QR Codes and You

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:



My USPS Blues

Generally, I think the US Postal Service does a pretty good job. We still rely on it for some things, especially for checks to arrive. But lately I have had a series of P.O. failures.

It began when a couple of checks that clients said they had mailed never arrived. After going back and forth with them and arranging alternate payment, I thought to look in the empty suite next to ours. Sure enough there where the checks, along with several other days mailbagworth of mail. Now granted, we used to occupy that suite, it was connected to our current office through an inner door. But we hadn’t been in that room for over a year. It had its own suite number and all the mail had clearly been addressed to Suite 8.

Most recently, in the process of moving out of the building altogether, I tried unsuccessfully to submit a change of address at http://usps.com which is what they tell you to do now even if you physically go in to the post office. At the end of the form process they  ask for a credit card that is associated with the address we are leaving. Each time I tried to use our company credit card it failed. The website claimed it couldn’t verify the card was associated with the address.

So, I went to the next step: Printing the information from the web page and mailing to the main local post office on Clark St. This was over 2 weeks ago. As of yesterday, they hadn’t started forwarding mail. I went in to the Clark St. office and discovered they had never received the form! So, I filled out yet another form. They assured me that mail would start to get forwarded today. But while we were in the office cleaning up and moving things out, there was the letter carrier with another check to be delivered.

Is it any wonder that electronic payments are taking over and the USPS is losing money? It’s not just email that’s killing snail mail. It’s the whole antiquated, almost quaint use of paper in its many forms. We can’t seem to give away our fax/copier/scanner. Watch out Dunder Mifflin. Your days are numbered.

Personally I can’t wait for payments by smartphone.