QR codes are all the rage nowadays. We’re seeing them crop up all over the place: Starbucks, Chase Banks, business cards and so much more. But whats the big deal? In this post, well cover some basic, some complex things about QR codes, so hopefully you can leverage them for your company soon.
What is a QR Code?
A QR code, or Quick Response Code is basically a barcode on steroids. Its being used to turn normally static marketing mediums, like print, into a dynamic, engaging online experience.
How does a QR code work?
All you need is a smartphone and a QR reader app which are free. Someone simply needs to scan your QR code, and they will be sent to whatever content you have embedded in the code.
What can they do?
QR codes are capable of storing around 200 alpha-numeric characters. With that said you can enable your QR code to generally do one of three things:
1) Can send someone to a URL. This can be nearly any URL you want. Link to your company website, a designated landing page, your social media accounts, Youtube videos and basically anything else that sits on the web.
2) Text / Numbers this type of QR code simply reveals text. This can be leveraged to provide coupon offers or discounts, the next item in a QR scavenger hunt, your contact number or anything else that you want.
3) SMS this version of QR codes send out text message to the users number. This is pretty cool, but much like the text version you can simply send the user Text or Numbers (up to 160 characters).
QR Code Tracking
From a business standpoint, most QR codes are trackable, giving you information on the number of times a specific code was scanned, by what type of smartphone, the area code that smartphone is registered to etc. This kind of information gives you a good idea if your QR codes marketing is working, and who is using it.
Who uses QR codes?
Since QR codes require smartphones to be scanned, the information they’re hiding is usually going to tech-savvy 20-40 year olds. The good news here, is that QR code users are generally pretty integrated into other social networking mediums, like Facebook, Twitter etc, and if your code is buzz worthy, they may share that info onwards for you.
How do I make them?
There are plenty of online websites that can build basic QR codes for you. Heres a great article the lists the best QR code generators you should try and their benefits. Link: Best QR Code Generators
What else should I know?
QR codes can be customized graphically. Black and white QR codes are currently pretty mainstream, but that doesnt mean it couldnt be blue, or have your logo embedded in it. Mashable recently did an article on customizing QR codes – you can find it here – so think outside the box with your QR codes to stand out from the crowd.
In the near future, its likely that QR codes will be able to be integrated with existing iPhone apps. This could be leveraged to add an event to an app like iCal, or mapping your nearest store location on Maps. So it may be smart to get involved in QR codes in their infancy, things can only get better!
QR codes are designed to turn a static medium into a dynamic one. Generally, its pointless to display your QR codes online. Save QR codes for non-web mediums.
We here at Strong Coffee Marketing have plenty of experience with QR codes, and we’d be happy to work with you on your next QR code marketing project. Although much of QR coding can be done in-house, we’re here to help with QR code marketing strategy for your business. If you have any questions, simply let us know.