Quite Remarkable: How to use QR codes for business

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A WHILE back, using Facebook, we asked you which of these four subjects you’d like us to blog on:

  • Generating Positive PR
  • Effective use of QR Codes
  • Public speaking
  • Capitalising on Twitter search options

Well, (drum roll please) the results are in and we have two equal winners – PR and QR Codes Today we thought we’d get the ball rolling by talking about the latter topic.

What’s a QR code and how can it benefit my business?

QR, or Quick Response codes have actually been around for some time (Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave created them in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing process) but it’s only in recent years where you will probably have seen them popping up all over the place – from on a box containing your favourite breakfast cereal through to adverts placed by brands in regional and national media.

In case you’re one of the few people who haven’t seen them, we’ve even included a special Turquoise Tiger one. See above. If you have a smartphone then simply download one of the free QR code applications, point it at the code and see what happens!

A QR code is, quite simply, a form of barcode – like the ones that drive you mad in supermarkets by going beep as your weekly shop goes through the till. QR codes are matrix barcodes, or two dimensional barcodes, which enable you to store lots of information in a small space.

NERDY HEALTH WARNING: Look away now if nerdy geek speak turns you off and skip to the next paragraph! The code consists of modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be made up of any kind of data (e.g., binary, alphanumeric, or Kanji symbols) and can be downloaded at high speed. The amount of data stored depends on the way the QR code is laid out, but it can vary from between 4k and 7k worth of characters.

Welcome back non nerds!

So, that’s all well and good you may ask, but just how can something like this benefit my business? The answer’s simple. QR codes are an amazing asset to your online PR and marketing , adding another dimension to your promotional work and giving you a real chance to tap into the mobile market and show clients and customers who you are and what you can do. Not only do they allow you to connect with mobile phone users, they provide you with a cost effective way to keep your customers and potential customers up to date with any of your products and services. By scanning the QR code they are directed to a mobile web page where they can find out more about your products and services.

Something for nothing

A quick Google of free QR sites will provide you with a variety of sites where you can create your own code, even customising it to match your company colours. Some QR generators will even provide you with analytics so you can check how many times codes were scanned. Then you can reproduce it on all kinds of media – from company marketing literature and product packaging through to posters, banners, print advertisements and even t-shirts The choices are endless.

A really effective way to monitor the impact of using QR codes in your marketing can be to create a separate landing page to direct the QR code to. Here you can offer customers special offers, discounts on your products and services or a competition where they can win a great prize. It’s vital you reward your customer for making the effort to engage with you so don’t just leave them hanging, incentivise them and you’ll encourage their interest and eventually their loyalty. Not only that but you’ll be able to build a much fuller picture of the types of people and businesses interested in what you have to offer.

Whatever the size of your business, QR codes can pack a powerful punch for you. Just imagine sending out a delivery to a client or an invoice with a QR code on which offers them an exclusive special offer, for example. Perhaps it’s a new client and you want them to ‘meet the team’. Why not film a short video introducing yourselves that can then be included in a QR code and send out with all your traditional marketing literature. Statistics show that anything that includes ‘rich media’, ie video or audio as opposed to plain text will always attract more interest. It’s what us Tigers call the Harry Potter effect – you know the bit in the films where the paintings and newspaper images come alive.

Despite this technology having been around for some time it still has the novelty factor in its favour and you can really milk this for all it’s worth with some careful planning. You may hear some people talking about AR (Augmented Reality). This has a similar effect with links to moving images or more information embedded in an image or real world environment. For more information on this here’s a good link to check out http://www.HowStuffWorks.com/augmented-reality.htm . AR certainly takes things a step further, and there are some exciting developments afoot, but there’s still plenty of scope for making use of QR codes in your business marketing.

Turquoise Tiger’s top 10 tips on using QR codes for your business:

  1. Include a QR code on your business card. This can then link to your website or a YouTube video of you talking about all your products and services. Keep it brief though. Remember, there are limitations to data storage and you don’t want to turn a potential new customer off before they’ve even started working with you. The great thing about this is that it’s easy to update this data and keep it fresh.
  2. If you have a retail premises or a customer area of your offices then use them prominently on signage and displays so people can investigate. Why not record a brief vlog (video blog) and include some top tips on your area of expertise.
  3. Do you attend events and exhibitions? How about wearing your QR codes with pride? Some promotional printwear companies have started printing QR codes on T-shirts… a great gimmick with the right link.
  4. If you’re still sending out hard-copy mailers, think about the potential for including QR codes on your envelopes and letters. We’ve even included PR codes as a ‘PS’ in letters.
  5. When it comes to QR codes, size IS important. Always do a test scan before sending out QR codes with your literature… too small and they may not work.
  6. You don’t need to be monotone with your QR codes. Some of the free code generators allow you to use your corporate colour to create your graphic.
  7. If you’re using an outside design agency or printer, be absolutely sure they won’t need to ‘squeeze’ your image to fit the print space. Your design department needs to be absolutely sure they’re submitting the correct dimensions, so your helpful printer doesn’t inadvertently render your QR code useless by distorting the dimensions.
  8. Don’t be boring. Whatever web wonders your code leads to should be engaging. Your end-users need to feel it’s been worth their time to scan your QR.
  9. Don’t overuse them. If you’re using QR codes every five minutes, your customers might lose interest. Less is more.
  10. Be creative. If you’re desperate to get cracking, that’s great, but do make sure you’re coming up with real ideas to engage with your audience, rather than creating a weak message just to use a QR code.

Good luck – do let us know how you get on!

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One Response to Quite Remarkable: How to use QR codes for business

  1. I’m not the greatest on the uptake of technology, and so i really appreciate the down to earth language and great example given here in the use of QR codes.
    I am now inspired to think about how to integrate their use in my marketing campaigns for the future.
    Thank you Tigers….. x

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