By: Karen McNeill, Sr. Marketing Consultant, The Spectrum Services Group
Customers have changed. I would bet that every one of your customers has a cell phone and most of them live, eat and breathe by it. One of the great topics being discussed today is how marketers will connect with their customers using mobile technology. With the success of the iPhone and thousands of applications, there really is a huge opportunity for growing business using mobile marketing space. One trend that seems to be gaining pace in the mobile world is QR codes.
The graphic to the left is called a QR code. This technology comes to us from Japan where they are commonly used. QR Codes can be read using a scanner capable of reading a QR Code. It is used to take information and put it on your cell phone or other device. In this example above, when the QR code is scanned by the phone, the information can be saved as a new contact in the phone and/or can dial the number.
QR Codes are more useful than a standard barcode because they store (and digitally present) much more data, including URL links and text. The other key feature of QR Codes is that many modern cell phones, used by your customers, can scan them. Anyone with a smart phone who can download apps (ie: iPhone, Blackberry, etc) can search for and download a free QR Code scanner.
How can QR Codes Benefit Search Marketing?
The sky is really the limit on using QR Codes. Companies are using them in many different ways such as:
- Adding one to every business listing in local and online directory’s
- Printed collateral such as a brochure, sales kit or even a newsletter
- Including in email signatures
- Measuring customer loyalty – QR Loyalty: The Restaurant Industry’s Most Impactful Trend In 2011? Self-Serve Loyalty Programs Via SmartPhone1
Will Google see QR Codes?
According to a great blog on http://www.searchengineland.com 2, if you add QR Codes to your website, the search engines will see that your pages have changed, and that you are updating pages. The search engine will see a new image and index it accordingly. At some point soon, the search engines will likely recognize QR codes and possibly index the content in them.
Are QR Codes here to stay?
Every time new technology hits the marketplace there is a question of whether it will stick or not. At one time, not too many years ago question marks arose about Social Media Sites being beneficial and look where they are now.
Nevertheless, QR Codes are being tested and used now by a growing number of companies. Some concerns include the simple fact that the range of browsers, phones, and service providers make mobile marketing a mess at this point. Then there’s the issue of whether or not QR codes are meaningful for consumers. If the QR Code does not provoke interest or excitement from people in the early stages of this technology tool, adoption could lag.
The key to using the QR Code as a marketing tool is going to rely heavily on how it can uniquely use the mobile space to add value in the world of your industry. Customers have not changed. They are still listening to the WIIFM station (What’s In It For Me?). So, if you decide to hop aboard the QR Code train, know what direction you’re headed and make sure the destination is a place where customers will want to land. As for The Spectrum Services Group, we have just begun using QR Codes. In fact, if you scan the QR Code below you may just find a sweet holiday gift from our company to yours.
1 QR Loyalty: The Restaurant Industry’s Most Impactful Trend In 2011? Self-Serve Loyalty Programs Via SmartPhone
2 http://www.searchengineland.com what-is-a-qr-code-and-why-do-you-need-one-27588