About a year or so ago, I purchased an Android phone. After purchasing the phone, I found that I could scan a unique looking image to download applications for my phone. My curiosity got the best of me and I did some further research on what these images were. They are known as QR codes. I went on to learn that these codes can be used to store everything from messages, website addresses, contact information, and so much more. QR codes have been popular in Japan for years however with the recent out break in smart phones, QR codes have begun to popup around the United States. The best part about this new marketing trend is that it has almost no cost associated with it. Thats right, anyone and any small business can use QR codes.
What Are QR Codes?
QR code is short for “Quick Response”. A QR code is a unique looking image (pictured at the right) that can be scanned with a camera and translated into a website address, text, contact information, etc. QR code readers can be downloaded to most phones including Android, iPhone and Blackberries. What makes QR codes so much better than a normal barcode is the fact that a normal barcode can only hold up to 20 digits and a QR code can hold over 7,000 digits.
How to Apply QR Codes to SMB Marketing
With so many smartphones on the market, it is easy to incorporate QR codes into your marketing plan. I will give you a few suggestions on how to best implement these codes into your plan.
Place QR codes into your print advertising. Set these to goto a specific website or video that will expand upon your advertisement. With QR codes being so new, many people will scan your QR code just to find out where it takes them and what it does. Ralph Lauren has recently started doing this with their magazine advertisements. To the right, you will see an example of one of their QR code advertisements.
Billboards and Signage
Another great place to put your QR code would be in a billboard ad or in signage. Just as before, you will want to direct people to a website of video that will help promote your services and products. Be sure that you create the QR code large enough so that it can be scanned from a reasonable distance. To the left, you will see a billboard advertisement from Calvin Klein Jeans. The ad says “Get It Uncensored” and then displays a QR code to entice viewers to scan the QR code and view the rest of the ad.
One great use of QR codes is on your business cards. You can create a QR code that holds all of your information such as your name, phone number, email address, business address, website address and several more items. When you scan QR codes with your mobile device, the system will recognize that it is a contact card and will allow you to add the person into your address book with all of their information. See the picture for an example of how this can be done.
How to Create QR Codes
Now that you know all the great benefits of using QR code, I will tell you how to create them. The best part is that it will cost you nothing to create your QR code. To create your QR code, all you need to do is visit a QR code generator. Here are a couple of good ones:
- http://www.qrstuff.com/ – Allows Color Options
- http://zxing.appspot.com/generator/ – Allows Business Contact Card
- http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ – Simple QR Code
There are many other QR code generators that can be used. Just do a simple Google search.