QR Codes for Dummies, Joe Waters (Portable Edition, 2012, Wiley).
If anything needed a Dummies book, it is QR Codes.
Let's face it. QR Codes are a mystery to most people. We don't know what that QR stands for (Quick Response, if you must know), we don't know how to use them (you need a smartphone and a QR Code reader - a downloadable app), and haven't the faintest idea what they are good for (the range of uses is quite astounding).
Yet, as nonprofit marketers, QR codes have sneaked into our consciousness as we see them proliferate around us, from the magazines we read, the billboards we pass, and our shopping receipts. It seems that the use of QR Codes by marketers far exceeds their actual use by consumers or understanding at this point.
Joe Waters, best known for his expertise in cause marketing, was an early adopter of QR codes. Now Joe has written this fine little book explaining everything we need to know about QR codes so we can try them out as consumers and consider what part they could play in our nonprofit marketing.
Within 15 minutes of starting Joe's book, I (a late adopter if there ever was one) had downloaded a reader to my phone and my iPad, connected with one QR Code (Joe's own website), and began to see how QR Codes might be useful.
At 112 pages, Joe's book was a quick scan as I went looking for all the ways my personal and professional interests might be served by these funny looking things.
--fundraising might come to use QR Codes. You know all those text-to-give campaigns we've been so crazy about? Well, QR Codes might take the place of the words you typically text to a number. Scanning a QR Code is easier, plus no texting charges from your mobile provider. Until that happens, a QR Code could connect right to your donation page.
--business cards can sport a QR Code that links to your website. You can even put a QR Code into your email signature.
--potential buyers of your house could scan a QR Code at the open house or from your for sale sign, which links to the listing and all the information.
--an invitation to an event could have a QR Code that, when scanned, links to directions or more information.
--customers can take a poll through a QR Code, get a coupon, or sign up for an email newsletter.
--your resume could have a QR Code that links to a portfolio of your work.
The list could go on and on. QR Codes can be used personally, professionally, and organizationally. Turns out that QR Codes are simply another way to connect our offline lives with online information.
If you think that QR Codes can't last, and that people will never adopt or use them, just think about bar codes. Bar codes are ubiquitous and everyone understands them. QR Codes are a consumer-friendly extension of bar codes.
Will QR Codes be around in 10 years? Who knows, but we ask that about any technology, from Twitter to Facebook to laptops. The question isn't even pertinent to decisions about whether to use a particular technology, since new tech builds on the old. Whatever technology we use now will provide the scaffolding for future technology.
If you work in a nonprofit and think you might want to use QR Codes, then this book is a must have. You'll learn how to use them, how to make your online information mobile friendly, what to link to, how to create codes, how to analyze their stats, what to avoid, how to explain them to your supporters, and how to use them safely. Really! All in 112 pages!
As for me, thanks to Joe's book, I'm off to merrily scan as many QR Codes as I can.