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January 23, 2012

Creative Ways to Use QR Codes for Your Small Business

What are QR codes?

Glad you asked. Quick response codes, or QR codes, are quite similar to barcodes in that they can be printed on virtually any surface. They originated in Japan and were seen on the sides of buildings, in brochures and even on public transport. The little codes became so popular that other countries wanted to cash in on their popularity.

Why use a QR code at all?

Many times consumers may want to know more about an advertisement, but they don’t have pen or paper while putting information on your phone can be time consuming and a hassle. So QR codes truly are the perfect solution. To put it mildly, QR codes are quickly becoming local internet marketing’s best assets. QR codes can definitely help your small business succeed. We will discuss how in a second, but first lets understand QR codes a little more.

How does a QR Code work?

Consumers have to simply download an application, sometimes called the barcode scanner application on their Smartphones. Now-a-days most smart phones have these applications already set up and ready to go. All you have to do is take a picture of the code on your Smartphone. At that point you are brought to the website the code is promoting. Simply put, companies use these codes to help advertise their products, so each QR code is connected with a company. In most cases, a company will link back to their website.

Five Unique Advantages QR Codes Provide a Company with a Limited Budget:

1. Pricing: It’s absolutely free! To help you understand, think of a QR code just as you would a URL for your website. The only difference is that your message will look like a barcode as opposed to a URL. All your customers have to do is take a picture of it.

2. The Impression: QR codes can leave a lasting impression on a customer because they transfer directly to the customer’s personal phone. With other forms of advertisement on a bus or in a newspaper, you are just hoping that someone will write down a website and then go type it into their phone or computer. With QR Codes, your customer reaches you directly without any additional effort. Even if you think this is inconvenient, think of the time your customer saves and let’s face it, in today’s advanced society, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

3. Company logo: QR codes a great way to make your company unique by giving it an individual logo. Consider putting your company logo into the actual QR code design.

4. Local search marketing: QR codes are a great way to integrate all of your marketing. QR codes can link to anything a company wants. For example, increase your number of Twitter followers by linking to your Twitter account. If you’re looking to promote something special, link to Facebook. The possibilities are endless.

5. Business Cards: Include a code on your business card that allows customers to save your company’s contact information directly to their phone. This makes your business card very personal and it’s a great way to integrate yourself into your customers recall.

The potential QR code user base is growing quickly. The percentage of Smartphone owners was estimated to be at 15 to 19% at the end of 2010 and was expected to double by the end of 2011. This base group of Smartphone users are a great group to integrate into your customer base. By using QR codes as a low budget marketing tool you can attract attention to your company.

QR codes are being utilized all over the globe. Companies are displaying them in their windows, advertisers are using them in their signs, marketers are incorporating them in their projects and restaurants are incorporating them in their menus. Soon every business will be incorporating QR codes as well as their logos. Although the technology is fairly new, QR codes are growing in popularity. After all who doesn’t want a broader customer base?

Ajay Prasad is founder of Global Marketing Resources, LLC, which runs a number of e-commerce websites under its umbrella. Ajay’s functional expertise includes website strategy, marketing management, business development, consumer research marketing analysis and strategic planning. Local Search HQ is a Local Search Engine Marketing company that aims to develop an overall Web Marketing and Local Search Marketing solution for small local businesses.