You need only glance at a poster or flick through a magazine these days to spot one of those funny little black and white boxes looking something like a fragmentary crossword puzzle. They are called QR codes.
Originally designed for the Japanese automotive industry, the QR (or Quick Response) code is a type of two-dimensional barcode that can be read using a smartphone or dedicated reading device. When the image is scanned, a person is immediately directed to a webpage or application, which then provides more in-depth information about a service, product, offer or place.
QR and promotional print
Leaflets and brochures make ideal platforms for QR marketing. Postage is horrendously expensive nowadays and direct email is viewed by most people as irritating spam, so an interactive link on your promotional literature could save a great deal of wasted time, effort and money.
With a QR code you will be able to measure the success of your printed marketing materials by tracking the scan rates. You can easily add a different code to each pamphlet and you will receive real-time feedback from potential visitors. Additionally, you will know which particular message has generated the most attention.
It is also possible to capture contact information for use at a later date.
Creating your own QR code
A smartphone user first installs a free app with a QR code scanner that can read the matrix barcode and convert it to a URL (uniform resource locator), directing their browser to a website or digital advert.
You will need to ensure that your website or special landing page is optimised to work on a mobile phone. It is quite simple to do this using one of many online services such as mobiSiteGalore.
The most successful QR codes are those which offer vouchers, discounts, competitions or a compelling call to action. They add pizzazz to your printed materials and enhance your ability to measure response. Indeed, you could say that leaflets and QR codes provide the perfect synthesis of print and modern internet marketing.
Image: LDSTS QR Code, created by ©Kaywa 2013