In October, we posted an article “QR Codes- a big deal? Precisely.” which was a general introduction to QR codes. If you’re not yet familiar with QR codes, they’re similar to the barcodes used by retailers to track inventory and price products at the point of sale. The key difference between the two is the amount of data they can hold or share. Here is the QR code to Precise Strategy Homepage:
While QR codes are still considered an innovation here in the United States, they’ve been actively used for over a decade in Japan where they were invented. QR is a registered trademark of Denso Wave, which is a subsidiary of Toyota. The reason for their widespread use is that Denso Wave has elected not to exercise their patent rights of QR.
There are several other software companies that have created 2D type codes that work much like QR codes. Of course Microsoft is likely the most noteworthy. Microsoft developed their own proprietary software to create codes known as MS tags. However, unlike QR codes, which can be read by a number of different readers, MS tags can only be read by the Microsoft Tag Reader. Here is the same example as a Microsoft Tag.
Whether you choose to use QR codes or MS tags is a really an individual choice. It looks as if MS tags presently allow for more possibilities for creative graphic designs, such as incorporating images and logos into the tag. Nevertheless, those capabilities have to be weighed against the reach and ease of use of open-source QR codes.
These QR and other two-dimensional (2D) codes can be quickly integrated into your business marketing practices to carry your online content to a mobile audience in real time. Have a look at the video below to refresh your memory regarding some uses and history.
Although we discussed this at some length in our previous article, let’s review some ways for using QR codes that are mostly in practice now.
What can you use QR or MS Tags for…
- Share your business URL to take users directly to your site
- Valuable coupons and special offers
- Recommendations for complementary products and services
- Link to social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Namesake, Foursquare etc
- Newspaper/Magazine Articles: Making your voice heard and allowing comments in print media is a hard task. However, at the end of each article in newspaper and magazine, you can print the QR code to make them go to the URL of the article and help them to make comments on the online article and make them more engaging.
- Newspaper/Magazine Articles: If your are advertising in a newspaper or magazine, wouldn’t it be nice if you can show your newspaper audience a video advert in your mobile website? You can do this with QR Codes.
- Installation instructions
- Customer feedback forms
- Send out v-cards
- Share assets – images, videos, other media
- Sources for replacement parts and service
- Share your address for instant directions
The process for hiring your professional services
- Free mp3 downloads
- Accept Paypal payments
I’d be here all day if I listed all the uses that come to mind. There are so many creative ways to use these it’s ridiculous other than the cut and dry ones I mentioned above. Use your creativity in making your print media audience visit your site.
Where you can use QR or MS Tags…
- Convention and event nametags
- Restaurant menus for coupons
- Event ticket stubs
- Billboard: You can direct people to a site or shop via QR Code on a billboard…make sure it is not on an expressway.
- The back (or front and back) of your business card
- Newspaper/Magazine Ads
- Various other print media
- Your brochures and other marketing materials
- The sides of trucks and trailers
- T-Shirts and Promotional Souvenirs
- Product tags and packaging
- Point-of-sale receipts.
How you can you maximize your success with QR or MA Tags…
- Alleviate the fears of the non-technical
- Give reasons to come back
- Test modifying the size, location, and color of your QR codes
- If you are using coupon codes, make sure they are properly working
- Study your analytics
- Test your QR code to see whether it is working properly using various QR Code readers and on various devices and also make sure it can be tracked in your web analytics tool.
- Provide explanations about their use and benefits
- Encourage actions that support your marketing plan
- Make the process fun, such as a games
- Test and experiment with different programs and split tests…be creative.
The possibilities for QR Codes and Tags are unlimited. I think we can certainly predict that the current social media experience will be enhanced. The subsequently generation of barcodes will hold yet more information, so much information that an Internet connection will not even be needed. The content will be for practical purposes embedded in the code. It’s really incredible to consider where this can go.
In the next post we will talk about ideas to help you get started building your QR code or MS Tag strategy and look at a couple of applications.
Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with Jerry on Google+.