Staff Writer: Carolyn Johnson
A QR code, as any search engine ranking service will tell you, is a tool similar to barcodes, except they are used for quick consumption and generally contain more information than barcodes. The first incarnation of QR codes, or Quick Response codes, appeared alongside buildings and public transit ad space in Japan, and has since expanded worldwide. The QR codes became very popular, to the point where other countries knew they had to cash in on the phenomenon.
QR codes contain more information than a regular barcode, so when consumers which to know more about an advertisement, they can use their smartphone to take a picture of the code with a special app on their phone. Most recently released smartphones will already have this QR code scanning app installed. Each QR code is pre-programmed to connect back to the company, most of which will link back to their website.
Not all consumers going about town are going to have a pen and paper on them to write down information in advertisements; thus QR codes provide a great convenience that wouldn’t be available in ads without it. QR codes are also well associated with local marketing success, which is all the more reason for small business to cash in on the QR code trend.
For small business on a budget, QR codes provide great advantages within their marketing campaign, as a search engine ranking service would attest:
One huge advantage is that QR codes are free of charge. Placing your free QR codes anywhere for people to freely scan will evoke their curiosity about your company; perhaps even drive them to your website.
Because QR codes transfer directly to a person’s phone, the messages placed within the QR code will make an instant impression. While other advertisements are more passive and consumers often pass them by on the way to someplace else, consumers take an active part in taking a picture of the QR code and checking out the message on their phone. Other than taking a quick snap of your QR code, nothing else blocks the connection between you and the consumer, and no other action is needed on the consumer’s part. It’s convenient for both you and your consumer; it’s a win-win.
QR codes not only accommodate messages, but also your own personal logo. You can put your own logo into the actual QR code design to set yourself apart.
QR codes are also great for search marketing and driving up your search engine rankings, as you can link you QR codes to anything you please – from your website, to your Twitter or Facebook account.
Not only can you put QR codes on advertisements and walls, but also on your own business cards. This quickly adds a personalized touch to your business cards, as well as a clever way for your customers to remember you.
QR codes is fast becoming a worldwide trend, and it would be wise for an up and coming small business to jump in on the trend and create a broader consumer base.