QR stands for “quick response.” A QR code is a trackable 2D matrix barcode that can be read by camera equipped Smartphones with the use of a simple QR app reader which can be downloaded for free. The QR reader decodes the code and the mobile user is instantly sent to a website, landing page, video, or social networking page.
QR codes allow mobile users to interact with their environment 24/7. A QR code can be placed just about anywhere, from printed advertisements in newspapers, to yard signs, business cards, t-shirts, or point of sale displays, just to name a few.
QR codes were invented by a Toyota subsidiary in Japan as a tracking device for the car manufacturing industry. While they have been popular in Japan for several years they have finally made their way to the US where they are now becoming more familiar and more popular. Large as well as small businesses are beginning to use these codes to engage mobile users.
Today Smartphones are driving mobile use so using QR codes in your marketing plan is a smart idea. It offers businesses the opportunity to instantly connect with millions of mobile users. The code insures instant access to the marketing message of the business owner’s choice. With these advanced barcodes a business can promote unique product features, allow customers to make online purchases quickly at any time of day or night, gather useful consumer data, strengthen b2c relationships, provide exclusive offers, or even notify consumers of time-sensitive information.
A QR code is easy to create. It can link back to any webpage you want it to by converting a standard URL into a square-shaped code. Once the code has been created the image file can be downloaded and attached to emails, Facebook profiles, or printed on just about anything.
Some considerations to make when creating a QR code include:
* The code needs to be big enough for a user to see it, at least 1? x 1? in size.
* The landing page of the code needs to be mobile-friendly so the user can read the site content.
* Preferred channels for reaching your target audience need to be researched.
* Code testing needs to be performed before launching a campaign or distributing the code.
QR codes are easy to create and easy to use, they are fun and different and offer extra lines of communication between customers and companies. With more Americans actively using their cell phones and more of those phones becoming Smartphones people will be interested in trying out this new internet marketing idea.
About the author: Article by Jennifer Couch. Social Media Marketing, or SMM, is a word-of-mouth internet marketing tool and QR codes are a part of that.