QR (short for Quick Response) codes are two-dimensional barcodes. When used well they offer a new and low-cost way to engage users with your charity. QR codes could be used in outdoor, direct mail or print advertising campaigns.
This is a quick guide outlining different uses for QR codes and how to create them for your campaigns.
Things you'll need
- A QR code scanner the barcode you create works
- Internet connection
Get a smartphone scanner
In order to read QR codes you will need to install a scanning app on your smartphone.
How do I create a QR code?
There is a whole array of options out there for creating QR codes, I have listed a couple below giving a step by step guide for the Bit.ly QR code generator.
Bit.ly is a url shortening service which now allows you to generate your own QR codes, to generate a code you need to follow this simple process.
Visit bit.ly, write or paste in a URL address, click “Shorten,” and add .qr to the end of the generated bit.ly link (like so: http://bit.ly/9STstv.qr).
You will then need to copy the modified bit.ly link into a new browser window to view the QR code, which you can then print out, send to your friends via e-mail, post on your blog, etc.
GOQR- a great QR generator, really flexible allowing you to create bring up text message on scanning or if you want to display the QR code in your digital campaigns by easily accessing the embed code. http://goqr.me/
QR Stuff- Allows you to create codes and offers a whole array of different options such a printing QR codes on t-shirts but you do have to pay for a premium service to receive analytics from scans.
If none of these take your fancy try this comprehensive list of QR generators.
Ok, I know QR codes look scary but producing one is pretty straight forward and they have the potential to unlock a new method of audience engagement through your print campaigns. Different ways you could use QR codes include, print adverts, direct mail campaigns or outdoor fundraising appeals on trains or buses.
QR codes are free/low cost to create and increasingly they are being used by private sector organisations and charities, so why not give QR codes a try?
Examples of how QR codes are being used
Feel free to edit this guide with examples of how you've used QR codes in your professional work. Have you used them on business cards, in your annual report or fundraising material? How successful has it been?
This QR code example (on Flickr) is of a promotional postcard for the DAIN project. Scanning this code takes you to the project website. Try it out! If you have a barcode scanner on your phone, scanning this image should take you to the DAIN Digital Activists Blog.
Museum collection gets QR codes - this article in the Guardian shows how the National Museum of Scotland is using QR codes to help people explore their collections.
- Graphic of the history of QR codes (JPG)
- About QR codes (wikipedia)
- Benefits of using QR codes in Direct Mail (Holborn Direct Mail)
- 10 ways marketers can use QR codes (eConsultancy)
- 11 dubious uses of QR codes (eConsultancy)
- Mobile barcose QR technology (social media charity) - includes examples of QR in action.