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QR Code Basics for Local Businesses

QR Code Basics for Local Businesses

By | 08.12.11
QR Code Basics for Local Businesses
Mobile Marketing Best Tips Image_sm
Quick response (QR) codes are one of those simple, inexpensive and easy-to-deploy technologies that local business owners should consider adopting. And the payoff for putting this low-cost marketing and customer engagement tool to work for your business can be big.A QR code is a scanable, computer-generated code that directs users to a variety of information that you specify, such as promotions, images, a web link, email address, contact information, a menu, social pages, coupons, etc. Best of all, you can easily create QR codes yourself for free online in seconds (see our list of QR code resources below). Users scan the code with their smartphone to access the information. Most new phones come with a QR code reader; older devices can use a free download.QR codes have hundreds of uses and creative-minded businesses are coming up with new ones all the time. One of the fastest-growing uses for QR codes is in printed materials – including newspapers ads, yellow pages, magazines, posters, postcards, direct mail and even on flyers. Putting a QR code in a print ad is like turning it into a live link. Local businesses put QR codes on everything from business cards, register receipts, product labels and invoices to coffee mugs, T-shirts, billboards and window signage.

Big companies use them and so do solo business owners. The technology is free and the cost to put QR codes into use is generally tiny. Small and local businesses and entrepreneurs of all types are turning to QR codes, including real estate agents, spas, salons, fitness centers, bars, dry cleaners, dentists, retail stores, restaurants, coffeehouses, jewelers, attorneys, car dealers, auto repair shops, wedding planners, print shops, venues, grocery stores, wine shops and many others.

A key advantage that QR codes hold over standard barcodes is their ability to hold far more information, which makes QR codes much more versatile. You can create a code that will automatically dial your business phone number or point to your new video. A QR code can bring to customers an event calendar, business location or deliver a product booklet. Some local businesses are putting QR codes on “Closed” signs they hang in a door or window, where when customers scam it they see a message from the business owner, be directed to a website or online store, or be given a way to leave a message or send an email.

Companies are thinking up many creative uses for QR codes. For example, one large hotel chain put QR codes next to items on its restaurant menus. When customers scan the code, they see video of the chef preparing the dish. In this case the QR code enhances the customer experience and appeals to customers’ curiosity.

QR code tips, tactics and uses:

  1. Put only useful information in the QR code.
  2. Because people scan QR codes on a mobile device, any website you send them to must be mobile-friendly.
  3. Just use your imagination. Use QR codes on “For Sale” signs, packages, clothing tags, fliers, in bar restrooms (for taxi service, for example), on bumper stickers, promotional items, trade show booths, wrapping paper, paper coffee cups, window decals and business cards. Boost

Here are some online services that help you generate QR codes for free. Some also offer custom QR code designs that add colors and graphics to the codes to make them more interesting and fun. Not all QR code generators support the same types of information, so shop around if you don’t immediately see what you need.

Azon Media (offers custom)
Kaywa
BeQRious
GoQR.me
Mobile Barcodes

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