A what code? You may be unfamiliar withÂ them, but over the last few years QR CodesÂ have slipped into mainstream advertising,Â making them a viable business tool. AÂ QR Code is just a barcode, like you’d find onÂ your cereal box. But unlike the barcodes in supermarkets, QR codes are arranged in aÂ ‘matrix’, which packs lots of information into a tight space. The QR stands for ‘Quick Response’ because they provide a fast way to access information. They connect people from print to digital media in just a matter of seconds, making printed materials truly interactive.
How do they work? Anyone with a smartphone such as an iPhone or Android simply takes a picture of the code using a free app and their inbuilt camera. Their phone then triggers an action â it could be a link to download content, some contact information, a message or a link to a website.
Despite improved keyboards on smartphones, typing a long URL or website address on the move can be fiddly. Having to type in URLs prevents mobile users from accessing mobile content on a regular basis. When you consider that a typical web address consists of a mix of letters, colons, slashes, dots and dashes, it’s no surprise that keying them in quickly loses appeal. With a QR code, there’s no typing. Just point your camera at a code and an app reads it, switches to a browser and loads the page.
QR Codes may appear in magazines, on signs,Â buses, business cards, shop posters, leaflets,Â t-shirts, ID passes and just about any object youÂ can think of. Since the diversity of informationÂ that can be held within a QR Code is unlimited,Â the potential marketing applications for mobileÂ barcodes is vast. The remarkable growth ofÂ mobile and smartphones (which are becomingÂ a more and more popular way to access theÂ internet) means this potential can be easilyÂ implemented.
Smart businesses are using QR Codes in smartÂ ways. Retailers print them on receipts. EventÂ producers employ them to provide exhibitÂ information. Doctors and beauty salons useÂ them to let people make appointments overÂ their mobile phones. Print them on your businessÂ cards so people can create a contact record inÂ their phone without typing a single thing. EvenÂ some TV shows use QR codes in the corner ofÂ the screen to provide additional information.
You may not have the same budget as a TVÂ show, so what could you do? The only limit isÂ your imagination (see some ideas right). QRÂ codes are a great way to take part in a growingÂ trend, position your business as forward thinkingÂ and produce useful information resources at theÂ same time.
What info could a QR code contain?
- product specifications and pictures
- your contact details
- offer terms and prices
- event listings
- competition rules
- a coupon or voucher
- Twitter or Facebook links
- a link to your YouTube video
- a map of your store location
- link to your online brochure
Try putting a QR Code…
- On your business cards. Your recipient can saveÂ your contact details simply by scanning the code.
- On your marketing collateral. Got a big saleÂ on? Direct customers to your special offers page.
- On the posters in your shop window so theyÂ can do the selling even when youâre not there.
- In your email signature, blog posts and onlineÂ newsletters to capture a wider audience.
- In adverts and save on advertising space.
- On your invoices,Â to link people toÂ your Facebook orÂ Twitter page.