So you have decided to use QR Codes in your latest print media campaigns. And you now need to head on to a QR Code generator. But you’re not sure one which is the right for your use case?
A quick Google search will give you many options. How do you then choose the best QR Code generator? This guide will help you.
We have divided this guide into two sections:
- Features of a good QR Code Generator
- A detailed comparison chart of the top QR Code generators
Note that no QR Code generator is perfect in an absolute way. You need to figure out what your requirements are and which QR Code generator suits your needs.
A. Must-have features in a QR Code Generator software
A good tool is one that makes your work easy. It either saves you time or money.
It is not just about getting the job done. It’s also about how quickly you can get it done. Or how cost-effective it is. Follow this thumb rule:
Keeping this in mind, a good QR Code Generator should be able to:
1. Generate Dynamic QR Codes
Say you create a QR Code that takes the end-users to your website. And you add it to your business cards. A year later, you want it to take the end-users to your blog.
You can edit the content encoded only if your QR Code was dynamic in nature. Keep reading to know what a Dynamic QR Code is.
Dynamic QR Codes allow you to edit the web page address anytime you want without the need to reprint the QR Code.
One day you can lead your customers to your Facebook Page and the next day to a YouTube video. Yet your QR Code will remain the same.
As a serious marketer, you need this flexibility in your campaigns.
You certainly don’t want to be stuck with a QR Code that cannot be edited once created. And that leads to a page that you don’t want or that no longer exists.
Such QR Codes are called Static QR Codes.
Most free QR Code generators online allow you to create basic Static QR Codes only. These QR Codes are basic and have almost no functionality.
2. Track scanning activity
As a serious marketer, you know the importance of analyzing your campaigns.
If you are not analyzing them, then you are not optimizing. And if you are not optimizing, you are losing money in lost sales opportunities.
Does your generator tell you exactly how many people scanned your QR Code? And from exactly which city, country, device, handset model, operating system, or browser did they do it?
In fact, does it tell you the exact GPS location of the QR Code scan? Yes. It’s possible.
I’ll tell you why this data is important.
Say you learn that majority users are scanning the QR Code from a specific city. This is where your target audience is.
You can increase your marketing budget for this region to gain more conversions. Do you know how valuable this information is? A lot.
Another important analytics feature that you should check is—integrations.
If you are a marketer, you probably have other campaigns running and you collate data in an Analytics tool—say Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, etc.
The last thing you need is another analytics dashboard for QR Code campaigns. Check if your QR Code Generator allows you to integrate with other analytics platforms.
3. Captures contact information of target audience
As mentioned above, most advanced QR Code generators can track scanning activity.
But only a few can tell exactly who scanned the QR Code i.e. name, email address, and phone number of the user scanning the QR Code.
This feature is called Lead Generation. If you are looking to capture leads information for re-marketing, you should check if the generator has this option.
Also, check if the leads information can be integrated with your CRM—say via Zapier webhooks.
4. Design QR Codes to attract more scans
Have you ever scanned the barcode on a Coke can that you just bought? No. Why would you? They simply appear to be intended for some ‘official use’.
Then why should anybody scan a plain black-and-white QR Code on your promotions?
You need to make your QR Code stand out. It should scream to your audience that this is a point-of-engagement.
You can do this by making your QR Codes colorful and personalized to your brand.
And you can do it only if your generator has advanced QR Code designing capabilities.
If you will need to regularly design QR Codes, does your generator allow you to save designs as templates?
5. Create the type of QR Code you need
There are various categories of QR Codes depending on what information you want to share. Or what action you want your target audience to take.
a. Webpage QR Code leads you to a website
b. PDF QR Code shows a PDF document
c. Google Maps QR Code redirects you to
d. App Store QR Code redirects you to the right app download page depending on the operating system of the scanning device
e. Social Media QR Code that takes end-users to a landing page with links to all your social media profiles
f. Vcard QR Code which, when scanned, prompts the end users to add you as a contact on their phones
g. Event QR Code which redirects you to a landing page with detailed text-based as well as multimedia event information
h. Calendar QR Code that prompts the end-users to add the event to their calendar
i. Audio QR Code that redirects you to listen to an audio file
Check if the QR Code generator allows you to create the QR Code you need.
Basic apps will let you create about 5-6 basic content categories. Whereas advanced QR Code generators can help you create up to 25 QR Code categories.
In addition, if you’re sharing sensitive data (say via PDF QR Code), do you have the option to secure it? Can you password-protect your QR Code?
Password protection allows only the authorized personnel with password to access the encoded information.
6. Export vector formats of the QR Code image
QR Code makes the most sense when added to print media.
Raster formats such as PNG or JPG work fine if used on webpages.
But if you have to print a large image of your QR Code, say in case of banners, raster formats don’t work.
Here you’d need to print a high-resolution QR Code image. Hence, you will need the QR Code image in vector format—SVG, EPS, PS, or PDF.
These images do not pixelate no matter how much you zoom in. And that’s important for your QR Codes to remain scannable.
These are the formats your designer—working on Adobe Indesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, or Sketch 3—will ask for.
So make sure your generator exports vector images of QR Codes. And not only of black-and-white QR Codes but designer ones as well.
7. Add error correction to QR Codes
Error correction is useful if you are adding a logo to your QR Code. Or if it is vulnerable to wear and tear.
For example—say you’re putting QR Codes on product packagings for inventory management. Since QR Codes will be subjected to factory environment here, they’ll be susceptible to damage and dirt.
In such cases, error correction ensures that your QR Code remains scannable. No matter if it is a little damaged or dirty.
Similarly, it is error correction that makes it possible to add a logo to QR Code design.
(Tip for Scanova Users: Scanova uses complex image processing and algorithms to generate scannable QR Codes only)
8. Keep QR Codes and landing pages ad-free
Many QR Code Generators will allow you to create QR Codes for free.
But here’s the problem. They will not tell you that they will add mobile ads to your landing pages.
Since users will certainly not be pleased to see ads, it will adversely affect the user experience. And can even significantly decrease your conversion rate.
Choose a QR Code Generator that keeps landing pages completely ad-free.
Note that sometimes free QR Code readers also include advertisements. If this happens, this is out of the control of the QR Code generation tool.
9. Organize QR Codes in Campaigns
Organizing QR Codes in campaigns is useful if you run multiple campaigns and create many QR Codes. Or if you manage QR Codes for multiple campaigns.
QR Code Campaign Management allows you to organize and manage QR codes in a systematic way.
For example: You can deactivate an entire campaign in one go instead of deactivating 20 QR Codes one by one.
You can also monitor analytics at campaign-level instead of QR Code-level.
10. Has flexible payment options
The biggest advantage of a web-app over licensed software is flexibility. You can subscribe to the software only when you need it.
But many generators will not give you this flexibility and ask you to subscribe for a at least a year.
Check what flexible payment options does the generator have—monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, and annually. Does it offer bulk period discounts?
11. Not put a limit on number of scans
When you just start a campaign, you don’t really know if your campaign is going to be successful or not.
Often, QR Code generators will put a limit on the number of scans you get in your subscription plan.
So how do you choose a plan if you are not sure how many scans you will get? What happens if you exceed the limit? Does the QR Code stop?
The design of subscription plans should be based on the number of QR Codes and not on the number of scans.
So, one must opt for a QR Code generator with unlimited scans.
B. Best QR Code Generator—Comparison Chart
You might think—there are many QR Code generators online. Though I know what all features do I need, how do I figure out the best one? Do I compare all of them one-by-one?
Don’t worry. We conducted exhaustive research and created a detailed comparison chart.
Here is a helpful comparison of the top QR Code Generators available on the web. This will help you select the best one for your business:
Create your first QR Code
Hope this makes it easy for you to choose the best QR Code generator software for your needs. If you’re looking for a next step, see how to use a QR Code Generator.