What are QR Codes?
By now most people have noticed those funky things called QR codes–you know the futuristic looking squares popping up all around town that look like either a portal into the matrix or an alien footprint.
QR codes–short for quick response–actually are considered a type of “matrix barcode,” which really only signifies that they’re 2-dimensional.
But that is pretty neat if you think about it, and they sure have received quite the response in the Western world in the past few years. Believe it or not, they’ve been around since ’94. Originally created for use in the auto industry by Japan, they’re now yet another staple in the ever-evolving thing called society, which has launched us all into yet another arena for both technology and business.
How Can My Business Use Them?
But, by now, not everybody really knows how to utilize them, and even if you’re a savvy business owner with a smart phone yourself, you might not be sure of what creative, useful, and effective ways you can be using QR codes for your business. If the thought has crossed your mind–you’re in luck. Not only are they super easy to set up, I’ve got some ideas for you (14 to be exact!) to put to use that will bring about some delightful data delivery (and foot traffic!).
Business Cards. One of the more popular choices for QR use, these aren’t the most out-of-the-box when it comes to QR, but business cards are still an incredibly practical application. Using them de-clutters your cards, lets others know you’re trying to stay current, and leads people directly to your website, online store, social profiles, or other contact info.
photo by cardobserver.com
Seminars and Presentations. People remember boring alright–but if you want to be remembered for a good time, try spicing up your presentations with more interactivity between you and your crowd. Use QR codes in your slideshow or other material. This will immediately get the audience involved in a whole new way. And get creative with it.
T-Shirts, Hats, and Other Items. Clothing is a pretty creative way to use QR codes as well–although we’re seeing them pop up more and more. But T-shirts are not easily ignored. Having a QR code on a t-shirt will strike up conversation. Give out t-shirts that include the code to your customers and best enthusiasts.
Restaurant Table. A really pleasant use for QR codes is to have them located somewhere at your restaurants seating areas. What better timing and atmosphere? Customers are comfortable to read and explore more information about your restaurant and compelled to discuss with their friends and family. The best marketing goal is to get people talking about your brand, and this is the perfect opportunity.
Give Stuff Away. It’s not always about advertising and shoving more information down consumers’ throats. One promotional tactic is to place your QR codes on certain products and have them directed to a free offer or product, a nice discount, or even a sweepstakes.
Use Audio. Yep, you can do that! JC Penney even ran a promotion that included a QR code located on gift boxes for Christmas. Gift-givers could record a personal message to be played back to their loved ones.
Get in Contact. Just as the audio capability may surprise you, here’s some more fun news. You can also have QR codes dial phone numbers or create SMS texts. What better way to get directly in touch than a phone call!
Store Windows. These are a great idea, especially for those who don’t open shop around the clock. Directing customers to your website who aren’t able to come on in right away will keep you on their mind and show them a good feel for your business.
Historical Sites, Museums, Art Galleries, and Hiking Trails. QR codes make excellent use as a purely informational or educational tool. These are just a few of the places that would benefit from a small sign or posting that will direct viewers to more info.
Leverage Likes. And follows! And +1s! Garner more social media support and community reach by creating landing pages that simply include social buttons in a fesh way.
Real Estate Sales. You can save paper and money this way! Instead of the usual selling sheets with facts and info about the home for sale, place a single QR code and save a tree or two.
Customer Feedback. Every business wants to know the honest truth about how they’re serving their customers. A great way to incite for reviews for your business on places like Yelp and Google+ are to send them to these places to leave their 2 cents. If you only want to actually have the positive reviews visible to the public, you can set up a landing page that filters reviews and only sends the good ones on their way. This way, though, you’re still aware of how and where you need improving.
Revealing Recipes. Those in the food business can use this in a variety of ways. If you’re a restaurant, give away a recipe for one of your house sauces. Grocery stores can be more liberal with this idea, however, and can direct shoppers to tons of various recipes for certain food items. Really great for alcoholic beverages and suggesting what to mix. Likewise, you can also reveal nutritional information, ingredients, or the fun info about an item.
On Bills and Invoices. Leaving a QR code on these items will leave your customers walking away with good thoughts about your business. You can show information such as akin products that the customer would also enjoy, coupons, or just more information about the products they’ve purchased.
Hopefully this give you some ideas and get the wheels turning!
Katie is the Editor and Director of Communications and Design at The People’s Marketing. Driven by a passion for language and communication, she lives for educating and exploring the power of human interaction in a technology-driven world. In her spare time she enjoys reading, crafting, and spending time outdoors.