What are QR Codes and How Do They Work?
Quick Response codes, or QR codes, are two-dimensional codes consisting of black and white square modules. These codes can be scanned and read by smartphones to transfer information. They act as a bridge between the real world and the digital world by giving you instant access to information on your smartphone straight from a flyer, magazine ad, or store window, among other places. QR codes can link from anything to a YouTube video promoting a product to a company’s Facebook page.
The key difference between QR codes and standard barcodes is that QR codes can hold significantly more. While most standard barcodes can only hold around 20 to 30 numerical digits, QR codes can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information. QR codes work by opening a QR code reader on your smartphone, which works with the phone’s camera to scan the code. Your phone is then prompted to perform some kind of action, such as directing to a mobile website, giving you directions to a certain location through Google Maps, or activating a phone function such as email or SMS.
Many smartphones come with a QR code reader already installed. Others require you to download a QR code reader app. QR codes have become an increasingly popular way to enhance your company’s marketing campaigns. The increase in the number of smartphone users means more opportunities to take advantage of this emerging technology. Some popular QR code generators include QR Code Generator by Kerem Erkan and BeQRious. As far as QR code readers go, check out i-nigma or NeoReader.
How to Use QR Codes
There are many different ways you can use QR codes to promote your business and connect with potential customers. Here are just a few:
- Business cards– This is a great way to pass along your contact information. You can do this by linking the QR code to your vCard (an electronic business card). This way, when somebody scans the QR code on your business card, all of your contact information will be stored in their phone without them having to manually enter the information. Check out Moo for information on how to create QR Code Cards.
- Marketing materials– QR codes can be placed on flyers, posters, and brochures to advertise your different products and services, or you could promote discounts and giveaways that are exclusive to the QR codes.
- Social media– Use your QR codes to connect users with your Facebook and Twitter pages. This is a great way to get Likes and Follows.
- Phone functions– You can create QR codes that will dial a predetermined number, or generate email and text messages.
If you use QR codes to link to your website, make sure the website is mobile friendly and easy to navigate around. Otherwise, your site may not load properly or at all.
It is also a good idea to have some kind of messaging on your advertisements explaining what QR codes are and providing instructions on how to use them.
Advantages of Using QR Codes
There are many benefits to using QR codes as part of your marketing campaign, including:
- No reprinting of business cards or marketing materials necessary– When your information changes or needs updating, there is no need to reprint all of your materials. All you have to do is update the information that the QR code links to.
- Cost-effective-Not only will you save money by not having to reprint your marketing materials, but there are QR code generators that make QR codes free to create and use such as
- Convenience– QR codes make it easy for users to instantly access business and product information straight from their phone, without having to manually type anything.
- Trackable results-QR codes are a great marketing tool because it is easy to see to see where, when, and how many times they were scanned over a certain time period.
- Competitive advantage– QR codes will give your business a distinct advantage over your competitors who have not yet adopted the technology.
ScanTxt is a service that utilizes both QR codes and SMS mobile marketing. They do this by including text alongside the QR code, such as “text KEYWORD to 467467.” This way if a user cannot scan the QR code, they can simply text the keyword to access the content. ScanTxt offers a 30-day free trial and has plans starting as low as $9.99 per month.