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Practical Uses for QR codes
I'm a fan of QR codes or "real-world hyperlinks" as a business marketing tool. QR codes are 2-dimensional bar codes that represent data such as a website URL, a phone number, or other content.
I'm a fan of QR codes or "real-world hyperlinks" as a business marketing tool. QR codes are 2-dimensional bar codes that represent data such as a website URL, a phone number, or other content. Using a QR code reader app on your smartphone, you can scan these codes through your phone's camera and the reader interprets the code.
Why would you want to use QR codes? By placing a QR code in strategic places and with mobile-friendly destinations, others can interact with you and your company in new ways. Your customer or potential customer can receive information or provide you with information immediately via their smartphones. Scanning a QR code on a product can be faster and easier than typing out a URL.
Where would you put a QR code? Here are 3 places to put them to start:
1. Business cards and marketing collateral - Lead people to a mobile-friendly business site that highlights who you are and what you do. Your QR code can lead people to a simple form where they can sign up to receive your enewsletter. A QR code can open up a Google Map to your retail store or restaurant.
2. Print advertising - If you are still buying ads, you can augment your ad and create instant interactivity by adding a QR code. You could include a mobile-friendly quiz or get people to enter their contact information for a free sample or free consultation. You can offer a coupon for a discount.
3. Product packaging - From books to product packaging and even promotional items, QR codes can provide additional value to help close a sale or provide customer service. There's a QR code on the back of my book Mom, Incorporated. If someone picks up our book at the bookstore, they can scan the code and see a video of my co-author Danielle Smith and me talking about why we wrote the book.
There are many ways to generate QR codes. Here are two:
1. Look at Bit.ly. When you create a short URL through bit.ly, just add .qr at the end, and you'll see a corresponding QR code for that link. Bit.ly produces standard black and white QR codes, and because they are based on a short URL, they are often less dense and comples so easier to reproduce and read
2. Try Paperlinks for QR codes on printed materials like invitations and announcements. Each "Paperlink" leads to a modular mobile site that you can change the content people see when they scan your code. QR codes aside, if you are looking for a drag and drop solution for a mobile site, Paperlinks could work well for you.
The main thing to remember about using QR codes are to make sure the action or destination the code triggers is mobile-friendly. And rethink simply sending someone to your main website once they scan your code. Look for something more action-oriented or easier to consume on a smartphone than having to navigate through an entire site/
Got questions about QR codes? Let me know how I can help.
Want to know even more about QR codes? I'm offering a free telesminar about QR codes for small businesses on Tuesday, Feb. 7 from 2:30pm PT to 3:30pm PT.
What interesting ways have you seen QR codes used to market businesses?
Learn more about the author, Aliza Sherman.
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