What is a QR Code and Why Should I Use One for My Business?

[tweetmeme] In the  last few issues of Website Magazine, I’ve noticed that every article contains a square featuring this interesting black and white pattern.  I learned that these squares are called QR Codes or quick response codes. These codes originated in Japan, and are becoming popular here in the States as a marketing tool that effectively connects the offline and online world.

Store Your Contact Info on a QR Code

QR codes are similar to a barcode, but instead of requiring a scanner to read the information, all you need is a smart phone that comes equipped with a QR code reader app. To get one of these code readers for free, visit Mobile-barcodes.com for a list of companies that offer them.

The advantage of using these codes is that they can store a lot of data, including website addresses (URLs), geo coordinates and text. One popular application for the QR code is on a business card. All someone has to do is scan the QR code on your card and your contact information will be automatically stored in their phone.

Here is a short video that shows how this works:

QR Codes as a Marketing Tool

The applications for marketers are almost endless. You can put QR codes on flyers or brochures to give your target audience information about:

  • product details
  • contact info: email, phone, etc.
  • coupons
  • event details
  • Twitter, Facebook info
  • a link to a YouTube video

Another way to use a QR code is to put one on your website or blog. If your blog has an RSS feature, Feed2Mobile will generate a QR code with a link that creates a mobile version of your blog.

If you’d like a mobile version of my blog, here is the QR code:

The question to ask before you start using QR codes is what your customers will think of them, and whether or not they will use them. The ones who do will appreciate your high-tech knowledge, while those who don’t may still be curious enough that it opens the door for a conversation and potential sale.

If you think of a unique way to incorporate QR codes into your marketing strategy, please let me know so I can share it in a future article.

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