QR Codes – How they work and how to use them effectively

What are QR codes

QR codes are a new twist on the tried and true history of barcode technology. These 2 dimensional barcodes (2D) can be used for a number of innovative marketing techniques while providing a high level of ROI detail within any given campaign.  QR codes, or Quick Response codes, can be scanned by most smart phones and many smart phones already come preloaded with QR code scanning software. Need a scanner? There are many out there, here is one we recommend.

QR codes can be used to link to corporate websites, video product demonstrations, vCards, calendar appointments, coupon codes…the uses are endless. QR codes are free to generate and there are many generators out there. If you’d like, you can use our QR code generator. At Cedar Graphics, we can help you make the most of your QR codes and guide you to the best practices. Even better, we can help you create designer QR codes like the ones on the right. Dynamic QR codes, which are used in integrated marketing campaigns, PURLs (personalized URLs) are generated into QR codes which are printed on marketing pieces. This drives consumers to landing pages to gather additional information or to redeem an offer. Find out more by reading the articles and whitepapers on the right.

QR Code Best Practices

QR codes are a great tool for engaging your customers when used with a printed piece, but if done wrong, they can be confusing and frustrating. At Cedar Graphics, we’ve done the research for you and have listed the best practices to ensure that your QR code campaign goes as planned.

  1. QR Codes should have a high level of contrast between the code and the background, such as black on white.
  2. QR Codes should be printed 1″x1″. Any smaller and some phones will have trouble reading them.
  3. QR Codes should have a 1/8″ white border around them (or whatever contrasting color you use in your design).
  4. QR Codes should be created from a shortened URL, especially if the URL is long. The more text, the more complicated the QR code, the harder it is to read.
  5. QR Codes should be tested before sending to print by scanning with at least 3 devices and with several different apps.
  6. Landing pages from QR Codes should be optimized for mobile devices.
  7. Indicate that it should be scanned by a smart phone.
  8. List the URL, if possible, that the QR code leads to in case someone doesn’t have a smart phone or know how to scan it.
  9. List a place where they can download a scanner for their smart phone.
  10. If at all possible, QR codes should be TRACKABLE! You should know who scanned it and from what device.

Other uses for QR codes

Cedar Graphics QR Code

QR code usage is becoming increasingly popular. Advertisers today are attaching the codes to everything from bananas to billboards. It seems as though most marketers are simply using QR codes as a shortcut to a URL and not capitalizing on some of the other neat things you can do with the code. Here are some other ways that you can utilize these codes to encourage customer response.

  • Contact Information (vCard) – this type of code will add your contact information to the users mobile device
  • Calendar Events – add your event directly to your recipients calendar (perfect for webinars and conferences)
  • GEO-Location – Using your latitude and longitude, you can allow people to navigate directly to your booth or business
  • Paypal – If you have a paypal account you can link directly for them to order…like this
  • Twitter – Auto complete tweets.  (Use this trick:  https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?source=webclient&text=your+tweet+here)
  • WiFi Logins – This is currently only compatible with Android device
  • Variable QR’s – With CG’s capabilities, we can customize every code on every piece for maximum impact

Why only use a QR code to link to a URL that is probably printed right next to the code? Use the QR code to more fully engage with your client…or offer a unique experience only available through that code. By doing so, you will see your scan percentage increase as well as your ROI.