How to use QR Codes in Online Marketing

Added 31.03.11

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, it's more than likely that you've noticed QR Codes popping up all over the city – on flyers, posters, billboards and stickers. These curious squares of encrypted information are not just for the adventurous advertiser any more either. QR Codes are the newest gimmick in the online marketing tool kit so it's high time you understood exactly what they are and how they can benefit the popularity of your business and boost traffic to your website.

QR Codes have spread to Australia from Japan where they first originated and are already a common online marketing tactic. QR is an acronym for Quick Response, which refers to the fact that the two-dimensional bar codes, containing text or URLS, can be scanned and read immediately by a smart phone or camera phone. The QR code is deciphered by the phone which in turn reveals the encrypted message or URL.

When considering QR Codes for an online marketing strategy, it's good to know that they are no ordinary bar code. Although they're generally just the size of a small square, they can store and digitally transmit a large amount of data such as geographical coordinates, website links and complex text – all of which can be simply and quickly scanned and understood with a smart phone.

The curiosity generated by this new medium, the speed at which information can be transmitted, as well as the increasingly widespread use of smart phones are just a few reasons why QR Codes are a tactic definitely worth exploiting in online marketing. As can be observed in Japan, this is a trend that is likely to continue to grow in popularity and one that can be used in the online marketing of businesses in a variety of innovative ways.

QR Codes can be added to traditional business cards, providing easy access to your contact details and an immediate method of saving them to a mobile phone, or they can be added to a brochure or pamphlet advertising a new product and offer a discount or free sample coupon. Other ways in which QR Codes can be used in online marketing include adding them to all newspaper advertising, posters, mail-outs and flyers to quickly and concisely transmit information regarding anything from Facebook URLs, product details, even invites, and contact information to YouTube video links and competition details.

These are just a few of the ways that QR Codes are already used in online marketing – who knows how their use may develop and expand in the future. Only one thing's for certain: no business is too large or too small to ignore the possibilities that QR Codes offer in their online marketing efforts.