Wouldn’t it be great if you could jump straight from ‘customer sees your brand on main street’ to ‘customer jumps on website and views your products and services’? Even if your customers are keen enough to remember and type in your web address, there’s no guarantee that they’ll view the right page. It would be much, much better if you could zap them straight onto the page you’ve pre-designated.

The answer is QR codes. These handy little codes make it easier for customers to come to you. All they have to do is take a picture. There’s no need for them to take note of your web address, no wait for them to get home and access their computer or ponderously type your business name into their mobile search engine. These codes are as close to a magic button as you can get.

1. What are QR codes?

QR Code

This QR Code takes you to my portfolio page

QR (Quick Response) codes are those bar code-like squares that you’ve been seeing around for the last couple of years. They seem to be everywhere at the moment – in shop windows, on street advertising, and even on buses. Much like bar codes, they contain lots of information. Unlike bar codes, they contain enough information to turn a mobile phone picture into an instant web link – they’re not called Quick Response codes for nothing.

These codes take internet marketing to the next level, making it possible to weave internet marketing into real-world contact points. A QR code can be used for all sorts of things, including, among others:

  • Activating a text message
  • Connect to a web page
  • Take the user through to multimedia content
  • Connect to social sharing sites or functions

2. What your QR code can do for you

These basic functions have all sorts of applications. For example, let’s say you’ve got a real world store but want to give your online sales a boost. All you have to do is stick a QR code on your ‘Closed’ sign that links to your online store, and customers can shop with you 24/7. There are all sorts of applications:

  • Enable easy access to all of your contact info by placing a QR code on your business card. This makes social media networking a whole lot simpler
  • Boost your social media campaign by linking a QR code to a page with your Facebook ‘Like’ button, enabling customers to Like your products or services while they’re still accessing them
  • Use your products to further market yourself by printing QR codes on your labels. This enables customers to access your website instantly when they’re enjoying your creationsThe list goes on and on, and not just for internet marketing applications. QR codes can be used simply to provide customers with information, such as instruction manuals or how-to guides. QR codes can also be used for special promotions, linking customers to vouchers or catalogues online.

3. How to get a hold of a QR code

Possibly the best thing about QR codes is how easy it is to create them. These codes have been used in Japan for the last ten years or so, and their growing popularity here in the West means that there are already plenty of free sites that will generate a code just for you (I use Kerem Erkan).

QR codes are a great way to link your internet marketing and search engine optimisation efforts in with your real-world marketing for a fully integrated marketing campaign. One top tip for you to bear in mind though, be sure to test the code before you launch it.

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