QR Codes

“A QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The “QR” is derived from “Quick Response”, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.” -  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_Code

What You Need To Know

With the rapid adoption of internet connected devices, QR Codes are quickly taking the world by storm as a simple and easy method for companies to connect their Print, TV, and other static forms of marketing with the interactive, social, and viral world of the mobile web.

When someone sees a QR Code, like the one that you see here, all he or she needs to do is scan that code with their favorite internet connected device – usually a smartphone. All they need is a “QR Code Scanner” App. All major platforms have these scanner apps available for free.  Once scanned the user will be taken to a mobile page on the internet with the content that was encoded in the QR Code.

For example, the QR Code on featured on this page will take a user to a mobile landing page that will allow him or her to “Like” nLightOnline on Facebook and receive our updates.

That’s just one way that QR Codes can be used. As a business owner, the marketing potential of a QR Code in print and static marketing is limited only by the imagination.

One could put a QR Code on a business card that takes a user to a mobile video explaining the benefits of using your service. One could put a QR Code on the wall of your shop as a way to get entrants to a sweepstakes or a contest. A restaurant could offer instant coupons through a QR Code printed on a table stand on each table – allowing the restaurant to collect email address or build a Facebook or Twitter following.

One could even put a QR Code on a billboard that takes the user to a mobile landing page, allowing the business owner to take that 10 second pass-by exposure and turn it into an interactive and fun experience for your potential clients, ensuring that they not only remember you, but that they are much more likely to choose you over your competition.

Further, QR Codes can be encoded with contact information allowing a smartphone user to automatically enter that information into their contact database. They can be encoded to automatically send a email to an specific email address. Or they can be encoded with an SMS short code and number allowing a user to send a text message with the click of a button. The options for mobile marketing using QR Codes are really limitless.

In short, QR Codes are a fun simple way to turn static marketing into interactive marketing and allow you to meet your clients where they are (ie – on their mobile devices) and start building a relationship in a way that pure static marketing just doesn’t allow.

How to build them

QR Codes are also extremely easy to implement and use in your marketing. It can literally take just a few minutes to generate the codes that you would use in your print marketing pieces (though I would hope one would spend more that a few minutes building the content on the other side QR Code to make the user experience as awesome as possible).

One of the best QR Code generators that I have found is the one avaliabe from SparqCode.com, here: https://www.sparqcode.com/static/maestro

Simply select the type of code you want to make, in the information, and download the QR Code Image – that’s it. You’ll be given a high quality .GIF file of your encoded QR Code and it’s ready to be printed on your marketing materials.

That is just SparqCode.com’s free generator. They have an even more powerful generator avaliabe to customers that allows you to build social profile signage that make use of QR Codes and several other really neat ideas that can improve your marketing. So be sure to check out their Pro Service here: https://www.sparqcode.com/static/features

(I have no financial interest in recommending SparqCode, I just love their service and use it for my own personal business and those of my clients).

They can be tracked!

One of the coolest things that you can do with the QR Codes is track them. There are many ways to do this and it’s outside the scope of this article to talk about it, but it’s relatively simple to do and makes them even more invaluable to the business owner.

Imagine putting a QR code on your business card that simply allows the user to automatically add your contact information to their phone. You track the use of this code. Now you can find out how many people are actually looking at and using your business card to get your contact infomation.

Next think about putting a Call-To-Action and a nice incentive into your Yellow Page ads or on your Billboards with a QR code. Even if only ten or twenty percent of your viewers take advantage of the QR Code, that’s 20% metrics that you would never have had otherwise to gage the effectiveness of your ads! That’s just incredible.

Also, as QR Code begin to become mainstream in America, like they have the world over, more and more people will be using them – making your job of tracking and refining your marketing that much easier.

What Others Are Saying

QR Codes: Are You Ready For Paper-Based Hyperlinks? Written Sept 13th, 2010

Why QR Codes are poised to hit Mainstream. Written July 2010

Are QR Codes the Next Big Thing For Cause Marketing? Written July 2010

11 Must see QR Code Marketing and Implementation Campaign Videos. Written September 2010