The technology that has been wildly popular in Asia and Europe, has finally become prevalent in the US as well. They are called “QR codes.” By now you’re undoubtedly used to seeing these strange looking codes.
Quick Response codes are bar codes which do not require a laser to be read. That makes them readable for you on smart phones and other mobile devices. The QR Code can store phone numbers, URL’s, email addresses and pretty much any other alphanumeric data, up to 4296 characters, all in one little squiggly-looking block.
Think of these blocks of code as print-based hypertext links that require no typing.
How does it work? You just download a free app for your smart phone, and presto-chango, your phone is now a scanner -with a difference. The difference is that the information can be a URL -even the URL of a video. The information goes straight into the smart phone without typing, so the URL or phone or message appears instantly on the cell phone. How cool is that?
You Can Create A New QR Code Image In Seconds
There are a lot of free QR Code generator sites online. Here are a few:
All you do is put the text (URL, phone number, address, marketing message, up to 4296 characters) into a form, hit “Enter” and Voila! -your QR image appears. Download this black and white image, print it and place it anywhere.
For use in a blog or on a web site, the Google Chart API code is even easier. Just insert this code:
<img src="http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?cht=qr& chs=100x100&chl=http://videouniversity.com&chld=H" alt="" />
When it’s in a web page or blog, that code will look like this:
Oh, I almost forgot; you’ll probably want to substitute your URL for the videouniversity URL in the above code.
You Need To Know This Stuff -And Here’s Why
A new study finds that Americans, Brits and Italians spend more hours using their smartphones in any given month than they do surfing the web from computers. And this trend will only increase!
Want a bride to see your demo reel right now on her phone? Show her your QR Code! It could be on a brochure, DVD cover, business card, or on your car door – anywhere a printed graphic can be placed.
Google is pushing QR code hard for use in business listings, in Google Maps and Google Places. This technological solution is just about to go mainstream fast. Watch this short little video and see what I mean.
Put these little (or big) graphic codes any and everywhere. Idea! Put the code on your business cards and you can send prospects to a snappy little video bio of you on their cell phone -without typing.
In my recent postcard mailing (which I hope you’ve received and enjoyed) I had 10 URLs for specific products. Even though they were shortened URLs, people still have to type them in. Next time, I may use QR codes, so you can just point your smart phone at the code and instantly arrive at that product page.
Want to send viewers to a web site or a video on a site? Here are a few places to place your QR code:
1. Put it on DVDs.
2. On a decal in your car or company vehicle window.
3. On your business cards.
4. Put it on a business sign or a real estate for sale signs so drive by house hunters can see a virtual tour of the property on their cell phone, right then and there.
5. Put them on company T-shirts.
6. Put it on the side of a building.
Why not make a large QR Poster and put it in a public space? The code itself, while unreadable by humans, will intrigue passers-by. And most smart phone owners will recognize it and may be tempted to scan it.
Use Them To Get More Business Video Work
One of the best things a producer could do with QR codes is use them to sell more business videos. Try this: Before you go to a meeting with a corporate marketing guy or gal, or a non-profit agency, make a QR code for them with a link to their web site, then print a full page version of the QR code.
In your meeting, pull out the full page code and your smart phone. Ask if they’ve considered doing this. Scan the code print out with your phone and show them the screen when their organization’s website comes up. Then remark what a boost it would be to business if their organization’s video came up, ready to play!
Show them how easy it would be to have their QR codes on their front door, billboards, business cards, trade show booths. And how you can help make that happen.
I love your work, but this is not good advice. The QR Code came and went. It did not catch on. They are NOT going mainstream – they have been dying since they began popping up 4 years ago.
Fair comment. I grant you they are not as popular as many believed they would be a few years ago. But there’s zero cost and for smart phones, they are a lot easier than typing a URL. If it only added 2 or 3 percent to your response rate, that would be worth it I would think.
Mercedes has recently come up with a technique where a QR code can provide vehicle information for fire and rescue services in case of an accident and this could save lives. If you’re promoting a link to something, you have a link or an address anyway so why not ad a QR code which might be used by a certain percentage of your audience. Thanks for your comment.
I always liked the idea of the QR code. I think if the scanner was built into the camera app that comes with everyone’s phone, they would be more useful. Their current implementation is just slow. Most people don’t bother downloading a scanner to begin with, and then the ones that do don’t bother trying to poke around looking for their QR scanner that they used once last year, then wait for it to load and display advertising at them or whatever.
Also the fact that lots of folks used QR codes totally wrong made people kind of give up on them. For instance, in that Google video you posted (which is from 2009, by the way), the people have to already be at the restaurant in order to read reviews. That’s convenient for the people that are hungry and happen to be walking past the restaurant in that exact moment, see the QR code, decide to scan it, and then stand outside the restaurant door reading from their phone for however long.
I think the best benefit from those window stickers actually is that they are “official” confirmation that people like to eat at that restaurant. So people dining there feel good about the choice they made to dine there as they walk through the door.
That said, I think there are ways you can still use a QR code that could be lucrative. Like linking to your website, portfolio, video reel, click-to-call phone number, or mailto: email address on your business cards.
I think the key is to a) tell people what they get when they scan the code, and b) place them in places that people will either reference, or where people will be standing/waiting (ie, on a subway poster, or a table card at a restaurant)
The restaurant table card would actually be a better idea than the window sticker in the Google video if it encourages people to post a review and links to where to do it. They probably looked at the card when they first sat down, and then at the end of their meal when they’re sitting and waiting for their check and maybe for their companion to return from the restroom, they’re bored, they see the card again, and then maybe they would use the time to review the experience they just had.
But I go back to the fact that they should be built into the phone’s camera app as an option, just like iPhone has / VIDEO / PHOTO / SQUARE / PANO / options, they should add / QR SCAN / and, heck, they could add / DEATH RAY / while they’re at it, why not.
Yeah, they came back.