How to Make and Use a QR Code

NOTE: the Link Roundup is beneath this post.

Figuring Out QR CodesIf you’ve been waiting for the chance to try QR codes for your business, this is the post you’ve been waiting for.

That’s because this week, Pitney Bowes has launched a new product, pbSmart Codes, and it’s the best turnkey solution for QR codes that I’ve seen thus far.

Before I go any further, I need to disclose that I am a consultant to Pitney Bowes. I write for their blog, present webinars sponsored by them and provide a bit of product management consulting as well.

That said however, one of the reasons I took them on as a client is because of the exciting things they are doing with online solutions for small businesses. In other words: they have interesting new solutions and I want to play with them and bring them to your attention. 🙂

I really liked what I saw in pbSmart Codes and feel absolutely comfortable recommending that you try it out. In other words: I was not paid to write this post.

There are a lot of reasons why I like the pbSmart Codes solution, but its best feature is the way it walks you through creating, implementing and tracking a QR code marketing campaign without requiring any technical or design skills whatsoever.

Another standout feature is its mobile page creation feature, something I’ve not seen elsewhere to date. I’ll talk about that more in my walk-through below.

And speaking of my walk-through, here we go!

1. Start Here

Start Here

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From the beginning, your options are clearly laid out for you. As you can see in the image to the right, you have many options for creating and using QR codes, all of which are designed to drive your customers to take action.

What I like here is that you not only have many ways to use your QR code, but you also get ideas and suggestions on how they can be used.

2. Select A Template

Poster Templates

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For this demo, I chose to create a poster that leads to a coupon. Therefore, my next step was to select my poster template.

What I liked here were all the designs available. You can chose one that’s industry-specific or you can go for a generic template that works for any purpose.

If you’re familiar with online e-mail marketing applications, you’ll feel right at home. If not, it’s easy and straight-forward enough to pick-up quickly.

3. Editing Your Text

Editing Your Text

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The next step was adding my own text to my poster.

There were a few quirky things at this point, but I was able to get my text in place and looking good after only a few minutes of playing with fonts and font-sizes.

Again, if you’re familiar with online e-mail marketing applications, you’ll pick this up quickly.

 4. Mobile Page

Mobile Page

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As mentioned above, one of the features that makes pbSmart Codes stand out is the ability to create a mobile page.

This mobile page is the spot to which folks are taken once they scan your code and it can be a very powerful tool for engaging your customers.

As you can see in the image to the left, I was able to add my own text and require that users give me an e-mail address before getting the coupon. I was also able to select a theme to use and make changes to colors and design of each theme.

Another handy feature us the ability to add buttons at the bottom. I added one that gives directions to my location, one that allows customers to follow me on Twitter and another that allows them to become a fan of mine on Facebook.

Granted, that’s a lot of calls to action in one place, but I wanted to show you some of what’s possible.

Again, this section took me a few minutes to figure out, but once I did, it was straightforward and intuitive.

5. Order Up!

At this point, I was able to specify how many posters I wanted to order, to where they should be shipped and how I want them to be shipped (overnight, regular mail, etc.).

If you are ordering a printed product (such as this poster), there is a cost for printing and shipping which you can pay with your credit card right on the spot. If you just want to design and download a QR code, you can do that for free.

6. Tracking and Reporting

Tracking and Reporting

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Of course, no marketing solution would be complete without some mechanism for tracking results. With pbSmart Codes, I will be able to track hits to my mobile page and e-mails collected.

Hopefully, they will soon add the ability to track clicks on any of the buttons that I choose to add to my mobile page (hint, hint) as well.

Next Steps

If you’re ready to give QR codes a try, I urge you to take pbSmart Codes for a test drive. It’s free to sign-up and use; you only pay if you choose to have your materials printed and shipped to you.

If you do try pbSmart Codes, I would love to hear
about your experiences in the comments below!

If you’re looking for some creative ideas for using QR codes, check out these posts:

Weekly Link Roundup

Weekly Link RoundupEach week, I collect the 10 best posts that I’ve read and share them with you here.

These posts focus on small business solutions or resources online (or both!).


3 Ways Social Media Can Help You Show Up In Search Results: Search engine results still matter, especially to local businesses so harnessing the power of social media to boost those results just makes sense.

15 Ways to Avoid Bad Online Reviews: Reviews are the gold standard in business and a single bad one can outweigh many, many good ones. Learn how to get in front of those bad reviews with these tips.

How We Use Google Analytics To Improve Our Online Store: Great insights into putting the information you gather from Google Analytics to use!

How To Promote Your Meetup, Workshop or Seminar on LinkedIn Events: A handy step-by-step guide to creating and promoting your own events on LinkedIn.

When good email goes bad: E-mail marketing is a very effective tactic, except when it’s done wrong. Learn how to avoid making key mistakes.y

3 Steps to Succeeding in the Expertise Economy: Learn how to harness the power of what you know for your marketing efforts.

I really liked this series of posts, each of which asks a panel of experts to weigh-in on the topic.

How to Market Your Business with a Blog: This post discusses what to blog about, how often to blog, best tools for blogging and other tips.

How to Market Your Business With Video: Topics of this post include how to get started, mistakes to avoid, how to distribute your videos and more.a

How to Market Your Business – Twitter: This post discusses tips on how to best, and most creatively, use Twitter to engage your customers and achieve your goals.

How to Market Your Business – Facebook Page: Among the topics of this post are tips on how to engage your fans and how to measure your return on investment for your Facebook page activities.


  1. Thanks for such as easy and clear walk through on QR codes. I know they are all the rage, but just wasn’t sure where to begin. I’m ready to at least dip my big toe into the water 🙂

    • You bet Nicole! Glad you found it useful!

      Give pbSmart Codes a whirl – even if you do not wind up using it, it will give you lots of ideas about how you CAN use QR codes to market your business.


  2. Just a quick injection here – have to say Matt About Business has become not only one of my favorite blogs that I check religiously but most practical, useful and immediately beneficial.

    I’ve been selling online since 1995 so I know the hard work this field lays out for anyone working in the space and I *really* appreciate your dedication Matt to get things right and present such concise, quick/short and intensely researched info…You really stand apart from 99% of the biz blogs I come across and, dude, if you need a virtual hug on a bad day, this stranger in Colorado will be here to extend it out and get that chin set back up in the right position……

    Oh yeah – this one was JUST what I was looking for w/ figuring out the next step w/ QR! 😀

    • Bruce,

      I am not having a bad day, but this comment really made my week (maybe my month and year, too)!

      I’m truly grateful that the work I’m doing is helpful and that folks like you are able to put the information I provide immediately to use (actionable is my favorite word these days 🙂 )!

      Thanks for taking the time to let me know how I’ve helped you move forward. I promise to do my best to keep doing the same for years to come!


      • Well, the crap daze do come w/ online work(and I’m thanks for letting me know I made you feel good – you deserve that) – and I work in the music industry, so we’ve had crap years for almost a decade! ;-P

        I chose my line of work 25 years ago – with eyes as wide open as a young man is capable of and, today, as a grizzled music biz veteran, despite all the insanity and uncertainty we have in our industry, I just find it exciting knowing knowing not only do I not have a clue but everyone else doesn’t either! 😉

        Sometime, I have to beg you(maybe w/ virtual shots of tequila!) to find out what blog template you use – I love the little tweaks you continue to do in the short time I’ve known of your work!

        • Yep, the crap days come and go, but most of the days are good so I’m lucky that way, I guess. Can’t imagine what it’s like in the music industry – competition and technology changes and talent and egos all rolled into one – fun! Wait, that sounds like the online industry, too! :p

          No need to bribe me for the template info – I use the “Going Green” theme from StudioPress ( with a ton of my own tweaks and changes. I’m a big fan of the Genesis framework – powerful features but still easy-to-use (my favorite kind of solution!).


          • Ahhhh, I have seen the theme before but, what you’ve done to it – truly sweet! Yr a poster child for the theme’s full throttled optimization…..

            As for the IM and music biz world, business is a contact sport and not for the light of heart. After 25 yrs on my own now, not only would not do nothing else but work for myself but pretty much long, long unemployable! ;-P


  1. says:

    Matt About Friday: The “How to Make and Use a QR Code” Edition…

    Want to try QR codes for your business? Learn all about a new turnkey solution for creating, implementing and tracking a QR code marketing campaign….

  2. […] Mansfield: I just wrote a post on this a couple of weeks ago: Matt About Friday: The “How to Make and Use a QR Code” Edition. In that post, I presented a walkthrough of my current favorite solution, pbSmart […]

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