You may have asked yourself “What are those funny little black boxes on magazine ads, billboards, and store displays?”  They’re called QR Codes.

QR Codes are similar to the barcodes used on product packaging, but they can contain a lot more data, enough for web links and even your personal contact info.  Smartphone users can use their cameras and an app like Google Goggles for Android or QR Reader for iPhone

QR Codes have been actively used for over a decade in Japan, but have just recently taken off in the US with the increasing popularity of smartphones.

What are some ways that you can use QR Codes for your business?

  • Use a QR Code to link to your Facebook page to encourage “Likes” or to your Yelp page to encourage favorable reviews.
  • Add a QR Code to product packaging to link consumers to your product’s web page.  You have a limited amount of space on your product packaging, but you can add every bit of information that your customer could want to your website.
  • Include a QR code on your business card (or event nametag) that links to your contact details or your company’s homepage.
  • On your restaurant’s menu, include a QR Code that links to your alternate menus with nutrition information, off-menu items and specials, recommendations, or downloadable menus for take-out.

The uses for QR Codes are practically endless, but here are a few things to keep in mind when using QR Codes:

  • Keep your audience in mind.  People who have smartphones use QR Codes.  If your customers are unlikely to have smartphones, or are in an environment where it’s hard to take a photo, don’t use a QR Code.
  • Make sure your content is available to users who don’t have access to a smartphone.  QR Codes should be used to make access easier, but there should be other ways to get your content.