The Anatomy of a QR code

You’ve most likely heard the term “QR code” within the last few years and maybe some of you have wondered “what on earth is a QR Code?”. I’ll decode the QR code for you today!  In definition, a QR code is simply a two-dimensional square barcode that’s read by a specialized app on your smartphone with a code scanning feature.

Here is an example of a QR code:

Along with the evolution of the internet and technology, the QR code was created for an instant way to view a page on the web using an app on your smartphone. Once the code is scanned, it will connect you to any online content of your choice such as a web page, coupon, promotional video, etc. The biggest benefit of the QR code is to quickly connect your customer or potential customer to much more information than any brochure, business card or direct mailing could ever display.  It allows you more information and in turn more engagement with your customer.

Here are a few ideas for you properly use your QR code to promote a web page or other content:

  • Product details
  • Coupons codes and special offers
  • Giveaways or contests
  • Instructional Videos or clips
  • Promotional videos
  • Sending an email message
  • Social media page or blog (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin)

Market your QR code properly
Sure QR codes sound great, but don’t get too excited – they can’t be used in all applications. For instance, you wouldn’t want to use a QR code on a vehicle for the simple fact it would be moving 99% of the time or even on a billboard for obvious reasons. However, QR code can be effective if used on a business card to send an email, brochure to link the customer to more product information, or even within your trade show display graphics to quickly connect the potential client to your website.  As an added bonus you can track when your QR code is scanned, and if you have multiple QR codes, you can view which links had the most interest.

Where do QR codes come from?
So, I’m sure by now you are really wondering where you can find these QR codes. There are many sites online that can convert a standard website link into a QR code and in many cases they would be free.  One site you can try would be http://www.qrstuff.com/. All you have to provide is the webpage you’d like to link the QR code to, then you can download the QR code file. It can be used for print, you can upload it as a photo or post it on your website.

QR code do’s and don’ts
There are a few tips I’d like to provide to make sure you are getting the most out of your QR code:

  • MOST IMPORTANT: Size: QR codes have to be a minimum size of 1 inch by 1 inch. This will insure it is large enough to be scanned by your smartphone.
  • Color: Black and white works best for this application. However, you can use colors with high contrast from each other.
  • Space: You must leave a white border around the QR code so it stands out and to give it a better scanning ability.
  • Be clear: Be sure to provide clear instructions on how to scan the QR code and where they will end up once they do scan it. One example could be, “Scan this code to receive 5% off your next purchase.” You’ll want to make sure you make will be worth the customers effort to scan the code, so they will be more apt to scan it if they will benefit in some way. Just make sure your information is clear and they will be more willing to take out their phone and scan the code.
  • Test it…twice: You must not assume the QR code will work because you put in a valid URL. Once you’ve inserted the code onto your marketing material, make sure to test it many different ways to insure it will work for anyone no matter what. And have others in your office test it too. That’s the last thing you want is for the code to not work for even the most tech savvy the customer and it leaves them frustrated and annoyed.
  • Track it: It’s always important to track when and how often your QR code was scanned. This will give great knowledge to how you should or shouldn’t use the QR code in the future. It also gives good insight as to what your customer wants most.

In the end, QR codes can be a great marketing tactic to use when you want to engage your customers and give them more information about what your company can do for them. Use them wisely but don’t overuse them.

Comment below and let me know how you use QR codes to promote your business.

Happy QR coding!

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