Have you noticed all those strange little black and white boxes that are popping up all over the place? Marketers, take notice. Those boxes are Quick Response (QR) codes, two-dimensional codes that can store everything from URLs to messages. All it takes to read is a smartphone. Once the code is scanned, your phone will automatically pull up text, photos, videos or URLs.
Before you dismiss this concept as another hot marketing trend, take a look at these facts:
- One in two Americans has a smartphone
- By 2020, the number of people using mobile phones will reach 6 billion (nearly 80 percent of the world population) and 4.7 billion people will access the Internet, primarily through their mobile devices.
- U.S. consumers are replacing their laptops with smartphones and tablets (like the iPad)
- App development is growing even faster – there are almost 400,000 iPhone apps as of March 2011
The future is here, folks
QR codes are just the beginning in mobile advertising. The possibilities are endless and QR codes can offer your company a great way to stay ahead of the competition.
All you need to create a QR code is a code generator, available free online. There are several sites such as mobile-barcodes.com that generate the codes for free. After you’ve created the QR code, you can link all your printed marketing collateral to a URL or online service by generating a hard link.
Here are a few ways you can use QR codes in your marketing strategy:
Business cards – Instead of cramming all of your contact information on your business card, just include the basics and use QR codes to direct people to your website, email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Marketing materials – Include QR codes on all your marketing materials. Use these codes to direct customers to your mobile website, services page, coupon, or place where they can learn more about a promotion or sale. You can also place codes in your email signature, blog posts, online newsletters and website.
Sharing content – There’s no limit to how and what you can share. Generate QR codes that make it easy for your audience to share content, such as special event information, books or magazine articles. When mobile users scan your code, they will be prompted to share content you suggest on their Facebook or Twitter accounts.
Integrating QR codes into your marketing strategy, along with social networking, can turn a routine visit to your company’s website from a one-way communication into a two-way conversation. And that’s a win-win situation.