What are QR codes and how can they help your business?

Quick Response codes, known as QR codes for short, have grown rapidly in popularity among the internet hemisphere and every business who has a website should be using them for marketing.

QR codes are similar to barcodes used by retailers to track inventory and price products at stores.

However, QR codes are two-dimensional (2D) matrix barcodes that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information. Their ability to hold more information and their ease of use makes them practical for small businesses.

When you scan or read a QR code with your iPhone, Android or other camera-enabled Smartphone, this links to content elsewhere on the web.

QR Codes will help you engage with your customers and visitors.  They can also be used for sharing, call-to-action, tracking and marketing of many different methods.

Consumers want immediate access to what’s relevant and QR codes will make that happen.

If you’re considering using QR codes in any of your marketing campaigns, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Don’t print your QR code on glossy paper.  The reflection from the camera’s flash or overhead lighting will make reading the code impossible
  • Use an appropriate size for your code.  Sizes smaller than 1.5 inches are too hard to read.  Too big is just obnoxious and not needed.
  • Screen resolution for mobile devices range from 240×320 pixels for older BlackBerrys to 640×960 pixels for the iPhone 4.
  • Keep your mobile website lightweight, fast-loading, and don’t use Flash.  Most iOS devices can’t read it .  Also, not all smartphone users have a 4G device.
  • Keep JavaScript and HTML5 to a minimum.  Some older mobile devices still struggle with this.
  • Keep your Call-to-Action simple.  Don’t ask to fill out any long forms.  People don’t have the patience and they will end up leaving your page.

Here are a few samples of how you can use QR codes.

First and foremost, your call-to-action needs to be compelling or enticing enough to get clicked, and you should always offer one or more of the following to the visitor upon scanning in your code as the ‘prize’:

  • Exclusive content, videos or photos
  • Time-sensitive access
  • Free downloads or swag
  • “Instant Win” contests
  • Special offers, coupons or gifts
  • “Secret” information

Secret tip:  Always direct your QR code to a URL page with campaign tracking parameters so you can monitor the results.  If you send your mobile users to any website page they can’t access, it will kill your ROI and just waste your time and money, plus it will make you look stupid in the process.

Think about how your customer will see and feel with the process and keep it simple, stupid.

Here’s a great example of thinking outside the box with QR code marketing:



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