What Are QR Codes and Should Marketers Use Them?

Introduced by Denso Wave in Japan and ISO standardized, Quick Response code (QR code) is a bi-dimensional bar code initially used for product identification. Today, this bar code is adopted for online marketing in various organizations. This highly used marketing tool is generated via various resources available on the Internet.

Traditional Bar codes v/s QR Codes

What Are QR CodesQuick Response code or QR code is an open standard information storage platform which allows embedding of massive information.  This information could be product information, website URL or links to vouchers embedded with the QR code.

Instead of traditional bar codes, people are now using QR codes for online marketing. This is because other bar codes are single dimensional codes capable to hold a maximum of 20 numerical digits. In contrast, bi-dimensional QR codes can store more than 7000 numeric digits and more than 4000 alpha numeric digits.

How to Create QR Codes?

Numerous websites allow generating QR codes for free.  These free tools create QR codes; allow the user to link web pages, contact details, messages or texts with codes. Additionally, some free tools also offer color customization and background format facilities to integrate in the product’s marketing strategy.

Microsoft tag is a well-known tool to generate QR codes. This tool has various symbols and shapes in multiple colors where the website URL can be added. Moreover, you can also Google for other free resources like Kerem Erkan’s tool and the TEC- IT QR codes generator.

Decrypting QR Codes:

Reading or decrypting QR codes is not really a tough job. Lots of QR codes readers and bar code scanners like SpyderLynk, SnapTag, JagTag and Red Laser help you in tracing the encrypted text or URL.

In most of the mobile devices like Smartphone, QR Codes can be easily scanned and decrypted. Whenever mobile Internet users scans a code in an ad on the webpage on mobile, the camera attached to the mobile device scans that code by using the installed bar code scanner. This takes them to the message associated with the code.

QR Codes for Internet Marketers:

QR codes can be an effective Internet marketing strategy. These codes, represented in black and white dots, can be easily seen on personal mails, posters, window storefronts, billboards and other channels.

These codes provide an indirect, but appropriate way to attract new customers without imposing on the privacy of the web user. QR codes are mostly popular as a means to deliver promotional codes, discount vouchers, free trial options and other marketing strategies.

Few examples of QR codes applications can be:

  • Business card with QR codes can be used to add content to the address list in electronic version.
  • QR codes containing SMS can be used in electronic message passing system.
  • Data encrypted facility in QR codes is highly used as a security tool for passing messages/emails amongst military departments and other defense services.
  • QR codes with configuration settings are now using by android/iPhone applications for automatic installation in devices.

Benefits of Using QR Codes:

  • Online marketers use QR codes to stay ahead of business competitors.
  • Online marketing via QR codes attracts people towards products or services without using any illegal marketing strategies like automatic page ‘likes’ through bots or creating fake Twitter followers.
  • Immediate gratification for customers in the form of instant information and product promotions.
  • It is the most suitable product campaign strategy targeting Smartphone customers with the help of QR codes scanner application in phones.

Disadvantages of Using QR Codes:

  • If the QR codes content is not flexible, it will turn into a bad marketing strategy.
  • QR codes are only effective as long as the encrypted page URL or page location remains the same.
  • Flexibility with updating webpage URL is not an effective one. Updating webpage after QR codes encryption requires the generation of new QR codes to feature the updated webpage. Hence, QR code marketing is a time consuming approach.

Using QR Codes for Business Promotion:

Product/service marketing with QR codes demands lesser effort as compared to other marketing resources. Following are the ways to use QR codes for business promotion.

  • Google has established a separate platform for QR Code. Online marketers can use it as an effective tool to promote business in accordance to SEM and SEO technologies.
  • You can use the product’s QR Code on the business website. When a visitor captures the QR code on Smartphone, the product information will be either emailed or sent in text mode.
  • If you want to start a social media campaign, encrypt the Facebook or Twitter page URL in the QR code. The QR code can then be displayed on the website along with other social media campaign avenues like forums.
  • Attaching QR Codes with flyers, business cards and brochures are also adoptive resources for online business promotion.

QR Codes are a new way to promote online businesses.  Many organizations are now promoting their business by placing video URLs, special offers, product launches and business logos by encrypting them with QR Codes.

For first time QR code marketing, you need to learn how to attract the reader’s / visitor’s attention towards the code. This can be done with some attractive lines like “Grab your discount” or “Scan code to get information”.

QR codes strategy is steadily capturing the online business promotion market than traditional marketing strategies. Beginner users of QR codes should make sure that the codes they are using should be mobile-friendly so that the targeted market can capture the codes easily and read them.

Summary

In short, the function of QR codes as a marketing strategy is a new domain. It needs more data and statistics to prove its usability. However, at the moment, online marketers have found this strategy a novel way to generate leads and business sales.

What do you think about it? Leave a comment below…

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Comments

  1. says

    Nice post Casper, when it comes to creating QR odes have you tried  freeqrcodetracker.com yet? Its completely free to use and you can generate and track qr codes, and you get free tracking built in. Really easy to use. Clearest reports around by far.

    For QR design inspiration look at hundreds of examples of stunning customised QR code designs from around the world at blog.freeqrcodetracker.com

    Full disclosure: freeqrcodetracker.com is provided by TMB and I work for TMB, but nonetheless you don’t need to take my word for it, plenty of users find it really helpful especially as it is completely free wirh no strings attached. Try it for yourself. Dom.

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