What’s All The Buzz About QR Codes?

So what’s the buzz all about QR Codes? Here you’ll find out what they are and the best ways to use them for any business.

A QR code is a 2-D barcode that can be scanned by a smart phone camera. Once the picture is snapped, it will automatically take you to a website or even make a phone call for you. In order to scan one though, you must have a QR reader which is generally free. These are some recommended sites for QR readers:

However if your business wants to incorporate QR codes into their marketing plan, then all you need to do is generate a QR code using QR generators:

So now you have a QR code for your business, but how do you go about implementing it into your marketing campaign?

Image Courtesy: http://orangeqr.com/

QR codes can be placed almost anywhere: packaging, ads, posters, billboards, business cards, stickers, and your website. In New York City, they are seen “on bus shelters, phone kiosks, drug store signage, cocktail napkins and sporting venues” (Donnelly, 2010). Wherever you want someone to see your product, service, or business name, place the code there to generate business.  Know where your target market is and place QR codes there. Many people probably still don’t know how to use a QR code so informing them will be helpful as well. Simply put the steps next to the code to tell users what to do and how to access the information. Where have you seen QR codes being used?

“The key is to be ready on the other end of the code with some content that actually intrigues the user, and makes them get out their phone and scan” (Donnelly, 2010). When a customer scans these codes, they want it to take them so they will get useful information, be able to interact, or even be able to contact someone. The point is to not JUST bring to your website, but make it worthwhile for the customer. They need to be able to interact in some way. Some ideas:

  • Online registration
  • Video message or demo
  • Coupons
  • Recipes, nutritional information, cooking tips
  • Fashion accessories to go along with a shirt a consumer is buying
  • Contest or sweepstake online entry
  • Like or Follow Facebook or Twitter page
  • Contact information to be added automatically to phone’s contacts
  • Email subscriber list
  • Even make a phone call

Another tip to remember is that this information has to fit and look good on a small phone screen. Keep videos short to hold the consumer’s interest. The possibilities for QR codes are endless, but it may help researching them and your audience to make sure it’s a fit for your company.

Track Your QR Codes to Measure Your Success

In order to ensure the success of QR codes, there are several ways to measure and track this information. You can track how many scans you receive, the location of the scans, and even the time of day. This information will help you develop your QR codes better in that you may learn new places to put them, if you’re receiving feedback at all such as Facebook Likes shortly after scanning, and much more can be learned from tracking QR codes. Several software is available for tracking these codes. Here are just a few:

In order to tell the whole story behind a product or service, consumers need a supplement to what they see in an ad, billboard, etc, and QR codes can help with that. “QR codes can provide additional information, including photos, reviews, directions and event date and times. There’s a certain amount of fun and surprise with QR codes” (Brooks, 2011).

Do you scan QR codes? Where have you seen them? Share where and how you’ve used QR codes.

See the largest QR code here:

Check out my Facebook page:

Brooks, R. (2011, January 24). 13 creative ways to use QR codes for marketing [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/1720193/13-creative-ways-to-use-qr-codes-for-marketing.

Donnely, T. (2010, December 16). How to use QR codes to market your business. Inc. Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/12/how-to-use-qr-codes-to-market-your-business.html.  


8 thoughts on “What’s All The Buzz About QR Codes?

  1. Pingback: RedLaser is Driving Products to Consumers One Scan at a Time | srcgull

  2. Interesting post! I wrote a blog (http://srcgull.wordpress.com/) on an app that can scan QR codes and used your blog as a background link on what QR codes are and how to use them. The app I reviewed, RedLaser (www.Redlaser.com) can create and scan QR codes. I found it very easy to use, so I’m interested to hear your experience in creating the QR code to your Facebook page – which tool did you use and how easy was it for you?

    Last summer I was in Baltimore, MD for vacation and was eating at Miss Shirley’s Café (http://www.missshirleys.com/index.php). While we were there, there were table tents on the tables inviting diners to vote for Miss Shirley’s to win the food truck race going on. The table tent had a QR code, and although I didn’t have a smart phone at the time, someone else did and was able to scan the code and vote quickly and easily. If he had typed in a website address, it would have taken longer and he may not have gone through the effort, but since scanning the code automatically opened the website, it was easy and he did it.

    I think marketers should consider their target market when using QR codes – they need to realize not every consumer has a smart phone and even of those who do have phones not everyone is going to have a QR code reader (even though there are many free versions!). So education is important as you point out, but equally so is targeted messaging. For example, marketers who are trying to promote a product whose target audience would not be likely to have smart phones should probably not use QR codes quite yet.

    Thanks for your perspective and the great info on QR codes!

    • Thanks! I used http://qrcode.kaywa.com/. I really wasn’t sure what to use at first either, but I just googled it and found this one and a few others that are fairly popular.

      Yes target marketing is very important. I actually don’t have a smart phone, and really don’t feel I need one now or anytime in the near future. So this isn’t something I have experience with, but during a job I had during my undergrad, we were looking at possibly implementing them so that’s where I first learned about it. If I had a smart phone, I would definitely get this app!

      I like your example that you shared here as well. QR codes can help make access to websites and such very easy and conveinent as you stated.

  3. Lisa,

    Thanks for sharing this with everyone. I must say, I used this blog as a resource in my Analysis Paper. The video you shared was awesome and a great way to add something fun to your blog. I never realized that creating QR codes was free. I feel like QR codes are great for established companies who have already mastered the fundamental aspects of using social media and like you pointed out above, is not a great stand alone resource. I recently was at a Boston Celtics game and they used a QR code on their game day handout. You could scan the code to find out additional stats and player information. Great for a fan like myself. Again, thanks for sharing such a great topic I have learned a lot from reading your blog this week!

  4. So glad that you explained it! I don’t have a smart phone, but have seen those QR codes everywhere! I think it started with the Macy’s ad at Christmas, where if you hit your phone with it in the store, you would enter to win a contest.
    Do you think that QR codes alienate those shoppers that don’t have smartphones? Or are the people with smartphones their target market? Great pics and explanations, really great job!

    • Because QR codes are just for smartphones, it does alienate those do not have a smartphone. So yes their target market are people with smartphones. I don’t know any statistics off hand, but I’m assuming so many people are using smartphones today that they’re not worried about those they miss. I actually don’t have a smartphone either so I’m in the group that’s missed from QR codes.

      • I think it is important to include a URL for those who don’t have smart phone. This should help increase response as well as not alienate folks without smart phones.

  5. QR codes are becoming more common. I saw one today on a movie poster as I was entering Wal-mart. Creative Memories now has QR codes in their catalogs to allow quick reference to addtional information on their web site. I also once saw a QR codes made from cupcakes on a Duncan Hines commercial.

    I think the information your provided on tracking QR codes is essential in their successful usage. Tracking is key to understanding customer behavior.

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