Lisa Schulteis_QR CodeYou’ve started to see them everywhere… those little black and white squares that look similar to a bar code, but aren’t quite the same.  What are they?  They are QR codes (abbreviated from Quick Response code) and they are two-dimensional codes that can be read by smart phones everywhere.

In this very mobile world, QR codes are becoming very popular.  You may have seen them in a magazine, on the door to your favorite restaurant, or somewhere out on the web.

There are a lot of creative ways that people can use QR codes. Some of the more creative uses I have see are on For Sale signs and real estate flyers to the Tree description tags at Home Depot.  The most creative use I have seen is by Tesla, a Korean grocery store, that is using QR codes to allow people to shop for groceries while waiting for the subway train!  Here are some additional ways you can use QR codes:

  • Business Cards – Include your contact information
  • Print Ads – Takes visitors to a specific landing page on your website
  • Contact Us page – Similar to your business card, people can scan it for your contact information.
  • Presentations – Add to the last slide of your slidedeck for either a special offer or your contact information.
  • Find Us on Facebook – Add a QR code at your business for people to scan to like your page while in your store.
  • Price tags – Takes the scanner to a specific landing page with information on that particular product.
  • Promote Your Events – Scan to register for an upcoming event.
  • For Sale Signs – No matter what you are selling (car, home or something else) the code can take them to a website with more information.

Lisa Schulteis_QR CodeIf you are ready to jump into the world of marketing by using QR codes, it is very simple to do.  You need to decide where you want people to go once they scan your code (i.e. your website or a specific landing page) and then use one of the many code generators available.  One of my favorite code generators is beQRious.  They provide a free code generator that allows you to create a variety of codes from basic codes that take visitors to your website or Vcard, to Graphical and Map codes.  One of my favorite is the Graphical code which allows me to add an image to the center of QR code.  As you can see from the example on the right, I simply added my picture to the QR code.  You can also add your logo or another image.  It’s an easy way to take your branding to the next step.

If you use a QR code, you definitely want to know how much traffic you are gaining from the code.  There are a number of companies that provide codes with tracking metrics, but many of them require you to pay for that service.  An easy way to track the stats of your particular code is to use Bit.ly’s free service.  Bit.ly takes your url and shortens it so you can track that specific url.  For example, if I enter my website address into Bit.ly’s system, it shortened that url to http://bit.ly/r802Zz.  I can now return to bit.ly and track how often that particular url has been clicked.  If you use a unique url for each QR code (and keep track of them), you will know exactly how many clicks those codes are generating.

QR codes are quick, easy and efficient.  With the number of people using mobile devices, it is an easy way to reach your target market with minimal effort or expense.  Give it a try and see what you think.

If you have other great uses for QR codes, be sure to list them in the comments section.  I would love to hear them!