Tech Tip: The “QR” Barcode

16 03 2011

We all know that potential students are increasingly finding our services online. While not (yet) the majority of searches, mobile devices are one of the fastest growing segments of the online search stream.

Still, self-defense is not the most common search term, and our market often needs to see (several times) that we exist before they will go searching.  To that end, old-fashioned paper marketing is ideal.  And here is a quick way to get those who come across your paper marketing (be it in a catalog, a poster, a postcard, ad in a local paper, etc.) to come to you online via their smartphone.

QR codes are barcodes that look like square puzzles. But when your smartphone’s barcode app scans it, you can be taken to a website, email, phone, . . . any other information that you can put online.

This website will generate QR codes for you, at no charge:

Scroll down to the “Generate” header.  By default you will be shown the form to enter a URL.  (Other tabs give you the options of Message, Phone, SMS, or Email.)  Type or paste in the URL you want a code for, and submit.  It will give you back a picture file and HTML code to put on your website, if you wish.

If you have a smartphone handy, check out this code: QR Code(Hint: it will take you to the NWMAF website.)

For two examples of how I’ve used this, here are a poster and an ad for a roller derby program.


Rat City Roller Girl Program Ad

Three things to keep in mind:  QR codes can be resized fairly small, but not too small or they can’t be read.  Consider how well your means of replication will be on code clarity (you may need to make it a bit larger if it will be seen as a photocopy of a photocopy). Finally, the code needs to be black on white, so don’t make the white background “clear” to better blend in, or it can’t be read.




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