Decoding QR Codes: What’s a QR Code and How Can My Business Use One?

August 9, 2012

What is a QR code?

You’ve probably seen a QR code on an ad in the pages of your favorite magazine, the back of your cereal box, or maybe even the digital boarding pass for your last flight. QR, or “quick response,” codes resemble barcodes and, like a barcode, they can be quickly scanned to access information. Unlike barcodes, however, they can store almost unlimited amounts of data and can be used for many different functions. The primary function of a QR code is linking to digital content. Most often they are used to link to a company’s website. They can also be used to direct potential customers to join a mailing list, “like” a Facebook page or follow the company on Twitter.

How do I get one?

There are a number of free QR code generators available online. One of the more popular websites is BeQRious. Different websites have different features. Some generators are very basic and will only allow you to perform simple functions such as embedding a URL. Other websites will give you the capability to embed a text message, YouTube video, or even a map giving directions to your business.

How does it work?

After creating your QR code potential customers can then scan the code using their mobile phone. Some mobile operating systems (such as Android) have their own QR reader app, for example in Android’s case Google Goggles. For other devices, such as the iPhone, there are a number of 3rd party apps available. Some popular QR code readers are i-nigma by 3GVision and QR Code Reader and Scanner by ShopSavvy.

How can I use QR codes to help promote my business?

QR codes can be used on business cards, brochures, advertisements, and other marketing collateral. They can direct visitors to a landing page in order to respond to an offer or sign up for more information. By strategically using QR codes you can increase traffic to your website, generate more leads, and thereby increase your potential for growth.

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