If there’s one tool that has leveled the business marketing playing field over the past 20 years, it’s the business website. Virtually every business has one, and they’re used with varying degrees of effectiveness.
Today’s businesses pay a great deal of attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and other ways of attracting internet users to their websites. That’s all well and good out in the ether, but what about in the real world? As great as SEO is from an internet marketing perspective, people are still out there moving around and living their lives in the real world. That’s why Times Square looks the way it does today, with all the colorful digital signage and other advertising.
So how do you bring people from the real world to your homepage? I’m not suggesting an electronic billboard in Times Square, or any other expensive marketing tactic: I’m talking about a seemingly boring little tool that you can get for free, and that can easily be built into your existing marketing arsenal. I’m talking about the QR code.
What Is A QR Code?
The term “QR Code” is short for “Quick Response Code.” It’s a graphic that’s been encoded with a URL. When users point a smartphone or other mobile device that has a camera and a QR code decoding app installed at the graphic, their internet browser is opened up, and the webpage for the encoded URL is displayed. This is much quicker and easier than actually typing in a URL.
How QR Codes Can Be Used
As we have just seen, a QR code makes accessing a web page with a mobile device quick and easy. But web pages are not the only things that can be accessed in this way. For example, QR codes can be created for a variety of data types including:
- web page URLs
- YouTube videos
- Google Maps locations
- Twitter feeds
- Facebook business pages
- LinkedIn pages
- Instagram pages
- app download links
- telephone numbers
- email addresses
- email messages
- contact details
- digital business cards
- event calendars
So where’s the best place to display a QR code? The short answer is: any visual marketing media you currently use. Beyond that, there are many other possibilities for drawing people to your marketing message when they’re out and about.
For example, if you have company vehicles traveling around town, you can include a QR code as part of the information you display on the side of those vehicles. If your business displays yard signs around the area (such as real estate agents, home builders, remodeling contractors, landscapers, etc.), you can include a QR code that directs people to an applicable web page. Even if you do TV infomercials, you can display a QR code and make it that much easier for viewers to visit your website from their tablet or smartphone. Anywhere you currently display a website URL can include a QR code for that URL, making it easy for people to visit your site on the spot.
The name says it all. Quick Response codes enable people to respond quickly to your marketing messages, whether those messages are presented on a TV infomercial, a business card, or something in between.