QR Codes may be new to some people but unknown to most, they were invented in 1994 to track vehicle parts for vehicle manufacturers. There are good ways to use them and there are poor ways to use them.
Businesses around The Woodlands, TX seem to be adopting this technology as a marketing and advertising tool. And why not? This unique bar code lets users scan it with their smart phones to instantly gain access to special offers, a website url, a phone number, or even a text message or vCard. No typing required. The magic little QR code does all the work for you.
Here to Stay or a Passing Gimmick?
Major sites such as Google, Facebook, as well as smaller companies (such as us!) have used QR code technology to simplify the task of manual entry but unfortunately, we have also seen poor usage of the QR code from businesses who might be embracing the technology a little too much.
Good Uses of a QR Code
- Print Advertising- why not make it easy for someone to go to your website?
- Business Cards- scanning your card will allow you to populate their phone with your information saving them the time to manually do it.
- Special Offers- rewarding a user to scan your QR code with a coupon or discount is always a great idea!
- Mailing List Sign Up- make it easy for them to sign up to your monthly newsletters.
- T-Shirts- you become an ad for whatever you wish!
- Google Maps- make it easier for someone to find you.
Poor Uses of QR Codes
- Car Magnets- I keep seeing realtors use these on their cars where it is nothing but a QR code. This may be good for when a car is parked but it's actually gimmicky. I can't imagine someone running after a moving vehicle to scan the QR code. Not to mention, not everyone knows what a QR Code is!
- TV Commercials- Not a good idea since tv commercials usually don't last for more than 30 seconds. Most people don't watch TV with their phones out.
- Billboard Advertising- in a traffic area, putting this on a billboard might get you sued should a traffic accident occur. Don't encourage cell phone usage while driving, it's already bad enough!
- Useless Advertising- Car dealerships, can you hear me? Don't put a QR with information we don't want or need.
- Printing Small QR codes- QR codes need to be scanned. If they are too small, it's impossible to scan and now you have just wasted your audience's time!
- Charging Extra- QR codes are free to generate. We have heard of business charging a substantial extra amount for this feature to put the code on marketing materials.