Whether you love them or hate them (or maybe even have no idea what they are), QR codes are quickly gaining popularity as marketing tools. We have talked a lot about how mobile communications are the next big frontiers–and people like Patrick Donnelly, CEO of QR Arts, laud these 2D barcodes as “…an opportunity to turn a brand impression into an interactive exchange in under 10 seconds.”
With nearly one-third of Americans’ noses buried in their smartphones, QR codes are a great way for on-the-go consumers to quickly scan a code and receive discounts, promotional offers, directions to your business or simply read information about a product while they’re window shopping. Another cool thing about QR codes is that you can also track their effectiveness through real-time analytics and tweak your call to action based on what your data is showing. To my way of thinking, in some instance QR codes might well be a better, more relevant and more actionable version of a banner ad.
Sources for Free QR Code Generators
Intrigued? Thinking these are pretty spiffy and could be a good way to leverage your business? If so, the great news is there are FREE tools out there that help you generate your very own QR code. Some best generators that we’ve seen include ZXing Project and KAYWA. ZXing Project is a little more robust and allows you to add a geolocation to your code if you want to direct consumers to a specific address. KAYWA is more straightforward and is a great if you’re looking to create a simple QR code. There are a lot of generators out there so if you know of a better one – let us know!
Use QR Codes Mindfully – Or Risk Alienating Users
A word of caution before you starting creating QR codes to leverage your personal or business brand – be sure to have a solid marketing strategy behind using this technology. As with any marketing tactic, if you don’t have a clear objective or call to action for your consumers, you might just end up annoying them – which is never a good idea. And please, don’t plop a QR code on something just because you think it might be cute. That’s the quickest route to a waste of time by someone who scans your code and a guaranteed annoyed customer or prospective customer.
Much like with Twitter or other social media channels, your blog or corporate website, if you don’t provide useful content to your consumers you run the chance of being completely tuned out by them. To add to my statement about strategy, I also encourage you to heed Terence Eden’s QR Code Commandments:
What do you think about QR codes? The new way to market to mobile consumers or just a fad that will pass? We’re betting on the former and are unabashedly big fans of QR codes — and we’d would love to hear examples of how you’ve used them successfully. Or, if you think they’re a total waste of time, we’d like to hear what you think about that, too.