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‘Quick response' codes are nothing new, but people and companies are becoming more creative with where and how to use them.
Now that QR codes are more commonly used than ever and the average person knows how to scan them with their phone, with a little creativity and planning, there's a new world of opportunities to engage with our potential clients and customers!
QR Codes: What Are They Good For?
QR codes are incredibly versatile and can trigger all kinds of actions from a person's mobile device.
If you've ever interacted with a QR code before, you probably know the most common use is to send people to a website URL.
It may not be obvious at first, but this is actually a BIG deal!
Think about it… you can send someone anywhere. You aren't limited to the homepage of your website.
What could you create to best communicate with your ideal customer?
Here are some ideas I was able to think of:
- Send them a short video of yourself, greeting them and explaining more about what you do and how you can help them.
- Create a new page on your website designed to greet a person and explain certain details they need to know.
- Create a pre-written text and prompt them to you so they can start a new conversation.
- Send them an email opt-in form with more details about what you can do for them (perfect for building an email list).
- Send them a form that explains how you can help and what information you need. Collect that information from them (this is what I do on my buying website).
Wherever you send someone with your QR code, keep their journey in mind and acknowledge how they got there.
For example, if you created a QR code and placed it on your business card, your landing page could say,
“It was nice to meet you!”
If you created a unique QR code and placed it on your mail piece, your landing page could say,
“I see you got our postcard!”
If you created a unique QR code and placed it on your PowerPoint side, your landing page could say,
“Thanks for attending the presentation!”
Don't just send them to a generic page with no personality. Treat them like real people and usher them through the next stage of your conversation with them.
If a QR code is utilized and presented well, it can greatly enhance the desired outcome.
Creative Uses for QR Codes
Sending someone to a web address offers a lot of possibilities, but that's only the tip of the iceberg.
There are billions and billions of ways QR codes can be used by realtors, real estate investors, and professionals in many other industries.
Here are some of the most common uses…
1. Dial a Phone Number
QR codes are also a great way to get prospective clients to call you. Whether you send these callers to a pre-recorded voicemail message or answer the calls live, this can be WAY easier than manually making people type in your phone number.
2. Send a Pre-Written Text to Your Number
This is a brilliant use of QR codes. If you want your prospects to take the first step towards working with you, it's extremely easy to have them scan your code, populate a pre-written message (one you wrote), and send it to your number. After they scan the code, all they have to do is tap ‘Send!'
On the other end of this number, you could have it prompt them to join an email list, have a live conversation with you, or even communicate with a chatbot.
And the beautiful thing is, when they send the message first, they're effectively opting in, and you'll be able to communicate freely with them and say whatever you want without having to adhere to the strict texting regulations that most carriers have.
3. Send a Pre-Written Email
Like the texting example above, you can also have a QR code trigger your prospects to send a pre-written email to whatever address you want it to!
It's the same idea behind the SMS approach; you're just using email instead of texting as your medium of choice.
You could also apply this to WhatsApp, which can be particularly useful if you're communicating with people outside the United States.
4. Linking to Social Media Accounts
QR codes are a great way to send people directly to your online social profiles so they can like, follow, subscribe to, and connect with you on social media.
Unfortunately, QR codes are ugly, but luckily, you can tweak the appearance of your QR codes quite a bit. This goes for the colors you use, the images you incorporate, and even the shapes that make up the design.
Here are four designs I created for free through QRcode-monkey.com.
Pretty cool, huh?
If you're a Canva user like me, you can create QR codes that live inside your designs! Whether it's a postcard, letter, presentation slide, or anything else. Be sure to check out Canva's QR Code Generator too!
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some other creative things you can use QR codes for…
5. PDF Downloads
6. YouTube Videos
7. Google Maps Locations
8. PayPal “Buy Now” Links
9. Image Files
10. Dropbox, Google Drive, or One Drive Links
11. Sharing Contact Information
12. Attendance Tracking
13. App Store Downloads
14. View Business Locations
15. Directions to any location (starting from the user's location)
16. Promotions, discounts, raffles, and giveaways
17. Issuing Receipts
18. Calendar Invites
19. Online Store, Menu or Product List
20. Geo-Fencing (see the geographic location from where a person scanned your code)
…and the list goes on and on and on.
You can even create dynamic QR codes. This means you can edit an existing QR code in the future and change the type and/or the information it contains. If you change your mind about what a particular code will make the user do, you can make it happen!
Where to Place QR Codes
Want to know what's even better? You can put QR codes on virtually anything.
As long as people can see the QR code through their camera app, they can go where you want them to go and do what you want them to do.
Here are a few practical and creative places you can place a QR code:
- Business Cards
- Powerpoint Presentations
- YouTube Videos
- Company Logos
- Social Media Profiles
- Craigslist Listings
- Car Magnets
- Temporary Tattoos
- Permanent Tattoos (if you're really hardcore)
- Trade Show Booths
- “For Sale By Owner” Signs
- Bandit Signs
- Within Blog Posts
- Coffee Mugs
- Tickets, Passes, Admission Bracelets
- Shipping Boxes
- Bus stops and subway stations
- Print Advertisements
- Product Packaging
The Problem With QR Codes (and How to Fix it)
For many years, most people didn't understand QR codes or what to do with them, but the evolution of this technology has come a long way.
Even so, if you want to ensure everyone understands how to use your QR code, it doesn't hurt to “hold their hand” a little.
For example, suppose you see this on the side of a bus one day – with no explanation:
Would you stop what you're doing, reach for your phone, and try to scan this thing?
If I have no idea what it's about, what it will do, and no compelling reason to engage with it, why would I exert any effort to scan this thing?
Even if people understand how to use a QR code, they need a compelling reason to take out their phone and scan it. They also need to trust the source to some degree.
One subtle way to encourage people to use your QR code is to give them some instructions (even if you include the words “SCAN ME” somewhere with the image, that's better than nothing). Here are a few examples:
Note: Most of the QR codes in this blog post were created for FREE with QRCode Monkey.
Be Smart About QR Codes
QR codes are brilliant little pieces of technology, but they're only as brilliant as you are.
Think carefully about how you're going to use them.
Remember, people are going to scan your QR code on their phone… which means we need to keep a few key things in mind:
- If you're sending people to a website, it must be mobile-friendly.
- You should only display the QR code where people will have an adequate wifi or phone signal.
- You should only show QR codes that can be easily and safely scanned. Think twice about putting these on a billboard next to the highway… are people going to scan a code while driving by at 80 mph?
- Ensure the QR code image is large and clear enough that ALL phones can scan them.
Most QR codes are pretty ugly, to begin with – so it's also smart to consider where and how you will incorporate it into the overall aesthetic of the object or image and whether it will stand out or blend in with its surroundings.
Free QR Codes Generators
Do a quick Google search, and you'll find many free sites that will help you create your QR codes for free (and of the few sites I tested out, they all seemed to work pretty well). Here are a few I've had a good experience with:
QRcode-monkey.com – This was probably my favorite one. Easy to use. Easy to customize in several ways. No account is required.
QR-code-generator.com – Another solid QR code generator that offers many different options and variations on what the code looks like and what it does (a free account is required to use the site). It also has some impressive QR code tracking functionality built into it.
QRstuff.com – I haven't used this site much, but from what I've seen, it seems to be a huge resource for all things related to QR codes. They even offer some tracking functionality (if you're a subscriber) and the ability to create dynamic QR codes.
BeaconStac – Another great resource for creating QR codes in seconds. Use them to send people to a website URL, call a phone number, send an SMS message, send an email, save a VCard, and more.
Have you used QR codes for anything in your business? What did you use it for? Where did you place the code? Did you get any worthwhile results from it? Let us know in the forum!