QR Codes – get the best out of them
There are certainly a lot of them around these days and as more people get internet enabled phones the market for them will continue to increase. But are they as easy as they look to produce?
Yes, they are pretty simple to make, especially if you stick to straight forward black and white versions but they are also easy to get wrong. I’ve seen a lot recently that just don’t work. The latest was in a copy of the ESPC paper. I tried every app I had on my iPhone (and I have lot for testing) and not a single one could read the code – pretty much a waste of time.
So, what can you do to get the best out of them?
First make a QR code that is easy to read
Don’t use over long URLs. The longer the URL, the more of those little black dots there are. This means that they are smaller, more likely to get scrunched up together and they become harder for the phone app to read. If you want to see what I mean check out the two codes shown on the right. They both lead to a product on Amazon – the one on the left has been created from the original Amazon URL, the one on the right has been shortened before creating the QR code. Guess which is easier for the app to read?
Think about where you’re taking the visitor
If the underlying URL is going to your website, where exactly do you want to take the visitor? Sticking with the property example I’ve seen lots of QR codes next to pictures of houses for sale in papers or on For Sale boards where the QR code leads you to the front page of the website which means that you now have to start searching for the property you were interested in. It’s even worse if the website hasn’t been optimised for mobile phones. At this point most of us would give up.
So think about what you want the visitor to do and take them straight to the right place.
Remember that QR codes don’t just go to webpages
You can use QR codes to dial phone numbers, send sms messages or they can contain text so be creative in the way you use them.
How and where could you use them?
- on your business cards
- on your brochure – go to a contact form or dial your phone number
- a sticker on products – link to instructions or more information
- on vehicles
- on menus – link to your Facebook page to gain followers or to your Foursquare account to encourage checkins
- on event tickets – a link to directions perhaps or details of the event
- in your place of business – link to a special offer coupon
- in your shop window – details of products or ways to buy online if you’re closed
- for more ideas look here – http://pinterest.com/search/boards/?q=qr+codes
Are you already using QR codes?
Tell us some of the ways you’ve used them and what sort of results you’ve had. If they worked well what do you think helped? If they worked badly, why do you think that was? Leave your answers in the comments below!