What are QR Codes?
QR (Quick Response) codes are those funny looking square shaped symbols that are starting to pop up almost everywhere these days. They are similar to bar codes, but they hold much, much more information. You’ve probably seen them in your travels. Well, now you’ll know what to do the next time you run across one.
QR codes were designed to be scanned with your iPhone, Android or other mobile device with an onboard camera. All you need is a QR scanning application (called a reader) for your device. There are many free QR readers available for most of the common mobile phones on the market. A quick search on “QR code reader” on iTunes will yield many free QR readers for the iPhone.
What’s the Big Deal?
QR codes can be used in a number of ways. Once scanned with a QR reader, these codes can be created to deliver a range of content, as well as access certain native features of your mobile phone. Common uses for QR codes include linking to:
- Product Details
- Contact Details
- Offer Details
- Event Details
- Coupons, Specials, Promotions
- Twitter, Facebook and Mobile Websites
- Email and web links
Where Should You Use QR Codes?
Here are some of the common places you’ll see QR codes:
- Business Cards
- Brochures, Catalogs
- Product Tags
- Displayed in Retail Locations
How Do I Create a QR Code For My Own Use?
There are many QR code generating websites that will allow you to create your own QR codes for free. Here are a few results from a simple Google search on “QR code generator”:
QR Codes Are Here to Stay
Although QR code adoption is still in its early stages here in the US, they’ve been actively used for over ten years in Japan, where they originated. My advice is to not be a late adopter of this technology. Mobile devices are rapidly replacing home computers and laptops as social media, web browsing, email and basic online functions are now available on the go from our smartphones. QR codes are the logical path to entering the new mobile marketing arena.
How Do I Get Started With QR Codes?
It’s easy to get excited about QR codes and start putting them everywhere, but remember they are designed to deliver content to your mobile phone. Your first step should be creating the mobile content that these QR codes will deliver to your end users. Start by assessing your website. Is it mobile friendly? Many companies now have two version of their website: the standard version and the mobile version. With so many users now accessing your website from their smartphones, it’s important that you have a “finger-friendly” version of the site that’s optimized for mobile devices. Once you’ve built your mobile website and generate a QR code to send people to it, the sky’s the limit!