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Friday, August 26, 2011

5 Ways To Use QR Codes Effectively For Your Business

Scan and see where you go
First you may be wondering what a 'QR Code' is.  'QR' stands for Quick Response.  These are those boxy-looking square graphics you see popping up on various print materials, products, websites, signs, etc. (like the one pictured to the right).  The purpose of these are that when scanned with a smart phone using scanning app such as Shop Savvy or Google Shopper and the phone's camera, it will direct the phone to do a number of things such as:

  • Add contact information to the phone
  • Initiate a phone call 
  • Initiate an email
  • Direct you to a website, video, or other media
  • So forth and so on
They are easy to create through free services such as KaywaGoogle's URL Shortner, or  Pretty nifty, huh?  The Google's URL Shortner is my favorite because once you create it under your Google Account you can always go back and get reporting of the number of scans and when.  So you might already be thinking of some ways to use them.  The problem that many are experiencing is ineffective uses because they are either placing them in the wrong spot or directing the user to a destination that is unusable on a mobile phone.  So how do you make these little codes effective for your business or organization?  Here's how:
  1. Place the code in a relevant spot to the user.  For example, if you are placing them on a business card which contains your contact information then create a code which directs the phone to add your information to their contacts. 
  2. Provide clear direction near the code as to why someone should scan.  This should be to get further information provided in a mobile-friendly manner.  For example, "scan here to get our mobile app for your phone" and it directs them right to the app in the appropriate market place.  "Scan here to find us on Facebook".  Too often we see these with no wording and I guarantee there are a lot of people you are missing because of that.
  3. Make sure you are sending the person to a mobile-friendly website.  Not all websites are mobile friendly or have automatic mobile versions, and if your's isn't then all you are doing is irritating the user on the other end.  For example, if I'm in real estate and I place a QR code on a sign to allow the "window shopper" to get more information; the destination should be a nice mobile display.
  4. Avoid overuse.  These are great and free most of the time, so it can be very easy to overuse them.  Again, put them in relevant spots without overdoing it on any print material.
  5. Make sure they work!  Before putting out any QR Code on anything, test it yourself.  This way you know what the users are seeing on the other end.  
There you have it.  It's a great technology that has a lot of uses.  But it's also one of those things that can end up detracting from your brand or reputation if used incorrectly.  For example, if I have a great looking ad and place a "Scan for more information" piece that directs the user to a non-mobile website; I've accomplished nothing.  

So how are you using QR Codes?  What questions do you have about them?

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