How To Use QR Codes


QR codes are popping up everywhere from subway stations to museums, from grocery stores to websites.  Looking around you might be asking yourself if you should jump on the bandwagon and get one or two of your own.  Unfortunately, there’s no simple yes or no answer.  Because it’s not about whether or not you have one.  It’s what you do with it that counts. 

QR codes are similar to bar codes.  Users scan the code with their mobile phone and they’re led to online information.  It may be a map, a restaurant menu, a music download, an online coupon, an ordering system, a reward, the user may be automatically entered in a contest, or anything the advertiser wants to lead to. 

According to a ComScore report, during the three-month period ending October 11, 2011, 20.1 million American mobile phone owners used their phone to scan a QR code.  It’s not a terribly huge number but it does make you sit up and wonder what it’s all about. 

The simple answer is this:  If you’re reaction is “I need a QR code for something so I can get into the game, too” then you’re looking at it the wrong way.  A QR code should be used as a solution to a problem.  If you don’t have a problem – you don’t need a QR code.  In other words, it’s a gimmick you can live without. 

How To Use QR Codes For Local Internet Marketing

A Constant Flow Of Information:  If your company or website provides a constant flow of information, such as a department store that has blue light specials every 15 minutes or a local diner with rotating specials, then a QR code could deliver real-time updates to your subscribers. 

To Improve Customer Service:  Starbucks uses QR codes to speed up customer service.  Instead of waiting in long lines, customers can use QR codes, integrated with their Starbucks cards, to place and pay for orders, as well as scan the menu and learn more about other Starbucks products. 

Enhancing User Experience:  QR codes can be created to include audio or video files, so you can imagine the infinite possibilities.  Use them to help visitors navigate your website or your local antique shop.  Use them to help relay product information or How-To information.  The list is endless. 

To Promote Your Products:  A restaurant that specializes in fine wines from local wineries might add QR codes to the wine labels.  When the customer wants to know more about that particular wine, instead of trying to flag down a knowledgeable server,  all he has to do is scan the label to find out the name of the vineyard, the types of grapes used, and how he can order a case or two for home. 

So you see, none of these successful marketers started out by saying “We need a QR code because it’s the new, cool thing to do.”  They all had a problem that required a solution, and QR codes were the perfect way to bridge the gap.

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Categories : Mobile

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