A Quick Response code—or QR code—is a type of matrix barcode designed to be read by optical scanners. It works much like a traditional barcode, but is capable of holding far more information.
Conventional barcodes can contain up to 20 characters. Depending on the type of information encoded, a QR code may be able to hold up to 7,089 characters.
Because the information is encrypted, QR codes require a QR scanner to retrieve it. A QR scanner can be a dedicated device for commercial use, or simply an app that you download to Apple or Android phone.
Apple smartphones with iOS 11 or higher have a native QR code reader built into the camera app.
How Your Business Could Benefit From QR Codes
Your business can communicate with customers through QR codes. A QR code can hold any kind of data, including links to further information such as plain text, phone numbers, email addresses, promotional or sale information, coupons, event details, competitions, and much more.
Since QR codes can be printed on product packaging and labels, in magazine or newspaper advertisements, brochures, business cards, banners, and walls, your message can be shared just about anywhere and everywhere.
Plus, they offer an easy way to entice visitors to move from offline sources to online engagement. This could increase traffic to your website, engagement to your social media profiles, and more.
How to Create a QR Code
Creating your own QR code is surprisingly simple.
Plan What Information You Want to Include
What’s the purpose of your QR code? When people scan your code, what happens? The answer is only limited by your imagination.
Some options to consider include:
- Text information about your product or company
- URL link to your website or landing page
- Instant contact to your company via SMS or email
- Links to social media accounts like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or TikTok
- An MP3 file with a song, podcast, recorded message, or other audio file
- An image file
Before you begin, decide what happens, but don’t worry about the future. If you choose to generate a dynamic code (keep reading to learn how), you can change the QR code result when your seasonal sale ends or your next event is announced.
Choose a QR Code Generator
There are many QR code generators to choose from. Look for one that is compatible with your QR code scanner.
The better apps may offer:
- More ways to use your QR code
- Performance tracking
- Analysis of performance data
- Unique branded coding
- Logos and/or icons within the code
- Dynamic codes
A few free QR code generators to consider include:
Customize Your QR Code
You can easily customize your QR code. Most sites are very user-friendly and will guide you through the process of choosing frames, entering logo images, adding colors, and more.
Decide: Static or Dynamic?
A static QR code can’t be edited once created, while a dynamic code can. A dynamic QR code can be regularly updated to keep the information current.
Registration is often standard for free QR code generators when supplying dynamic codes.
Enter Your Data and Test Your Code
Fill in the QR code generator with your text, URL link, image codes, or whatever your QR code will be used for. Keep it relevant to your campaign. Your QR code should then automatically be generated and ready for use immediately.
Always check to ensure that the code works, preferably on more than one type of scanner. Once your code is ready, grab your phone or device and test that the QR code does exactly what you want.
Share the Code
Create a distribution strategy. QR codes can be printed on product packaging, brochures, posters, business cards, letterheads, and more.
Measure the success of your QR code campaign by tracking and analyzing generated traffic. Info you can gather may include:
- Which codes attract the most scans
- Which codes score the most campaign signups
- Whether people redeem included offers
- When, where, and how many times each code has been scanned
Use the Data
Use the information gathered by repeating successful campaigns or adapting campaigns that don’t perform so well. Dynamic codes may be especially useful for high-traffic codes since they can be edited and adapted for use in multiple campaigns.
- Keep the landing page experience mobile-friendly for smartphone use.
- Include simple instructions so new users can easily learn how to use the QR code.
- Tell people why they should scan your code. What’s in it for them?
- Be accessible. Make sure your QR code can be read by different types of scanners.
- Avoid placing the QR code on mobile apps or websites. The experience is easier and much more efficient when customers can simply use just one device.