QR Codes — those funny looking black and white square images you are seeing more and more in newspaper and magazine ads — can be a powerful, low-cost marketing tool for local businesses in Northern Virginia — if you know how to use them to drive traffic to your business and motivate more people to buy what you are selling.
These 2D Bar Codes let your customers and prospects access and view your business information online in new, fun and engaging ways.
Smart Phone Usage is Exploding:
QR Codes Help You Tap This Market
As you can see from the graphic to the left,cell phones now outnumber computers 3:1. No doubt you have used your own cell phone to locate and call local businesses when you are on the run and away from your computer.
The skyrocketing use of mobile phones for local search is the reason why you need to get a QR Code for your business as soon as possible. It’s easier than you might think!
Creative Ways to Boost Income With QR Codes
Once you have your own QR code, you can immediately start sending customers and prospects to:
- Downloadable coupons
- A sign-up form for your email subscriber list
- A landing page with a video describing a special benefit you offer
- Your Facebook business page with an invitation to like your page to access special deals
- Customer reviews online (your Google Places page, Yelp reviews, Foursquare page, etc.)
- Restaurant menus
- Any page online that will draw people into your sales funnel.
Smart local business owners use QR Codes to a grow their lists of qualified prospects and customers. A good list is worth its weight in gold because:
- You own it and don’t have to pay someone else to rent or use that list for marketing purposes;
- You can send messages, news, announcements and invitations as often as you like to your list to cultivate profitable relationships that can generate more sales and revenue.
You can set up QR codes to link to a web form where customers and prospects can input their names and email addresses in order to receive valuable offers and information from you.
How to Get Started With QR Codes for Your Business
Step 1: Download a QR Code Reader App Onto Your Smart Phone
The “QR” in “QR Codes” stands for “quick response.” A QR code is a 2D bar code that can be scanned (photographed) with a mobile phone, using a QR code reader app. To be able to read QR codes, the customer/viewer must first download a QR Code reader app onto their phones.
It’s easy to download a QR code app; you can do it in a couple of minutes or less by clicking on the ScanLife Download Link here and following the instructions on this page.
Step 2: Set Up A QR Code for Your Business
The next step is to set up one or more QR Codes for your business. We recommend the QR Get Linked service for its ease of use and flexibility. You can click here to see a video demonstrating how the QR Get Linked system works.
QR Code Success Tips
Our first QR code success tip for local businesses is to add your QR Codes to all your print advertising and print marketing materials
There is no limit to the creative ways you can use QR codes. You can put them on your:
- business cards
- newspaper and magazine ads
- and any other print materials you use to promote or advertise your business.
Your goal is to get more people to:
- join your mailing list
- download a coupon or special offer
- view a video explaining the benefits of doing business with you
- find out more about your business or do something else that makes their interaction with you easy and enjoyable.
Do This, Don’t Do That
Do print your QR code on your business cards, brochures and fliers to hand out at conferences and build your email list.
Don’t use QR codes in your email newsletters. When your customers, prospects and email newsletter subscribers are already online, it’s much easier for them to click a text link to get to and view your online content. It doesn’t make sense to invite your email newsletter readers to scan a code when they can more easily click on a text link inside your email newsletter.
Offline, QR codes make sense and enhance your customers’ experience. Online, they’re a hassle. The best places to use QR codes are in venues when you want to give customers easy access to your online information with the help of their mobile phones.
How Real Businesses Are Using QR Codes
Stay tuned for our next article where we will share case examples illustrating how local businesses just like yours are using QR Codes to grow sales and revenues.
Yvonne Herbst helps local businesses in the Northern Virginia area and all around the United States grow sales and revenue with smart online marketing tools and strategies. She is an Expand2Web Expert Local Business Marketing Consultant specializing in wordpress website development, email marketing, blogging, and social media marketing for local businesses. Yvonne also created and publishes WarrentonFavorites, an online directory to local businesses serving Warrenton and Fauquier County, Virginia.