QR codes have had a bad reputation since they were introduction in the 90’s, QR code were created and the graphics was slapped onto anything. But in 2017, QR codes started making a comeback. And now, they are a now accepted visually as a marketing tactic and they are now being used how they were meant to.
Knowing how these codes were used so ineffectively before, we can learn from all those previous mistakes. For a QR code to be effective, it should follow certain guidelines and be used in the right way. Let’s take a look at how to create a QR code and use it effectively for your own marketing strategies.
For those of you who don’t know what a QR code is, I’m sure this image will spark your memory. They are, after all, everywhere.
What Exactly is a QR Code?
A QR code looks like a square pixelated version of a bar code. It is scanned with a smartphone as a way to connect to URLs or undertake actions like connecting to wifi, get directions, or get a discount coupon. QR codes are generally black and white, but can be customised with colour to a certain extent.
The term “QR code” stands for “Quick Response code.” Funny old thing but when QR codes first came out, they were nothing but quick. The idea behind them is that anyone can scan the code and instantly connect with something online relating to what they were seeing offline. The main problem in the 90’s was not everyone had smartphones and if they did the camera back then were simple and required a user to first download a QR code scanner app, Only now can we say that QR codes are quick and most people know how to scan them.
QR codes were just “ahead of their time.” The comeback we are now seeing is it’s finally the right time. This is mostly due to most smartphones have an integrated QR scanner in the camera. A user can simply point the camera at a QR code and it will direct the user to whatever the code tells it to do. Point to note that doesn’t mean that QR codes are foolproof.
A QR code can be really effective on the label of a product or on a business card, where the user can easily scan it without any hassle. On the other hand, a QR code on a sign over a highway is an accident waiting to happen and in the early 90’s in the USA this was the cause of a driver crashing their car whislt trying to scan a code.
Effective Uses For a QR Code
If you are going to create QR code for a marketing strategy, you need to make sure it’s easy to scan. It also needs to make sense as part of your campaign and not simply take up visual space. An effective QR code should always have a minimal call to action next to it so that people know what it’s for. See below for some ideas for your QR Code
..QR Codes for Lead Generation
Why not add your QR Code to your business card, flyer or packaging label.
QR Codes to Send Messages
A marketing campaign which when the user scans the QR Code it sends a text to enter.
QR Codes to Give Directions
QR Codes to Access Wifi
Another great use, maybe you got visitors or customers at your premises a code could be used to connect them to your wifi.
QR Codes for Payment Processing & Donations
A QR code can be used to pay for products in a store or food in a restaurant. The client simply scans the code on the register’s payment device with their mobile phone. QR Codes are also help charities get donations in the cashless country we are becoming.
How to Make a QR Code
Now that you know how to use QR code effectively and what mistakes to avoid, let’s look at how you can generate QR codes for your own marketing strategies. You can choose between a static or dynamic QR code. A static QR code is created with one URL address which cannot be changed after the code is generated. A dynamic QR code is editable even after it has been generated and distributed.
To create a QR code you will need a QR code generator. There are a few available with different linking capabilities. Static codes are free to create, while dynamic codes have different price points depending on the generator chosen. Paid QR code generators also include tracking and analytics. They also offer custom QR code services like inserting logos in the code.
1. Choose a QR code generator
Which generator you choose depends on what QR code you need. If you are looking to make a generic static code, then you can choose any free qr code generator. If you want to include your visual logo in the design or create a dynamic QR code, you will need to choose a more intricate generator.
2. Insert all the relevant information
Choose the destination and purpose of the QR code and insert all the relevant information into the generator. The generators will guide you through the process. You can choose to connect the code to your own website, a social media channel, or a few other practical choices.
3. Generate and download the QR code
Finalize all information entry and generate your code. Download it in the file type which best suits your needs. It can be a PNG, SVG or EPS. A QR code in vector format can also be downloaded for print.
4. Track and Analyze
If you chose a paid QR generator, you will be able to track your code and analyze it.