Fads come and go in pop culture, fashion and even the world of business. There always seems to be a new bandwagon for marketers to jump on, and QR codes are among the latest to come along. Are they worth the jump, or just a part of another fad that is all hype and no substance? I don’t have the answer to whether or not this is a trend that will last, but I can tell you that they have a ton of potential.
What’s the Rage All About?
Although QR codes are being treated as a new phenomenon in the marketing arena, they are not exactly new per se. QR actually has a history that spans over a decade in Japan, where it was originally created. The QR stands for Quick Response; the actual codes themselves are sort of like the barcodes you see stuck on items in a retail store. They can be scanned in a similar manner, but the big difference is in the wealth of information they are capable of storing.
What really gives these fuzzy looking, two-dimensional codes so much potential is how they work. A person with a compatible smartphone can use their device to scan a given code and instantly access the content it contains. It may direct a smartphone user to a YouTube video, special offers and coupons, or directions to an event venue. If this thing takes off, we could start regularly seeing QR codes on automobiles, billboards and clothing items. If you look closely the next time you’re out at the mall, you’ll realize they’re already in most major advertisements.
Bringing QR Codes to Life
So how do you actually create a QR code? There are quite a few options, with the easiest being using one of the web-based generator tools available online. QRStuff, GOQR and Maestro are just some of the applications that can be used to create QR codes with relative ease. If you have a savvy developer on your staff, you can create them by grabbing the source code from open source software projects such as the Open Source QR Code Library or PHP QR Code. This is the best option for shaping the look and feel of your creation.
Incorporating QR Codes into Your Marketing Mix
There are so many ways to put QR codes to work for your business. Perhaps the best thing about QR codes is the degree of flexibility that gives them so many beneficial uses. While the ideal place to send prospects may appear to be your website, there is nothing stopping you from directing them to your social hangouts. The potential for growing your following on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter is tremendous.
And QR codes make the jump from online to print seamlessly. In fact, they act as a bridge between the digital and the physical. When a user sees something in their daily life that intrigues them, a quick scan with the mobile in their hand leads them straight to your landing page. Coupled with a compelling reason to join, slapping the URL to your signup form on a newspaper ad or t-shirt could definitely help attract those new subscribers you’re after.
As marketing tools, the possibilities of QR codes are endless. We’re already seeing a lot in terms of how they can be used, yet realize that we haven’t even begun to start digging into the surface with this thing. With players like Google and Microsoft getting involved, the future of QR codes looks bright for sure.