Marketing “Quick Response”: QR Codes, The New Sexy…

What happens when you hold your iPhone up and click THIS?

Are you capitalizing on the sexy little bit of free Techie gadgetry that’s all the rage? Welcome to Techie Tuesday with a post about QR Codes!

I know, I know…QR just doesn’t sound sexy and, unless you’re more the nerdy type, “code” probably doesn’t either. But QR Codes are getting me hot these days. Seriously.

QR Codes are one of the EASIEST marketing tricks you’re not taking advantage of, especially if you’re a self-published author or a small business person.

Click here for the other 8 no-to-low cost social media tips I gave a few weeks ago and sit back to bask in the warmth of a new piece of technology fun that doesn’t cost a thing!

What is a QR Code?

QR stands for Quick Response and was created by the automotive industry to help track vehicles during the manufacturing process. How is this sexy, Jenny? you might be thinking…

Well, I’ll tell you. A QR Code is a barcode that stores a web address of your choosing. If you scan the one above, you’ll go to my About Page where I left you a little message. There are free apps available in both the Android and the iPhone that let you scan a QR code to quickly go to a website.

Note: To scan the code, you’ll need an app like QR Scanner [iTunes link] for the iPhone and iPod touch, or ShopSavvy for Android devices.

Uses for QR Codes…just think about this, folks:

  • QR Codes are being used at grocery stores to give you recipes and nutritional information for products you’re buying in the store.
  • To give you coupons, both in-store and on the internet.
  • On business cards, signs and brochures. A simple little barcode allows you to give the info you need to on the card or sign and, with a single click, also help the person to visit the webpage of your choice.
  • On clothing labels (Macy’s and other retailers are already using this) to tell you about that item and others you may like in the store.
  • On anything with packaging, to push people to a website, Facebook or review page.

Why couldn’t my self-published and indie author friends use this on the front or back covers of their books, or hidden as Easter eggs in the pages? Ex: Click here to get a free short story, or to submit a review, or to sign up for my monthly newsletter. The possibilities are ENDLESS.

Are you juiced up yet? Cause I am.

Can I get a QR Code of my very own?

But of course! There are tons of free spots to generate a QR code. Bit.ly and Social Oomph are the two I use the most often.

To use Bit.ly:

  • Visit bit.ly, write or paste in a URL address, click “Shorten,” and add .qr to the end of the generated bit.ly link (like so: http://bit.ly/tm90xj.qr).
  • Copy the modified link into a new browser window to view the QR code.
  • Once you see the code on your screen, you can print it out, send to your friends via e-mail, post on your blog, etc.

To use Social Oomph:

  • You need to sign up for a free account, whereas for Bit.ly, you could sign in with Twitter (but it still asks for your email address).
  • Once you’re signed in, l00k at the left navigation bar – “Shorten URL” is the fourth choice from the top.
  • Click the Shorten URL shortcut and type or paste the address in to the “Long URL” box and click the Shorten button.
  • There’s a box that says QR Code – copy the link out of there and follow all the same steps as above in the Bit.ly example.

From Wikipedia: Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader application can scan the image of the QR code to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a web page in the telephone’s browser. This act of linking from physical world objects is termed hardlinking or object hyperlinking. Click here for more details than you probably want on how to work QR Codes.🙂

UPDATE: In the last few weeks since I wrote this post, viruses have targeted QR Codes here and there. That doesn’t mean they aren’t safe but, just like email, watch where you click. More details here on how to avoid viruses.

Does this give you any new marketing ideas for your books, businesses or advertising? Are you already using QR Codes? What has your experience been? Enquiring minds always want to know here at More Cowbell!

Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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35 Responses to Marketing “Quick Response”: QR Codes, The New Sexy…

  1. What a cool idea, Jenny. And if you can get a medievalist excited about a QR code, well, that says a lot! I’m scurrying off to the Android market to scan your code above.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Ooooh, Elizabeth, that’s groovy. Let us know what you think of it. As you travel around, you’ll start seeing them in magazines and on products. They’re there, people just don’t notice them.🙂

      Like

  2. K.B. Owen says:

    Personally, I can’t take advantage of those QR codes because my cell phone once belonged to Methuselah, but on the promoting end, the possibilities are intriguing. And now I actually know what how those dang things work. I’ve been wondering about those! Thanks, Jenny, for a cool post!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Do you have an iPad or iPod Touch? If so, there’s software for those too. Just sayin…

      And you’re welcome for the post. I actually wrote it at the same time as the 8 Tips To Expand Your Social Media Footprint. It just took me this long to “get to it.”🙂

      Like

  3. Hartford says:

    I have been seeing these little bar codes floating around but wasn’t exactly sure what they are and had NO idea that anyone could make/use them. How freaking cool is THAT! I have a blackberry so I’ll have to investigate how to get a QR Code Reader app for it. Very neat. Love the idea of having them on the blog, facebook, maybe twitter, books etc. It’s just one more way for people to find you – and isn’t that the name of the game!
    Fantastic techie Tuesday – very uberliciously sexy! Woot woot!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      If you click the Wikipedia link, they have a hyperlink to the Blackberry software. Usually phones make it work through the camera feature. For some of y’all, this will be a godsend to you at work.🙂

      The most creative use I’ve seen of them is to let people download a coupon, an offer or a promo page. It’s really fun.

      Like

  4. Very techy, and VERY cool, Jenny. I’ll have to bookmark this for hubs since he’s the nerd over here lol Thanks for the info!

    Like

  5. amyshojai says:

    Holy techno-phobia, Batman! More schtuff to digest (where’s my Pepto?) Very kewl possibilities, the mind boggles (ouch!)

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You are one of the people that I thought of because this is such a great Easter egg to put into an e-book. It could go to a page of puppies/kittens or a page of you doing Q&A, or a video that relates to the book. Or…or…or…

      (You see why I’m all hot about them??)

      Like

  6. I can certainly see the possibilities.

    And while my life is in my phone, my phone is pretty basic, maybe a step up from KB, LOL. Cool post Jenny. I’ll definitely bookmark it for future reference.

    BTW, I awarded you an award, check out my blog for the details🙂

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Raelyn,

      I’m completely excited about my 7×7 Award…I’ve never heard of them before so now I must research! I’m also excited to find all those other nifty bloggers (some of which I’ve never heard of) on your site. THANK YOU!! I’ll comment on my next break.🙂

      Like

  7. Laura Drake says:

    Okay, so I’m guessing my shoe-sized phone with the pull out antenna can’t do this? But I so love the ‘George of the Jungle’ ring tone, and the cool little antennae on my car that let’s everyone know I own a cell phone!

    Dang you, Jenny, you’re going to pull me into this century, aren’t you?
    This is almost too cool to pass up!

    Like

  8. K.B. Owen says:

    Nice to see I’m not the only one with a “retro” cell phone, lol.🙂

    Like

  9. Hey Jen,
    Here are three very creative –non-writing uses of QRcodes. The first is a historic knitting pattern for Sanquhar gloves with the QRcode on the back of the hand. I seriously love those gloves. The designer/knitter placed in a QR contest and was included in the Manchester Science Fair. The second is a paid pattern for knitting your own QRcode. The third is a general discussion of whether knitted QRcodes are “scannable”.

    Sanquhar + QR Code = sanQR
    http://www.ibirk.dk/index.php?patt=9
    http://craftivism.com/blog.html/2011/08/qr-3d-can-textile-versions-of-qr-codes-work/

    Like

  10. Sharla Rae says:

    Way cool, Jen. Thanks.

    Like

  11. Thanks, Jenny. While I personally have little interest in QR Codes as a consumer, I like the idea as a producer–of fiction. Thanks for the info.🙂

    Like

  12. Sara Grambusch says:

    I just discovered these things! I find them SO confusing. You provide great information here, it’s just every time I hear about them I feel overloaded. My brain doesn’t have room to process this right now I think🙂

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Sara, when you’re feeling a little less overloaded (provided you have a newer phone) download a free QR Code Reader so you’re ready whenever you see one to find out what’s what.🙂

      Like

  13. Awesome — finally someone is explaining all that I need to know about those misterious QR Codes! You are a life saver, Jenny! I’m getting my very own, brand-spanking-new iPhone in a few days. Watch me QR-ing, yippee!
    Oh, and I love Marianne’s knitting patterns.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s fantastic, Angela! Be sure to shop in the store and get the reader right away so you can start having fun in your stores and in your magazine reading.🙂

      Like

  14. I am soooo not a techie person. Thank you for this!

    Like

  15. I have a QR code with a url to my business card on the web. I just don’t know how to get people to scan the damn thing. LOL. I may have to pony up a little bit more cash to get business cards with a QR code on the back. Thanks for the info. I am, however, a total tech geek. If I don’t make it writing I want to make it writing code.🙂

    Like

  16. Julie Glover says:

    I had heard about this but didn’t know much. You broke down in one quick blog post, Jenny! Thanks! I’ve already got my android app downloaded, and I’m ready to go. I think the QR is a great tool.

    Like

  17. Thanks for the fantastic QR advice! Too bad I just ordered my business cards (sans QR, natch). But this is such a cool add-on, it must be done!

    Like

  18. Chris Devlin says:

    Wow, Jenny, this is clearly a hot topic. It’s so great that you did all the legwork on QR codes so the techno-tragic, like me, can be less frightened by all the new gizmos. As always, thanks so much for making new media fun.

    Like

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