Mobile Marketing: What The Heck Are QR Codes?

QR Codes People are spending more time than ever on their mobile phones and the trend is only going to increase. According to a Morgan Stanley report, the mobile web will be bigger than desktop Internet use by 2015. There are huge opportunities for businesses to reach consumers using mobile marketing. Although they seem relatively recent, QR codes have been actively used for the last decade in Japan where they were also invented.

What are QR Codes:

QR codes stand for Quick Response codes and are similar to the barcodes used by retailers to keep track of inventory and price merchandise in stores. Because QR codes can hold more information than regular barcodes and are really easy to use, businesses are increasingly coming up with creative ways to use them as part of their marketing strategies.

For people to read QR codes, they’ll need a web-enabled smart phone and download (usually free) a code-reader application. They can scan the codes with the smart phone’s camera and transfer information which may lead them to a website, activate phone calls, videos and more.

1D barcodes holds up to 20 digits

1d barcode

QR codes holds 7089 numeric and up to 4,296 alphanumeric characters

QR Code

The technology is simple and requires little investment from your business to use it effectively. But remember that the content you send back to users must be something valuable. You need to make it interesting and fun; just sending people to a standard home page is probably not going to cut it. Include special offers and promotions by linking your QR codes to landing pages and try to include email opt-ins to build your contact list.

Here are some tools you may want to explore to generate QR Codes:


Some aspects to think about when creating your QR Codes:

  • Keep mobile devices in mind when creating your campaigns. The content has to be able to fit on a small phone screen.
  • Try to find a QR code creator that will allow you to change the content without altering the tag.
  • Try to find a tool that will include a tag system which will track such things as when and where your code was accessed, what type of phone was used, and that can track repeat visitors.
  • Don’t forget to test your code before using it.

Ideas on how to use QR Code:

  • Directions to your business and contact information
  • Scavenger hunt to find prizes or promotions
  • Resume for job seekers
  • Coupons and special offers
  • Free music downloads
  • Provide details about products or services
  • Surveys and feedback forms
  • Single property website details to get information about properties for sale

Where you can put QR Codes:

  • Business cards
  • Marketing materials
  • Napkins, name tags, clothes
  • The sides of your car
  • Product tags
  • Restaurant menus
  • Event tickets
  • Invoices or receipts
  • Store windows

Because the use of QR codes is still relatively new in North America, many people may still not recognize them when they see them or may not have a smart phone with a QR reader installed. You may have to explain how they work and the steps they need to take to access your information.

Are you making your business mobile friendly?

Image: mathplourde

Genevieve Lachance is a web marketing consultant who has a passion for social media and technology based in Montreal, Canada. Read More About Me »