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QR Codes (Quick Response Codes)

QR Codes are bar codes that when scanned quickly communicate information.  They can be scanned by smart phones or tablets to quickly open web addresses, add contact information, make a phone call, open a note, open a location, send a text message, or send an email.

How to Scan a QR Code

Your smart phone needs a QR Reader app to scan a QR Code.  The best one for the iPhone and iPad that I have found is "Qrafter", which is free.  There are many others available as well.

How to Make a QR Code

Many apps and online generators are available for free to make QR Codes.  Not all generators are equal.  The best I found was QuickMark.  What separated it from the others was its meCards (see below) were readable by all the scanners on my phone.  Other generators I tried did not work with every reader I tested when it came to meCards.  If you want to use a different generator that allows you to track how often your QR Codes are used, be sure to test the meCards with several different QR Readers.  Furthermore, when you print QR Codes I have found that if you make them too small they are not readable.  I would keep them at least one square inch in size.

  1. 1. Web Address (URL)

This is the most common type of QR Code and also the most versatile.  A web address can be used for more than simply opening a website.  It can open a video, document, image, or ecommerce checkout page as well.  The potential uses for this type of QR Code is endless.

  1. 2. Contact Information

QR Codes can be vCards or meCards.  These are two types of commonly used methods of storing and communicating contact information.  MeCards are more commonly accepted by smart phones QR Readers so create MeCards rather than vCards.  When one of these codes is scanned, the user can choose to add the communicated contact information to their contact list on their phone.  This code is perfect for business cards.  Customers can scan the code and immediately have all the information a business card communicates stored on their phone in their contact list.

3.  Communication

QR Codes can be used instigate communication.  This can be done by the QR Code providing a phone number, prewritten text message, or prewritten email.  All the person with the phone needs to do is scan the code and then click send or call.

4.  Location

QR Codes can provide a location.  Most smart phones have navigation apps or at least a map app.  This makes it easy for anyone who scans the QR Code to find your business or other location.

5.  Text

Text QR Codes quickly provide text.  The person who scans this code can choose to share this text by email, Facebook, Twitter, or simply store the text. 

How to Take Advantage of QR Codes in Your Business

There are obvious uses for QR Codes in your business.  This includes adding them to your business cards, brochures, newsletter invoices, receipts, statements, letter head, and other printed material.  There are also not so obvious uses unique to your business that may be even more valuable.  Here is an example of specific advice I provided some friends of mine who own a great business that does chimney and gutter work.

Dear Friends,

I thought of several ideas where you could potentially implement QR Codes into your business:

1.  The most obvious use would be adding MeCards to your business cards.  This would allow people with smart phones to scan the QR Code and immediately have all your contact information added to his list of contacts in his phone.  NOTE:  USE MECARDS AND NOT VCARDS.  I found that vCards are not compatible with the most common QR Reader app on the iPhone.

2.  The next obvious use is adding QR Codes to your marketing materials.  This can be done in a normal way by including a QR Code on materials that opens the website, but you can certainly get more creative.  For instance, the gutter guard section of the brochure could have a QR Code that opens up a video that shows the gutter guard performing in the rain, or even more creative would be putting a giant QR Code on the back of the box truck your crew drives.  Imagine seeing a giant QR Code on the back of a box truck.  Everyone would have their smart phones out trying to scan it while driving down the road (might not be safe).

3.  Another use is adding QR Codes to chimney cleaning reports to enhance information accessible to the customer.  For instance, a report that recommends replacing the chase top could automatically include a QR Code that opens up a picture page or website page of a stainless steel chase top and features the convex bars, etc. 

4.  QR Codes could also be added to invoices to allow customers to make electronic payments with their phones.  This would require integration with your credit card processing provider.  Check with them for details.

5.  Since your crews wear ID badges, a great way to use QR Codes would be to add them to the badges.  Wary customers could scan the employee's badge to open up a website that verifies the employee's identity and shows their qualifications.

6.  QR Codes can be used to send prewritten emails.  This means that you could put QR Codes on your Kanban cards that automatically reorder the material by sending the prewritten reorder email to the vendor.  Materials could be reordered quickly straight from the warehouse just by scanning the Kanban card with your phone!

Well, those are some of my thoughts that I thought of today.  I hope you can use some of them and I hope you guys are doing well.


Joseph Fisher

Types of QR Codes