How QR codes can generate leads for your business

So you bought that red Honda Accord, and now everyone’s got one? That’s what I feel like when it comes to QR codes. They’re getting more and more prolific. Every catalog, every direct mail piece and a fair amount of print ads include them.So what are QR codes? How can you use them for your business and, most importantly, why should you care?QR codes are “Quick Response” codes, a barcode made up of black square modules on a white background that is readable by dedicated QR readers.QR codes have been made popular by their association with smartphones. Basically, you have an app on your smartphone that scans the code for its underlying data — usually text or a URL.A QR code must be linked somewhere. What I mean is it really is a “chicken before the egg” thing. The chicken is the Web page, the piece of content, or the phone number the code is linked to. Without having the Web page, content or phone number first, you really don’t have a QR code.The most practical use of QR codes (in my humble but accurate opinion) is to place them in your print marketing. Here’s an example.I finished up a sales letter today. In the “call to action,” I had the following: “Call me at 603-286-4864 to find out more, or go online to or scan this code with your smartphone.” Then I had the QR code right there for the scanning. For some promotions, I have added an even stronger call to action: “Scan this code now and register right from your smartphone and you’ll get an additional two FREE Weeks!”Other creative uses of QR codes: • T-shirts • Your front door for missed walk-ins • Signs where foot traffic is good • Tattoos (great for Bike Week) • Fliers • Postcards • BiosThe worst of all sinsI see this all the time and it’s sad. The greatest mistake you can make with QR codes is NOT sending them to a mobile-optimized Web page. Too many businesses are jumping into QR codes without doing their homework. You have to assume the individual who scans your code will be viewing your site on a small screen. Their connection speed won’t be as fast as it would if they were on their laptop.What does this mean? It means the excited prospect who scanned your code is now unexcited because your “desktop site” does not look good and does not display well on the small screen. The lesson? You need to have your QR codes linked to mobile sites or mobile landing pages. When you do, you’re more likely to keep the prospect engaged.Where do you get QR Codes?There are a bunch of QR code generators out there, and they are free, but there are services, like mine, that help you use your QR codes as part of an overall mobile marketing strategy.As time goes by, QR codes will become more common. More and more of your prospects will look for them. Start using them now and get some “quick response” and quick jump on your competition.Mike Dolpies, co-owner of and Internet & Mobile Marketing Company, is co-creator of Mobile Marketing CMS a software program to build mobile websites. He can be reached at 603-286-4864. Scan this code for more info.