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 effectively.
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 smart phones, is taking over, which is where you access QR Codes.
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 non repetitive. 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 smart phone 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, ordeal; 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).
Nonprofit sector specific uses
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 at www.SelfishGiving.com.
Image credit: the2dcode.com