QR codes are a great (and underutilized) way to provide Local Online Marketing services to local business clients.
If you’re a Local Marketing Consultant, then I strongly suggest using the full marketing potential of Quick Response codes (QR) to drive more leads, customers and sales to your clients business.
“This is one of the BIGGEST Untapped Opportunities for Local Marketing Agencies and Consultants right now”
About QR Codes and How to Get the Most Out of Them
QR codes – Quick Response Codes are a 2 Dimensional barcode that allows for a ton more options and flexibility than the standard barcode.
It can send web users to display text, store product information, direct users to websites, Lead capture Pages and more.
Most smartphones can scan QR codes with a built-in camera and a QR code/barcode scanner apps on both iPhone and Android.
Thanks to some recent updates and changes we can now create more branded and better looking QR codes because lets face it, the standard one can look pretty lame.
Here’s the typical QR code we’re used to seeing… Plain and Boring!
Some New QR Code Enhancements Available Now
Thank goodness now Local Online marketers and businesses in general can take advantage of the new styles and enhancements to QR codes.
Here’s and example I just created which took 2 minutes. Go ahead and scan it with your Smartphone.
Now we’re talking! This looks so much better and we can include Logos, different pixel styles, images and custom colors.
The Local marketers who jump on these new advantages are going to dominate in the market and I can tell you this is seriously powerful way to land New Clients!
Most local marketing consultants don’t even market with qr codes or use them as a Client Getting weapon let alone use the new formats to help promote local businesses and their brands.
Watch this short Video Where I demonstrate creating a the above QR-Code with the cool style using the free qr code generator.
How to Create the New Style QR Codes
The first thing we need is the tool to create these new fancy qr-codes or the standard codes, so here are some that we have tested.
The first one is Unitag which like most has free and paid options. It’s reasonably simple to use and I found the QR codes were easily read by my iPhone even when using a variety of styles for the codes.
Unitag offers online QR code generation and customization.
Another qr code creator that we’ve used quite a lot is QRStuff which has some nice features that you can get for free plus they have a very cool set of tools to create awesome looking qr-codes with all the style elements.
Even simply changing the colors makes these codes look so much better and appealing to customers.
QRHacker is another QR code customization tool with many features. It also offers a premium plan with more features and tracking options.
For Local Online Marketers I would make sure you choose the best option that allows for good tracking so you can easily report on activity for yourself and clients and keep them happy with your service.
Smartphone APPS for Reading QR Codes
Here are the smartphone apps we recommend to use which can be very important for accurate reading when using the more stylish codes.
i-nigma is our favorite in the Local Oxygen labs at the moment and I must say it’s very good at reading most of the enhanced codes.
Designing Your Own Custom QR Codes
To customize, you will need a basic QR code generator, design software — and patience.
I mentioned earlier that error correction algorithms are used to ensure QR codes still function correctly. Many QR code generators have options for the margin of error allowed in a QR code. Unless you plan to make very minimal changes to your QR code, you probably want to generate a base QR code that allows for a higher margin of error.
Many resources are available online for generating your own QR codes. Sites like goQR.me allow you to generate QR codes directing to text, URLs, phone calls, SMS texts, and contact information, and include options for error correction. Scan has a nice application that lets you generate basic QR codes as well as QR codes linking to custom mobile pages and social media action pages hosted by Scan. However, Scan does not provide options for error corrections.
Example s of Cool Looking Custom QR Codes
Once you have your basic QR code, pull it into your favorite image editor and begin making your changes. Adding shadows and changing the QR code color should have little-to-no effect on the functionality of the QR code. Once you begin adding logos and modifying pieces of the QR code, you could run into to errors. Make sure to thoroughly test your custom QR codes.
You can customize a QR code extensively without losing its functionality — but remember to test. The following QR code for Emily and the Strangers, a music group, likely took a fair bit of testing.
QR Code Usage
Once you have your customized QR code all styled and looking good, use it to interact with your clients and their customers.
For example, you could add QR codes to your business cards for a quick way to direct potential customers to your site or to store additional information about yourself or your business right on your business card. You could add a QR code to invoices or packing slips that link to customers’ order histories in your online store.
We use QR codes to send via email to prospective clients to encourage them to scan and get access to free training or a special promotion. We also have QR codes for our clients customers to scan and jump right to the Google Reviews page so they can leave reviews to help our Google Places ranking.
There’s even a case of a QR code being placed on a cow to help consumers learn where their milk came from.
There are countless ways you can use these to demonstrate to clients that YOU are way ahead of the curve and they should do business with you, or add this service to your current clients to help them drive more traffic and sales.
One of our favorite examples of clever QR code usage is from Guinness, the beer company. Guinness printed the white portion of a standard QR code on a clear Guinness beer glass, making the QR code visible only when the glass was filled with dark beer.
As you can see the people at Guinness have created a very smart campaign with their QR code Glass.
See what ideas you can come up with and be sure to leave comments below!