You’ve probably seen these little black and white “stamps”, called QR (quick response) Codes and I bet you’ve been hearing some rumors about how sensational they are and why you should ‘get on board’ and start using them.
The truth is they are pretty cool, and yes you can make money using them but NOT perhaps in the way you initially thought.
Let’s start by clearing up a few things:
(1) Creating a QR Code is free. Don’t fall for offers from companies that tell you that you need their ‘special service’ to create one. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I create my QR Codes using two free services:
(a) goqr.me — create QR Codes online and
(b) bit.ly — yup, bit.ly the URL shortener. Most don’t realize they actually give you a QR Code image of the shortened URL for tracking purposes … it’s awesome and that’s how I came to discover this little known fact.
Anyway, onward and upward …
QR Codes can be created with many types of encoded data, here are 4 popular formats:
(1) a website URL (www.Your-Domain.com)
(2) a phone number #
(3) an SMS message (Text KEYWORD to NUMBER)
(4) a vCard (this one’s very cool.)
Hint: To get the best results on older cell phones, keep an URL below 300 chars to get a less complex QR Code. Use an URL shortener like bit.ly if necessary.
Let’s talk about each type of creation and how you can use it to help make money for you (or your client’s) business.
Embedding a website URL:
First off, no-one said you had to embed an obvious or public URL. How neat is it to offer a link to a part of your site that they can only get to with the QR Code
That’s great for creating special offers, generating that sense of “special” we all want and quite frankly it’s just cool at the moment.
*FACTOID* In the last 12 months the use of QR Codes has exploded. Do a google search and see for yourself. It’s early days yet and the whole MOBILE MARKETING thing is just getting going. You’ll see.
Anyway, embedding a phone number is easy (kinda boring if you ask me – but hey) and when scanned by a smart phone it will usually dial right away.
No more fat fingering those fiddly keyboards and missing the moment. Point scan and they’re dialling. Again, the number in the QR Code should be a trackable number so you can evaluate use of the QR Code, but it’s not mandatory (just good marketing).
Embedding an SMS code was what got me into QR Codes in the first place. I was consulting with a client about creating an integrated SMS campaign and I wanted to step it up a bit, that’s when I found QR Codes.
The cool thing about using a QR Code is that you can use it to BUILD A MOBILE MARKETING LIST.
Here’s the scenario: person sees your QR Code and scans it with their smart phone. The phone automatically texts the embedded number and the message and presto! the person is now added to your mobile marketing list.
Did you know reports indicate that the open rate for SMS marketing messages is something like 60 or 70%. Do you get anything like that with your email open rates … I didn’t think so.
So anyway, you can use a QR Code to build a list. And if you’re using an autoresponder enabled SMS system you can have the autoresponder handle sending scheduled text messages to your new subscriber.
And when you think that e-commerce and mobile payments are become more and more common, you can imagine the possibilities.
Did I mention that there’s very little competition out there right now?
Finally you can embed a vCard (business card) into a QR Code. That one blew me away when I saw it. In fact I’m in the process of getting some new business cards printed with nothing but a QR Code on them
Sure, not everyone will ‘get it’ (I am also using regular cards too) but those who do see the QR Code and scan it … well, they’ll be on my new mobile list, or sent to a special offer page on my website or they’ll auto-dial a pre-recorded message where I “welcome them and make them an offer they can’t refuse” etc.
Exciting isn’t it?
Of course, I’m only scratching the surface here. If you integrate using a QR Code with your other classical and internet marketing the effects can be mind-blowingly powerful.
So how can you best use a QR Code? How can you get them out there?
*TIP* Do you advertise on free classified sites that offer to share your message but they won’t let you include an active hyper-link unless you pay them. But they will let you upload 1 or 2 “free” pictures to help sell what ever you’re selling…. I’ve begun uploading QR Codes instead of pictures
Putting a QR Code on a t-shirt is kinda obvious, but works well from what I hear. Bill boards and poster work too. You don’t need to be close to a QR Code to scan it. The QR Code could be across the street on the side of a building and as long as you can get a clear shot with your camera phone, you’re good.
And before I forget … you can embed QR Codes into all the “other” types of traditional web advertising you see. Consider including it in your banner advert, your skyscraper advert and just about anywhere you can host an image advert.
The use of 2d barcodes is not new, they’re just beginning to gain main-stream attention and now’s the time to begin using them in your promotional and marketing efforts.