QR codes are pixelated squares that hold information such as a web link or a video. Like the the bar codes you see at the grocery store, QR codes can be unlocked and read when they are scanned with your mobile phone, usually with an app such as ShopSavvy or ScanLife.
So how can QR codes be used by small businesses? Here are five ideas to get you started.
1) On your business card — Include a QR code with your contact information on the back of your business card. Your recipients can scan the code and automatically add your name, phone number, and address into their address book — no typing required.
2) On posters — QR codes can be useful if you’re advertising your business or product through posters, stickers, and other materials that people see when they’re out and about. It’s a way to encourage people to make a purchase while on the go or sign up to receive more information (so they don’t have to remember to go back to their computer at home).
In one example, Atlantic Records added QR codes to posters and other marketing material promoting Fiasco’s new album this spring. Fans who scanned the code were taken to a website where they could pre-order the album from their mobile phone. About a quarter of the artist’s pre-order sales came from the scans, says RedLaser, which partnered with Atlantic Records for the campaign.
This summer Live Nation is including QR codes on posters at venues such as Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheater, where concertgoers can scan the code and win prizes such as backstage passes.
3) In front of your store — You can also use QR codes to draw customers into your store. Offer a special discount or coupon for customers who scan the QR code and come in.
Earlier this year, Macy’s launched a campaign with QR codes embedded into its star-shaped logo, which it pasted on storefront windows. Customers who scanned the code were given a “backstage pass” and directed to exclusive videos offering fashion advice and tips from celebrities such as Sean “Diddy” Combs. With the scan they could also download a free track from the band All Time Low.
4) For after hours information — Some savvy real estate agents have started adding QR codes to their “for sale” signs. People who happen across the house during off hours and want more information can scan the code and be directed to a website with sales information about the home.
5) On napkins — If you’re holding a promotional event where food is being served and want people to remember your company, why not imprint napkins with a QR code. Embed your website into the code or a link where potential customers can sign up to receive more information. They can scan the code while the nosh on a kebab.