Pundits and prognosticators are touting QR codes as a “big thing” for this year. I noted the possibilities more than two years ago. The price of being ahead of my time, I suppose.
There are legitimate questions concerning the technology’s adoption rate (see What Are QR Codes And Should You Use Them?). But the overall trend is definitely up.
The benefits of the technology are easy to see. Access to web-ready mobile devices puts the Internet at the finger tips of ever more users. But it’s still a chore to use those tiny keyboards to type in long URLs. That’s where QR codes come in. Just point your mobile phone at the black and white square and voila, up pops a website. The key point is that QR codes seamlessly integrate offline with online. (See QR codes bridge real life with cyberspace.)
Anytime you’d want someone to access a website when they’re not at a computer, is a good use for a QR code. This is especially applicable to bricks and mortar businesses.
So how can you use QR codes for fun or for profit? ReadWriteWeb summed up five ways small businesses can use QR codes (e.g., put it on your business card). Another idea applicable to most business is to link your QR code to the subscribe page for your emailing list (see Grow Your Email Marketing List Using QR Codes).
There have been a plethora of similar articles on the general benefits of QR codes for small businesses. But there are few industry-specific ideas out there. Here are some concrete ideas for what small businesses in specific sectors can do with QR codes and the benefits:
- On menus to provide nutritional and other information. BENEFIT: Saves time for waitstaff to tell the customer, increases customer turnaround time.
- On outside menus to offer specials and links to online reviews of your restaurant. BENEFIT: Encourages conversion once a prospect is at your storefront.
- On posters and billboards in your local area to provide a map to your restaurant. BENEFIT: This can synch with the users mobile map app to provide directions to your restaurant on the fly.
- On listing sign outside properties. BENEFIT: provides your listing info on a web page, uploads your contact info onto a prospect’s mobile phone and eliminates the need to keep replacing house brochures, thereby reducing visits per sale.
- On house brochures. BENEFIT: In case the prospect does not access the QR code on the listing sign and provides more info than available on the house brochure.
Clickbrix offers a turnkey solution for a base fee of $25 per month.
- On instore product labels (this was implemented by Best Buy last year). BENEFIT: provides additional product info, allowing more staff time to spend on closing a sale rather than answering the same questions over and over. Opportunity to link to online coupons to motivate a sale.
- On a billboard outside your store front. BENEFIT: Engages a prospect and can link to coupons, store and product reviews to encourage store entry.
- In the waiting room to provide patients information about the practice. BENEFIT: provides another point of contact for the patient, reduces waiting room boredom, increasing patient satisfaction and loyalty.
- Use on printed materials to link to your webpage. BENEFIT: Provides additional information about your practice and specialty area. For example dentists could provide “before and after” images of restorative work.
Authors and writers
- On the cover of your book or next to your print article to provide additional content. BENEFIT: Adds value to your product since readers are looking for information on your book or article topic
- On your book cover, link the QR code to an online coupon to motivate potential buyers with a discount. BENEFIT: Increase sales (what more could you want?!)
Additional resources and articles
- Creating Engagement with QR Codes
- HOW TO: Use QR Codes for Small Business Marketing
- QR Codes for Ad Agency New Business
* Apologies to business guru Robert Townsend who inspired the title with his axiom “…if you’re not in business for fun or profit, what the hell are you doing there?”