Two types of QR codes
What are Smart Tags (or QR Codes)?
Smart Tags (or QR (Quick Response) Codes) are images that look like an optical illusion, but are actually more like barcodes that can be read by smart phones (Android phones, Iphones, etc.). These tags tell the phone to go to a certain web site or web page. For instance, the tag to the right tells smart phones to go to the Intra-Designs mobile phone web site.
Are there different kinds of QR codes?
Yes, there are. The generic type of QR code was actually created by a subdivision of Toyota in 1994 to track inventory. Microsoft has come out with a color version (that they call Microsoft Tags) also. Note that not all QR code readers can can Microsoft Tags, so you may need a different app.
Do I have to have a mobile phone web site?
No, you do not. QR codes can be used to send contact information, take a person to a specific web site or web page. You will notice that the Intra-designs mobile web site looks quite different from our normal site, and that is because our normal site is difficult to read on the small screens of smart phones.
Do I need a special program on my phone to read QR codes?
Yes. There are free programs that can be downloaded for smart phones, like QR Droid, and many others. Some newer smart phones are coming with barcode readers already installed also.
Are they really necessary?
As of April 2011, 36% of the people that own a cellular phone have a smart phone. These smart phones (most of which are iphones or android phones) have immediate access to web sites. QR codes create a convenience for the smartphone-equipped consumer that has never been available before, and ultimately saves them time.
How can QR codes help my business?
A web site can hold much more information than a telephone book ad (are those still around?) or a newspaper ad at a fraction of the cost. QR codes can help you to lower your advertising costs even more by adding this code to your existing flyers (or why offer flyers, put the code on the wall of your next booth) so they can be scanned and stored in smart phones. Think about the marketing possibilities. A QR code can go to a specific web page, or put a specific phone number into a potential client's phone. No more guess-work about where clients saw your advertising. You can even use QR codes to promote specific coupons from certain events.
How much does it cost to create a QR code?
Smart phones have ushered in a new era of independent software design (called freeware), and QR codes fall directly into that category. You can create, print, and publish QR codes on your own at absolutely no cost. You can create generic QR codes from web sites like Kaywa, or create customized Microsoft tags. Of course, you can always contact us for help.
Is it possible to customize the look of a QR code?
Yes, QR codes are slightly customizable, but it would be best to hire a graphic designer if you want to do this.
Do QR codes only link to web sites?
No, QR codes support 9 data types: Contact information, calendar evenst, e-mail addresses, phone number, geographic locations, SMS, plain text (sentences), wifi network keys, or a link to a URL.
What can QR codes be used on?
QR codes should be put onto every piece of advertising your company has that can fit them. You are only limited by your creativity and the space to make sure the code is large enough. Business cards, t-shirts flyers, billboards, comics, education, articles in magazine/newspaper, for sale signs, comment cards, presentations, clothing, television ads, books, outdoor games, direct mail, instruction manual, interactive menus, cereal boxes, products, Facebook, coupons, name tags, and more.
What different things can I do with QR codes? I need some ideas!
Contact us if you are stuck on how to best use QR codes. We would be happy to get you started. Either call us at 253-445-5777 or use our contact form.
QR codes sound great, but what are the disadvantages? Is there anything I need to be aware of?
The major disadvantage with QR codes is that not everyone has a mobile phone, so do not go out and change all your old advertising with only a QR code. Also, not everyone knows what QR codes are, so some people (even people with smart phones) may ignore them. But remember that we live in one of the technology capitals of the country, and many parts of Washington are more wired than Silicon Valley. Chances are, most people here know about QR codes. And, companies like HP, Microsoft, Google, Target and many others use QR codes. This builds consumer awareness and increases opportunity. Smartphones outsold PCs in the fourth quarter of 2010. Nielsen believes there will be more smartphones than non-smartphones in the US by the end of this 2011.
Are there any best practices I need to know about?
QR codes are fairly new and and will probably change a lot in the next few years, but here are some best practices for now
- Keep QR code size large, this makes it easier for the phones to read them
- Set-up tracking. We can help you with that
- Make the landing page mobile-friendly, or set up a web site specifically for mobile phones
- Be creative and have fun
Can QR codes carry viruses?
There are viruses for smart phones just like there are for computers, so it is always important to scan smart, just like going to trusted web sites from your computer. The QR code itself will cannot contain a virus, but the web site it takes you to certainly can. Make sure the codes you scan are from a trusted source.
I would like some more ideas or want to do something special. Where do I go?
Contact us today. We would love to brainstorm with you.