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Using QR Codes to Your Advantage
Promote UsetabExamples of Use
Screen captures and website listings used to illustrate text and do not constitute recommendation or endorsement.
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QR (Quick Response) codes are Smartphone or tablet (with reader app) readable and may be used to enrich and/or ease customer/reader interaction and experience. Some QR functionality may be inaccessible if not on an active internet connection. This type of code was envisioned as “open source”, so there are wide varieties of free and nearly free services available online:  Start your search with the term “QR code generator”. Many sites that contain generators provide further free information from usage ideas to history and examples. Contact us if you don't wish to "do it yourself" for suggestions, quotes, and implementation.

These codes have been in use for quite some time, but this doesn't mean they are proof against changing technology and cultural tastes. On the surface, this seems to indicate code use is better utilized in (short term) marketing material than to provide "hidden" or additional book content. Online Quick Response Code free generatorHowever, if you plan for possible future changes, or only use QR for bonus information or material that wouldn't be included in a "normal" printed book, these codes may bring lasting added-value.

If your ideas still forming, you want the code to serve more than one function, or the code should have variable outcome, consider a dynamic QR code: The content can be changed after production of code. A potential draw back to dynamic codes is that they all – even text-only – require active internet.

Popular QR Code uses include

  • vCard (virtual business card) on regular business or calling cards
  • Click for more/extra/exclusive content (actual document, maps, individual photo or gallery, music, video, PDF)
  • Click for color content, while paying for only black and white printing in the book (photo, document, Coat of Arms clipart, logo, meme, etc.).
  • Click for exclusive content, not available any other way to the reading public. This makes the edition that contains these codes (over other editions that do not) valuable in a different way. This may even encourage purchase of more than one edition by the same reader.
  • Scan to order yours via PayPal
  • Go to…Website (including pages not linked any other way), blog, social media, app, data PDF, etc.
  • Exclusive text, actually encoded into the code itself, of all types – over 4,000 characters (special offers, unproven conclusions/hypothesis, transcription, expanded information, remembrances, family recipes or traditions, citation, etc.).
  • Make a call (dialing now)
  • Produce email (material submission, sign up/request for…)

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Tips to promote QR code scans

  • Provide a call to action near the code.
  • Be mysterious, but useful: consider “teasing” code content, but not fully describing.
  • Go beyond the basics, consider using your color scheme/logo/font/theme in the design of the code. If you are basic, use design options (color/shape/photo) to draw the eye to the code.
  • Test to be sure your completed size works – don’t get too small or overly large.
  • Remember content will probably be viewed on mobile device. Example of making desirable content work in this format might be: Instead of bringing up a full size map, email the link to the full size map, so the user can view on larger computer monitor. Likewise, remember generally slower connection speeds when deciding how much compression or segmentation of material to incorporate.
  • Note most QR codes will work if damaged even 30% - allowing for some “high traffic” uses such as name tags, postcards, coasters, etc.
  • Don’t saturate your viewer with too many codes – make them useful and enjoyable.
  • Try to keep codes away from glossy surfaces – matte makes scanning easier for the novice and under more lighting conditions. Still want to put one on your book cover? You could skip lamination or UV protection, but applying a dust jacket, belly band, or sticker over the finished cover would be better for the longevity of the book.
  • If using multiple codes, don’t place them too close together – you are trying to make it easy for the user. If on a mail piece with smart barcodes – allow for distance as well.

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For For more suggestions on this subject and more, order our book:
wholesale price eligible G550-$20.00 WRITING Family History Or Genealogy For Pleasure and Profit Complete Edition, by Gregath Company, Inc., 2015. ISBN: 0-944619-00-2, 8½x11", softbound book, 150 pages, suggestions & examples of all facets of your project for the typist and/or computer user.
Also available on disk.

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Page Last Updated: January 09, 2019

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