We’ve all seen them – whether at the corner of the tv screen, inserted into a newspaper advertisement or on the back of someone’s business card – those little square symbols made up of black and white blocks, but what are they?
These are 2D barcodes, better known as QR Codes (QR stands for Quick Response) and, if you have a smartphone with a camera, these can act as a clever portal through to a dedicated webpage.
Most smartphones come with inbuilt cameras and a Market where one can download a ‘barcode reader’ app. Open up the app and focus the QR code within the camera window. Hey presto, the code is read, recognised, and will lead you through to a dedicated website.
First developed in Japan in the mid-90s, this innovative mobile technology is rapidly taking a foothold amongst marketing agencies around the globe. The question is…what can it do?
Ultimately, creating QR codes help attract businesses and consumers to a company’s website, or indeed a particular page on their website.
Imagine being able to fit all your company information on a business card: your brand, style, credentials, services, client list, case studies, client list – all on a printed card 85mm x 55mm in size. Printing all this is impossible, but with a simple QR code, your customers have immediate access to this information.
Imagine attending an exhibition and wanting company information from the exhibitors. Rather than walking out laden down with heavy brochures, creating QR codes and printing these on their exhibition stand enables you to link through to a dedicated Information Request page where you can leave your contact details and have the information sent to you in the post.
Imagine running a restaurant, hotel, bar, club, etc. You want to reward your customers and keep them informed of special offers. Placing a QR code inside the venue could lead customers to an online fan page with details of secret offers, competitions, premiers, etc, therefore building customer loyalty, consumer satisfaction, repeat business.
Imagine looking to buy a home. You may not have time to view every house you like the look of in the estate agent’s window. A QR code placed on the sales sheet in the window, or even on a sticker affixed to the For Sale sign, can provide access to much more information about the property.
Businesses are finding all sorts of promotional and marketing uses for QR codes. Currently, the majority are seen on printed marketing material, especially advertisements and direct mail pieces, but the list is endless – stickers, badges, van livery, t-shirts, banners, flags.
It’s probably not long to wait until Nike add a reverse QR code to the soles of their trainers, potentially leaving a QR code imprint on every road and leading millions of followers to a dedicated brand page.
All businesses should be aware of the growth of smartphone usage. Worldwide sales grew an astonishing 96% in 2010 and accounted for 20% of all mobile sales that year. To make this easier to explain – that’s over 80 million smartphone users in one year alone. These users expect instant information and businesses now have a huge opportunity available to deliver it.
QR codes are quick, convenient and easy for the consumer. For businesses, they are simply to create and can be generated for free with results being easy to track.
Setting up a QR campaign is the key – think as if you were your customer and ask what would they really benefit from? Overall, keep it simple – QR codes should be used to engage, enthuse and delight your customers and prospects.