QR Codes and Their Usage | September 12th, 2011

QR Code for Tebo Design StudioDare I admit it? I’m truly hesitant to embrace new technology.

There. I’ve said it. Probably not something you want to hear from a web designer, but I had to get that off my chest.

Its not that I don’t think there is room for improvement in the way we communicate. Its just that I like to take a “wait and see” approach. After all, when I first started developing websites, Flash animations were the hottest thing out there. Now professional developers are advising against too much Flash due to accessibility and search engine issues.

So when I develop websites, I focus on the basics, because I know they work. However, I knew it was a matter of time before someone asked me about QR Codes.

A Brief History

A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a type of  two-dimensional code that was first developed by a subsidiary of Toyota for the automotive industry.  Designed to be decoded at high speed, QR codes were initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing. They have since gained in popularity with smartphone users and the businesses wishing to capture this audience. Apps for scanning the codes can now be found on nearly all smartphone devices.

QR codes have a fairly large storage capacity. Their most common usage in the marketplace is storing website URLS and email addresses. A user with a properly formatted smartphone can scan the code with the phone’s camera to visit a business website, or to send an email to the site owner. QR codes frequently appear in magazines, on signs, on business cards, or on almost any other marketing piece.

Some Statistics

According to a recent study, 14 million mobile users scanned a QR Code or a barcode during the month of June, 2011. 58% of those users scanned a QR or bar code from their home, while 39% scanned from retail stores. 60% of the 14 million users were men between the age of 18-34.

Usage

How can you use QR Codes in your marketing? A QR Code can be used to send a potential customer from any printed piece, directly to your website. You might want to consider placing a QR code on the back of your business card, or any other marketing materials you hand out to customers.

Since QR Codes can hold any amount of information you want, you might also consider using them to track the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns. You can create a special page on your website that is not visible to your regular site visitors. Place the URL for this special page within a QR Code on a direct mail piece, or in a magazine or newspaper ad. Use a good statistics tracker to monitor how many hits this web page gets and you’ll know how many people viewed your ad and scanned the QR Code.

Keep in mind your demographics if you decide you want to try using QR Codes. If your market consists of mostly elderly customers, you might want to keep in mind that they are often as slow to embrace new technology as I am.

Where do you get QR Codes? My good friend Judi at InfoHarbor (she’s well versed in mobile marketing) sent me this link: http://keremerkan.net/qr-code-and-2d-code-generator/

You simply plug in your information and it outputs a QR Code in the format of your choice.

Or of course, you can always ask me to do it.  I’m real current now.

 

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