Are you starting to notice more of those square boxes that look a little like a small crossword puzzle? Do you wonder what they are or what they do? Would you like to unlock the secret like a modern day Indiana Jones? Do you think they might be helpful to you in marketing your business?
Smartphone users can download applications to their phones that can read these codes. I have several different readers on my iPhone, so when I’m shopping in a store and trying to decide whether I am going to buy a new product, I’ll pull out my phone and scan the QR code to get more information about the product before I decide to buy it. The next time you are shopping in a store, observe how shoppers use QR codes and think of ways you might incorporate them into your marketing plans.
The last time we talked about mobile marketing and touched on QR codes so this time I want to spend more time talking about how QR codes were developed and what you can do with them. QR is short for quick response and these codes are a great way to generate attention for your business and an even better way to get information in to the hands of your customers on an as needed basis. Toyota invented the QR code in 1994 to track vehicle progress during the manufacturing process. Since then, QR codes have morphed into excellent direct response tools because of the instant feedback you can get on the number of times customers have scanned your code.
Companies are beginning to use QR codes to market themselves, their products, and use them to get great feedback into what people really want when they shop. Could this valuable data help you with your marketing efforts? Could it be beneficial to send an instant message to a customer who scanned one of your codes?
Try being the first one in your market to use QR codes effectively. If you are the first, you will certainly get some attention. Write a press release and let the local media know that you are using new technology and that you are the first in your area to implement it and explain why it is such a great idea. You might even have the local TV news station come out and interview you if you have a good enough story.
As small business owners, there are many ways we can use QR codes today. You can add them to print advertising, you can add them to in-store, or window displays. Think about making refrigerator magnets that have your QR code and a logo.
Put one on every furnace you installed or serviced, it could contain your service phone number. Your customer points his or her smartphone at the code, captures it, and instantly your phone number comes up and the screen and he or she calls for service. This makes it easy for your customers and easy for you. In addition, put QR codes on the side and back of your trucks and car. Put it on your business cards the next time you reprint them. You can even display a QR code on a TV commercial, or an invoice. The possibilities are limited only by your own imagination.
Use the QR code to send people to your website or create special offers for anybody who uses your QR code. In addition, you can link QR codes to a page from your website, a page from a manufacturer’s website or to a text message that provides additional information about the product your customer is viewing. The additional uses are just about unlimited. The great thing is they are still relatively new, and if you are one of the few using them, you will create a buzz for your company.
Several months ago, I wrote an article about making your website mobile ready, “Fortifying Your Digital Footprint.” QR codes are one of the reasons to have a mobile compatible website; when you use QR codes and you send smartphone users to your website, you must insure they have a great viewing experience. If you are using QR codes for messages, email addresses, or phone numbers then having a mobile compliant website is not as critical. However, you should still consider it as part of your overall strategy.
QR codes can be a valuable tactic in your marketing arsenal but you should also have a solid strategy for applying these tactics. The benefits for using QR codes are numerous but you have to have everything prepared to take advantage of this tactic. On the back of my book is a QR code that leads to a mobile compliant website that allows a customer place an order from their smart phone to order the book. The key is to make it easy for your customers to do business with you.
My website contains links to all the marketing articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you are interested in pre-purchasing a copy of my new book, Navigating the Marketing Maze, click here. If you need a branding consultation, a complete strategic marketing plan, or help with marketing services, call or send an email to discuss your needs.
Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, and social media strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping companies deliver their message in an ever increasingly crowded market by helping HVAC dealers market themselves with less ($). Contact him at 260-338-4554, [email protected] or visit the Fracica Enterprises, Inc. website.