Imagine if you could give potential customers an image that when scanned into a smart phone would unlock promotional advertising pertinent to your business.
Imagine if you could place this image anywhere you wanted. Your business card, perhaps. Maybe on an invoice, or a poster, a banner, even in a storefront window.
Heck, you could even tattoo one onto your forehead.
That’d be a useful marketing tool, wouldn’t it? If you could do all of that?
Essentially, that is what QR Codes allow you to do.
The above list of ideas isn’t ours to brag about. Companies are already using QR Codes in exactly those ways to promote their business.
Except maybe the tatooing.
So What Exactly Is a QR Code?
In their non-abbreviated form QR Codes stand for Quick Response Codes. They look like this:
Although similar to bar codes, the advantage of QR Codes and the reason they are being used increasingly for branding and marketing purposes, is that they are able to hold and present to the consumer much more information than before.
Anything, in fact,from a simple URL, to a longer report or paper.
Developed in Japan by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave, and used originally to track inventory, they are still less commonly used here in the West.
In Japan they’ve been around for some time, and are being used there in more and more imaginative ways. The Japanese have them on fast food packaging, and they might also show up in the corner of the tv show you’re watching.
Smartphone Technology and QR Codes
Acording to mobithinking.com, accessing the Internet via a mobile device will pass the PC as the most popular means sometime within the next four years.
This is good news for QR Codes, as they go hand in hand with smartphones.
The path, then, should be fairly clear. If you want to tap into the mobile community, and if you’re interested in the long term health of your business you should, QR Codes will provide a way.
In order to extract the information contained in a QR Code, users will need a QR Code Scanner.
Many smartphones these days already come with a scanner built in. It enables users scan the code into their phone, from where it can be decoded.
For smartphones without a QR Code Scanner, there are a number of free versions available. These are simply apps that need to be installed onto the phone. If your particular phone has an app store, simply search for “QR Code” and you will likely find what you are looking for.
How To Create Your Own QR Code
Creating QR Code is surprisingly easy. There is no programming knowledge needed. All you need is a QR Code Generator. You can create simple text QR Code at places like Qurify.com, and qrstuff.com, both of whom have free QR Code generators available.
The QR Code at the top of this entry was created in less than 30 seconds.
Design QR Codes To Arouse Your Customer’s Interest
Once the code has been scanned, users might be connected directly to a website, given contact information, or a text message. Whatever the code has been set up to do.
From a consumer’s point of view, simply being sent to a website is dull. Now what hapens? Your code should thell them, and it ought to be something interesting.
Maybe they get a free download, or some kind of a discount. Perhaps you want them to enter a contest. Whatever it is, your design needs to send clear instructions.
The QR Code at the beginning of this article sends you to eone films’ Source Code contest. If you have a QR Code scanner, you can try it out.
Create Customized QR Codes To Increase Your Visibility
You can also create customized QR Codes. For example, you could add your logo to the code without affecting it’s usability.
Once you’ve generated your QR code, download the image to a photo editing software that supports layers. From there you can incorporate your logo or other branding message into the code.
How much you can mess with it may not be entirely clear. If the coding isn’t disturbed too much, the QR Code should still work. You’d have to test this beforehand to be sure, and get a better feel for how far you can go with your customization.
Below is Stronghold Internet Marketing’s customized QR Code.
Stronghold has taken another step, and incorporated QR Codes into their Facebook Design, as seen below.
If you get on board with QR Codes now and incorporate them into your marketing strategy, you will be ahead of the competition.
With the number of people using their mobile handsets to browse the web increasing so rapidly, it’s a place you’ll want to be.