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What is a QR code?

At the Planning and Promoting an Event Workshop I ran yesterday, one of the promotional vehicles I mentioned was a QR code which drew blank faces from most of the attendees. (As a trainer, it’s always a relief to know more than the attendees…)

Having done pretty extensive research here is my explanation for you:
You may have begun to see crossword like bar codes appearing in various places and wondered what they were. Well basically these provide the fast delivery of information by allowing you to connect to website addresses, video clips, phone numbers, geo coordinates, text and more simply by taking a photo of the QR Code with a smart phone that has a QR Code reader application.

Standing for “Quick Response” and originating in Japan, these are already popular in Asia and the US and we are beginning to see these used here. Indeed household names like B & Q are already making full use of them –  Take a look at this image below:

Should you be thinking about using them, the same marketing rules apply as to all marketing methods:

Will YOUR target audience use them?
At this time, those who are initially most receptive will be those with a high tech know-how and may be more receptive to your presence on the web, and through social networking sites

Remember WIIFM which stands for
What’s in it for me? There seems little point using a QR code for something which disappoints, or your clients and customers will not bother looking at them again! So these should definitely ADD VALUE.

In practical terms it is very quick and easy to generate a QR code for your website, video clip, text message, location details etc by using any one of several sites. Here is an excellent blog which describes 10 such sites. I used the quikQR website and it literally took seconds.

What’s more you need not be restricted to black and white, although it will cost you to customise it is possible to have your logo, an image, or a colour scheme incorporated.

Take a look at the galleries of two companies that do this. One based in Farnham and one in Edinburgh

QR codes can be printed onto any material or included into your website or blog, and certainly they may be a way of using a small space to put across a lot of information whether this is a seasonal special offer; a video clip of a product application, a connection to cut price tickets for an event; the ingredients of a dish or the history of your venue. QR codes can be developed over and over again for each of your required applications.

How did I use my first QR code (above)? By linking it to my postcard gallery so you can see my work in glorious technicolour – Scan and enjoy!

Have you used a QR code yet? Please share how…

PS:  If you are looking at less usual ways to market you might also find these useful: