Thursday, August 26, 2010

Moving from Off Line to On Line

All Present QR CodeImage by gullevek via Flickr
One of the things I enjoy in working with clients on the financial performance of their business, is branching out into different areas of their operations such as marketing.  A cost effective marketing tool for some business segments is a Quick Response Code.  A Quick Response (QR) code is a two-dimensional code that can be scanned by smartphone cameras to pull up text, photos, videos, music and URLs.  These codes have become mobile-friendly ways to point people in the offline media space to online resources.  The online resource can be frequently updated.

I have seen a few cost effective ways that you can use QR codes to liven up your entrepreneurial marketing strategies.
  • On business cards: A fast and simple way to use QR codes for your own professional purposes is to place them on business cards. Generate a barcode that directs scanners to your online resume, small business Facebook Page, LinkedIn Profile, or your website to help new contacts find you or your business faster and to learn more about you.
  • On marketing materials: You likely have brochures, programs, handouts, whitepapers and  other materials in your marketing media kit. Add QR codes to direct readers to a particular how-to video, send them to an oline photo gallery, to follow you on Twitter, or point them to a mobile-friendly landing page that promotes a new campaign or a current promotion.  You can use the codes for quick changing promotions.  For example, my restaurant clients can use this for daily specials to help manage their inventory levels.
  • In storefront windows: Google is sending out QR code window decals to top local businesses with Google Place Pages and Facebook Places will likely follow. If they don’t send you one, you can generate your own QR code to place in your window. You can use this code to encourage Foursquare checkins or simply invite customers to share memories on your Facebook Fan Page.
When you are marketing this feature you will want to keep in mind that QR codes and smartphone applications are still foreign to many people even if they have smart phones.  More and more people are starting to associate the codes with action, but never assume your customers will know what to do. Make it a point to explain  how to scan the QR code and where they can find applications on their smartphones.

Now, if you don't know how to generate a QR code, Mashable/Mobile has a very effective guide on How to create and deploy your own QR Codes.

How do you see your business using QR codes?

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