Tag Archives: QR codes

QR codes – The Next Big Step in Digital Marketing

8 Jun

By Tim Busbey, owner, Addison’s Compass Public Relations

In marketing, as in life, the only constant is change. Thanks to the constant technological advances our society produces, there is an endless array of new tools that we as marketers have at our disposal. In the last half decade, we’ve seen Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, text messaging and location-based apps flourish and grow as avenues for businesses to market their products. One avenue that has grown in popularity in other countries but has been slow to catch on here in America is Quick Response codes, also known as QR codes.

What is a QR code?

A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode, (pictured at left), similar to the barcodes businesses use to track their inventory and price their products. However, QR codes have one big advantage over a barcode – the amount of information they can hold. Regular barcodes are linear one-dimensional codes that can only hold up to 20 numerical digits, while QR codes are two-dimensional matrix codes that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters. That means you can embed numbers AND words into QR codes. This is a huge advantage and makes QR codes a powerful tool for small businesses. Businesses can use QR codes to promote coupons, special offers or discounts. They can also use them to build a mobile list of subscribers or to direct people to their website, online video or Facebook Fan page. The possibilities for using QR codes to market your business are nearly unlimited.

How do QR codes work?

First, a business owner goes to one of the many web sites that are called QR code generators. At these web sites, you can enter in the information that you want included in your QR code. Your QR code can be used to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a web page in the telephone’s browser. Once you enter the information, the QR code generator will then create a QR code which you can download and use wherever you want. Most businesses use them in print advertisements, flyers or signs. You also can use them on business cards, brochures, product tags, menus or receipts.

There are many sites online that will allow you to create QR codes. Just do a search for “QR code generator” and browse through the results to find one that works for you and your needs.

Smartphone owners can download an app which allows them to scan the QR codes in your advertisement. Once scanned, the information you put in the QR code will be on the user’s phone. With more than one-third of cell phone users now carrying smartphones, QR codes can be a powerful tool for any business.

Example of QR codes

Here is one example of an ad containing a QR code from the July 2011 issue of Woman’s Day magazine. This ad for DERMAdoctor KP Duty. Scanning the QR code from the lower right corner of this ad will take the user to a web page where they can instantly order the product. Once there, even if they don’t want to order the product, they can easily follow links to get more information about the product or other similar products.

Benefits to using QR codes.

1) Tracking. When you use a QR code, intricate details on each access of your QR code can be compiled. Some QR code generating sites offer analytics to let you track usage of your code. There are both free and paid options depending on the site you use. This gives you valuable information about who is interested in your product – information that can be used to refine your message and methods. Be sure to explore the options each site offers when choosing a QR code generator. Another way to track QR code usage is to use the QR code to lead people to a website. Your current analytics will allow you to keep track of the number of people who visit the URL you embed in the QR code.

2) Save money. One of the biggest disadvantages to any form of print marketing is the cost. Billboards and brochures can be cost-prohibitive, especially for small businesses. However, most businesses already have a website. With a QR code on a flyer or a small newspaper ad, you can embed a link to a webpage or a downloadable ebook/brochure. That way, people can still receive the information about your business without you incurring the cost of printing. Also, if some information in the brochure or book needs to change, you can easily make the change online without having to reprint hundreds or thousands of copies.

3) Ease of storage/transportation. If someone likes or wants to keep some information about your business, instead of finding a pen and paper, all they have to do is use their smartphone to scan the QR code. The information from the code will be saved on their phone if they want to retrieve it again later or share it with someone else.

4) Build customer excitement. People are curious. People who know what QR codes are will want to know what information you have stored in your company’s QR code. They can quickly and easily scan your code and find out more information about your business or find a special offer or coupon you may offer exclusively through the QR code.

No matter what kind of business you have, there are many ways to utilize QR codes to help grow your business. At Addison’s Compass Public Relations, we can offer assistance to any business needing consultation to get started using QR codes. We can help you create promotional ideas and content that will engage your customers. If you are local to us in Ohio, we do house (business) calls too! Scan our QR code at the left to visit our website.

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