QR Codes: A Beginner’s Guide to QR Codes for Business Owners
By Kaitlin Olcott
What is a QR Code:
Funny looking, yes. Incredibly useful, YES. A QR Code (short for Quick Response code) looks like the classic barcode you see on any regular in-store item, but unlike a bar code (which can only hold up to 20 digits), a QR code can hold thousands of characters of data. Within the two dimensional matrix barcode is encoded information that could contain things like text, pictures, video, or a URL.
How It Works:
Designed for high speed decoding, when a QR code is scanned by any Smartphone’s camera, it instantly opens the phone’s browser to a specific web page. Today, you’ll sometimes see QR codes in magazine advertisements, on business cards or bus advertisements. You can generate your own QR code for your business with QR code generators available on the web. Google has released a free QR code generator and there are several other free code generators as well.
Using QR Codes for your Business:
QR codes can be used for businesses in a number of different ways. They are effective because you can share multiple pieces of content as well as provide a direct link to what you want customers to see. Instead of a basic “Find us on Facebook” message which often includes a long website link, you can eliminate the time that someone may or may not take to go to your site by providing them with a direct pathway to your Facebook available in a QR code. What makes QR codes even more useful is the fact that web services are enabling business to track the success of their QR code campaigns.
Whether you have an online store or a brick & mortar, you can use QR codes in several different ways. You can make them a part of promotions and discounts by creating QR codes containing special discounts. You can also combine the use of QR code discounts with efforts to increase e-mail subscribers or Facebook likes/Twitter followers.
Another interesting, yet seemingly obvious concept to implement in a business plan is using QR codes for labeling purposes. Putting a QR code on products or on the product tag enables people who like your product a way to find out more information about it.
Finally, the most simple and to the point way to include QR codes in your business strategy is placing them on business cards. You can still keep all of the essential information on your card while putting other supplemental Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn contact data in a QR code.