Easy and cheap, QR codes can be an author’s marketing dream. If you already have a blog or a Web site, QR codes are a great way to drive potential new fans (and buyers) of your books to them.
A quick course on what QR codes are: QR codes are essentially barcodes that look like a pattern of black squares against a white background. Any smartphone user who has downloaded the necessary app can scan the code and will automatically be taken to wherever you want them to go on the Web. The number of people with smartphones who scan QR codes is increasing: for the three-month period ending in October 2011, a monthly average of 20.1 million U.S. mobile phone owners scanned a QR code using their device, according to comScore. Of that 20.1 million, 60.5 percent were male and 53.4 percent were aged 18 to 34.
QR codes can be created for free with tools like http://goqr.me/ and used in any number of ways. WizardofEbooks.com cautions that QR codes should not only be used to drive customers to your home page or to buy your book. Rather, the person who scans the code should be rewarded with something extra, like a video or extra content relating to your book. You can create multiple QR codes that take people to different places on your Web site or blog. Some suggestions:
- On your business cards – Putting a QR code on your business card can give people quick access to your Web site or blog. I’d suggest linking to your “about me” page on your Web site.
- In your book – A QR code can be incorporated into the design of your book to take the reader to more content, like a YouTube video of you discussing your book, a readers’ discussion guide, more information about the series, a photo gallery, or other extras.
- On a bookmark – Give out bookmarks with a QR code taking people to where they can buy your book.
I’ve heard many stories of creative usage of QR codes. One author printed cards that had a QR code linking to a free copy of an e-book version of the first book in their series. The author had friends hand out the card at airports—the perfect place to catch smartphone users with free time on their hands while waiting for their flight. Once they’d read the free e-book, they were ready to buy the next one in the series. Creativity pays off in marketing.