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The New Hyperlink

Hyperlinks are great! – If only I could print them.

Well, you might say, you can actually print them. Except that’s when all the convenience, the ease of use and most of the extra functionality disappears.

Hyperlinks are often used in mail outs and other online media to direct us to other websites (quotes, references, videos, reviews, online shops, payments facilities, competitions etc.). For the savvy marketer they can carry referral information indicating where the link was clicked on (website, advertisement etc.).

Unfortunately people who often struggle to remember even a phone number or a web address will not memorize or write down a code that looks like this:

http://links.wine.cellarmasters.com.au/ctt?kn=4&ms=NTg0NTUwMQS2&r=MjU0NzA4MzI3MjQS1&b=0&j=Njk1OTUwMzcS1&mt=1&rt=0

Even something much shorter such as http://anz.com.au/personal/bank-accounts/savings-accounts/online-saver/ goes way past a normal person’s attention span.

So where is the link between print media and cyberspace?

In comes the QR Code!

Never heard of it?

You are not alone. But most certainly you would have seen one. They look a bit like a mangled barcode and can often be found in newspapers, coffee mugs or even T-Shirts, billboards, in-store displays, event ticketing and tracking, print ads, contests, direct marketing campaigns, coupons, restaurant menus, sides of trucks, point-of-sale receipts, products tags and packaging, and more and more.

What is a QR code?
The abbreviation stands for “Quick Response Code” and was first designed for the car industry in Japan. Like a barcode it is machine readable, but has a much bigger storage capacity (compared to the 20 character limit of the traditional barcode up to 7000 numeric and 4000 alphanumeric characters are possible).

In this age of the smartphone the number of uses has exploded and now goes far beyond the shopfloor or factory use.

There a free QR reading apps available for all smartphone operating systems and several websites offer the capability to turn just about anything you can type into a QR Code (see examples at the end of this article).

One of the biggest benefits is the Open Source nature of the QR codes. So there are no licensing costs involved when using it.

Now apart from printing a web link on your business card or company sign/banner, that redirects people to your website, what other uses are there?

Here are just a few examples how they can be used:
• Bridge between Print and Cyberspace: Just print it and the user gets redirected to your website, google maps, an online form for a competition, a payment site etc.
• QR codes are perfect for sharing. Put them on a poster for a campaign and turn them into retweets or likes on Facebook
• they can help your SEO and SMO (social media optimisation)
• they tie in well with Google Analytics as referral information is easily incorporated
• you can take Paypal Payments for products and services
• helps build your email list using our easy-to-use forms (download data via CSV)
• you can use Actions e.g. when scanned a customer has to enter their email before seeing the next landing page brand messages people see when they scan

I can only encourage you to look at the many uses of QR codes for your business – above and formost MARKETING!

Did I get you interested? Read this article: 101 uses for QR codes

Software:
QR Code Reader
i-nigma Reader
QR Droid/Zapper Scanner 

QR Code generator
GOQR
QRSTuff 

Michael Altenburger
Small Fish Business Coaching Sydney
www.smallfish.com.au

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