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What are QR codes and how can I use them for my business?

QR codes (or Quick Response codes) have been around for a while and arrived here via Japan, where they are very common place. It’s not been until the massive uptake of smartphones in recent years however that we have now started to see them used in the UK.

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What are QR codes used for?

In simple terms, when a QR code is scanned into your smartphone it will prompt your device to automatically do one of a number of things such as:

  • Send you to a website
  • Dial a phone number
  • Set up a text message
  • Pass a email address
  • Send email messages
  • Transfer contact details to your phone
  • Add events to your calendar
  • Show a location on a map (via Google maps)
  • Direct you to a PayPal link

These are just a few of the things that can be done using QR codes; when they direct you to a website the possibilities are endless.

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How do QR codes work?

Well, that’s a big question to answer, and you may not be all that interested in the technical explanation, but if you do want to know there is a good description at QRme that will explain in detail.

The simple answer is that it’s a graphical representation of encoded data, which your smartphone can decode with the use of a QR code reader app, like this one.

It takes literally just one minute for someone with a smartphone to find and install the reader.

Once you have acquired one of the apps, you load it up and then you point your smartphone camera at the QR code. It then scans it and takes the action that is encoded within the QR code.

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Why use them?

There are many reasons why you should be taking advantage of QR codes as part of your marketing activity. The most important is that it provides the ability to transfer your message/product from an analogue (printed) media to a digital medium such as the one that most people carry around in their pocket! They also allow you to increase response rates (almost anyone who knows what they are finds it difficult to resist scanning them).

  • Measure the effectiveness of your campaign; different QR codes can be generated for each individual project and tracked.
  • Integrate print, mobile and Internet marketing with three “touch points”, in one printed item.
  • Plus, you will be at the cutting edge of a marketing strategy that is still relatively new in the United Kingdom.

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How you might use them

Your business can use QR codes by adding them to any print advertising such as flyers, posters, invitations, advertisements in the printed media and they can contain:

  • Product details
  • Contact details
  • Offer details
  • Event details
  • Competition details
  • A coupon
  • Twitter or Facebook engagement
  • A link to your YouTube video





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Will your customers use them?

Usage numbers are growing rapidly and people are becoming more inquisitive. Those that already use QR codes will undoubtedly be receptive to your presence on the web, your Twitter Facebook, YouTube presence etc.

If you’re still not sure about QR codes, here is a video that may encourage you to try for yourself.


Or contact Cloud 9 and let us help you to develop a strategy to build QR codes into your marketing campaign.



Some examples

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