Even if you’ve never heard the term, you’ve probably seen plenty of QR codes—they’re square-shaped, funky-looking black and white bar codes that contain small black squares in three of the four corners. You may have seen them on websites, on printed marketing materials, or in many other places. So what exactly are they, and how can they help your business?
The basics of QR codes
QR stands for “quick response.” These patterned squares are bar codes that can be scanned by any smart phone. They can store alphanumeric data, including plain text, email addresses, website URLs, and phone numbers, up to 4,296 characters.
Surprisingly, QR codes are internationally standardized. They first gained popularity in Japan, spreading into Europe and the UK before making their way to the United States, where they’re starting to gain real traction.
These codes represent an easy and interesting way for businesses to engage customers and spread information. After all, who doesn’t enjoy finding a cool new use for their cell phones? Technology and instant gratification are huge hot buttons for today’s consumer, and QR codes offer both.
What can you do with QR codes?
With the ability to embed links and text messages into QR codes, there are many different ways you can use them for your business. When someone scans the code with his or her phone, you can have it:
- Link to your business website, Facebook, or Twitter page
- Call up a map and/or directions to your business
- Show photos, videos, testimonials, or reviews
- Add your business contact information to their phone
- Call your business or your order hotline
Another productive way to use QR codes is to create special deals or offers that can only be redeemed by scanning the code. This creates added value, as the customer is getting something extra and unique. Below are a few examples:
- A percent-off coupon for their first visit to your business
- Discounts on website purchases
- A contest entry
- Clues for a treasure hunt
- Coupons for a free product or sample
- Where should you place them?informatix_QR_codes_promotions
One of the biggest benefits of QR codes is their ability to bridge printed or other physical marketing materials with online activities. Just as there are practically unlimited uses for QR codes, there are plenty of places to display them:
- Storefront windows
- Bulletins, flyers, and brochures
- Business cards and store receipts
- Magazine and newspaper ads
- Billboards, company vehicles, and promotional T-shirts
Of course, you can also place value-added QR codes on your website, blog, or social media page, and even embed them in promotional videos. They can be easily scanned from printed materials and computer screens. Some enterprising businesses have even placed QR codes on the roofs of their buildings, so they can be picked up on Google Earth.
A powerful and exciting way to promote your business
There are virtually unlimited uses for QR codes, and a growing number of potential customers with the ability to read them. These versatile codes pack a lot of marketing power, and we predict they’ll soon be a necessity for every business.
How can you get yourself some QR codes? There are plenty of websites offering free QR code creation with a variety of customization options. You can find them with a quick Google search.
Go ahead and start generating QR codes for your business, and add one more tool to your marketing arsenal.