Are QR Codes Right for Your Business?
If you are a bit bewildered by QR codes, you are not alone. ¬†QR (Quick Response) codes are becoming increasingly popular among marketers and can now be seen on billboards, print ads, and even t-shirts. ¬† So what are they and how can they help you business?
QR codes are two-dimensional bar-codes that can be “scanned” by many mobile phones in order to enable a function within that particular phone. ¬†For example, scanning a QR code on a print ad might take the user to a particular Web page within the advertiser’s site or bring up a specific YouTube video. ¬†A QR code on a business card, on the other hand, might give the user the option to add that person’s contact information to the phone address book. ¬†The options are fairly broad as you can see from this run-down of creative QR code uses from Fast Company Magazine. ¬†To experiment with QR codes, simply download a QR code scanning app on your smartphone (search QR code in your phone’s app store).
Like any technology, however, QR codes can be overused by marketers. ¬†Using a QR code just for the sake of projecting a tech-savvy image can backfire. ¬†If you disappoint users with the output or functionality, it may backfire. ¬†You certainly don’t want users questioning the point of the exercise. ¬†That said, there are plenty of practical applications and circumstances when QR codes make sense, especially if you are looking to drive interaction. ¬†A few examples are:
- Including QR codes on walking tours to deliver more information or narration to users
- Displaying QR codes on event announcements to enable users to quickly add them to their calendars
- Using QR codes on product packaging to promote product applications or accessories
- Featuring large QR codes on outdoor advertising so on-the-go users don’t have to type
- Tying QR codes to games/mystery messages to engage users with a brand or idea
It’s still a bit unclear how fast the technology is catching on and how many users are actually using the scanning apps on a regular basis. ¬†This infographic from JumpScan give us some insight, but it is probably safe to assume that the technology leans toward a tech-savvy audience.
The most important thing is to be creative. ¬†And if you can’t think of interesting uses with the “wow” factor, it may be better to wait until inspirations strikes.