QR Codes are Cool But…

QR Code - 800biz.comQR codes, those squiggly bar codes, are beginning to appear in print articles, on business cards, in newspapers and even online. But what are they and how do they work?

QR stands for Quick Response. They are 2 dimensional matrix barcodes whose popularity is on the rise with the growth of smartphones. Most phones can download an app like Scanlife that is used to read these barcodes and take the action embedded in the code. The code can direct the user to a web site, video, text message, email link, phone number, social media site, YouTube video, Google map or even a PayPal Buy Now link.

So how do you create this magical code? It’s so easy a caveman can do it (sorry Geico). Google QR Code generator and you will find several. (I’ve used www.qrstuff.com).  You select the type of link you want to create, enter the URL, email or phone number you want to connect to and watch the code created on the spot.  Right click the code and save  to your computer (or click the download link to do the same.)  That’s it.  You’re ready to go.

But before you jump in and create your code, let’s think the process through.  A friend of mine recently showed me his new business card with his QR code on the back, so I pulled out my Droid, opened Scanlife and scanned the back of his card.  It popped up a window with his email and phone number.  Very nice BUT…that’s the same information as  on the front of the card.  So I pulled out my card, scanned my QR code and up popped a mobile landing page with links to my web site, an email capture form attached to an auto-responder and my YouTube video introduction.

Comparing my card to his, my business card has now become a multimedia, lead generation tool.  But again, before you jump in and create a YouTube video and attach that to your QR code, hold on.  Once you create your QR code, it can’t be changed.  You’re either stuck with it or you have to create a new one.  But how long is it going to take you to use 1000 business cards?  And how long to you think your cards will be held on to by your clients and prospects?  What happens when you message becomes outdated?  Or you shoot a killer video that will convert prospects to clients by the dozens?   Oh well, too bad.

My solution (believe me I learned the hard way too) was to create a landing page that my QR code points to.  Now I can change the content of my landing page as often as I want.  Shoot a new video, no problem.  Have a special that I want to showcase, piece of cake.  The QR code link stays the same, but the content changes at will.

Take advantage of the technology, take advantage of growing number of smart phone and put your print media to work for you.

Gary Wagnon and 800biz.com Online Marketing Solutions specializes in helping small to medium size businesses to drive traffic to their door through web site design, search engine optimization, text message marketing and social media marketing and coaching.  Gary is also the co-founder of SocialMediaLab, an online education and training program to help business owners master social media.

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Baby Boomer Are Riding the Text Messaging Bus

For the first time in the last 50 years, baby boomers are no longer driving the bus when it comes to marketing. We’ve been relegated to the back seat.

driving the bus

Since the 1950′s the baby boomer generation has dictated what happened in advertising, marketing and even products. In the 50′s, Gerber baby food exploded onto the market to feed us all. In the 60′s, there was toys and music; the 70′s brought a boom to the automobile business. In the 80′s it was the housing market. The 90′s saw the personal computer. And in the 21st century it’s been healthcare and health related products, because we all want to stave off getting older.

Over that period of time, Madison Avenue advertisers geared their message to us. But the new marketing strategies are now being driven by the Gen X and Gen. Y groups, especially the Gen Y. You can’t go into any restaurant, mall, movie theater or any other public place without seeing someone with their eyes glued to their phone, with thumbs flying across it, text messaging.

Mobile marketing or text message marketing, is fast becoming the new dot com of the 21st century. The most valuable 4 inches of real estate on the planet are in our hands everyday. No one leaves home without their cell phone and it’s never very far from our reach. Studies show 90% of text messages are read, with 85% of those within five minutes of the time they are received.

mobile-phoneThe power of text messaging, to be able to deliver a message to customers or clients that have opted in to receive them, has staggering potential. Imagine a restaurant sending a text with their daily lunch special at 1130 in the morning, just about time you’re trying to decide where to go for lunch. Do you think that would have an effect?

Today most businesses try to capture the e-mail address so they can communicate with their customers or clients. But with the volume of spam we all received, e-mails get lost in the clutter. Plus an e-mail might not get read for hours or even days later. But the text message of the special that’s going on right this minute is delivered instantaneously to customers that want receive them. Having a slow day? Text an instant special and see what the results are!

So while baby boomers may not be driving the bus of text messaging, more and more are strapped in and riding along. After all it’s about the only way we can communicate with our kids and grandkids.

Gary Wagnon and his company, 800biz.com, specialize in online marketing solutions designed to help small and medium-size businesses compete in today’s economy. The newest service offered by 800 biz is a mobile text messaging platform centered around the short code 90210.

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