QR codes – or ‘quick response’ codes – are becoming widely popular in physical marketing and media. They offer the opportunity to link print and digital media together, instead of typing in long url’s. You can simply scan a code with your phone to instantly open a web page, show a phone number
, connect to a wireless network and much more. There are plenty of QR code apps across the major brands, and QR codes will also work with a number of standard camera phones. If you’re interested in finding out more about the technical aspects of QR codes, check out the Wikipedia article.
How can I make QR codes?
Most of the ideas below involve just creating a QR code of your URL, which is free and easy to do using this tool.
How can QR codes be used?
QR codes can be used in more ways than one might think, for example, scavenger hunts, word and number games, advertising, networking and much more. One major advantage of a QR codes is that you can update prices, details and other information on the website behind the QR code without having to re-print leaflets, posters or advertisements. They’re also small, take up less room than a list of features or prices, and you can even gain traffic statistics from them.
Using QR codes on signs, posters, leaflets etc.
As a way to include more information for people to view in real-time, without having the cost of re-printing material. As well as providing more details or a quick link to your website, you could also offer exclusive discount codes. If you have a physical shop, customers could show you the code when they come to purchase in store rather than have to print coupons out, or you could even automate the entire discount process online.
On business cards
A great way to get your contact details or website across to potential clients, who can view them straight away. You can use your phone number or email address in place of an URL to encourage direct communication without the person having to laboriously type in your details and save them for later.
To expand on product details
Put QR codes next to the prices on your products for customers to scan and find out more information about the product (such as origins, stock availability etc.), or even use it to suggest other products for cross-selling and up-selling.
On letterheads and invoices
Remind people who you are after they’ve met you or used your services, and help them access your website easily from their phone.
On promotional goods and office supplies
For example bookmarks, drink coasters and mugs. Whether you give them away or have them for staff and client use, QR codes can work really well on everyday objects.
On your products
You can even add QR codes on your products or packaging.
On portable devices
Get QR code stickers printed to stick on the back of your notebook, tablet or mobile phone for when you’re on the go or visiting clients.
If you offer downloads such as PDFs and whitepapers on your website, include a QR code on them – particularly if people outside your company are likely to use them as resources or handouts.
If you offer zipped resources such as fonts, designs or scripts on your website, include a QR code image in the folder. People are likely to take more notice of an image than a readme file.
For events and locations
Use QR codes on invites or tickers to direct visitors to Google Maps locations, further details about the event/location, or even a Facebook Event listing so you can keep track of who’s going.
For speeches and conferences
If you’re speaking at a conference, put a QR code up on the screen to direct people to your Twitter account or website. If you’re organising a conference, display a QR code before the start for people to easily connect to the venue’s Wi-Fi.
To increase membership
Invite people to sign up for your email list or membership on the spot even when they’re away from their computer.
For instant feedback and real-time communication
Use QR codes for real time ratings and reviews at conferences, restaurants, shows and much more. Give the audience/customers/visitors the ability to comment on the show straight away, and combine with social media for people to interact at a venue.
To offer extras
QR codes present lots of opportunities for offering extra content such as videos, previews, and samples. If you’re in a band or write music reviews, provide a link to the video you’re talking about. At events, you could offer something like a free drink, a small resource pack of useful links, a link to a video of the talk, a song download or similar
To ‘watermark’ images
Adding a mini QR code to your design can direct people to more information about you and your work.
To direct visitors to mobile resources
You can easily direct users to a mobile tool or mobile-friendly website using a QR code in an email or on a blog. It’s also often the easiest way to direct visitors to a specific app for their phone.
For check ins
Directing visitors to social media sites such as Foursquare and Facebook to check in to events helps friends and contacts keep track of who’s arrived.