by Brad Hurlock of Addison Technologies Inc.
for The Post Publications
POTTSTOWN PA – QR codes have been the in the news quite a bit recently. They appear everywhere from convenience stores to the backs of business cards, and are a great tech tool to use for your company. Although nothing more than a two-dimensional bar code, a QR code provides exponentially greater amounts of information to be stored than its predecessor. Here’s how you can use them to your advantage.
QR is short for “Quick Response.” QR codes consist of a square with small dots on it and three squares within it, one each in three of the corners. Anyone with a smart phone and a free bar code application can scan the QR code. Then, the code can do any number of things – it can take the user to a web page, it can automatically add contact information into the user’s phone, it can send a text message, tweet a specific line of text on Twitter, or automatically do a location check-in on Foursquare or Facebook. The options seemingly are limitless.
Why is it important to tap into this resource? Look at the numbers. A digital market research firm, comScore, found that roughly 20.1 million people scanned QR codes within an average three-month period, ending in October 2011. That’s huge for such a relatively new technology. As more and more people become smart phone users, and more businesses offer QR code options, those numbers will continue to increase.
Good applications for QR codes include:
- Business cards. A user can scan your personal contact information into his or her phone.
- Brochures. You can link to a sales presentation about the specific product, or to a video demonstration of the product.
- User Guides and installation videos. Put a code right on the packaging or product that links to the installation manual and user guides for the product.
- Advertising campaigns. Place the code in an ad that links to a landing page for the campaign to track its response rate.
- Real estate. Leave QR codes that link to the MLS property listing, so users can see all information relating to the property.
- Customer surveys. Place them in restaurants and other service-oriented businesses that link directly to a form to fill out a customer survey.
- Location check-ins. Put a putting a QR code at the door and allow customers to check into your location using Facebook or Foursquare.
As a business manager, creatively and uniquely providing valued information (not spam) to your target customers is always a top level goal. Think through your marketing and sales strategies, then decide what valuable information can be given directly to your clients via QR codes.
QR image from Addison Technologies; photo from The Hill School via Facebook