What The Heck Is a QR Code Anyway?
QR codes or “Quick Response” code is a type of matrix barcode which is designed to be read by smartphones. The code is made up of black elements arranged in a square grid pattern upon a white background. The information embedded inside a QR Code may be text, a web address or information.
In a nutshell, (“Look, this is me in a nutshell. How did I get inside this nutshell?” A little Austin Powers reference but I digress…), a QR code is simply a more sophisticated bar code. So what makes a QR code different from the type of barcode found on most consumer products?
QC codes can hold a lot more information than regular bar codes; plus they are user-friendly, so this makes QR codes a good choice for promoting your business electronically.
QR codes can be scanned and read by smart phones that have a built in camera through software that’s usually already installed on the phone, or with an application that you download. iPhones, Blackberries, Sony Ericson, HTC, Motorola and Nokia are just a few of the smart phone manufactures that can use QR recognition software. For instance, one might enter a store, use their smartphone to scan an item that has a QR code and have instant access to the information embedded within the QR code.
Best of all, QR Coding is not a proprietary technology. QR codes are an open source technology, so they can be created and scanned using a variety of mobile applications. QR codes have started to gain interest in the USA. According to recent reports, QR code usage increased by almost 4600 percent from 2010 to 2011 here in the US.
Here are five examples of ways QR codes can help to promote your business:
1. Increase Website Sales
Did you know QR codes can lead to specific URL’s? You can create codes that are specific to certain products on your site.
2. Business Cards
Rather than overload your business card with a ton of information, you can just include the bare minimum, then create a QR code that leads people to your website or social media pages
3. Contests and Giveaways
You might create promotions that are specific to the QR codes. You can place these codes in your printed advertisements or post them on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, where they have the possibility of going viral.
Yes, people still use flyers to promote their business. For example, imagine you own a restaurant. You could create a QR code that goes directly to a URL that gives a discount on a meal and directions to your restaurant.
5. Free Downloads
If you use software to promote your company, you could use QR codes to distribute them. When a customer scans the QR code, it gives them a software download.
Take a look at the image samples below. If you have a smartphone with a camera and a QR Code Reader, try taking a picture of each QR Code below and see what you get.
With a little knowledge and know-how, you can even embed your logo into a QR Code. QR Codes are the “secret decoder rings” of the 21st century that all the cool kids are using. Want to learn more? Just contact us at Bower Web Solutions. We are happy to help. And remember to drink your Ovaltine!