A client recently emailed me the following question:

“These square bar codes are popping up everywhere. What are they, how do I get one, and should I put one on my online marketing and in my email newsletter?”

QR 101

First, in case you don’t already know, QR stands for Quick Response and is a 2D bar code that can only be read by scanning software on a SMART camera phone. (Think iPhone or Android). To make it work you need to download an app to scan the codes; search “QR Scanner” in the iTunes or Android app store.

QR codes are a brilliant addition to print media. They are a great way to drive offline customers to your website or to give them the information they can read, or store in their phones. Check out these clever uses:

What information should I include in a QR code?

Basically, any message you want this would be of value for your readers. Here are three examples:

  • Contact info (like what is on your business card)
  • Event info (date, time, location, etc.)
  • Product information

How to create a QR code

There are plenty of sites that will create a QR code for you, just search “Create a QR code”; here are my two favorites:

1) Want to be a walking advertisement for your business? Use this site to have a QR code printed on a T-shirt (or the back of a business card): Visit http://goqr.me/

2) For office and/or brick & mortar locations, create a Google Places account and get one that looks like this:

Put this on the back of your business card, or print it as a poster and put it in your window.

So, back to the original question:

Should I put a QR code in my Internet marketing materials?

I wouldn’t bother. In my humble opinion, QR codes are perfect for print media but text and/or a clickable link is more practical, efficient, and understandable. Think about it, who is going to shoot a smartphone at a computer screen?