QR Codes Extend Marketing

I’ve been reading about and seeing QR codes for a while and finally this week I took the dive and created some QR codes.

QR Codes
QR codes are not new but over the last month or so I seem to be seeing more conversation, more codes in windows, and on business cards.  I’m working on new business cards for my Conversion Optimization company Surge Labs and decided it was a great time to incorporate QR codes.

If you are not familiar with QR codes, they specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones, sort of like a bar code.

I used Kerem Erkans QR Code and 2D Code Generator to create a code that when scanned takes the scanner to a page to download Surge Labs Conversion Optimization white paper.

Here are some things you can embed with his QR creation tool: (list is from Kerem’s site which I recommend visiting)

  • browse to a website.bookmark a website.
  • make a phone call.
  • send a short message.
  • send an e-mail.
  • create a vCard (v2.1 or v3.0) with coordinates to add a contact to your device.
  • create a meCard to add a contact to your device.
  • create a vCalendar event to add to your calendar.
  • create Google Maps URLs.
  • create Bing Maps URLs.
  • create raw geological coordinates.
  • create market:// URLs for searching for publishers or packages on Market app for Android.
  • create special youtube:// URLs for YouTube app on iPhone.
  • fetch and encode the latest tweet of a Twitter user.
  • overlay a Twitter profile image over the code.
  • create a mobile URL to tweet on Twitter.
  • initiate a chat to a particular Blackberry PIN on Blackberry Messenger.
  • connect to a WIFI network on Android devices.
  • read plain or free formatted text on your device.

I then jumped over to Nick Johnston’s 2D QR Code Generator to create a QR code for my contact information.  With nick’s tool you can create codes for:

  • Contact info
  • Website address
  • Phone number
  • or plain text

Now when I hand out my card my contact information is on front, and on the cardholder can scan code 1 to get to the “download white paper” page and code 2 to import my contact information into their smart phone.

QR Code Scanners
To scan QR codes you will need to load a QR reader onto your phone.  Then simply point your phone at the QR code.

I followed Erkan’s advice and downloaded Qrafter (iphone, ipad, ipod) and a back up, QRReader (iphone as well).  Both have been easy to work with though I did not have much success playing with a color branded QR code that was blue and orange.  Black and white QR Codes seems to work best.

If you don’t have an iphone simply search your brand and “qr reader” to find an app for your phone.

Over the next year QR codes will become more common.  If you want to capture a little attention, adding a QR code to your business card is a conversation starter and a great way to share information via all the opportunities listed above via Kerem.

Social Media Sonar provides the following four resources for FREE… 1.  The Blog, 2. The Online Marketing/Social Media Blueprint, 3.  Conversion Rate Optimization Guide, 4.  Resource Center.  If these help you implement your own online marketing program, great. We love helping people. If you decide you need some help, great. We love new clients.  Contact Us if we can help you.

Published by

Sean Nelson

Sean has been a Keynote speaker at Norvax University, conducts social media workshops and webinars, and has released three books on LinkedIn and written several social media guides. Sean currently runs Social Media Sonar, which in addition to providing free resources, manages social media strategies and tactics for companies. He is also a partner in Surge Labs, a conversion rate optimization company, helping companies improve conversions and profitability through scientific testing of Landing Pages, Websites, Email communications, and Shopping Carts.

13 thoughts on “QR Codes Extend Marketing”

  1. Janet,

    I’ve sat back as well. Finally decided to dive in. QR codes will become more of the norm until the next “new thing” comes along.


  2. Sean,

    Thanks. I am just getting into QR codes myself, and I think they are awesome!! I recently bought an IPhone, and I downloaded a QR app. It is sooooooo cool!!

    By simply using my phone’s camera, and taking a picture of a QR code anywhere, I can be taken to a website, dial a number or anything else the “owner” of the QR code decides.

    It works so many different ways. While I sat back as well, not anymore!

    Thanks for sharing Sean!!


    P.S. Giving credit where credit is due, TRP member Dieter Hertling gave me the original wake up call for its value in the job search in his Career Search Strategies 2.0 (EmproveGroup.com)!!

  3. Hi Sean,

    QR code use potential on the local suburbia level is terriffic. There are many major city suburbs who’s residents receive the direct mail magazines that advertise local businesses. From bar/retaurants to speciality stores, there are home remodelers, carpet cleaners, auto repair facilities…the list goes on and on. The point is incorporating QR codes into a business’ current print/direct mail ad campaigns and offer the mobile customer something not normally offered via traditional advertising the creative possibilities are tremendous. It’s going to be fun for the next couple of years! Thanks for the nice article Sean.

  4. May we suggest to give uqr.me a try as well? You can link our code to whatever url, embed a vCard, upload files for people to download through QRs and turn your code into a “Like” button. Above all, you can change the link how many times you want, switching from your blog to your Facebook or to a video… oh, and it’s a free service!

  5. 2011 is going to be the year of the QR Code for marketers. Next time you create a QR Code, try http://www.SocialQRCode.com. It is designed for businesses to generate QR Codes and mobile landing pages for their businesses social properties. Create a landing page with a Facebook “Like” button or Twitter “Follow” button. Users can also create a mobile coupon that is sharable on Facebook and Twitter!

  6. Definitely think everyone should check out multiple QR code sites. I briefly looked at your site and it looks like there is a cost to create a QR code where the sites I listed do it for free. So what additional features are you guys providing that the free site are not, that justify paying vs free version?

  7. Sean,

    I know your original post was a while back, but I stumbled upon it and thought I would share another use for QR codes that hasn’t been mentioned. Generally speaking, most of the examples you gave are the common uses which involve static or identical data on each printed QR code. Meaning, 1000 business cards will all have the same data, your contact information embedded in the code. A 1000 piece direct mail campaign may each have a QR code with the businesses URL embedded. A simple and free thing to generate and include. When a target database has full contact information it’s common to see a direct mail piece use variable data print to personalize the mail piece. The main objective of a QR code is to help the recipient/consumer move from an off-line medium of print to the on-line medium via their mobile phone. It’s all about direct response marketing and trying to increase the response rate. If the marketer can connect with the recipient in a personalized way it’s a proven fact that the response rate will be much higher. So back to the QR code. If we can leverage our database and incorporate variable data print on the mail piece, we can also embed variable data into the QR code. This means that if we’re printing 10,000 unique post cards, because they each have variable data on them, we’re also generating 10,000 unique QR codes. When the recipient scans their code it’s going to launch a mobile-friendly micro-site that is also personalized to the recipient with variable data specific to that individual. The more data we have on the person, the more personal we can make the “conversation” (of course within reason so we’re not invading their privacy). Now the marketer is able to engage the recipient in a more personal and relevant on-line “conversation”. A couple quick questions gathers more intelligence which in turn triggers relevant content back to the user, instant messaging and tracking back to the marketer and is archived to enable the marketer to leverage that fresh data for future campaigns that are even more targeted. Very powerful stuff, and naturally, what my company specializes in. Thanks for giving this tool a bit more publicity.

    Dave Hemings

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