Obvious Ways You Should Be Using QR Codes (But Probably Aren’t)

By now you’ve heard about lots of exciting and unique ways to use QR codes.  But there are a couple of pretty standard ways you should be using them as well.  And they are so obvious that they might not even come to mind when you’re thinking of how to use QR codes in your business.

Google Maps – Make it Easy For People to Find You

Have you ever tried to give someone directions via text message while they’re driving?  I’m pretty sure I haven’t, but I can imagine how difficult it would be.  “Merge left, turn right, turn around, drive exactly 33.456 miles and then turn left again”.

"Scan here!"

But, there are some services that, through years of experience and testing, have managed to build systems that can efficiently convey location information to users.  Not only that, but one of them comes pre-installed on most of today’s smartphone platforms: Google Maps.

What this means is that if you want to tell someone how to get to a certain location, all you need to know is the address.  With that, you can make a link to that location in Google Maps.  When someone on a mobile device clicks that link, if the Google Maps app is installed (which is highly likely), then the link will open the app instead of the webpage, providing access to turn-by-turn directions.

Now, let’s apply this to a “real world” situation you can use in your marketing.  Let’s say you own a brewery, and you send brochures all over the state.  To help visitors find your location, you can include a QR code in the brochure with a call to action, such as, “Scan Here For Directions!”.  The QR code could contain a Google Maps link, and would then open the Google Maps app when scanned.

Voila! Instant directions.

Youtube – Make That Static Brochure Dynamic

Let’s assume that you’re a marketing manager and you want to share a video via QR code.  How would you share it in a way that is both efficient and cost effective?  Video that plays on the iPhone might not play on Android, and what plays on both of those might not (and probably won’t) play on a Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Symbian or Palm.  Even if you did manage to force a video to play on all of these devices, you’re then presented with the issue of hosting it on a server fast enough to let people download and stream it quickly.

Youtube is capable of streaming to every major mobile platform, regardless of what kind of video you uploaded.  Is the scanner connected to 4G or wifi?  Youtube will give them the option to play the video in HD.   Youtube can also lower the video quality on the fly, allowing it to be streamed at the best quality possible on the current device and connection speed.  Not only that, but since Youtube is hosting the video, you’ve eliminated the need to allow for streaming bandwidth on your server.

Let’s look at another “real world” example.

You own a brewery (yes, another one) and you send brochures all over the state. Sound familiar?

However, you’re not using the QR code to give directions this time.  You’re using it to show a video tour of your facility, enticing people to come in and check it out. Instead of testing a low quality, tinny-sounding video clip on every single employee’s phone, (trying to make sure that the video will play on as many platforms as possible), just upload it to Youtube, and let them sort it out. They’re pretty good at it.  Let Youtube deal with the video so that you don’t have to.

What are some obvious (and not so obvious) ways you are using QR codes?