QR codes are still relatively new, but they’re catching on fast.
And just in case you’re not totally sure what a QR code is, here’s the 30-second summary.
QR codes are kind of like traditional bar codes, but they’re not actually bar codes. They’re special codes that are meant to be scanned by smartphones.
After they’re scanned, you can then automatically redirect the user to a specific web page, give them a special coupon or provide them with your contact information. The sky’s the limit. You just have to be a little creative in how you use them.
Also, to avoid any confusion, QR codes are also known as “quick response codes” or “mobile codes” or “2D codes”. Just different names for the same thing.
To get your creative juices flowing, here are a a few innovative ways that large corporations have used QR codes:
American Airlines placed QR codes on outdoor boards in major airports to provide an immediate link to information for travelers on the go. Consumers who scanned the codes got real-time flight status, gate information and access to a reservation portal.
BestBuy has added QR codes to their in-store fact tags to give consumers the opportunity to review information about their products. Consumers can also save the information to review at home later or to buy the product instantly via smartphone and have it delivered to their homes later.
Fox Broadcasting Company used QR codes to promote their TV show called Fringe. People who scanned the code were given a top-secret message that was available only to people who engaged with the show using their smartphones.
Sports Illustrated used a QR code to allow readers of their annual swimsuit issue to watch bonus videos of some of their models directly on their smartphones.
Do you see a pattern here? The goal of using QR codes is to further *engage* the user by providing them with additional and valuable information.
Putting QR Codes to Work for Your Business
Jamie Turner, author of “How to Make Money with Mobile Media” has some innovative ways to easily use QR codes for your business:
“Hello, My Name Is” Tags: You know those big red and white tags people wear at events with their names on them? If you put a QR code in place of your name, you’ll engage people and easily be able to strike up conversations.
Outdoor Billboards: Be one of the first businesses in your market to run a giant QR code on a billboard for your business.
Websites: Add a QR code to the “Contact Us” page on your website so that visitors can download your contact information to their smartphones.
Business Cards: Add a QR code to the front or back of your card so that people can instantly download your contact information.
Books, Articles and eBooks: I included a QR code on the back cover of my book that drives people through to a social media glossary. Our intent was to engage people with a social/mobile tool while they were in the bookstore so they’d be more likely to buy the book. So far, it’s worked well.
Webinars: Ready to make your webinars more engaging and fun? Simply include a QR code as part of your presentation. It’s a terrific way to keep the audience engaged and involved.
LinkedIn and Facebook Pages: Adding a QR code to your LinkedIn and Facebook pages is one of the best ways you can position yourself as a forward, innovative thinker.
T-Shirts: Ready to promote your product or service in an innovative way? Then add a QR code to a T-shirt that you give away to customers and prospects.
IMPORTANT TIP: Keep in mind that many people are still new to QR codes, so you have to help them out a bit. Put a caption underneath the QR code that explains what to do. For example, “Scan this code on your smartphone to receive an instant $25 coupon” or whatever.
Also, make sure to let people know that they’ll need an app on their smartphone to process the QR code. Just have them search for “QR reader” in their phone’s app store where they can usually download a QR reader for free.