Is there life yet in QR codes?

qr-codeA QR and a bar walked into a code …

Yes, a vague and confusing opening to an article; matching the way many consumers feel about QR codes.

Have you ever seen them in use? Have you ever clicked on them?

These two questions are worth pondering before you start linking them to pages on your WordPress website.

What is a QR code?

QR codes have been around for a while now, have come to the boil once or twice, but generally simmer in the background of the online marketing kitchen.

The name is an acronym based on Quick Response.

The code is a square, complex version of the barcode, that can be read by QR Code Scanner apps on smart phones.

Typically, each code is connected to a page on a website.

For example, on the back of Baker Marketing business cards is a QR code that takes you to our contact page.

Likewise, Beerenberg Farms applied codes to some products so that consumers could zap a jar of sauce and learn more about the sauce maker.

And Mercedes Benz has started applying them to secluded places on vehicles so that emergency road crews needing to cut people free from vehicles at accident scenes can zap right through to the schematics drawings for each model on the road.

Does anybody use them?

That is the $64 question. And the answer is, some people, mainly younger people.

The problem with QR codes is that a short time ago, a survey revealed that almost two thirds of Australians had NO IDEA what QR codes were.

I don’t think that would have changed much which is why I show them in my workshops as a curiosity rather than a mandatory tool.

Some marketers have tried to use them but the problem is that you need your audience to:

  • Know what they are
  • Download a QR reader app
  • Zap your code
  • Follow instructions there

Sadly, unless you have conveyed the BENEFIT of doing that, most people won’t.

Okay, but how CAN I use them?

If nothing has dissuaded you yet, then you must have a solid idea and high confidence that your audience will appreciate these codes, rather than needing to type out a web address.

So, here are the steps:

  1. Download a QR code scanner app for your phone
  2. Google ‘free qr code generators’
  3. On your chosen generator website, type in the URL or web address you’d like the code to point to (consider this being a page NOT on your website menu but just a hidden page – you can change content over time)
  4. Save the QR code image
  5. Add the image to a document, business card, etc, ensuring it is of good enough quality to print well
  6. Test to make sure it is big enough to work by printing it out or by scanning it with your phone even while the code is still displaying on your computer screen
  7. Share with the world

As mentioned, you can change the content of the landing page from time to time.

For example, if it goes to, you can always have different specials available.

And remember, you can have more than one.

For example, if you are running a 24-hour car wash, you might apply codes to some of your equipment to give people self-service advice.

Or you might want to add after sales care advice or tips to a product – a code on a secluded place on the product might be just the ticket.

Remember, it is mainly geeks who ‘get’ QR codes, so be sure to convince your audience that the effort will be worth it, otherwise your effort might be branded BS codes!