Take it or Leave it: The 411 on QR Codes

Everyone has seen a Quick Response (QR) Code, but most people don’t know what they are. First let’s get a clear definition:

a QR Code is a machine-readable code comprised of an array of black and white squares generally used for storing URLs and other information. The camera on a smartphone that has a barcode scanner app installed reads QR Codes. According to CBS News smartphone statistics report that over half the adult population in America owns a smartphone and is capable of reading QR Codes. However Forbes reveals that QR Code usage exists in only 17 percent of smartphones in America.
Although QR Codes were developed in 1995 they still have yet to see the light of popularity. But as more businesses embrace this technology, QR Codes are projected to increase in popularity. But those who already know about the existence of QR Codes are asking this question: are QR Codes good for business?

The Pros and Cons

There are a number of reasons why some dislike QR Codes. Many refuse to put them on their marketing materials because they label them “ugly” and claim they distort the brand’s aesthetic appeal and make it look “cheap.” Others refuse to use them because they feel the functionality is too limited. For example, it can be rather difficult for a QR Code to connect a Facebook ID with the end users and provide or track appropriate content. Finally, the user experience is drastically low and many people feel QR Codes are not worth the bother or worth “defacing” their marketing materials.
If used correctly QR Codes can build customer relationships, help with SEO, boost blog traffic, and aid in targeting specific audiences. They are also extremely easy to use and don’t monopolize much time. But before you start developing your QR Codes you need to make sure your website and its content is worthy. When you hire your SEO specialist make sure to communicate your intention to use QR Codes and ask what components should be QR Code readable.

Time

Multiple businesses struggle to get clients to complete surveys regarding products. When handed paper surveys most wind up in the trash and those sent via e-mail find their way into junk mail. However, QR Codes can provide links to surveys that can easily be completed in line at the store, while waiting for a medical appointment or seated at a table in a favorite restaurant.

SEO

QR Codes can add fuel to your SEO fire. When using a social graph stuffed with music clips, images, videos and content a QR Code can enhance your social media and search engine optimization. Traffic can be easily increased to these searchable items through QR Codes as a PLATFORM for encouraging sharing. Even printing a QR Code on the back of your business card that links to a You Tube video posted to your website can enhance visibility and encourage sharing via social sites like Twitter and Facebook that will lead the multitudes to your URL.

Proper Usage

If you decide to implement QR Codes into your marketing endeavors make sure you use them correctly. Nobody is going to scan a QR Code from or on a moving vehicle. This means putting a QR Code on a public bench, a building or on a car is a waste of time and effort. QR Codes also have no place on banners or flags that flap in the breeze making a scan nearly impossible. Business cards, envelopes, letterheads, brochures and articles are acceptable and advantageous places to display QR Codes, if in fact you decide to take them rather than leave them.