Reusable QR Codes in Your Marketing

This week I’ve got a guest post from David Ranalli. David is a professional magician based out of Indianapolis. In the post below he shares some great tips on how to implement QR codes into your marketing mix.

qr2What is a QR Code? A QR (Quick Response) code looks like the image to the right. People can use an app on their phone to scan the code and it will either show them some information, or direct them to a website page.

DR - Mediterra - 69“QR Codes are a great way to get fans or prospective clients to engage and go to a video, coupon, or other special offer. However, QR codes are often used very poorly, even by large companies with huge marketing teams. I’ve scanned a code and been sent to a 404 page, or on a hunt to find whatever the original code was meant to provide to me. If you are going to try using a QR code, it is important to do some research and look at proven strategies.

When you do take the plunge to trying one out as I did recently, you run into a problem; you may want to change the place your original QR code led to.

For example, you decide to include a QR code on your business card that links to your newest promo video on Youtube (not the most creative example, but stay with me). When you decide to update your promo video, your old business cards cannot link to the new video, only the old one. Meaning, people you have met in the past cannot link to your new video by scanning the code. Your new business cards would need an entirely new QR code on it. This is a waste of print materials, and doesn’t help keep your clients up to date on your current offerings. 

The Solution

There are two solutions to the problem. The first is to pay for for “Dynamic QR Codes” which have the ability to “redirect” the link. There are a variety of ways that company’s charge for this service, including free options that include that marketing company’s link in your promo materials (yuck!).

The second, more free option, is to learn to redirect the link yourself. So, if you decide to update the information at the other end of the code, your print materials will not be wasted.

To do this you do need to be a little tech savvy, or be friends with someone who is. But, minimal work is required. You also need to be using a dynamic web platform like WordPress. This is what I personally use for my website DavidRanalli.com, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. I’m betting there are ways to do this with different platforms, but I am unfamiliar with others and you will need to do your own research for whatever service you use.

To create a “Dynamic QR Code,” follow these 3 easy steps

  1. To start, download a free plug in called “Page Links to. When activated, you will see a section at the bottom of your pages like this:plt
    You can also download for free the Lite version of “Pretty Link“, which does the same thing. If you decide the upgrade to the Pro version, you get complete analytics on your link usage.
  2. Next, create a new page dedicated ONLY to that QR code. Something like this:
    qr1
  3. Lastly, create a free static QR code at a site called QR Code Generator with the link to the page dedicated to the QR code. In my case http://davidranalli.com/qr1
    qr2

Now, when I include this QR code, I can redirect the davidranalli.com/qr1 page to whatever other web page I would like. If I decide to change where I would like the code to go, I simply need to type in the new URL to the “Page Links To” section at the bottom of each WordPress page and post.

As the web and tech gear increase in complexity, it will be up to us as business owners to look for new technology and opportunities to engage our fans or clients.  This is just another one for your toolbox, so I hope it serves you well!”

If you have any questions at all about this technique you can contact David directly or you can leave your question in the comments below. To stay in touch with David as well you can sign up for his newsletter on his website.

Do you use QR codes in your marketing? Tell us your story below in the comments section!