How to Use a QR Code to Engage Your Customers

AdAge tells us that more big businesses are experimenting with QR Codes. In fact, Macy’s has produced a 30-second spot that shows shoppers how to use the codes.

Home Depot, Target, Best Buy, and Post Cereals are also on board with their own programs.

I’m sure you’ve seen the Quick Response Codes. They’re the rectangular boxes that look like puzzle mazes (like the one you see on the left, which links to my website).

Consumers first download a QR Code reader to their smartphones. When they see a code, they snap a picture of it and content appears.

You’ll see the codes almost everywhere – on telephone poles, in store windows, on business cards, on signs. More and more, they’ll be used in department and grocery stores. They’ll be at the head of aisles, on shelves and on packaging.

Now, here are some additional ideas for using a QR Code:

  • A clothing shop or sporting goods retailer might post a code next to a product on a shelf. When a shopper takes a photo of the code, a detailed description or video will pop up on their screen.
  • A park will provide trail maps.
  • A QR code on a business card or tee-shirt will bring a visitor to your website.
  • Realtors can use them to show house listings.
  • Anyone can use them for contests.
  • Include them in newspaper advertisements and give readers directions to your location

uQRme spot from uQRme on Vimeo.

QR Codes are still very much in the development stage, but curiosity will be a huge factor in attracting consumer interest. Why don’t you experiment, too?

First, download a scanner to your smartphone:

Or, Google “QR Code Scanner.” There are many.

Next, create your own QR Code. Here are websites where you can create your very own easily, quickly and for free:

There are also sites, like, that produce promotional gadgets and signs printed with your QR code.

See how creative you can be. Engage your customers. You’ll certainly be ahead of the small business curve.
Disclaimer: I do not endorse, and I am not compensated by, any of the above listed products or services.

How To Get Customers In the Door During Tough Times

Every business owner under the sun has to design very creative offers and promotions. Not only do you want prospective customers to take immediate action, you want to stand apart from your competitors.

Cleverness is especially important when you introduce a new service, or during this tough economy when it’s a struggle to get customers in the door.

Your offer or promotion might be:

  • Coupon
  • Discount
  • Buy one, get one
  • Bring a friend and….
  • Extended contract for a lesser price
  • Free trial
  • Bonus
  • Rebate
  • Gift card
  • Contest
  • Event
  • Joint offer with a complementary company
Learn From the Big Guys

Here are some examples of what some of the big guys are doing. Any ideas here that you can model?

  • New England Ford Dealers are offering 0% APR Ford Credit Financing, plus a $500 cash bonus, or up to $2,000 cash back
  • Verizon is offering broadband service for home computing for as little as $14.99 per month, “providing a better internet experience for less money.” No annual plan contracts are required, and prices are good for one year.
  • Comcast has a bunch of offers. One is their cable, internet and phone Starter FX package, which includes a $100 Visa® Prepaid Card
  • Jordan’s Furniture in Boston is running a “Monster Hit” promotion. Consumers who make a purchase between March 16, 2011 and April 23, 2011 will receive a rebate of the purchase price if a Boston Red Sox® player hits a homerun that directly hits the baseball on the Jordan’s sign, located on the right centerfield wall at Fenway Park during a regular season home game between July 22, 2011 and September 21, 2011.

Take some of these ideas and apply them to your situation in your community. Devise an offer or promotion on a scale that works for your business. Make it so inviting that consumers are compelled to take immediate action.