Five Foolproof Tips For Creating QR Codes

There’s no doubt Quick Response (QR) codes are the new “shiny object” for marketers who are looking to serve customers with relevant mobile content quickly and effectively.  If you’re new to using these codes, here are five quick tips to help you get started.

Tip 1: Know Your Purpose

This seems like the biggest “duh,” but you would be surprised how many marketers start creating codes but don’t think about their true intent.  So, what’s your goal?  More mobile application downloads? More followers or fans on Twitter and Facebook?  Increase email sign ups? Whatever it is, make sure you know this beforehand and really think it through.

Tip 2: Clue In Your Users

Even though QR codes are rapidly gaining widespread adoption, many people don’t know their purpose.  Giving a teaser is the best way to remedy that.  Instead of just putting the code out there, make sure to include some verbiage such as “Scan here for a special surprise” or “Use your QR reader to see more great offers from Company X.”  That way, if the user doesn’t know what the code does, they can go to their mobile app store and search for “scanner” or “QR reader.”

Tip 3: Measure Your Success

There are a ton of free tools out there that help you not only create but measure how your QRs are doing.  My favorite at the moment is the QR Generator by Good Survey.  It’s free to make as many QR codes as you want, but it limits you to three codes you can obtain analytics for at a time.

Bit.ly also has a new QR code feature to their link shortening service.  Now, they create a QR code automatically for any hyperlink that’s shortened with their service and provide free analytics as well.

Tip 4: Be Aware Of Print Material Types

One of the best ways I’ve seen QR codes used is on signage and print materials throughout retail stores.  However, I recently had a disappointing experience with this.  I was in the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and saw a QR code on a refrigerator for a new coffee creamer.  I tried to scan the code three times but each time I tried, it wouldn’t work.  After the third try, I gave up and noticed that the material the sign was made out of had a glossy finish and created a glare that prevented me from scanning the code in the well-lit grocery store.  For your QR codes, I would recommend using a matte finish on any print materials especially since many larger companies cannot control their placement of their signage throughout their stores.

Tip 5: Test, Test and Re-Test Your Codes

The worst thing that can happen with a QR code is they do not work. It can be very embarrassing and damage your company’s credibility in an instant. The best way to prevent this from happening is to test your codes with different phone operating systems (OS, Android, Blackberry etc.)  and different QR reader applications.  Make sure you test right after you create each code and after the printing phase if you’re creating signage. (Action idea: Get your employees involved by sending the code out to them so they can test for themselves. Be sure to ask for feedback too.  This is a really quick (and not to mention cheap) way to test your newly created QR codes.)

Are there any other tips you can think of?  I would love to hear your thoughts. Please share them in the comments below!

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Help! Need Advice On Online Backup & Storage Software

I’ve recently been looking into online storage for my precious files such as music, portfolio pieces, photos, etc.  I’m beginning to realize that if the sky falls in and kills my external HD, I could very well lose all of my hard work for the past 5+ years.  Even though Google is helping a lot with my research, I want to know what other people use and why.

I’ve narrowed it down to Mozy (www.mozy.com) and Carbonite (www.carbonite.com).  Both seem like very good products, but I’m wondering if there’s something better for us Mac users.  Can you help?  Comment on this post, any advice you give will be greatly appreciated!