You might be wondering what on earth are QR codes and why would you need them for your business?
A QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Toyota subsidiary, 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. It was initially used to label and track automotive parts, but it has since been gaining recognition as a next generation marketing tool.
Similar in concept to barcodes, QR codes can be used to encode pictures, text, vCard information, website URL or phone numbers. They can in fact encode up to 7,000 alphanumeric characters, all in a space of a square inch or less.
Benefits of using QR Codes
QR codes can be read rapidly with a mobile device such as smart phones. Just activate a QR reader application in your mobile device (can be downloaded for free), point the device camera to the QR code, click and voila – a vCard with someone’s details is in your phone. No typing, no cumbersome menus to navigate, no mistakes. Just scan the code and the rest is pure magic.
See a cool new HDTV in the store and want more details before buying it? Just scan the QR code and you will find the information you were looking for displayed on your phone. Instantly. Technical specifications, prices, addresses of stores where you can get it and more.
Does it sound like science fiction? Not quite, see for yourself.
QR Codes in action
In 2007 the British pop group Pet Shop Boys used QR code for the artwork of their download only single Integral . When the codes was scanned, users were directed to the Pet Shop Boys website.
In the US and Japan, the QR codes are popping everywhere : on billboard ads, in-store displays, event tickets, trade-shows, on business cards, print ads, contests, boarding passes, direct mail campaigns, websites, email campaigns and coupons just to name a few.
QR Codes are massive in Japan, appearing in magazines, billboards, business cards, shop windows, T-shirts, and more. McDonalds in Japan are also using this on the side of burgers which directs you to a web page displaying the nutritional information.
It is predicted that soon almost every business and person will have one or more of these codes.
How to use QR codes in small business marketing
Here are a few ways that you can use QR codes to improve your small business marketing strategies.
What can I do with a QR Code?
Scan the QR code with your smart phone and you can
- Open a website without typing in the details (try it now – scan our QR code on the right)
- Bookmark a website
- Make a phone call
- Send an SMS
- Send an Email
- Create a Vcard
- Create a vCalendar event in your Google or Outlook calendar
- Check out an address on Google Maps
- Check out an address on Bing Maps
- Upload Geographical coordinates to your iphone
- Go to YouTube video for iphone
- Insert free formatted text.
- Pay a bill
- and more…. (the list of applications that use QR codes is growing daily)
In some countries Google is sending out QR code window decals to top local businesses registered with Google Places. If they don’t send you one, generate your own QR code to place in your window.
You can use this code to encourage Foursquare checkins, point scanners to your Yelp profile, or simply invite customers to share memories in photo, video or text form via Stickybits.
If you really want people to pay attention to your QR codes, make them good for something fun.
Say you’ve placed a QR code decal in your storefront window, why not reward those who scan it with 10 percent off their purchase or a free pastry? Give them something small to thank them for their patronage. Simply create a custom QR code for the freebie you want to offer. Promote your QR codes on Social Media, on your business cards, on your van…
You could even get creative and hide the QR code offers online, like on your Facebook page or website, or somewhere inside your store. Create a QR Treasure Hunt promotion to spice things up.
If you need help with creating an innovating marketing strategy for your business, contact us.
How to generate a QR code for your business?
You can also generate your QR code right here… Try it out…
You can go one step farther and create an “all-in-one” QR code on JumpScan.com which includes your web site address, phone, contact info, and social media feeds.
No more typing, texting, searching, entering and memorizing names and numbers. Just generate your own JumpScan QR Code, and anyone with a smart phone can take a picture of the image, which automatically links to your personal JumpScan page.
How to read QR Codes?
For your phone to be able to read QR Codes you will need to have QR Code barcode reading software installed on it. The following sites offer the option of downloading via PC and then transferring to your phone, or visiting with your with your smartphone (e.g. iPhone, Android phone or Blackberry) via browser for direct download and installation. Some also have the option of setting the application up on your phone as a device bookmark.
Optiscan – The best QR Code scanner for iPhones
Quickmark – For most phones.
NeoReader – A good range of phones and mobile devices (including iPhone and Blackberry) and also available as AppStore download.
I-Nigma – Probably the most popular decoder/reader application.
Blackberry Messenger – Comes standard with most Blackberry’s
Qoder – Innovative payment processing system based on PAyPal and QR codes.
P.S. We use NEOREADER. The NeoReader QR-Code software is compatible with a number of popular handsets including Apple, Blackberry, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.
QodeRPay! – Direct QR Code Payment System
QodeRPay is a simple yet very dynamic web application using a streamline version of the very popular Paypal Payment System. With this site you can create your own unique payment QR code where people can scan the code you create and get paid! Best of all most payments can be made right from a phone without having to worry about credit cards, or writing checks (A valid paypal account is needed).
QR Codes in Action
Watch this video to see another brilliant application of a QR code
Would you like to incorporate QR codes in your business?
If you would like some help with generating QR codes or with incorporating QR codes in your marketing strategy, contact us.