QR, Quick Response, Codes are extensively used by businesses around the world. That’s those square boxes with lots of little markings in them that seem to mean nothing. They do mean something though, and they can quickly respond with a message, link, or action to the person taking a photo of them on their smartphone.
They are becoming popular with real estate agents who are tired of the expense of printing full-color brochures of homes and having to constantly check their brochure boxes at their listings to refill them. Even more powerful, while the buyer prospect is in front of the home, on the sign is the QR code to take them to the website created for that listing. They can see all the detailed information and large images of the interior of the home while they’re out front.
QR codes have come a long way in their uses for business, with more capabilities for those little square boxes:
- As already mentioned, they can take the person to a website. Any businessperson, from professionals to home cleaning services, can put a QR code on their business cards. Why make the prospect type in a URL (site address) to get there when their phone can take them directly to the page?
- Using the URL path, marketing ads, from park benches to newspapers and magazines, can take the ad viewer directly to the business website, even a specific page with information being advertised.
- Sending a vCard (Virtual Business Card) is easy with a QR code. The complete contact information for the business person or the business is automatically placed in the Contacts of the person taking the photo with their smartphone. There is no more typing it in or losing the card before they do so.
- Still, another use for the URL function is with Google Maps. Suppose a businessperson wants to give someone directions to their place of business, or anywhere, on a map. Once that place is used in the Google Map search, the URL in the bar at the top of the screen is that address location. Creating a QR code with that URL lets the person with their smartphone scan it to have the map pop up in their phone.
- A plain text message for the viewer can be displayed via a QR code. Suppose there is some advertising or other message that a business just wants to let prospects or customers know about. Maybe it’s a special sale or discount for a limited time. The QR code simply displays the message on their screen when they scan it.
- A powerful feature for some would be the ability to let the viewer of the code send a pre-written text message to the business or person. Once the QR code is set up with the email address of the businessperson and the message, it simply takes one click by the viewer to send the email. An example would be an email asking for a price quote or a description of services, etc.
- For faster receipt and response, the same thing can be set up with a QR code to text the pre-written message.
- There are more available functions for QR codes, most free, including:
- Sending a Wi-Fi login–for example, when entering a business, the phone user can scan it to log into the business Wi-Fi system.
- You can send a link to your profile or to post on Twitter or Facebook. This could be great for soliciting easy feedback from customers.
- Display a pdf file.
- Play an MP3 file.
- Direct them to an app store.
- Display an image gallery.
In this age of smartphone addiction and heavy use of them for browsing the Web, using QR codes can increase business marketing clout and customer interaction dramatically. Do a Google search for “free QR code” to find one of the services for setting them up online.