As the 2012 political season approaches, many candidates are turning to technology to campaign this year. With 1 in 2 Americans having smartphones, using QR codes for political campaigns is picking up.
What Are QR Codes?
QR code is short for “Quick Response” code. A QR code is a unique looking barcode (pictured at the right) that can be scanned with a camera or mobile phone and translated into a website address, text, contact information, etc. QR code readers can be downloaded to most phones including Android, iPhone and Blackberries. What makes QR codes different than a normal barcode is the fact that a normal barcode can only hold up to 20 digits and a QR code can hold over 7,000 characters and digits.
How to Make A QR Code For Political Campaings
Create a Mobile Friendly Campaign Landing Page
When you scan a QR code, you have several options such as displaying a block of text, showing a vCard or sending users to a website. In most cases, you will choose to send them to a website. The first step in setting up your campaign QR code is to create a mobile friendly landing page for the code to take users to.
For your campaign landing page, you will want to provide all the details of your political campaign in a layout optimized for small mobile phone screens. Sending people to your full website is not recommended as it will be difficult for them to navigate and read your site. Be sure to include your social media like and follow buttons as well as signup sections for your email newsletter. The key is to create a connection to your site visitors.
Check out my article on creating a mobile friendly landing page for more details and some great tools.
Create the QR Code
Creating your QR code is quick, simple and free. Just visit http://goqr.me/ and select what you would like to create. For most, you will be using URL or vCard if your creating a QR code business card. When using a URL, you will need to specify the web address, which should be the page you created above. You can also link to a YouTube URL if you would like to have a video play on their mobile device.
Where to Use QR Codes For Political Campaigns
There are many great ideas for using QR codes for political campaigns. I will go over a few simple ideas below.
QR Codes on Campaign Yard Signs and Other Signs
A great place to start printing your QR codes is on your campaign yard signs, bilboards and any other campaign signage. For best results, place the QR codes on signs that will either receive a lot of foot traffic or at a location where vehicles will be in a stopped postion. This is because you wouldn’t want your voters running off the road trying to drive and scan your sign. Use these codes to send them to your mobile friendly QR code landing page where you can explain your platform and pass along your message.
Be sure to have a proper sized QR code so that your intended audience will be able to read this. If your QR code is on a sign that will be seen for a distance, make sure it can be scanned at the distance.
QR Codes on Political Mailers and Flyers
Another great use of QR codes would be on your mailers and flyers. Use QR codes to take them to a website with more information on the subject of that particular document. Be sure to use a call to action to encourage the reader to scan the QR code. This can easily be done by using a statement such as, “scan to find out more about x subject”.
QR Codes on Political Television Advertisements
Placing QR codes on your political television ads can be tricky but effective if done right. What makes this tricky is the fact that televisions come in all shapes, sizes and resolutions. The key is to size your QR code so that it can be scanned from an average sized television. You will need to be sure to test this ahead of time to make sure it scans correctly. Be sure to use short web addresses for these QR codes in order to keep the size and complexity of the QR code low. Also, timing is a key factor. The QR code should be displayed through the entirety of the advertisement. This gives a viewer the time to pull out their phone and scan your code.
Use these QR codes to point viewers to facts stated in your political ad. This is a great way to provide more details to the viewers without spending extra cash on more airtime.