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QR Code Generator Basics
Learn how to use a QR code generator and create outstanding mobile contents for your brand, event or institution
Technology advances and new ways of sharing information are available. Some stay and some go, however, something as helpful and resourceful as QR codes that keep reinventing themselves are here to stay for a while and we can be thankful that there are many options of QR code generators to choose from.
As entrepreneurs or freelancers, all we want is to get some visibility in the crowded online and offline world. One of the multiple ways to do this is with the help of QR codes. QR codes will help any business or freelancer to get discovered both online and offline.
There are numerous software and applications out there to create QR codes nowadays, but they don’t always offer the same things or are a great fit for everyone’s needs.
With this guide, we want to shed some light on what a QR code and a QR code generator are and what you should be looking for when picking a QR code generator, as well as the most common options of QR codes and their uses.
It is essential to get to know step by step how to create a QR code and what are the possibilities for your business to get discovered with their help.
So let’s start from the beginning and move on step by step.
What is a QR code?
You can get to know what is a QR code in depth in one of our articles. But for now, let’s say that a QR code is a Quick Response Code with encrypted information in a square-shaped form. It is a barcode used to provide easy access to information through a smartphone by scanning with the camera or a specific scan app.
There are different categories of QR codes, Static and Dynamic and they both have their benefits and disadvantages. A good QR code generator should nowadays create dynamic QR codes. These codes allow creators to change the information within the code without having to create a new one.
Categories of QR codes
QR codes are divided into two categories: Dynamic and Static QR codes.
Static QR codes are those that once created can’t be changed. This means that if you created a QR code pointing to an article and for some reason, the URL changes, your static QR code won’t show the article anymore and there is no way to change it.
Furthermore, if the QR code has a lot of information, the QR code will become too dense and much more difficult to scan and read correctly. Because of these significant disadvantages, QR codes started to die, until the Dynamic QR codes came to the rescue.
A Dynamic QR code is much more useful and workable than a static one because is editable. Dynamic QR codes also allow you to download the code in vector or bitmap version as well as monitoring your QR code campaigns reports with in-depth analytics. This last advantage is crucial to control the code’s performance and know the impact and benefits the code is attracting to your business. Also, metrics will help you understand how to improve the use of QR codes in your business and campaigns since you will have useful information to contrast.
In some QR code generators, you can even integrate Google Analytics to have a better monitoring experience.
The use of analytics in this congested internet world is crucial to improve and scale a business, so why not use this incredibly useful function in QR codes as well?
What is a QR code generator?
Now that you have a better understanding of what a QR code is and the two main categories, let’s move onto What a QR code generator is, the base to any QR code.
A QR code generator is the factory where the QR codes are created. QR codes are considered a product and the QR code generator is the software that makes them possible.
A QR code generator is a software to help you create useful and reliable QR codes to cover your different needs.
If you are looking to create your QR code, all you need to find is a good dynamic QR code generator that will offer different options and types of QR codes depending on your needs.
Not all QR code generators are the same, and there are some important things you will need to consider when choosing the right one for your business or campaign.
What makes a great QR code generator?
When looking for a good QR code generator to help in marketing campaigns, promotion or giveaways or even brand awareness, there are some key features to look for:
- It offers Dynamic QR codes
- There are different types of QR codes to choose from
- Has analytics to track performance
- Includes design options for both the QR code and the landing page
- Includes customization options
- Allows you to download the QR code in different formats
- The possibility of bulk QR code creation
These are the six main keys to look for when choosing a QR code generator. Why are these six features so important? Let’s dive into it.
As we stated before, Dynamic QR codes are the best option to consider when creating a code, and it is crucial to know that the QR code generator we choose has this option available or it will be a waste of our time.
It is also important to know if the QR code software we choose allows us to create different types of QR codes. These types of QR codes can be the codes for a website URL, social media accounts, videos or even passwords. Depending on what you are looking for to build, you will have different needs and it is essential to have choices for that.
Analytics are essential to develop and follow a specific strategy. With statistics, you can see how well your QR code is performing. For example, you can see how many people have scanned the QR code, as well as when, where and with which device. Information is vital for success, for this reason, analytics and reports are something you need to search for when choosing the QR code generator to use.
Another tool you need to anticipate is the option to design the QR code and the possibility to design the landing page of your future code. This is important because you will want to stand out from the crowd with a unique design on your code. QR codes don’t have to be black and white anymore. There are endless possibilities now, choose different colors and add logos or images to it to create your unique QR code.
As well as the design option, customization is an important feature you need to consider. If you want your QR code to be recognizable before scanning it, you might want to add your logo within it. Not all QR code generators offer this option, and it is a crucial one if you want to brand your codes.
The download option is a tool we count on when looking for a QR code generator because you will need to download the QR code to print it or publish it online. However, it is important to consider the options and types of files you can save before committing to the software. Always look for the vector option since they are scalable and don’t have a limit of sizing. Compare to raster images (PNG & JPG); vectors are more flexible, versatile, and easy to use.
Something crucial if you are considering making more than 10 QR codes at once is the possibility of bulk creation. This option will be your best friends if you need to create multiple codes, landing pages or designs for your QR code projects.
How to use a QR code generator
The design and interface of a QR code generator should be simple and easy to follow. Usually, you will need to register or log in to keep track of projects and analytics.
Start by determining a strategy and the kind of QR code you will want to create. Once you have that, go to the QR code software and select the type of code you want to create.
Every QR code generator is different, however, as we mentioned before there are a few features that all of them should have. Before you do anything, you should have the option to name your project. Having a project is useful when you have more than one code. This way, you can easily recognize the project and go back to it, get a report or even change the URL or type of code.
Once you have selected a name for your project, it is time to choose the type of QR code you want to create. If you wish to link your code to a website, you will enter the URL where you want your customers to go to.
Design or customize your QR code by adding color or your company’s logo. Once you have everything ready select the button “download file” to save your code on your computer. We always recommend using a vector file since it is easier to keep the high quality of the code.
Once you have your QR code printed into a brochure, share it with your audience on social media, on your website or even in your newsletter. There are infinite uses for QR codes.
Types of QR codes you can create in a QR code generator
There are tons of uses of QR codes you can think of, but most people use them for the same purposes; link to a website or social media account, video, PayPal or even apps.
This is the most common kind of code. Many times, QR codes link to a site where customers or potential clients can find useful information, free resources, coupons, or a landing page of services.
Having a QR code linked to your website can be helpful when you want to promote your service as a company or freelance, but also if you’re going to increase the number of email subscribers.
You can send your readers or clients to a landing page with useful information and even free resources in return of their email address by just scanning a QR code.
You can also store a message, text or whatever information you consider essential in a QR code by linking it to a mobile page. Once you select this type of code, you can add as many words as you please. You will see a small content management system where you will be able to change text, customize it and add images, gifs, youtube videos and much more.
And when you thought you had seen everything a QR code proves you wrong. Yes, it is also possible to link a QR code to a map or address. It is as simple as adding the information to the form, so your QR code redirects the person that scanned the code to the address you want them to see in Google Maps.
This type of QR code can be used in many ways, including fun ways like creating a scavenger hunt for your friends, family or even your class if you are a teacher.
A vCard is an online business card that can help you make networking much more effective than with old fashion business cards.
A QR code can point to a vCard where all your professional information is stored. You choose which information to share, and also you can include a link to relevant websites as your portfolio, services or social media accounts. You need to select the type of QR code in the QR code generator to vCard and fill out the fields of the form to get it ready.
The use of a vCard is to enhance the usability of Business Cards, and what better way than adding a unique design to it: a customized QR code.
You can find detailed information on why using a QR code in a business card is really important in this article.
When you create a code to download a file automatically is because either you are advertising something or because you want customers to try something from your company. Ok, maybe there are more options here, but these are very common.
This kind of QR code can help you promote your store by having people download your brochure of products, unique discount codes or coupons, but it can also be beneficial for products that need assembly since you can link the QR code to an instructions manual that your customers can easily download to their smartphones.
Remember that the reasonable limit in size of the downloadable file is 5MB.
This kind of code is pretty straightforward. You can’t upload a video because it will be pretty heavy. However, you can link your QR code to a previously uploaded video on Youtube.
Use this option to promote a video, have customers learn more information about a product or to help with instructions. Another great use of this kind of QR code is to show your latest music video or trailer.
The video format is becoming the king of media nowadays and it is vital for success.
Who doesn’t want to gain more followers and get attention in social media? Exposure and brand recognition can increase sales and revenue and what better way to do it than making people discover and follow your brand on social media.
Head over to the QR code generator of your choice and choose the social media option. Then add to the form the link to the social media account you want to promote, add text and activate the follow buttons for twitter, facebook, etc.
In this case, you can also create your very own landing page where you can share all your social media accounts and explain to people why they should be following you and what will they gain from it.
Remember that the internet is full of social media accounts and websites and you need to deliver something that will resonate with your audience, so get creative and tell them why they should follow you and not someone else.
Here is yet another exciting kind of QR code that you can create with QR code generator. Not all of them have it, so if you think this is a suitable type of code and that it will be good for your business, make sure the QR code generator of your choice offers this option before you sign up.
If you select this option, you will see a form with different possibilities, usually payments and donations. Each one has different fields so let’s take a look at both of them.
If you want to create a code for donations, you will need to include your PayPal email address, a donation description and the type of currency, while if you want to select the payment option, you will need a bit more of information.
You can use the payment option to have customers pay quickly for some products instead of waiting in line. You will have to select those products beforehand and introduce the number, name, and price of the product. This can be helpful for promotions or packages when you know precisely the number of products someone is going to buy so you can add the QR code Paypal payment.
Again you will need to add your PayPal username or email address and the currency of your choice.
With this kind of code, you can organize in one place all the links from the different app stores where you have your app. Forget about adding a link per code; here you can add the links to your Android, iPad, iPhone, Windows, and Blackberry app stores and have people easily spot their store where they can download your app.
Promote your app in a fun, easy and different way by adding a QR code to your promotion flyers, brochures, billboards and any type of advertisement.
How to manage QR codes with a dynamic QR code generator
Once you have created your QR code, you can go back to the QR code Generator at any time to manage it and see the analytics. Since we always recommend using Dynamic QR codes, the management area will be your best allay when changing projects or individual codes. Imagine you linked the code to a promotional video and after a few months, there are new updates you need to talk about. Will that code be then useless? Or even worse will you have to print everything again with the new code? Not at all!
Remember that dynamic QR codes are versatile and flexible, and it will allow you to change the information encrypted inside. Following the example we were relating to before, if you need to upload a new video, you can use the same QR code and change the link to the updated video. Easy peasy and zero waste.
The management tool inside the QR code software it is also incredibly helpful to monitor the code’s performance. You can create reports by weeks or months and calculate conversions and effectiveness. You will be able to know how many people scan the code, how many times was scanned and from where. Also, you will see which devices were used to scan your code and make conclusions an new strategies for your future campaigns or projects.
To manage your codes simply login into your preferred QR code generator tool and click in the project or code area. Once you have selected the code you want to monitor, different options will come out as download reports or connect to your Google Analytics account to have an even more productive experience.
Uses of QR codes
By taking advantage of the types of QR codes, you can figure out most of its uses, but there are many other uses that we don’t’ contemplate all the time that are fun and exciting and many times useful.
Marketing is one of the most utilizes ways for QR codes. Most companies now use QR codes for promotions, connecting the digital and offline world and for many other creatives uses.
Using a QR code doesn’t have to be boring or predictable. You can create promo campaigns in an easy and fun way and distribute coupons and instant codes among your customers, even from your product’s packaging.
Another great way to connect people from the offline world to the online one is by adding QR codes to printed media. This way, with a simple scan, they will quickly follow you online.
Use codes to link to your book trailer, special gluten free menu, your podcast or even your video blog. You can place your QR codes in your product’s packaging, wine bottles, milk cartons, even in your pizza delivery box and anything you can think of! There are multiple ways to use QR codes for marketing. Just make sure to have a strategy before you start creating QR codes. Having a defined strategy can help you succeed and accomplish goals. Measure those goals within the QR code generator analytics and download reports everytime you need them to track performance and outline new milestones.
Always remember to add value and make explicit calls to action, so your customers and audience know what you want from them and what they can expect from following you to the digital world.
In the classroom
A teacher can also utilize codes to make lessons more fun or even to give a new task to those kids that finished faster. Implementing QR codes in the classroom is easy when you choose a good QR code generator. Define your lessons and where you want to introduce new tasks or exercises to your students. Choose the right type of code and start filling and generating new codes for your students.
There are many things you can do with QR codes in the classroom, not only linking to exams, test or new lessons. You can also use them to keep track of the library books, plants or school material. QR codes are also useful to send your students home with notes with printed QR codes so the parents can have access to the classroom website and know what materials their kids need or simply to download the teacher’s presentations of the day.
With the help of QR codes, lessons don’t have to be dull or dense, spice them up, and your students will surely appreciate the effort and enjoy the new way of learning.
Quite a few games are already using QR codes in their strategy to create viral and more engaging stories. Using codes in games can help create new adventures, special offers to engage players into buying discounted objects or to help them through the game with strategically positioned clues.
Everything is possible. It’s all about imagination creativity and with the help of a great tool like a QR code generator many things can be a reality even in the virtual world of video games.
How to read QR codes
Everything good up to hear you might think, but how are my leads or clients going to read my QR code? That is an excellent question, and very simple to answer: with an app or with their smartphone camera.
If you go to your app store in your phone and search for QR code Scanner, you are going to find lots of apps and all of them are free!. Your customers will need to know that they need to download an app to read your code. You can tell them in the instructions inside your flyer, brochure or newsletter. Simply by putting a call to action like “Download this manual” or “Scan this QR code” your customers will understand what they need to do. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and it can be a useful tool to have on our phones.
Also, some new smartphones, with the latest updates in their operating system, can read QR codes with their camera, which can be very helpful and also save us from downloading one more app.
Do you want to know if your smartphone camera can read a QR code? Just open your camera and point to a code. If your camera can scan barcodes or QR codes, a message will come up in a few seconds. If not, is possible that you might have to go to your camera settings and allow the QR code scan function. On the contrary, if no pop up comes up and you don’t have the scan function in your camera, I’m sorry to tell you that you will need to download a scanning app, no big deal because QR code scanners are free!
Remember always to educate your clients and customers to use QR codes. Information is power, and if your visitors don’t know what the purpose of scanning a QR code is, or even worse, they don’t know how to read them, they can get frustrated and form a negative opinion of your campaigns and ways to engage with them. Keep in mind that you will need to tell them what you expect from them with a call to action.
Key takeaways of using QR codes
As you have learned with this article, QR codes are the next big thing to stand out in the crowded online world and connect it to your offline business. Just create a unique code to direct customers and clients to a website, video, social media account or anything you can think of. Show them a special offer and helpful information, be creative and help them choose you for what you have to offer.
With this guide, you have learned the important options you need to find in a great QR code generator. Find yours and choose wisely. Create your projects and follow the statistics to meet your goals week by week or month by month. You choose the number of projects, campaigns and QR codes you want to create. If you have set up a large number of projects, don’t forget to look for the “bulk QR code creation” feature, you are going to love it!
QR codes are definitely a useful tool that will help you with your marketing, social media and much more. Choose your design and type of QR code and start sending visitors to your website, Linkedin account and/or videos, is simple, you can start pressing the button below