First created back in 1994 for the tracking of automobiles whilst still in their manufacturing stages, the QR Code or Quick Response Code is a type of matrix barcode that is today being exploited to its potential in the advertising of countless products, services and initiatives worldwide. The QR Code can be scanned by a smart phone, and depending on its content the code may direct the user to a website, a video, make a phone call, open an email and more. The impact of QR Codes is fairly recent with many people still unfamiliar with this code or not in possession of a smartphone. Yet, as QR Codes are beginning to appear more and more in traditional advertising, these barcodes may well be the next big thing for website advertising. Users do not need to remember a URL or even the name of a company, they can simply see the QR Code, scan it, and are taken directly to the relevant content.
For small businesses and entrepreneurs, QR Codes can be utilised in a variety of ways, from the creative to the daring, with varying degrees of success. QR Codes are becoming increasingly popular on business cards, menus, posters and print advertisements, food and product packaging labels, shop fronts and billboards, however there are countless more ways to utilise this new marketing tool.
QR Codes have been used to create content-rich CVs, by adding a QR Code that links to a video in which the person can speak more about themselves, their work and experiences, instantly elevating them from the competition. These codes have also been used in Japan, where a company has implemented them onto gravestones to link to relevant websites where certain information about the life of a deceased family member or friend can be viewed. These websites contain videos, text, photos and users can visit their cherished memories as often as they wish. Messages from mourners can even be left in a virtual guestbook.
For perhaps the less serious advertiser, the QR Code has been utilised on every type of product, from dog tags to tattoos and even clothing. A particular clothing company is using these QR Codes to connect its clients by allowing them to link to each other’s Facebook Pages, blogs and other social networking sites, however perhaps the idea of taking pictures of strangers has its potential risks.
For SEO and SEM purposes the QR Code provides plenty of new avenues for increasing traffic to your website and pages, and encourages rapid sharing of music videos, photos, blogs, news items and plenty more.QR Codes can offer limitless potential for small businesses, particularly when they provide Calls to Action. A QR Code can link to various landing pages to special offers, promotional videos and other community-inspiring applications. A QR Code can even be created to a fully functioning ‘Like’ button, where users can join your Page instantly. Sharing is quick and easy, and can be accomplished in one click. From a single QR Code users can access your Facebook Page, Facebook App, website, and can even contact you directly. QR Codes can link to specific blog posts which may be more active than others, constantly strengthening your social circle.
Below are some examples of the versatility of QR Codes:
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