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How to use QR Codes effectivley

Marc
  • On August 27, 2010
  • http:/www.marcforrest.com

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.

Comments

  1. ken

    When QR codes first came out in Japan companies like DoCoMo had to teach the public how to use them
    http://www.japansugoi.com/wordpress/docomo-tv-commercial-promoting-qr-codes/

  2. Nice. I see we’re both QR Code evangelists :) I liked this tip: Use Capital letters. Interesting. Why is that?

  3. @Rob
    I think it relates back to binary. Because capital letters use less binary digits, when they are translated back into the QR code image, it reduces the size of the actual image.

    I just tried it out, with the same text, and it reduced the size of the image when using capital letters

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