Using QR Codes in your business

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QR (Quick Response) codes were originally developed in 1994 by a subsidiary of Toyota as a matrix barcode to quickly track parts in the vehicle manufacturing process.

Particularly since the uptake of smartphones, QR codes are now being deployed by organisations in ads, on paper, packaging, signage and on all sorts of other surfaces as well – cupcakes, for example, to give people instant access to information on the web.

Instead of having to remember the web address and key it into your device, all you need to do is take a scan of the QR code with your smartphone and your phone lands directly on the web page encoded in that QR code.

KND has recently been involved with a project using QR codes for Brisbane Girls Grammar School. As an event specific project, at the 2011 Open Day, visitors would arrive at a location within the school and quickly scan the code to find out more information. The mobile friendly micro-site contained photos, video and text about buildings, points of interest and historical detail. The short videos presented by Year 12 students were fantastic.

Take up of QR codes has been particularly fast in South Korea, Japan and The Netherlands as well as in major cities in the US, but has yet to be adopted on a widespread basis in Australia. QR codes will no doubt grow in popularity iPhones and their competitors become more commonplace.

Some useful guidelines when developing your QR project…

1) Know your audience and what they need when they see your QR code
Many people do not know what a QR code is. Give them some instructions on what QR codes are, what they do, and how to use them.

2) Suggest a QR code reader
Make sure  you recommend a reader you’ve tested and you know works, and make sure the reader is compatible with iPhones and Android phones. Here’s a selection:

Barcode Scanner
QuickMark
ScanLife
UpCode

More at http://www.mobile-barcodes.com/

3) Use a suitable call to action
What’s the next step you want the person reading your QR code to take? Once they reach your landing page, what do you want them to do? It may be just to read more, or enquire, apply, watch a video, explore or register for example.

4) Make sure the landing page is relevant
When the QR code is scanned, the information delivered needs to be relevant to the user, wherever they happen to be. Remember, the user will be on a mobile device, so ensure your content is mobile ready – don’t just redirect to your standard website that may be difficult to read.

5) QR codes are only readable on a flat surface
QR codes on uneven surfaces such as fabric may make them unscannable, which can frustrate users.

6) Make it simple
A QR code is a ‘conversion point’ – a real life connection to the digital world. Keep it simple and don’t clutter up the code with distracting images or graphics.

QR codes are not yet a must-have for your marketing. However, depending on the market you are targeting, and as a way of standing out from your competitors, they may be an option to consider. And, since QR codes are linked to a URL, it’s easy to track how much your QR codes are being used.

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