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What the heck is a QR Code and how can it help my digital marketing strategy?

October 24th, 2011 by
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QR Code for Bare Knuckle Marketing home page

QR Code for Bare Knuckle Marketing's home page

QR Codes are popping up everywhere. You see them on billboards, marketing materials, a menu at your favorite restaurant, business cards, and if you look close enough, they’re even on the back of your bottle of beer. Go get a beer and check it out for yourself. It’s ok, we’ll wait.

See? They’re everywhere. Although QR Codes are growing in popularity (14 Million Americans Scanned QR Codes on their Mobile Phones in June 2011 – that’s 6.2% of the total mobile audience), many people are still trying to figure out what those ugly little boxes are anyway.  And us marketers are trying to figure out how to leverage them.

So, here are a few things we think you should know:

1) QR stands for “quick response” code. It’s a 2 dimensional bar code that has information behind it when you scan it.

2) You need a smartphone and a bar code reader to read a QR code. Many smartphones come with a QR Reader already installed. If you don’t have one, just go to your app store and search for “QR Scanner”, “QR Reader”, “Bar Code Scanner” or anything of that nature. There are tons of free apps out there.  I prefer ScanLife.

3) Who’s scanning these things anyway? Check out the recent ComScore stats on QR Usage. You may be surprised to learn that it’s not teenagers who are primarily scanning QR codes, and you may find that your target market are heavy users. Don’t miss an opportunity to stand out to them!

4) You can create a QR code easily, and in most cases for free. But be sure you know what you’re getting before you create a code. Some free services are great but don’t have tech support. If something goes wrong, you could end up with a code that does nothing. We recommend SmartyTags or Delivr. The tracking that each service provides is very valuable as well.

5) There is a variety of valuable marketing applications for QR Codes. You can share links to important information, create calls to action and offer quick sign up forms for users to get more info, or use the QR code to LIKE a Facebook page.

QR Codes are here to stay, and are becoming a great way to add to your digital marketing strategy. Bare Knuckle clients have used them for growing Facebook networks, sharing coupons, growing positive reviews and gathering targeted emails. Now that you know what the heck they are and what the heck you can do with them, what is your plan for using QR Codes? Share your ideas or ask more questions here. Or, just contact us and we’d love to help you add a QR code strategy to your digital marketing plan!

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