I follow a really great PR-related blog called Women in PR and not too long ago, they wrote a very interesting post about QR codes and how PR practitioners can use them in event planning. This post grabbed my attention because QR codes are literally everywhere! It makes since that companies are utilizing this free, convenient way to market themselves to the public.
The blog post, that Women in PR wrote, went over how to read QR codes, how to create them, who’s using them and some tips to remember. For my blog post, I want to focus on the tips to remember section (but I highly recommend reading the entire QR code post by Women in PR. The content is very useful and their post can be accessed here).
Women in PR said that since producing QR codes is quick, free and easy most companies make them even when they don’t need to. This not only makes QR code users frustrated with the company but also with the tool (bothersome codes will lead consumers to stop scanning them). Here are some tips that Women in PR gave to decide if making QR codes is the best way to connect with your audience:
1) Define your goal – What will the code connect users to and why is it worth their time to scan it? To quote my PR professor, you must answer the questions, “So what?” “Who cares?”
2) Optimize for mobile viewing – Since smartphones are used to scan QR codes, any content that you link to should work on these devices.
3) Size matters – The size of the data that you encode is directly related to the ability to scan the QR code. Small, compact codes are difficult for devices to read. Large codes are the best as they are more reliable in uncertain conditions (such as low light). Women in PR recommends going no smaller than a one-by-one-inch square.
4) Test the code – This may seem like commonsense but a lot of companies tend to skip the testing phase when it comes to technology. Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security! Test the code on various devices and with various scanning applications before using it in any promotions!
5) Be strategic – Don’t forget to track and use the data collected from the QR codes! Know how you will plan on using this data.
6) What happens to the link? – Make sure the content that the QR code links to never goes “offline”. If the information is outdated, redirect the code to new data.
7) Add a URL – Be mindful of consumers who don’t have smartphones and add a URL underneath the QR code (so they can access the content as well).