Tuesday, March 1, 2011

QR Codes - Why? Why Not!

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Have you noticed these funny looking codes more often lately?   These codes are the newest way to transfer information at the speed of light!  They are are actually called QR Codes (Quick Response Code).
When you scan or read a QR code with your iPhone, Android or other camera-enabled Smartphone, you can link to digital content on the web, activate a number of phone functions including email, IM and SMS as well as connect the mobile device to a web browser.
QR Codes are popping up everywhere.   Magazine ads for stores like Wal-Mart and Target.  On billboards and wine bottles even!  The potential for QR codes is limitless.  You can create one in a matter of seconds and have that QR Code on ads, fliers, business cards, brochures, signs, on vehicles, invoices, name badges, etc.
Quick Response codes and other two-dimensional codes are expected to achieve widespread use this year – and for good reason.  Consumers want immediate access to what's relevant and QR Codes are making that possible.
Bar codes are linear one-dimensional codes and can only hold up to 20 numerical digits, whereas QR codes are two-dimensional (2D) matrix bar codes that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information.  There’s no limit to how, or even how much, you can share with QR codes.
QR Codes could link to:
  • Contact information for your company as well as specific employees
  • Landing page to any company site
  • Marketing information for your product or service
  • Directions to your business location
  • Videos and Links
  • An explanation of a Company process or procedure
  • Valuable coupons and special offers
  • Consumer Tips as they relate to your industry
  • Customer feedback forms
  • Endless possibilities
As I mentioned, you can create a QR code yourself.  There are a number of sites for generating QR codes and they’re all free.  An Internet search for QR code generator will offer many choices.
I used Google to create the QR code above, it took me about 10 seconds.  And when scanned; that QR code will take you to my Facebook Business Page.  Try it!
Another benefit to using QR codes is their ability to help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  Web objects such as images, music clips, and videos add valuable content to your social graph.   QR codes enhance both your search engine and social media optimization.   Now you can increase traffic to those searchable objects to further optimize them by encouraging more sharing.
In order to scan a QR code you have to install a QR Code Scanner app on your smart phone.   I have the QR Code Scanner Pro app on my blackberry.   It was a free download.  I have been told the QR code reader app that works well on iPhone is i-nigma and for the android, try Barcode Scanner.
The potential for QR Codes is limitless.  What’s most exciting is how they take what social media is doing well now, bringing people together with technology, and extending it to enhance the experience.
According to a recent article in Social Media Examiner, "The next generation of bar codes will hold even more information – so much that an Internet connection will not even be necessary.  The content will be effectively embedded in the code."
It’s amazing to consider where this can go.  How about you?  How can you use QR codes in your business communication and marketing?

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