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QR Code Handbook

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An intro to QR codes for business marketing

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QR Code Handbook

  1. 1. QR Codes 101 by Aliza Sherman aliza@mediaegg.comwww.techforhumans.com
  2. 2. S QR Codes 101 o you’re looking to start using QR codes as a marketing tool but aren’t sure where to begin. This handbook should get you started thinking about, creating and leveraging QR codes foryour business or any project where you’d like to communicate withothers via smartphones.I’ll share some ways companies and individuals are using QR codesto give you some ideas on what works and what doesn’t and why. I’llalso provide quick ways you can start using QR codes today alongwith some resources to get you moving forward.If you have any questions,feel free to email meat aliza@mediaegg.com. Want to scan the code below? You can download a free QR Code Reader from one of these links: iPhone http://bit.ly/tzuztw or http://bit.ly/vXvBpN or http://bit.ly/vK8Luy or http://bit.ly/uvgyMY Android http://bit.ly/vXvBpN or http://bit.ly/s0VYJr or http://bit.ly/voWA8B Blackberry http://bit.ly/rNVfB6 or http://bit.ly/tPZXxx Note that every QR code scanner may have different sensitivities. If you have trouble with one, there are others you can download for free. definition QR Code: A 2-dimensional bar code – a Quick Response code – that represents data such as a URL, email address, telephone number or other information that can be scanned and read using an application on a smartphone.
  3. 3. QR Codes 101My First CodeThe first time I saw QR codes, I had no idea what it was, but I wasintrigued. I was trying frozen yogurt for the first time (froyo, for theuninitiated) and saw a poster in the yogurt shop’s window that sug-gested scanning a code for a free dessert.The Apple App Store logo tipped me off that I could use my iPhoneto do something, so I followed the instructions and downloaded - anapp with a QR code scanner or reader – and I scanned the code.A coupon appeared on my iPhone that I showed to the guy behindthe froyo counter, and in turn, I was given a free yogurt treat. I wasdelighted!From the retail establishment’s point of view, the QR code was aninteresting new way to bring customers into their store and provideincentive for them to sample a product. The code generated curiosityand provided instant gratification.Created and utilized in thoughtful ways, QR codes can be powerfultools or “real-world hyperlinks” as Hamilton Chan, CEO of Paper-links, likes to say. His company offers custom QR codes, printing withQR codes, and QR code mobile destination sites. You’ll find out moreabout Paperlinks later in this handbook.
  4. 4. QR Codes 101Why QR Codes?While QR codes were invented by Toyota to easily scan and track in-ventory, their open and public use has prented new ways anyone can definitionleverage these codes. So many of us are adopting smartphones andare getting more and more comfortable using apps on their phones QR Code Reader:to perform tasks. We are also carrying our smartphones with us ev- An application, usually free,erywhere. If your goal is to reach people, and you are looking for that you can download to yourfresh ways to do this, tapping into the smartphone as a new commu- smartphone to scan and inter-nications channel could be effective for you. pret QR codes. The scannedKeep in mind, if the people you are trying to reach – your custom- code can trigger an actioners, constituents, target audience – are not using smartphones, QR such as leading to a website,codes are dead ends. But if they are, you can provide information playing a video, or promptingand prompt actions straight to someone’s smartphone if they take someone to contact you orthe time to scan your code. your company.There are many ways to use QR codes, and we’ve all just begun toscratch the surface. At a minimum, you could:• Point to your website or another page on the web.• Prompt someone to “like” your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter.• Prompt someone to take a quiz, poll or survey.• Prompt someone to fill in an application to request something.• Prompt someone to donate to a cause.• Launch and play a video or audio file.• Launch the App Store and lead someone to the page for your mobile app.You could put QR codes on:1. print advertising (magazine, newspaper, newsletter)2. on marketing collateral (business cards, stationary, postcards, brochures)3. signage, banners, table tents.4. product packaging5. attire, accessories, promotional itemsThese are very basic uses of QR codes but a good place to start.
  5. 5. QR Codes 101QR Code PointersYes, those QR codes sound cool, but here are a few things you need tokeep in mind before you start using them.If you are sending people to a website, make sure it is mobile-ready.1. Use a Mobile-Ready DestinationThat means when someone lands on the site using their smartphonethat the site is configured for mobile devices.Test out your site right now. View it through your smartphone’s webbrowser, and see if you can read what appears on your screen. If youhave to squint or pinch and expand or even move the page aroundwith your finger to see all of the content, that means your site isn’tready for mobile devices.Here is an old version of one of my websites that was hosted onWordpress.com and what it looked like through my iPhone:
  6. 6. H QR Codes 101 ere is an old version of one of my blogs that was hosted on Typepad.com and what it looked like through my iPhone. Note how the mobile version below on the right is difficult toread and nothing more than a tinier version of the web page.Many website and blog hosting platforms such as Wordpress andBlogger have mobile-ready versions that can be set up as a defaultwith “auto-detect” meaning that the web server hosting your site willdetect if the person accessing it is on a computer or smartphone. Ifon a smartphone, their mobile browser will be pointed to the mobileversion of the site.You can also create mobile versions of your sites through a varietyof tools, free or fee-based, or hire a web development firm familiarwith mobile sites to create the mobile version of your website. Thekey is to work with a tool, platform or company that is reputable andwhere the end product – your mobile-ready site – is easy to accessand navigate. Don’t be duped by fly-by-night companies that will tryto bilk you of a lot of money and create an inferior product.Some popular solutions for mobile sites include Mobify and Outer-woven, or as mentioned above, you can configure your Wordpress orBlogger sites or blogs to auto-detect mobile devices and serve up themobile-ready version of your site.
  7. 7. QR Codes 101 Using a QR code to send someone to your website’s home page doesn’t 2. Trigger Measurable Actions make a lot of sense if you aren’t tracking what they do next. You can- not expect someone to poke around multiple pages on a website and do something meaningful, especially while they’re on a smartphone. Think of how you can use a QR code to trigger an action that you can measure and track. Again, make sure the destination of your QR Code is mobile friendly. So if you are sending them to a poll or survey, you could use a survey tool such as Zoomerang (www.zoomerang.com) which offers a mo- bile version of its surveys (www.zoomerang.com/mobile-surveys/). If your destination is a video, use YouTube to host your video. The YouTube site is mobile friendly so when you view a link to a You- Tube video on your iPhone, your YouTube video app launches which makes for a better viewing experience. On the flip side, if you link someone to a web page that has video embedded on it, it might take someone a few extra steps to actually play the video, especially if the destination page is not mobile-ready. Therefore, it is better to link to a video URL versus a regular website with a video on it. scanScan this code to see an example of viewinga video on a website. (This is on the web-site for the publisher of my latest book.The code leads to a web page on a site that scanis not mobile-ready so it might take some Now scan this code.fiddling around to play it.) It leads directly to a video hosted on YouTube. It should move immediately to a mobile-friendlier version of the video ready to be played. FYI: Below is the link that is represented by http://bit.ly/s4zrQR this QR Code:
  8. 8. QR Codes 101Making a QR CodeHere are some of ways to get a QR code. And remember: It is not justabout the code but about the destination. It is also a good idea to usea URL shortener to create a less dense and complicated QR code thatis easier to scan, even at smaller sizes.This is a really easy way of obtaining a QR code to a URL. Just copyBit.lyand paste your URL into Bit.ly (www.bit.ly) then add .qr to the endof the bit.ly, and hit Return. You’ll then see the QR code that corre-sponds with the bit.ly that leads to the longer URL. Check out this QRcode generated by bit.ly: http://bit.ly/s4zrQR.qrI really love Paperlinks (http://www.paperlinks.com) because theyPaperlinkslet you create a mobile destination for your Paperlink-generated QRcodes, and those destinations are modular so you can switch out sec-tions, content and images at will. The potential downside of creatinga QR code out of a URL or any destination is if you cannot modify thatdestination page easily, then your code becomes stale.You cannot modify a QR code once it is generated, meaning it willalways go where you initially wanted it to go. With Paperlinks, theQR code stays the same, but you have control over some basic partsof where that code lands including links to your Facebook Page andTwitter account, a photo gallery and video, a coupon, additional linksand even a custom header and introductory text that can be changedanytime.To the right is an example of a Paperlink aka QR Code. If you scanthe code, you will arrive at a Paperlinks modular mobile destination.(You can use any QR code reader, not just the Paperlinks iPhone app).If you click on this link – http://plinks.me/pten6c - you can view thesame site though a web browser although you will see it is clearlydesigned for a smaller format i.e. a smartphone screen.
  9. 9. QR Codes 101 Making a QR Code Here are some other QR code generators, each offering different fea- tures and options. Google URL Shortener http://goo.gl/ Like Bit.ly, Google provides a URL shortener and a corresponding QR code for the link. Just click on the “details” link after you’ve gener- ated your short URL to access your QR code.There are many other sitesand companies offering QR Code and 2D Code Generator http://t.co/hS5S89Cservices for QR codes. If This non-commercial code generator converts a URL to a QR code.you use others, I’d love to You can adjust size, output (PNG, EPS, PDF, TIFF), and modify fore-know about them (aliza@ ground and background colors.mediaegg.com). Kaywa http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ This generator lets you convert a URL, text, phone number or SMS message into a QR code and you can select the size. GoQR.me http://goqr.me You can really see how complex a QR code can become the more in- formation you add to be converted. Here you can convert text, URLs, vCards, SMS and a phone number. (http://myqr.co/) Paste a URL to get a QR code generated from a MyQR.co shortened URL. Or make a QR code for a message, a Contact vCard or an address and map. RedLaser https://www.redlaser.com/qrcode/ In addition to creating codes for some of the same content as the above, this one also offers event information. 44Doors http://44doors.com This company provides fee-based mobile marketing services include mobile destinations with a variety of content components including coupons, mobile commerce and CRM.
  10. 10. QR Codes 101Designer QR CodesYou don’t have to be confined by black and white codes, but if you gofor the beautiful code, make sure you use a developer who under-stands what parts of the code are active.
  11. 11. QR Codes 101 What Else? There are many other things to know about QR codes so stay tuned to www.techwithaliza.com for upcoming ebooks on the topic that are more advanced and detailed. If you have any questions about any of this, please feel free to email (aliza@mediaegg.com) or call 903-224-5683. If you’d like to share this handbook with others – something I whole- heartedly encourage – please provide them with this link so they can also sign up for my weekly tips: http://eepurl.com/dFdTU And to get your creative juices flowing, here are a few more examples of QR codes in use.Product Tag Accessory Business Card
  12. 12. QR Codes 101Storefront Window Product Packaging Wine Coaster Wine Coaster