Marketing for the coming term

A big factor in whether patrons make use of AskAway is patrons knowing about AskAway. And one great way to tell them about the service is through marketing.

Now is the time to start thinking about marketing plans for the coming term.

Links on the library website are great, but the Web isn’t the only place students go. Physical items that students can take home, like notepads, bookmarks, and magnets, are useful reminders that AskAway is there for them. You can order these marketing materials from the AskAway website.

If you want to produce your own customized materials, here’s a tip to get you going.

Personalized QR codes

QR codes are useful ways to bring people directly to your site. They’re normally black and white pixel blotches, but there are ways to customize them to say something about your service. Here’s one I created earlier for the AskAway website:

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"518","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","alt":"AskAway QR code"}}]]

Here’s how it works:

  1. Find a custom QR code generator. Some of these sites charge for their services, but there others that give you a highly customizable code for free. For the above image I used QR Code Monkey, which lets you specify resolution and size for specific items. Enter your URL.
  2. Play with colours till you have something you like. Try using your institution’s colours, or AskAway blue and green.
  3. If you want to use a logo in the middle of your QR code, upload it. Try to ensure that your logo has a transparent background, so that you don’t end up with a white square around it. I used this public-domain word balloon.
  4. Download your QR code image, and put it on your marketing materials.

If you want to create a more complex-looking image, there are options for you. Unitag Live lets you play more with colour, logo position, and even change the shape of the eyes and lines.

Some tips:

  • While there are lots of colour options to play with, choose one that is fairly dark. If the contrast isn’t great enough, scanners won’t read it.
  • Up to 30% of the code can be covered by a logo or picture in the centre. But don’t let it cover the eyes, which act as anchors for scanners.
  • Scan your code before you use it, to make sure it works.
  • QR codes can encode any kind of message, not just URLs. They’re also good for phone numbers, addresses, and hidden messages.

Please contact the BC ELN office to coordinate the printing of bookmarks, business cards, notepads, and more. And remember to check out our marketing tips to help your institution and your patrons get the most out of AskAway.


Brandon, AskAway Office