| February 14, 2012 Posted in Mobile Web Development

Smart phones are really changing the way we all view the world.  No longer do we argue who’s right and who’s wrong, we just “Google” it.  With this changing landscape we are beginning to see a rapid shift in marketing techniques pushing content to hand-held devices rather than sticking to our traditional Desktop or Print media.  Much more recently though, it looks like everyone wants to make use of the new QR code technology. This new tech is ‘hip’, ‘cool’ and all the young people seem to use it…. well sort of.

Used in the right setting, QR codes can help improve conversion rates, build your brand and enhance your business with minimal cost.

So, what are QR codes?

Essentially a Quick Response Code is a 2D bar code. Similar to the 1D codes you see in your local supermarket attached to every product, yet these are square with quirky patterns and can store 133times more data than your standard UPC barcode.  QR codes can store letters and numbers and are often used to store URLs, Names, Addresses, Maps, Email addresses, Business Cards and much more.  More recently, they have been popping up in magazines, bus shelters, train stations, billboards, newspapers — even on television.

The codes can be scanned with a simple app installed to your smart phone. Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Symbian and Blackberry all have programs available (for free) to easily read these codes.

So why use them?

Good question.  They are not for every business. In fact, they are not for many businesses. That is not to say they are not for yours.  Using these codes can increase your conversions when placed in the right place.  With mobile internet usage increasing every day they are a quick way to push user engagement and allow people to interact with your brand. Among many, many other things, they can help you draw traffic to your website, serve as a fun business card or become part of a mobile driven marketing campaign.

The Golden Rules of QR code usage

The following rules will help you get the most out of QR codes without looking stupid:

  1. Always serve a business objective
    Generate leads, improve conversions, drive traffic, raise brand awareness
  2. Provide value to the user
    Save time, reduce costs, improve experiences
  3. Provide mobile friendly content
    If you are promoting your brand, ensure you have a mobile accessible website
  4. Provide contextual assistance
    Links to an app reader, alternative SMS link or web URL, how to use notes
  5. Test the codes are readable on a range of devices
    No kidding!

Older, legacy devices

Many devices including the Apple iPhone 3GS (< 3mega pixels) are unable to scan barcodes smaller than 1inch x 1inch. This is due to the lack of auto focusing and limitations of the cameras hardware.  Bear this in mind when producing your marketing material as you really must reach the largest audience possible whilst stopping brand disengagement.

Why?

In today’s world, everyone is on the move in a much faster paced environment than ever before. Therefore, you have a very small window to engage your customers with your brand. With QR codes, it is often curiosity that draws people in. Placed in the right location, users are more likely to scan your code and be driven to your website than type in your URL or search for your brand on Google.

Social networking

The possibilities of QR codes are endless, but consider a QR code that lets you ‘like’ your business on Facebook, or helps ‘Tweets’ your brand on Twitter. Why stop there, you could ‘check in’ to your favorite coffee shop on FourSquare or RSVP to your best friend’s wedding just by scanning a QR code.

The future

South Korea has gone to the next level and is already years ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to this powerful technology. You can now buy your groceries whilst waiting for your train and have them delivered to your door by the time you get home.  Sound far-fetched?  Checkout the South Korea shopping experience on YouTube

How to help you and your business

If you want to raise your brand awareness why not give QR codes a try.  We can help you add them to your next marketing campaign, drive ‘likes’ to your Facebook or even build to link into your (mobile enabled) online e-commerce store. Give us a call!

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