I was afraid it would be torture for you to read one more article on QR codes, however, my March survey of 124 printers on pricing QR Codes showed a lot of us don’t really know their potential. Fact is, 8% said, “Huh, what’s a QR code?” So, I first need to deal with some basics and then get to pricing. So, if you know the basics, drop down to the pricing section.
My results: 50% of us charge for QR code creation in some manner; 25% do not charge, rather throw the service in with the job; 17% will someday charge, but haven’t figured out how much yet; and, again, 8% said, “Huh, what’s a QR code?”
QR Code Essentials
A QR code is short for Quick Response and it’s a matrix barcode. It operates like the bar codes printed on everything we buy that tell the cash register what to charge. But instead of being short and long in shape and full of lines, the QR code is square and full of squiggly shapes. The QR code is “read” with a smartphone and an app (smartphone application program). You do have one don’t you? The user takes a picture via the app and it fires up your phone’s Web browser and takes you to the website (landing page) encoded in the QR code. It can do other things, but this is the big use.
Microsoft Tags is a similar, but different product with some betterments. So whatever you read about QR codes may be applied to Tags.
What Does the Customer Use It For?
A QR Code on a real estate brochure could take you to a 360 degree video tour of that house. A code on equipment could take you to the equipment’s maintenance manual in PDF format. A QR Code in a restaurant ad could take you to a full menu and perhaps allow you to make reservations.
So, the function of a QR code is to get the reader (you) from here to there (landing page). Hmm…sounds like something our customers should know about. And I think a lot of printers still don’t know about them or they are waiting for their customers to ask for them.
How Do You Create a QR Code?
Google “create QR Code” and you will get a quarter million hits. Go to one of the many free QR Code generator websites and make one. It’s easy right? Now, this “free and easy” concept is why many printers don’t charge to make them (28%). However, from the responses, I guess most don’t really know their value.
There are different kinds of QR codes which have different properties. For instance, is the QR code the customer generated for free designed for offset or digital? There’s a difference in resolution. Additionally, these free codes are almost always universally static meaning they are not trackable or redirectable.
So, how do you make a trackable and redirectable QR Code? You subscribe to a website service that allows you to do it. That’s typical, although you can do tracking via some URL shortener sites like www.tinyurl.com. You can also use Google Analytics if you have access to the target URL.
Okay, let’s review. A static QR Code takes you from your smartphone to a landing page. A trackable QR Code adds to that in that it has a method to tell the customer how many times someone actually used it. And a redirectable QR Code allows the landing page to be changed at the will of the customer without changing the QR image.
Why does the customer need these features? It depends. Trackable is universally important in marketing, so practically every QR code you do for a commercial client should be trackable. At the very minimum, the customer should be made aware that exists and be given a choice.
After all, the definition of a professional is that we know more about the customer’s needs than they do. You don’t specify to a doctor the kind of medicine you need. The doctor diagnoses first. Of course, lots of printers insist that the customer tell them exactly what to do and they will do it. And if they do it wrong, they will do it over without charge. Not an enlightened sales plan, but rampant many places.