Over the past year you've seen QR codes popping up everywhere: on business cards, billboards, magazine ads and even on your junk mail! QR (Quick Response) codes are simply two dimensional barcodes. With a QR code reader app, these barcodes can be scanned by smartphones and provide a speedy way to share information.

All you need to read a QR code is a smartphone with a QR Reader app. You can download a QR Reader app free from any app store. Once you have the app, scan the QR code as if you were taking a picture of it to display codes message in your phone's browser. It's that simple.

QR codes act as Internet hyperlinks, connecting print media with online media. They tap into the mobile culture and the youth market. They offer an immediate, traceable response mechanism for everything from marketing collateral to magazine advertisements to billboards.

QR codes don't have to look boring. A simple code, such as a url can incorporate a logo or other image into it without breaking the code. A graphic designer can convert those boxes into other shapes like circles or triangles. With this flexibility it's possible to create extremely effective marketing pieces. And they don't have to be black and white either. The important thing is keeping enough contrast between the code and it's background color.

QR Technology Can:
• Link to any web page
• Send a text message
• Send an address book record (vcard)
• Link to a video
• View a map
• Interact with social networking
• Send a promotional web page for introductory offers or coupons

From the perspective of the end user, the Quick Response code is free to use, as are applications used to scan the code into the smartphone. For the business owner, obtaining a QR code is a very high ROI activity, as they are relatively cheap, easy to create and implement, and on the cutting edge of business marketing, meaning that your customers will be highly appreciative of their implementation in your business.

Creative Uses for QR Codes:
• Add a code to your business card that directs people to your website - it could contain a video of you, link to a social media or point to a coupon.
• Add QR codes to various sections of a training manual that directs people to enhanced content on the web.
• In your company literature, add codes directing people to videos, podcasts, or web pages that further discuss the corresponding topic.
• Promote your company's social media pages with a QR code.
• Make it easy for people to see your customer testimonials - add a code to your next newsletter that drives people to an online page of testimonials.
• Doing live events? By placing a QR Code on name tags, you can share information about upcoming events.
• Put a code on product packaging; which can link to a welcome video, congratulating them on their purchase and telling them what to do first.
• Make it easy for people to order more of your products. Put codes on labels, boxes, and other packaging materials that direct them to online shopping pages.
• Speaking or presenting at a conference? Include a code in your handout so people can learn more about you and your company.
• Connect your printed newsletter with online material - enable people to easily get additional information about your business online.
• Build your marketing database - include a code on your printed materials that enable people to sign up for email or SMS alerts.

Make sure that your customer base is educated about Quick Response codes and that the website that you send them to is mobile friendly.

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