Wednesday, February 22, 2012

QR Codes.... Get In the Game....

We all have seen these images. They seem to pop up on posters, web sites, t-shirts and more. People have discovered a wide variety of  creative ways of using QR Codes to promote themselves and their companies.

If you aren't familiar with this system of transferring information, here's how QR Stuff describes QR Codes:

A QR Code (it stands for "Quick Response") is a mobile phone readable barcode that's been big in Japan forever, broke into Europe a while back, and is now getting traction in USA.

In its simplest sense think "print based hypertext link" - simply encode a URL into the QR Code and then point a mobile phone (or other camera-enabled mobile) at it. If the device has had QR Code decoding software installed on it, it will fire up its browser and go straight to that URL.

But it doesn't stop there - a QR Code can also contain a phone number, an SMS message, V-Card data or just plain alphanumeric text, and the scanning device will respond by opening up the correct application to handle the encoded data appropriately courtesy of the FNC1 Application Identifiers that are embedded in the encoded data.
Recently, a client and friend asked me how to best go about creating a QR code for use in their web site. You don't need a tech consultant such as myself to get in the QR Code generating business. (Of course marketing and tech consultants such as myself may add some creativity and design ideas which bring added value to the table.... If you want to get in touch, just send me an email or use your SmartPhone to grab my contact information embedded in the QR Code at the top of this post!)

QR Stuff is a great one stop site if you are interested in this emerging marketing format. You can instantly create QR codes, modify the foreground color to suit your design preferences and download your creation for free. You can also email and print your codes for use in other marketing designs.

For a (very) nominal fee, you can create hi-res QR Codes which can hold additional data, be printed on clothing or used in other creative ways. If you elect to subscribe to this site, you can take advantage of their analytics to actually track your QR Code's usage. (You should be using some type of analytic software to gauge your marketing effort's effectiveness! Google Analytics is also a free good, free, alternative.)

There are a variety of ways to read QR Codes, the most common of which is using your smartphone's camera and some QR friendly App such as the popular and free, RedLaser Barcode Scanner and QR Code Reader. Some uses of QR Codes, such as embedding a wi-fi login may be incompatible with certain mobile operating systems (wi-fi data is "Android friendly" but won't work on iOS devices at the time of this writing).

There are lots of data types you can use. Click here to see the options available through QR  Stuff. (Or just use the QR Code above to go straight to the site on your mobile device!)

There are lots of imaginative ways of using this technology. Have a landscaping business? How about creating some cool t-shirts for your employees with your web site URL or other contact information? (This site actually has ties with affiliates making the creation process for this type of gear very easy!) Promoting an event? Make some hats or coffee mugs with QR coded details. The options are limited only by your imagination.

Have a great idea for a QR Code? Please share it using the comment form below. If you think this post might be of value to a friend or business associate, please re-share this post on Google+, Twitter, or FaceBook.

I currently participate in Associate Programs and certain item links included within this post may tie to this affiliate program. By using these links, you help support Music Row Tech, I appreciate your support


This commentary is not meant as an endorsement of any company or to provide financial advice.  If the author has any financial interest in any company mentioned at the time of this article’s posting, it will be explicitly noted. I welcome feedback and comments. 

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All rights reserved @2012, Music Row Tech (MRT). Any reproduction without the author's consent is prohibited.

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