You don’t have to go far these days to find a QR code.
They are everywhere. You can find them at grocery stores, bus stops, building
facades, billboards, and restaurants. You can even find them on pets and
According to a recent study by Chadwick Martin Bailey,
81 percent of consumers have seen the QR codes but 79 percent don’t really know
what they are. So what is a QR code? QR or Quick Response codes are the barcodes
that encode data both vertically and horizontally and can hold thousands of
alphanumeric characters of information.
By scanning or reading a QR code with your mobile phone
(provided it has the necessary application) you can access a webpage, download a
file, signup for a newsletter, and get contact information. Invented in Japan
for the auto industry, QR codes have been widely used there for years but are
still somewhat of a novelty in the United States. The growing popularity of QR
codes and their ability to hold lots of information are what make them very
practical for small businesses.
The sky is the limit on what and how much you can share
with QR codes. Here are some of the ways you can use QR codes in your
• Business Card: This may be the most common usage for
QR codes. The code contains contact information, website and blog. Keep it
• Marketing Material: Create a code that directs users
to your website. Include it on posters, flyers, business cards, packaging
material, sides of trucks and trailers, signage, menus, and stickers. A
newsletter sign-up form is another great way to utilize QR codes.
• Social Media: A code that directly links to your
Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page. Include the code on particular promotional
materials and email signature.
• Upcoming Events and Special Offers: Have a special
sale or event coming up? Create a code that takes your clients to the webpage
which provides the details on what the event is all about. Offer incentives for
• Useful Information: Code that links to a page with
useful resources – tips specific to your business, how-to-videos, and special
So how do you generate a QR code? Numerous website are
available for generating QR codes at no charge. Some are very basic (Kayawa or
Wasp) while others let you customize the color and format of your codes (GR
Staff or Kerem Erkan). For a listing of more QR generating sites visit www.freenuts.com.
Tatyana Sukhodolov is training coordinator at the Chemeketa Small Business Development Center. The Small-Business Adviser column is produced by the center
and appears each Sunday. Questions can be submitted to SBDC@chemeketa.edu. Visit the SBDC at 626 High Street NE. in downtown Salem or call (503) 399-5088.