Are you looking for someone to handle all of this for you? I will build, optimize, and manage your business's entire web presence: Inbound Marketing, Content Creation, Social Media, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and More!

QR Codes in Social Media, Marketing, & Advertising – A Definitive Guide

by James Ball on October 4, 2010

Because you’re starting to see them everywhere…

Yes, we need to “go there”, let’s stay ahead of the curve and dive right into it, shall we? I’ll go ahead and be the first to admit that not long before this article, I only had a basic understanding about QR Codes (Wikipedia link). I hope that by providing some of the resources used in my own homework, you might take away a better understanding of QR Code itself, and perhaps more importantly, you’ll be inspired to explore the possibilities and implement QR Codes into your own marketing and advertising efforts.

>>Explore ALL of the links here today. Then we’ll all be experts!<<

For those of you in a big hurry (if you just came to get info about QR Code Readers/Generators):

  1. Generate a QR Code  or  Another QR Code Generator  and  Another Dynamic  QR Code Generator
  • Scan the QR Code above and follow the instructions (thanks in advance for subscribing to my blog!) < starting to see the possibilities?

NOTEWhen using QR Codes to drive users to a URL, using a URL shortening service like bit.ly will prove useful because TRACKING AND ANALYTICS ARE IMPORTANT, and until all QR Code generators provide a means of tracking the number of scans, clicks, etc…this seems like a good solution. Interesting also is that Google’s in the business of generating QR Code that can be tracked via their shortened URL’s.

Let’s Continue:

I mentioned “ahead of the curve”, which is not entirely accurate. QR Code was created in 1994 by Denso-Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota, to track parts across the manufacturing process. QR Code has since been more widely adopted in other countries than in the United States. Standards like data matrix are already in place here, but as the smartphone market skyrockets, so will the use of QR Codes to convert users from a printed medium and/or a real life location to a digital experience.

This video covers the basics- The best and most succinct that I’ve found:

A deeper look into QR Code and the Potential/Possibilities:

  • Special landing pages for your smartphone savvy blog readers/customers/passing foot traffic
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Verifying someone’s actual presence at a venue…a sort of “check in”
  • Recruiting help and/or incentivizing an email or SMS campaign
  • Business cards, stickers, labels
  • Link to a map
  • 101 Other Uses For QR Codes

“Instant Education-Gratification“……. is a term that has been spawned by an online culture and is ripe for QR codes to own. It defines our emotional search for empowerment and feeds our craving for valuable content, instantly. The physical act of scanning a QR code is a lot like typing a keyword into a search box. It’s immediate and responsive with the user having full control. Now brands can deliver unique, valuable, unobtrusive web content to consumers through QR codes and mobile web content while tapping into the “emotional gratification” and “education” that search provides. QR codes are already the ultimate bridge between static physical media and its dynamic digital counterpart.” – Nick Ford, QR Anywhere

Whether you are the person creating the code with a specific result in mind, or you’re the end-user scanning a code and magically being taken to an interesting offer, coupon, or a video on your smartphone, you will instantly realize the dynamic and exciting bridge that’s been crossed! Have you heard about what Calvin Klein Jeans has done with QR Codes?

“I predict that soon we’ll see them on T-shirts, mugs and baseball hats.” Chris Brown, brandandmarket.com  <Her post shows some hypothetical example images.

View more presentations from David Stutts.

QR Code Strategy

“Build a code strategy into an existing campaign. Implementing a QR code means nothing in the Marketing world if you are not promoting the code itself, so it is vital to integrate the code into an existing campaign or build a campaign around it.   Also, remember that the code should not be a “tag” in your existing creative.  Don’t throw it in like you would a website address or Twitter profile.   You need to briefly explain the purpose of the code (educate) and explain why the user should scan it (offer).  Give fans/users a reason to click.” – John Dimiceli, D-Mobile Marketing

Much like texting to give to a cause has become popular, I expect the use of QR Codes for giving will take off once a large enough organization embraces it and pushes it through. Check out this great example of fundraising with QR Codes: WWF Save the Tiger Campaign in Germany.

 “On a recent trip to New York I saw stores featuring QR codes in windows. Shoppers could potentially walk by at midnight, see something that they had to have, scan the QR code and be taken to a shopping cart to buy the item.” John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing

We’ll absolutely see more QR Codes that resolve to a “buy now” page. Brooks Brothers and others are already involved:

…and on Fifth Avenue:

 QR Code Best Practices

While it may be a little soon to have anything close to an established and accepted set of best practices for the use of QR Codes just yet, the author of the quote below has gone a long way toward setting some excellent standards. Check out the link after the quote to see his thorough and well thought out list.

“Because 2D barcodes are still new to U.S. consumers, companies should seriously consider placing descriptive copy next to the code, which will help consumers learn about the codes and know how to scan them. Included in this descriptive copy should be information on how and where to download a reader app” – Roger Marquis, 2D Barcode Strategy

Don’t just assume that you might gain some traction with a campaign based solely on the novelty or the “buzz” surrounding QR Code right now. I encourage you to think down the road and execute creatively in your use of QR Codes. There is virtually no limit to the ways in which you might make excellent use of this technology to enhance your advertising and marketing efforts in order to achieve your goals.

So what’s your take on QR Codes? If you clicked through to even half of the links in this post, I’m believing that you are now more equipped and inspired to implement QR Codes into your marketing efforts. The comments are yours, please share any thoughts or ideas that you’d like to share about QR Codes today.

Previous post:

Next post: