Part 1: What are QR Codes?

It seems like every few months, a hot new marketing tool comes along that everyone is talking about. In the last several years, we’ve seen personalized mailing pieces, followed by email marketing, then text message (SMS) advertising. The current trend is something called a QR Code, which stands for “Quick Response Code” and was developed by Denso-Wave, a Japanese subsidiary of Toyota, in 1994.

You’ve probably seen them around town, even if you didn’t know what it was at the time. Here’s what a QR code looks like:

How does it work?

The first step is to download a QR code reader to your iPhone, Blackberry or Android device. There are many free versions available through iTunes and other sources. Just search “QR code reader” and your operating system and you’ll find thousands of choices!

Using the QR reader app, simply scan the QR code, and it will take you directly to a web page. This can be a great way for potential customers to quickly and easily access information about you and your products. Because it’s so easy to create customized QR codes (no special software needed!) you can send interested parties to very specific spots on your website or blog… anywhere, really!

How do I get my own QR code?

It’s fast and easy to include QR codes in your advertising; you’ve probably already seen them, even if you didn’t know what they were at the time. They’re popping up on print advertising, television commercials, in stores… I even saw a big one on the back of a bus that I could scan from the passenger seat in the car behind them at a red light.

It gives you the opportunity to share an incredible amount of information with interested people, with very little effort on your part.

Turning again to Google, just search “QR code generator” and you’ll find dozens of options. Just go to one of those sites, put in the information you’d like to include (a URL, a phone number, just text…), click the Generate button and voila! A working QR code pops up on the screen.

Save it to your computer and you can use it just like you use a piece of clip art. It’s really that easy.

Next week, we’ll look more at how you can really utilize this trend and how it can benefit your business.

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