They’re everywhere from billboards to business cards.
They’re gaining momentum so people don’t mistake them for decorative designs
anymore. QR (Quick Response) Codes are the latest technological advance and now
with Joe Waters’ assistance, you can access them with ease. Waters’ new
portable edition of “QR Codes for Dummies” covers everything you need to know,
including how to access them, create them, troubleshoot and use them
Even though Waters honestly admits QR Codes may not stick
around forever, as technology is fickle and fast-paced, their purpose will
always serve. They are a way to “link the offline world with online content” or
simply, they are “offline hyperlinks.”
So, the codes may be replaced with other devices or methods, but this new wave
of “offline hyperlinks” through some
type of code/method is here to stay. Waters asserts the “third screen,” i.e.
the one found on smartphones, is taking over, which is where you access QR
With illustrations and extensive, clear explanations, Joe
Waters shows you how to download a QR code reader, scan it and link to the
site. He even provides codes with which to practice. The benefit of QR codes
vs. bar codes is they store more information and link more easily online. He
also explains how to create your own QR code by choosing and downloading a
mobile generator. Other available features include abilities to test,
accessorize and track the codes. One of the most useful pieces of a QR Code is
the ability to track its use, including where and how often it is scanned.
Waters’ constant advice, though, is to keep it simple and nonrepetitive. Make
sure your QR Code links to new information on a website or URL. For example, if
a restaurant provides a menu with a QR Code, the code should not link to
another copy of the menu online, but should give more information, such as
ingredients or how the food is specially prepared.
“In 2011, a survey of 415 smartphone users by marketing firm
MGH in Baltimore, Maryland, showed that consumers would scan a QR Code for
these top reasons [most used to least used]: 1) to get a coupon, discount, or
deal; 2) enter a sweepstakes; 3) access additional information; 4) make a
purchase; 5) sign up to receive more information; 6) access video; and 7)
interact with social media properties.” If you look at this list, you can see
the trend is catching on with consumers, as you are seeing them in grocery
stores, in businesses and most recently, in women’s magazines. (Interestingly,
in 2011, women’s magazines led in QR codes' use).
The nonprofit sector, as in any business, needs to spread
the word about QR Codes, explaining what they are and how to use them. They can
place them on email signatures, on all marketing materials, in presentations
and at conferences. These codes could link to a nonprofit’s website or other
pertinent information. Joe Waters focuses on using QR Codes with fundraising
and cause marketing in the following ways: The QR code can link to pictures,
video, etc. that tell your organization’s story or educates your visitor. The
codes can link to a donation page, thank-you page, petition page, frequently
asked questions page or informative page about a demonstration. They can also
link to your Facebook page so scanners can like your organization. Finally, QR
Codes are the best option right now for mobile giving. Waters suggests
Give.mobi as a service to connect to a donation page and a link to your PayPal
account. The advantage of a QR code over a text campaign, says Waters, is you
can donate any amount you want versus a set amount with a text.
Waters, in no uncertain terms, states that nonprofits can
lag in the latest technology use, suggesting it could help them with their good
work. QR codes are an easily accessible, growing way to market your cause
effectively and the best way to
connect people with your online newsletters, donation page and other
information. Getting the word out is half the battle, which can be fought with
another weapon, the QR Code.
Waters has extended a special promotion for our CausePlanet
readers. Please email him, telling him you read about his book on CausePlanet,
and he will send you an entire chapter of “QR Codes for Dummies” FREE! His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can follow more of Joe Waters’ cause marketing insights
by Kris Rutledge