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What is a QR Code?

If you don’t know what they are, I’m sure you’ve wondered.  What are those weird looking checker-board looking codes all over advertising nowadays?  It’s a QR Code, also known as a matrix code.

Did you know that you can take any website address and quickly and instantly convert it into a QR Code?  Check out this link for creating your own QR code.   Just enter the website address that you want to create a code for in the URL bar and hit “enter” on your keyboard.  Done!  The tool then allows you to download the file as a small image file on your desktop.

So then how do you read these codes?  You download a free app (there are several, I chose Bakodo) for your iPhone or other device, assuming your device has a camera.   All you need to do is essentially aim your camera at the code until the app recognizes it , and then and you can then go and visit the linked information.

If you imagine that newer phones will come with this capability pre-installed,  you realize that it’s really a much handier way of getting people to a website, rather than them having to type in your website address (which is an awful pain – especially on an iPhone – I still typo about every second word – because I hate auto-correct).

A bit more research into QR Codes revealed that they are very commonly used in Japan, with entire billboards and signs being filled with nothing but a QR code.  Now, we would tell you that simply designing an ad as nothing but a QR code is not the best use of a billboard …because you still have to give people a REASON to bother scanning it….at least with a quick headline or grabber statement.  But still, what a powerful, easy way to get people to investigate for more information.  You can also use QR Codes to link people to a special web page you’ve set up just for that purpose.  Here are a couple of samples you might want to try after downloading your own QR Code app to your iPhone.

Happy Scanning!

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About the Author - Jacqueline Drew
Jacqueline M. Drew, BComm, MBA is founder and CEO of Tenato Strategy Inc., a marketing research and strategy firm with bases in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. With over 25 years' experience in all facets of marketing strategy, she is a business consultant, trainer and speaker who loves to use her superpowers "to help the good guys win."