You may or may not have heard of the bar code’s posher cousin, the QR code, but you won’t be able to ignore it for long. QR (or ‘quick response’) codes are enhancing the way businesses interact with customers by offering an opportunity to bridge the gap between online and offline marketing. Once you start looking, you’ll notice them everywhere and—wait a minute; isn’t that one right there!—then you’ll wonder why the devil your business isn’t using QR codes to ‘big up’ your brand!
Put simply, QR codes are all about sharing data with mobile users. If you have the latest iPhone, Android, Nokia, or Blackberry handset you’ll probably find it has a QR code reader installed, otherwise QR reader apps are available online for most mobile platforms. Go ahead, try it out on the codes to the left and below.
Silly Season is almost upon us so it must be time to treat your business to a bit of marketing bling. ‘Marketing bling?’ you ask. I’m referring to the deliciously stylish custom QR codes offered at QRlicious—and starting at US$ 35 they won’t break the bank.
Instead of fumbling around, bleary eyed, swapping umpteen business cards at the next 7:00 am networking breakfast, with a QR code you could have already swapped contact details with several potential clients and be tucking into the probiotic yoghurt and sorry-looking banana on offer (having arrived too late for the huge fry-up available earlier—what me, speaking from experience?).
Entrepreneur and author Leesa Daymond has the right idea as I read on her blog recently: “I’ve got a QR code for Social Climbing on a keyring, I use it when I’m out networking at events—means I don’t have to fuss with business cards!” [You’ll find a link to Leesa’s blog post ‘How to use QR Codes in your Small Business’ at the bottom of this article.]
If you’re too excited to read the rest, just get on over to QRlicious and order your customised QR beauty right now—I won’t be offended (in fact, I’ll get a tiny Christmas bonus if you do).
QR codes have actually been around since 1994, when they were created by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave. If you’re interested in the history and want to get to grips with the technical side of the bar code’s speedier cousin, you’ll find a link to the entry on Wikipedia at the end of this article. In the meantime, here’s a snippet:
Although initially used to track parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR codes are now (as of 2011) used over a much wider range of applications, including commercial tracking, entertainment and transport ticketing, product marketing and in-store product labeling. Many of these applications target mobile-phone users (via mobile tagging). Users may receive text, add a vCard contact to their device, open a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), or compose an e-mail or text message after scanning QR codes.”
Here are a couple of useful links about QR codes (who uses them and how to use them) to get your marketing juices flowing: