I am loving the black and white squares that are showing up everywhere in the US (they are already big in Japan). So much so, that I even put one on my business card to link to my About.me page, which is also a great way to provide additional contact info and extend the interaction.
So what are QR codes and what do they do?
The simple purpose of QR codes is to easily provide and capture more information without having to type in any information. For me this is awesome, since the iPhone keyboard is still a source of frustration (I miss the bberry keypad but love the iPhone apps).
You use your phone’s camera to “scan” the QR code which directs your phone to perform an action like:
- Visit a web page
- Watch a video
- Make a phone call
- View a special message
These are just a few, but the possibilities are endless.
In South Korea, they are using QR codes to do mobile grocery shopping. I have seen them in San Diego at businesses to vote for 10News A-list. The consumer market has already been exploding with examples (e.g. wine bottles, movie posters, symphony mailers).
For my science peeps, here’s a blog post on marketing your scientific poster using a QR code. See it’s all about how to deliver content!
The possibilities are just going grow from here.
At first, I was leery of using the QR codes. I was not sure if I would open myself up to providing more info than I want, like when a promotion asks to text a number and then the company now has your cell phone number.
Scanning a QR code at this point has not been a security risk. However, when placing a QR code on your materials, I would suggest indicating what the QR code is going to do (e.g. view a video, visit our website, cast your vote). Best way to mitigate risk is to apply the same skepticism when clicking on links as when scanning QR codes.
Want to get started?
You will need to download a QR code reader. Here are two QR readers for iPhone that I have used so far:
- i-nigma: simple QR code reader with easy share functionality and history
- ScanLife: QR reader and product bar code scanner – good for comparing prices on goods!
If you don’t have an iPhone, download Scanlife here
Want to make and use a QR code?
There are a number of free QR code generators on the web. Just type in your info, save the picture and place in your materials. QR codes should be no smaller than about 1/4 inch in the materials to accomodate varying camera resolution capabilities.
Free QR code generators:
Some creative ways to place QR codes
When integrating a QR code into your communication and marketing pieces, it helps to indicate where the QR code points. As always, the more creative you can get about integration, the more you will engage your audience and the higher your interaction rates will go.
Here are a few that have made me want to scan:
- Iron Man 2 movie poster
- Embedded in old fashion TV – although it’s on a shirt, I would use this to link to a YouTube video
- Spray can
- Cool designs – note: these need to be tested with different QR code readers
More technical info on QR codes
If you have questions about how to integrate into your materials and leverage in your communication plan, let’s chat.
If you see more fun ways to use QR codes, let us know!