Why Your Business Should Start Using QR Codes TodayPosted January 19, 2011 | Tips and Trends from the Experts
Today, we will look at some reasons why QR codes for business are a must-have for any company looking to stay current with technological trends.
What is a QR Code?
For the unitiated, the Wikipedia article delivers a succinct definition of QR codes:
“A QR Code is a specific matrix barcode, which can be read through dedicated QR barcode readers or camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, a URL, or some other data. Common in Japan, where it was created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. QR is the abbreviation for Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.”
To the layperson, that definition may be a bit more confusing than just seeing a black-and-white box with a bunch pixels in a store or magazine. So let’s talk about the application of QR codes. That should help clear up confusion.
How You Can Use QR Codes
ReadWriteWeb’s article on the ways small businesses use QR codes is worth examining in depth.
- Convert foot traffic into web traffic. After a person has visited your brick-and-mortar business, a QR code can send them to your company website or to a survey that the person can complete on his or her experience at your place of business.
- Use QR codes to gain followers on Facebook or Twitter. Instead of sending visitors to your company’s website, a QR code can send them to your Facebook or Twitter page. In fact, a recent article in AllFacebook explains how a company is experimenting with using QR codes to “Like” products and businesses on Facebook.
- Enhance business cards by giving recipients a reason to take action. Don’t throw away those business cards just yet. Instead, consider adding your very own QR code to them to turn your calling card from a static piece of paper into a prospect’s ticket to finding out more about you, your company or what you’re working on.
- Take customers from a print ad to the Internet with a QR code. With an eye-catching QR code, not only will customers see your print advertisement, but they can also go directly to a specific page on your website after they’ve scanned the QR code.
- Use QR codes as part of a game or contest. This one requires the most planning, but it may also provide the biggest ROI. In a recent interview with Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, digital strategist Amy Webb prophesied, “One of the most important trends we’re seeing is mobile scanning…consumers will use their mobile phones to scan real-world objects to find deals and information virtually.” To illustrate her theory, Webb and her company Webbmedia Group are planning to put on a contest where they will hide business QR codes in various spots around the upcoming AAN Conference that will allow scanners to win prizes—such as t-shirts and snacks—or send them to articles posted by AAN in the last year.
The Future of QR Codes and Business
Companies all over the world are starting to tinker around with business QR codes. Publications like the San Francisco Business Journal have started adding QR codes to their articles that will link readers to information pertinent to the article.
Likewise, the Commercial Appeal, an upstart news publication based out of Memphis, TN has started sprinkling QR codes throughout their paper, allowing readers access to a variety of digital content, ranging from Dilbert cartoons to answers to that day’s crossword puzzle.
Accessing digital content isn’t the only use for QR codes. Before going nationwide with its mobile payments system, Starbucks created an app that utilized QR codes that could be scanned and worked like a Starbucks gift card. Although the company ended up using the PDF417 barcode instead of QR codes, that they used QR codes at all shows their viability and flexibility to businesses.
The Bottom Line
Mobile advertising is the next big thing, and QR codes are just the beginning of the mobile revolution. Tying QR codes into your marketing plan, along with location-based social networking, can turn a customer’s visit to your business from a one-way interaction into a two way conversation.
In case you were wondering, the QR code above takes you somewhere special. Go to http://www.mobile-barcodes.com/qr-code-software/ to find out more about some of the different QR code readers available on the market. Want to make your own QR code like the one above? Visit http://qrcode.kaywa.com to get started!
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