How useful are QR codes for advertising your business?
What are these strange digital blocks? You may have seen then starting to pop up in newspapers, websites adverts and even on TV screens – they’re called QR codes and their influence is spreading.
So what do they do?
Well, they’re a little bit like bar codes that you see on your groceries but they’re a little more useful to businesses and business people because they allow you to add information tat is relevant to social media, websites or other general business information.
How do I use them?
To use them for your business you need just one thing – a code generator. This is a piece of software that allows you to input whatever information you like into the QR so that when scanned the scanner can extract the information. I use an app on my Mac called simply ‘QR Code Generator’ (no, I’m not on commission!) and that allows me to input things such as:
- Website address
- Code to send an email automatically
- Pick up a phone number to call
- Send a SMS
- Contact details on a vCard or meCard
- Show a location on Google or Bing Maps
- Links to a YouTube video
- Links to a Tweet
- Write out plain text for someone to capture
…plus a few other things
Once you’ve inputted the information you just generate the square as a gif, png or jpg file and add it to whatever you like (I think you can also export as html but haven’t sussed that out yet).
How do people read the information?
To read the information the user has to have a QR code reader on their smartphone. These are available for most of the Android/iPhone models and are usually free (or very low cost). All they do is bring up the app, point the camera at the QR code and that’s it – the phone will capture the information or action the message that you have devised.
So how can we use this technology?
The opportunities are endless. It might simply be a link to your website so that when scanned the user is taken directly to your site. Or, the QR might send an email or text message to you – you then have the email address or phone number of the sender. Putting the code on your stationary or business card will mean that people then don’t need to transcribe all the information into their contact system as it will all be done automatically. Or how about doing some guerilla marketing by sticking copies of your QR codes around town with no explanation. People will see them and get curious and those in the know will scan them and up will pop a map showing where your shop is so that they can come visit – how cool is that?!
And the future?
Will these become de rigeur on websites and things like Facebook pages so that Google and other search engines can pick up the information? No idea but you never know…
(ps. If you’re wondering what the information embedded in the code shown above is well you’re just going to have to scan it to find out!)