The previous post covered how QR codes can be used. I gave some examples and outlined that – however clichéd this sounds – the only boundaries are those set by your own imagination.
You can easily list any number of ideas where QR codes can be used to complement or simplify a process. This is exactly what QR codes should be used for. QR codes should be a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. Don’t distribute hundreds of codes and expect your customers to scan them just for the sake of it. A QR code should have a purpose.
Step 1 – let your customer know what’s expected of them
A company just starting to use this technology should formulate a strategy for QR. The first step should always be to let your customers know what is expected of them. It’s important to realise that not everybody is familiar with QR codes and what to do with them. A short but informative sign or card may be what’s needed to get your customers started. Perhaps send out a newsletter with more information – or why not make a short instructional video showing how it’s done?
Step 2 – choose a platform
The next step is to choose a platform for your codes. There are a number of free sites for creating codes, shortening links and most importantly – add a counter to each code. After a while, that is what allows you to measure which code is being scanned the most, the least, when it’s being scanned and more. That’s when you’re really using QR! That’s when you can really see the benefits of this technology, and that’s when your customers will notice it too.
Step 3 – the landing page for the QR code
Another very important issue when using QR codes is the landing page – the page the code leads to. I have scanned many codes, and too often I have ended up on the company’s regular homepage, developed for regular computer screens. This leads to having to finger scroll and zoom until your fingers go numb.
At other times I might end up on a page that looks ok, but lacks the content I’ve expected. Or the content is there, but mixed with too much unrelated an unnecessary information. You can easily find HTML code to use to forward a mobile unit to a compatible page.
You will need a strategy to make sure you give your customers what they need after scanning the code: quick and easily available information. If they have scanned a code on a bicycle, it’s probably safe to assume that they want information about the bike rather than everything else that’s in stock, your Twitter or a recipe for a cake. Give your customers what they want! There are plenty of codes to go around for all the other things as well.
More things to consider
Obviously there are other things to consider when creating a strategy for using QR codes. Here are a few of them:
• URL-shorteners to keep the code as small and easy to scan as possible.
• Does the landing page work in all browsers and OS’s?
• Can the code be scanned using all sorts of phones and apps? The key is test, and test again!
I have created a couple of QR services myself, though most of them are still only in beta. One example is QRCV, which creates a CV that can be read on a mobile phone. The code can be placed on a job application or a business card. I’ve also created a service for musicians that want to spread their music – they can simply add information details and links to mp3 files before adding the QR code to a flyer or concert poster.
The basis for all these services is the same: the code should work as a bridge between the ”real” world and the digital world. I have a huge interest in QR, which is obvious to those who follow my blog or Twitter. I am constantly looking for opportunities to improve the technology and implement it in existing systems, but most of all: to let people know what is being expected of them when faced with those fascinating black and white squares.
Don’t miss part 1 of this blog
Get in touch with Staffan if you have any questions on QR codes – you can find him on his Swedish QR blog QR Sverige. You can also find him on Twitter: @StaffanNilsson