What are QR codes?

As mobile marketing evolves, the strategies and devices companies will employ to influence their customers will unquestionably transform as much or more as they did in recent years during the explosion in social media. As use of QR code reader apps for smart phones increase, it will become advantageous for merchants ?to enlist multi-channel marketing to involve consumers through a variety of technological advertising methods, including QR code marketing.

Quick Response (QR) codes are 2D printed graphics in a variety of geometric patterns, similar to UPC bar codes, which are "scanned" when photographed by a QR code smartphone equipped with the appropriate reader app, and were developed decades ago by Japanese manufacturers for tracking product shipments. Upon recognition of the digitally encoded graphic information, the mobile device is instantly directed to a website, video or downloadable mp3, or may even be programmed to dial a phone number or add a new contact to the users address book, without having to type in a URL address. In effect, information is processed in the blink of an eye, or in this case, a smartphone camera. Want to try it for yourself? To determine what application your phone uses, try doing a Google search for the model of your phone along with "QR code reader".

QR codes in business

QR Code ScanAlthough not yet widely used in the U.S. market, QR codes with embedded addresses and URLs may be seen on signs, business cards, buses, in magazines, or placed on ?any item for quick access to information about that object. Imagine a QR code on a product package, linking to an assembly instruction video! The practice of linking to virtual data from tangible objects is called hard linking, or objects hyperlinking; but some marketing experts insist that QR codes must be implemented with a strategic purpose to promote greater brand awareness or a specific consumer response, or they are nothing more than mere digital artwork. If you are considering using QR codes for small business marketing, be aware that the apps required to scan them are still underused by most Americans, while projected growth of smartphone sales is on the rise. As more people adapt the QR reader technology, they will learn to associate the codes with basic action required on their part. In the meantime, you can assist them in expediting the inevitable learning curve by incorporating instructions in your advertising explaining how to use the code, or even direct them to downloadable scanner apps. QR codes should always offer some kind of benefit to the scanner. While programming it to direct scanners to your website may be an obvious use, that may not be the most creative or engaging approach in the few moments you have to gain a prospects attention.

How to make a QR code

My recommendation is to visit www.qrstuff.com to generate your own bar codes for URLs, phone number, text or SMS. The site is very user friendly; simply select your preference, enter the content, specify size and click "Generate." Then, save the code to use elsewhere or grab the HTML to embed it online. Look for more information about marketing and promotional opportunities with QR codes in our future articles, or contact us today for expert consultation and assistance.