Thursday, March 31, 2011

What Are QR Codes? Some Creative Marketing Ways to Use Them

QR Codes are short for “Quick Response Code” and could be the next wave of the future. But just what are these digital road maps?

Are they another Universal Product Codes (UPC)? Some sort of weird logo? A mind optical illusion? Well rest assured it's none of the above. These techy codes can be scanned with your iphone, blackberry, or that android apparatus. Scanning a QR Code allows you to obtain instant information. You receive answers that link you directly to whatever you may need.

So without further ado, let's get creative with this Modern Day QR Code Marvel:

Instant Information
Picture this–You’re walking along and you spot a really cool bookstore with books that have a QR Codes on them. You whip out your iphone, scan the codes on your favorite books, and instantly you’re able to gather information about the book, the author, the publisher and location of the authors and publishers website, price and other interesting features of the book.

Take that one step further and imagine you’ve traveled to a new city for an RWA meeting. Once there you find yourself short of promotional material to pass out so Instead of passing out your name on a piece of paper you pass out your business card with a QR Code that contains everything about yourself and your book which can be accessed instantly with the use of a Smartphone.

By doing this, you make your trip a rewarding promotional experience knowing that your marketing efforts achieved their purpose.

The availability of acquiring information within seconds is something that QR Codes are incredibly efficient at and will be increasingly productive in the future.

Convert Someday to Right Now
Most print marketing campaigns leave money on the table but even the most well intentioned book buyers are likely to forget or lose the initial enthusiasm created by your book campaign if it requires remembering to do something in the future. Remember our on-demand society already has a jam-packed schedule that makes even the most emotionally charged book buyer difficult to reach unless you can give them a way to take swift action now. QR Codes can direct an otherwise passive viewer to take immediate action–make a purchase, register for a book event, or take a book survey.

Wha' La! Instant action.

Traffic to Websites
Instead of posting a long website address that your book audience is likely to forget by the time they get to their computer, place a QR Code on your printed piece. Whether it’s an advertisement, direct mail, business card, flyer, or exterior street signage, your potential book customer can immediately gain access to what your book is about, what you’re promoting, and you can nudge them to act now instead of the dreaded “maybe later.” And to top it off, you can track and analyze the results of your printed pieces. After all, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it or repeat it. Marketing shouldn’t be guesswork.

Turn a Printed Flyer into a Storefront
What if your customers could check your book inventory and purchase 24 hours a day right from your publisher’s website catalog? QR Code your book inventory and they can!

Coding your flyers doesn’t limit a customer depending on their time zone, company business hours, or their busy schedule. Not only does this help increase usability but also expands the productivity of your potential book sales. So whether your book customer is an early bird or a night owl, the instant sale opportunity is there!

Promote Smarter Not Harder
Now that you know more about QR Codes, imagine all the other ways they can be used. Downtown Menu Sign-age, Window Shopping, Magazines and Newspapers, Product Packaging, Tech-y T-Shirts and Merchandise, and Book Signing advertisements are just a few other ideas.

Heck, beer and soda manufacturers are even toying with this concept by bridging the offline/on-line social-ness of their beverages. You can use QR Codes to promote book event tickets for quicker admissions or create a QR Code book scavenger hunt contest. The opportunities are boundless!

So, put your noggin to the test and figure out how to use a QR Code in promoting yourself and your book. And, if you need a QR Code for your next mailing, drop me a line at 
seowebsitetechniques (at) gmail DOT com and provide me with the information you wish to have on your QR Code and I'll be happy to create one and send it to you for FREE!


  1. Oh my! QR codes sound like little techy miracles. Can you create one for ebooks sold on publishers websites and/or Amazon?

    Roz Lee

  2. Hi Roz,

    Yes, QR codes can advertise any content you wish. Please email me with the info you wish to include in the QR code. For instance, do you only want the buy link to appear to anyone that scans your QR code? Or, would you like additional information about yourself and your book included in the QR code? As you can see, these little techy miracles are a modern marvel. You can find my email at the end of the above article. And by the way, where would you want to place your QR code?

    I look forward to hearing from you.


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