QR Codes go mainstream?

QR codes have officially gone mainstream, or at least that’s what I figure since seeing one appear on the corner of my local community newspaper, the North Shore News.

That little square moniker along with an explanation of how to download the smartphone app and use it arrived on every door on the North Shore, an area rife with middle age folk and the financial affluence to have a disproportionate number of smart phone users. QR stands for ‘quick response.’ The idea started in Japan over 15 years ago, but has only taken off since smartphones were fitted with digital cameras. They are printed everywhere in Japan – on billboards, brochures and product tags. They have only just begun to appear in North America. Once a user has a free APP (Google QR code app and you’ll get easy download directions), they simply hold their phone to the QR code and it immediately links them to whatever the code was created for – a website URL, a coupon or offer, a text message, a Google map, music or a short video etc. QR codes have been used by Coke to generate a coupon that could then be held to the vending machine to generate free prizes or drinks. Response has far surpassed regular coupon redemption rates.

So how might you use this in your business? Suppose you were speaking at a conference and wanted to direct attendees to your materials, a special offer or email list sign up. Print the little square on your hand out or flash it up on your Powerpoint. Or suppose you were a business that wanted to give more detail about the product than the little hanging tag would allow. Print the square code and it’s all there. The great thing is it immediately allows you the ability to capture and track self selected interested people. And at this stage in the game, it still allows some demographic and psychographic segmentation of the tech savvy affluent.

Generating a code is easy and free. Go to:

Plug in your URL or desired link and voila! a graphic file is downloaded and ready to display. If you’ve got the app, try it in this QR code. It should link you to my website.

Mary Charleson

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