QR (quick response) codes are everywhere now. You’ll see them on billboards, the sides of buses and trains, and even on television. They are not placed in these areas for practical purposes; they are being used as part of a consumer education/branding campaign by marketers, particularly the big national brands. QR codes are really best suited to areas – as a download to a smart phone in the form of deal or coupon, and in print media. Large corporations have the jump on small businesses in this area, however, you can fight back. Large corporations can place these codes on national publications such as newspapers and magazines. The cost to advertise in these publications is often prohibitive for small businesses – you can get around it.
To begin with, let’s look at QR codes. They are used in a similar way to a bar code. A smart phone can scan the code and either store it for later use – for example, to claim a discount or deal – or they can be used as a link to a particular web page on the Internet. For small businesses, your opportunity lies not in national advertising, but in your own printed matter. This includes letters, business cards, invoices, brochures or flyers, and in local media such as local newspapers. You can even have QR codes in your offline storefronts.
The key to successfully using a QR is to have the right destination in place. Smart marketers are linking to their Facebook or Twitter pages suggesting users ‘follow’ them in order to receive news and special offers. A well written intro on these pages can result in a lot of new friends on these social media sites.
Big businesses have taken on QR codes very quickly. They can see the benefits that they can bring to their business, and since the costs involved are fairly minimal, easily justified. For small businesses, you may need to update your technology, however, the long term costs and benefits are proving to be very sound and producing good conversion rates.