If You Can Read This…You Aren’t Focusing

My 1997 high school yearbook's cover was one of those Magic Eye images. You know the 3-D craze of the 1990s that hid an image behind a collage of other images? I was part of the unfortunate crowd that had to pretend that I could see the amazing image that all of my friends could see. Thank God that craze is over because it was driving me insane.   

QR Codes, or quick response codes, are the two dimensional bar codes that smart phone users scan to view more information such as a website or product. I noticed them about two years ago when I was deciding which baby food to purchase and I remember thinking, “What’s that? A new bar code?” Well, sort of.  Faint memories of Magic Eye loomed.

Ever since then, they seem to be everywhere I go. The gas station…the salon…the bank… you get the idea. 

If you read my other blogs, I have already confessed that I am a prime target for any type of marketing, especially electronic (by this I mean websites, blogs and emails). I am a full-time working mom, so I like conveniences and incentives for purchasing pretty much anything, like free shipping. Most people want these things, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who usually can’t be bothered with sniffing out deals or comparison shopping for smaller items.  

So when I began to get requests from NAA staff about QR Codes, I knew this was something really clever. Talk about marketing genius—there is no cost to make QR Codes. All you need is a place for your visitors to land whether that’s a website or a Facebook page. 

Think QR Codes are overkill? Maybe, but consider this:  As more people turn to smart phones with higher levels of technology and consumers’ propensity for instant gratification, QR Codes are here to stay.  So why not use them to your benefit? 

Here’s how I make NAA’s QR Codes:

  1.  Go here or any other reputable QR Code generator.  
    a. http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
    b. You should not have to pay for a QR Code to be made if you are doing this yourself. Never give out personal information to a website without vetting it through your IT person/department. When in doubt, close the window.

  2. From this page, select the content type you want for your QR Code. I always select the URL option because I am usually promoting a quick response to a registration or a web page, and these instructions cover how to make a QR Code with the URL settings. 

  3. Enter the URL that you want to use. If you plan to use the QR Code to advertise a particular product, it makes the most sense to direct traffic to that particular web page and not your home page. Also, it is usually not a good practice to have the QR Code go directly to a registration form that is operated from your database. If you have special rates for members versus non-members, this can present a problem because the QR Code won’t be able to tell who is a member and who is not. Consider having the QR Code go to a landing page for the event and then the visitor can decide where to go.

  4. Select your size. I always request a medium to large or even an XL on the off chance that someone at NAA might want to use this QR Code for signage or a billboard (ok, no one has asked for a billboard, and a billboard is not a good way to use QR Codes, but it could happen one day). 

  5. Click on the “Generate” button (if using the URL above). 

  6. Download the image and label it accordingly. 

  7. Test the QR Code to make sure you have entered the correct URL. You definitely don’t want to spend your marketing budget on printing or emailing an ad with a QR Code only to find out that the code doesn’t work. 

By the way, my friends say our yearbook cover was a Hawk, our high school mascot. I have yet to see anything to confirm this.