QR codes for your Michigan business. Part 1: What is a QR code anyway?

Charles Daniels - Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ajac Web Design Facebook QR CodeUnless you've been living under a rock you've more than likely seen the strange square shaped bar codes that are popping up all over the place.  Those are Quick Response Codes, colloquially referred to as QR Codes.  You can find them now on everything from billboards to your Doritos taco packaging and if used properly they can give your Michigan business a serious shot in the on-line marketing arm.

This is the first in a three part series of blog posts on what QR codes are and how they can be used by your Michigan business.
  • Part 1 will explain how to use a QR code and go over some of the basics of what they can do.
  • Part 2 will  discuss the different uses of a QR code for marketing.
  • Part 3 we will go into advanced QR code usage.
So without further ado, let's dive into these QR codes:

Title entry for using a QR code

Just like a bar code a QR code needs to be scanned to be interpreted.  To do so you will need a smart phone with a QR Reader app installed on it.  QR codes are a hot ticket right now in the marketing world and there are plenty of free apps available for download.  Just visit your app store and either search for 'QR Reader' or simply scroll through the most popular free apps and you will be able to find one easily. Once you have downloaded and installed it activate it on your phone.  It will use the camera function to scan the bar code and decipher what is hidden within.  If you scan the code above and choose to execute the command you will be taken to the ajac Web Design Facebook fan page.  Feel free to like us while you're there!  The more decorative blue code at the top with the state of Michigan in the middle will also take you to the same web address.  We will go into more detail on customizing QR codes in the third installment of the series. Alright, you can now read and explain to someone how to set their smart phones to read codes.  Now what exactly can these QR codes do?  Their basic functions include:
  • Direct the person scanning to a website
  • Send an e-mail to a specific address
  • Insert a phone number that is a click away from being called
  • Add a phone contact
  • Instruct to send a text message
  • Show a map to a specified location
  • Place orders and make payments
At first glace the list above may seem to not be very beneficial in your on-line marketing campaign.  However when you start to realize that sending someone to a website can be a direction to your Facebook fan page, Twitter account, a promotional video, coupon page, or your newsletter sign up all by a quick scan on their phone you begin to see the viable applications that are available to you. Coupled with the alarming growth rate of QR code use and you can be in on the virtual ground floor of the next Facebook/Twitter like movement.  Quick stats:
  • QR code use increased by over 1600% in 2010
  • QR code use increased by over 4500% in 2011
All the large companies have embraced QR advertising.  The applications and uses for it increase every day.  The great thing about the technology though is that it is just as viable for a small business as it is for the titans of the industry.  The reason for their rapid growth rate can be summed up in two easy answers:
  1. They're incredibly easy to use
  2. They're actually a lot of fun
When you're at the movie theater and everyone is staring blankly at a movie poster that has a QR code in the corner it feels good to whip out your smart phone and scan it to reveal the hidden meaning.  Much of the viral marketing done by the new Prometheus movie coming out this summer was done with hidden QR codes that when scanned took you to secret video trailers showing teasers. As more and more people become aware of the technology the uses and trust associated with them will continue to grow.  As you can see with the custom QR code at the top of the post with the state of Michigan proudly displayed in the middle the possibilities are endless. In the next post on QR codes for your Michigan business we will go in-depth on different ways you can use them in your on-line and off-line marketing campaigns. Please check back soon and if you have any questions you'd like answered drop us a comment and let us know. By Charles Daniels