codes after the whole Photocode debacle (which I haven’t seen too much about). The opportunity that QR codes offer is way beyond what most other 2D barcodes can offer.
I thought I would put a few thoughts down on how to ensure that when using a QR Code, be it in a campaign or personal use, making sure you get the full potential out of them.
- Use a decent QR Code generator
I use Zing which is built on the open source Google chart API. It is fast, and offers a variety of options. Another site I came across this morning is http://www.qrstuff.com/, which also seems pretty cool. You can also use http://imagecharteditor.appspot.com/ to create QR Codes. Quickmark also has a pretty cool SDK which allows you to create your own QR codes in your applications.
- Ensure your landing page is Mobile compatible.
This is huge. You cannot direct people to a URL using a non-mobile webpage and expect them to browse that using their phone. QR Codes are designed to open on a mobile phone screen, so make sure your site is mobile compatible. If you have a WordPress site, install the mobilepress or WPTouch plugins which will automagically transform your normal site into a WordPress site. If you don’t use WordPress….um…..
- Use short URL’s
I have written about this before, and when it comes to QR Codes, the shorter the better. Having a shorter URL ensures that your image size is smaller. Use a URL shortener like Bit.ly to make your URL’s smaller. Bit.ly also offers basic tracking stats, so you will be able to see how many times your URL has been opened.
- Use Capital letters
This one may sound a bit silly, but a QR Code with a url of http://bit.ly/aaaa will be bigger (image size) than a QR Code with the URL of http://bit.ly/AAAA.
- Make your content relevant & valuble.
Don’t expect people to snap a QR Code displayed in a magazine about gadgets, and then it takes them to a article about fish. Test your code before your publish it. It could lead to a potentially embarrassing situation :) Rather link to a webpage about your product or campaign, and then on the page have a video, as opposed to linking straight through to a video.
- Tell people what QR Codes are
Because QR codes are a relitvley new technology (outside of Japan), you need to educate your users on what they are all about. Include a link on your site, or even below the image about what QR Codes are all about and where to download a QR Code reader from. It will still be a while till people know what QR codes are all about and how to use them.
- Download a quality QR Code reader.
I use Quickmark on the iPhone which seems to work the best and fastest. They also have apps for Nokia & Android. For Blackberry you can use BeeTagg
- Get users to “Like” your Facebook page using QR Codes.
This isn’t a must do, but more of a useful tip. Create a QR Code that will give people a like button to like your site or URL. You can create a URL that will point straight to the Facebook Like link (http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=https://marcforrest.com) or read more about it on this site
There are loads of uses for QR Codes. I can think of a few off the top of my head. Code in a magazine pointing to more info about a specific gadget and video of how it works. Or, a QR Code in a menu in a restaurant that links to a webcam in the kitchen or video of how the food is made. What about a QR Code on the flyer of an event or band that gives your more info about them or the full line up of a festival, and offer calendar events & a free song of the band which you can download. The possibilities are endless. If you wanna chat more about QR Codes, drop me a line on my contact page, and I would love to chat more about it.
Have you got any QR Code tips & tricks to get the most of these awesome codes ? Share them in the comments below.