QR Codes – Soon To Be More Important for Local Business Marketing than Facebook

by Joanne Steele on August 16, 2011

I know, I’m sticking my neck out with that. But watch what happens as QR codes catch on in the US.

Here is how QR codes work:

A QR or quick response code is a scanable barcode similar in concept to the price barcode you see on products for sale these days. A QR code can be scanned by smartphones, and is created to send the scanner to the internet page or text associated with that code matrix.

You can go to a number of qr code generator sites online to create a scannable code that you can print anywhere, as you’ll see in the following video. You create a QR code to provide more information, to introduce a special or sale or suggest something else your customer might be interested in.

You create the internet page on your website to be linked to, create the linking barcode with a QR code generator and publish it anywhere.

Start thinking about how you might use QR codes in your small local business

In the United States it is still the realm of the early adopter – few people are actively using them to get information although a growing number of people know what they are.

Here is a YouTube video prepared by small business internet marketing expert Herb Lawrence that will give you a tour of your own future… after you’ve gotten that website up to snuff and conquered internet marketing.

In his post about QR codes and this video, Herb stresses that he did not check the content behind all the featured QR codes, so if you decide to whip out your smartphone and take a tour of the links, do so at your own risk – they could go anywhere!

How QR Codes will help your business in the future

You’ve probably read some of my previous posts suggesting that in the future smartphones and mobile technology, rather than computers, will be our most important link to our customers.

But whatever they use, phone, tablet or computer, they will still be directed to the internet and your small local business website.

We have to begin thinking of smartphones and mobile technology rather than computers, as our most important tool for reaching our customers.

What QR codes will do is allow you to easily publish a gateway to information about your business in places where people on the go can find and access it. This as you saw in the video is where print meets digital with unexpected and genius opportunities for savvy small local business marketers.

Here are several additional past posts talking about smartphone technology and your small local business marketing:

Join the Foursquare Revolution and Put Your Small Town On the Map

Three Things Rural Area Tourism Can Learn from Urban Travel Pros


1 Herb Lawrence August 17, 2011 at 5:51 am

Joanne thanks for including me in your great article on QR codes! I must take exception to your use of “expert” though…I look to experts like you to keep me up todate. I am just a “user” like most of your small business readers…I may just be a little further up the learning curve than some and definitely below the curve than others. But I sure appreciate the comment and use of my little video.

Leveraging QR codes to combine on and offline marketing is a real plus and you are right a lot of folks aren’t even aware of what they are. But those who do know what a code is can’t help themselves when they see one they gotta pull that smartphone out and see what’s on the other side!

One interesting thing I was told recently though is for any of your readers who are looking for QR code generators, there are a lot of free ones out there but they should read the Terms of Service and FAQs. Some of those sites the QR code has a limited life time. Would hate to have someone download a QR code with all their business info on it, slap it on a business card, have 10,0oo cards made only to find out 3 months later that it scans to nothing! So do some homework on that site.

Thanks again Joanne love reading your articles and sharing with my small business network!

2 Joanne Steele August 19, 2011 at 10:37 am

You just explained a big head scratcher for me! I created several QR codes for a short term project (thank goodness) and went back to reuse them only to find that they didn’t work! Now I understand! … and the moral of the story is, “read the Terms of Service! I believe that a business’s QR codes could become valuable enough that paying to have the generated through a reputable service will be vital. Any ideas for that?

3 Daryl Phillips August 16, 2011 at 11:19 am

I did a session about technology tools a few weeks ago that included how to use QR codes in economic development at the Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association annual meeting. Many people don’t know what they are, but QR codes are a great tool to communicate basic text, contact info, Google map locations, basic text, website addresses and other information.

4 Joanne Steele August 19, 2011 at 10:40 am

I can see where you’re going with this. Save space in your marketing materials for your big pitch, and use QR codes to give the details once you’ve generated interest. And as Herb Lawrence says, who can resist investigatiing a QR code once you know what they are. Keep us posted as you see usage grow in middle Tennessee.

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