When QR Codes started showing up in magazines a year or so ago I thought they were a gimmick. I still think, for the most part, they are. After all, why not just have a URL that can be typed in to a browser either on your computer or mobile browser?

But the discussion of QR Codes has come up with a couple clients recently so I thought I’d take a closer look at what’s being done with them. Apparently, they are cropping up everywhere. And as the use of smartphones continues to grow, they may be around for quite some time – or at least some form of what this writer calls ‘Real World Hyperlinking’ will be.A phone

In case you don’t know, QR Codes are those ugly little squares with odd squiggles on them that, with a QR Code reader you can quickly scan and be taken to some resource on the web, read a message, get a phone number and have your phone call it and so on. They are easy to make and place in email, on the web, in print ads or business cards.

But what’s the real value proposition? There are a couple really basic ideas that make QR Codes worth implementing:

  1. With the increase use of smartphones and free QR Code reader apps, you can give mobile users a quick way to connect with you. Once you have the app on your phone, it’s so easy to point it at a QR Code instead of typing in a web address. Convenience and speed are the language of the mobile world.
  2. There is something fun about pointing your phone at a QR Code and finding out what lies behind it. And if a business or organization puts something special behind it it’s a great opportunity to engage with that potential client or customer. As the article linked above states:

“While it’s just as simple to look up information on the mobile web, savvy businesses are realizing that one of the main benefits of a QR code campaign is to provide their mobile customers with instantaneous access to something that is unique and can’t be accessed in another way.”

So don’t just point your QR Codes to your home page. Make something special, either a web landing page or a mobile mini-site and offer something special like unique information, a special video, discount codes, or a contest.

Want to get started with QR Codes? Here are some resources:

Are you using QR Codes in your marketing? Here’s one I created: