Image by bernissimo via Flickr

You’ve probably seen them, but don’t know what they are; or if you know what they are, you’re not sure how to actually USE them to benefit your business.

They look like a mix between a barcode and television snow/static and, in  my opinion, they’re one of  the most under-used, affordable marketing tools around.

And, because I want you to have the details you need to market your business effectively (I do, I REALLY do),  I partnered with the good folks at Langton Cherubino to give you some actionable information about this new means of leading your target market directly to your (helpful) content that you want them to read (how cool is that?!).

What the HECK is it?

According to Wikipedia, the mobile barcode or QR code is a specific matrix barcode that is made up of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data. “QR” stands for quick response.

To read a QR code you need to download an app on your smart phone. (Newer phones have QR Code scanners built-in so you don’t need an app.) The phone scans the matrix barcode and directs you to a website, display text or email/texting message. It seems to have a lot of potential and it’s quite popular in Japan, but hasn’t really caught on in the US. And yet, we see more and more of these funny matrix boxes in magazine ads and on websites.

How can you use it?

There are many ways for service businesses to take advantage of QR codes:
1. To provide a direct link to a lead generation tool like a white paper or a free report.
2. To provide a direct link to a brochure (PDF) — and avoid printing costs.
3. To help a video “go viral”
4. Add a “contact” QR code to the back of your business card to automatically have someone add you to their cell phone contact list.

5. Retailers can use QR codes to expand on advertising — you only have so much space on a page/billboard and to give special offers for people smart enough to use those codes — discounts for insiders, invites to in-store events, etc.

Anyone can use a QR code to track a specific marketing/advertising effort.

How can you get your own?

To create your own QR code, use this website: http://goqr.me/

It generates QR codes up to 1000 x 1000 pixels at no cost.

How are you going to start using QR codes in your marketing?


P.S. Want more questions like this one answered? Want more visibility for your business?

Then, ask me your most hot-like-fire social media question and, I’ll give you an answer – live and in color via VIDEO! I’ll mention your name and your website address when I answer the question (anonymous questions are also welcome!) so you get to shine, too!

Head over to Facebook or Twitter and ask me your question.

AvatarLena West

Lena L. West is the leading expert on how women entrepreneurs can monetize social media. She is also the founder of the Influence Expansion Academy, the only social media mastermind program created EXCLUSIVELY for women entrepreneurs.