How to make money with QR Codes

Profile picture of the author jamesburchill by jamesburchill Posted: 01/14/2011
You've probably seen these little black and white "stamps", called QR (quick response) Codes and I bet you've been hearing some buzz about how cool they are and why you should 'get on board' and start using them.

The truth is they are pretty cool, and yes you can make money using them but NOT perhaps in the way you initially thought

Let's start by clearing up a few things:

(1) Creating a QR Code is free. Don't fall for offers from companies that tell you that you need their 'special service' to create one. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I create my QR Codes using two free services:

(a) goqr.me -- create QR Codes online and

(b) bit.ly -- yup, bit.ly the URL shortener. Most don't realize they actually give you a QR Code of the shortened URL for tracking purposes ... it's awesome and that's how I came to discover this little known fact.

Anyway, onward and upward ...

QR Codes can be created (currently) with 4 types of data encoded:

(1) a website URL

(2) a phone number

(3) an SMS message

(4) a vCard (this one's very cool.)

Hint: To get the best results on older cell phones, keep the URL below 300 chars to get a less complex QR Code. Use an URL shortener like bit.ly if necessary.

Let's talk about each type of creation and how you can use it to help make money for you (or your client's) business.

Embedding a website URL:

First off, no-one said you had to embed an obvious or public URL. How neat is it to offer a link to a part of your site that they can only get to with the QR Code

That's great for creating special offers, generating that sense of "special" we all want and quite frankly it's just cool at the moment.

*FACTOID* In the last 12 months the use of QR Codes has exploded. Do a google search and see for yourself. It's early days yet and the whole MOBILE MARKETING thing is just getting going. You'll see.

Anyway, embedding a phone number is easy (kinda boring if you ask me - but hey) and when scanned by a smart phone it will usually dial right away.

No more fat fingering those fiddly keyboards and missing the moment. Point scan and they're dialling. Again, the number in the QR Code should be a trackable number so you can evaluate use of the QR Code, but it's not mandatory (just good marketing).

Embedding an SMS code was what got me into QR Codes in the first place. I was consulting with a client create about creating an integrated SMS campaign and I wanted to step it up a bit, that's when I found QR Codes.

The cool thing about using a QR Code is that you can use it to BUILD A MOBILE MARKETING LIST.

Here's the scenario: person sees your QR Code and scans it with their smart phone. The phone automatically texts the embedded number and the message and presto! the person is now added to your mobile marketing list.

Did you know reports indicate that the open rate for SMS marketing messages is something like 60 or 70%. Do you get anything like that with your email open rates ... I didn't think so.

So anyway, you can use q QR Code to build a list. And if you're using an autoresponder enabled SMS system you can have the autoresponder handle sending scheduled text messages to your new subscriber.

And when you think that e-commerce and mobile payments are become more and more common, you can imagine the possibilities.

Did I mention that there's very little competition out there right now?

Finally you can embed a vCard (business card) into a QR Code. That one blew me away when I saw it. In fact I'm in the process of getting some new business cards printed with nothing but a QR Code on them

Sure, not everyone will 'get it' (I am also using regular cards too) but those who do see the QR Code and scan it ... well, they'll be on my new mobile list, or sent to a special offer page on my website or they'll auto-dial a pre-recorded message where I "welcome them and make them an offer they can't refuse" etc.

Exciting isn't it?

Of course, I'm only scratching the surface here. If you integrate using a QR Code with your other classical and internet marketing the effects can be mind-blowingly powerful.

So how can you best use a QR Code? How can you get them out there?

*TIP* Do you advertise on free classified sites that offer to share your message but they won't let you include an active hyper-link unless you pay them. But they will let you upload 1 or 2 "free" pictures to help sell what ever you're selling.... I've begun uploading QR Codes instead of pictures :rolleyes:

Putting a QR Code on a t-shirt is kinda obvious, but works well from what I hear. Bill boards and poster work too. You don't need to be close to a QR Code to scan it. The QR Code could be across the street on the side of a building and as long as you can get a clear shot with your camera phone, you're good.

And before I forget ... you can embed QR Codes into all the "other" types of traditional web advertising you see. Consider including it in your banner advert, your skyscraper advert and just about anywhere you can host an image advert.

The use of 2d barcodes is not new, they're just beginning to gain main-stream attention and now's the time to begin using them in your promotional and marketing efforts.

Happy to keep the dialogue going if you comment below ... enjoy your day, and why not share your most creative money-making ideas about how you use (or would use) QR Codes in the comments below.
#2d barcodes #codes #make #money #qr code

  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    WillR
    Originally Posted by jamesburchill View Post
    QR Codes can be created (currently) with 4 types of data encoded:

    (1) a website URL

    (2) a phone number

    (3) an SMS message

    (4) a vCard (this one's very cool.)
    Actually there are a lot more things that you can create QR codes for:

    - Calendar Event
    - Contact Information
    - Email Address
    - Geo Location
    - Phone Number
    - SMS
    - Text
    - URL

    and currently one of the most popular and advanced free online QR code generators is found at:

    Zxing Project QR Code Generator
  • Profile picture of the author jamesburchill
    jamesburchill
    Interesting, but no I don't have a WSO for making money with QR Codes. I simply woke up this morning, was reviewing my email and saw something that made me want to share some content about this topic with the folks on this forum.
  • Profile picture of the author jamesburchill
    jamesburchill
    Originally Posted by WillR View Post
    Actually there are a lot more things that you can create QR codes for:

    - Calendar Event
    - Contact Information
    - Email Address
    - Geo Location
    - Phone Number
    - SMS
    - Text
    - URL
    Absolutely! I should have been more specific - those are the 4 things that the generator GoQR.me will currently create for free. Naturally you can get creative and pretty much link to anything. Thanks for the feedback.
  • Profile picture of the author Quentin
    Quentin
    Another great way to make money is to track those QR Codes for your customers and then charge them a fee for doing it.

    Quentin
  • Profile picture of the author jamesburchill
    jamesburchill
    Originally Posted by Quentin View Post
    Another great way to make money is to track those QR Codes for your customers and then charge them a fee for doing it.

    Quentin
    True, but as the market gets more sophisticated many will realize that this can be done for free and stop buying into it. I guess there will always be some businesses that will pay, but I'm dubious as to the long term. Just thinking out loud ... this whole thing is so new it's anyones game at the moment.
  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    WillR
    You know when Google is getting onboard something that it is bound to take off:
    QR Code - Google Favorite Places

    They recently sent out something like 40,000 free stickers to business owners in the US that had a QR code on the sticker which leads people to the Google Places listing for that business. The idea is the business puts the sticker up in their front window and people can then scan the code and read more about the business - reviews, opening hours, coupons, etc.

    They also did this because many Google places listings that are currently showing in Google have still not been claimed and verified by the actual business. By sending out these stickers they are hoping to have the listings in Google Places become a lot more accurate.
  • Profile picture of the author dwooding
    dwooding
    There are people who will pay for the convenience even if they can do it themselves.

    Originally Posted by jamesburchill View Post
    True, but as the market gets more sophisticated many will realize that this can be done for free and stop buying into it. I guess there will always be some businesses that will pay, but I'm dubious as to the long term. Just thinking out loud ... this whole thing is so new it's anyones game at the moment.
  • Profile picture of the author jamesburchill
    jamesburchill
    Originally Posted by dwooding View Post
    There are people who will pay for the convenience even if they can do it themselves.
    So true ... so true. In fact it is one of the EASIER ways to make money :rolleyes:
  • Profile picture of the author jamesburchill
    jamesburchill
    Originally Posted by JsamsonNJ View Post
    WARNING I did not read anything...and I forgot how I came to this thread...well whatever I came to this thread and seen the users QR code....since I have educated myself on these as a marketer...we need to enure that out clients do

    Whatever the bottom line is I scanned in your user QR code and to me your website was not mobile ready

    I have the best smartphone in the world IMO ----- Sprint HTC EVO
    LOL -- correct, that one isn't. Still working on that Like I say in the post -- I woke up, saw something that made me want to share about QR Codes and so I wrote the post. I needed a QR Code to show, so I grabbed one for my site as an example (I simply snagged the image from Bit.Ly)

    Either way, thanks for participating.

    PS. I am an Applie iPhone fan. I hear good things about the EVO
  • Profile picture of the author AceOfShirts
    AceOfShirts
    That is the reason I registered

    QR Code Shirts

    last week. It's probably my 12th niche shirt site. I'm still working on the site but should have it finished in a day or two. Maybe I'll run a WSO for the shirts. I don't know if I have ever seen a physical product WSO.

    Dennis Graves
  • Profile picture of the author mclpro
    mclpro
    Have a way different idea.

    Let's think beyond the obvious here. Let's consider that a mobile revolution is about to take place.

    Smart brands like Starbucks are coming out with a line of products that don't sell coffee.

    You see, instead of a loyalty program that scans barcodes, why aren't you just selling the consumer 50 songs for $5 via promotional product with a QR Code on it in the cashier aisle as a grab item?

    You make profit on the product after production, and when people buy it, they can get linked to an external mobile promotion- they could enter to win a contest or daily prizes!

    And that might be the incentive needed to get people to buy the 50 songs!

    Once your customer's in your loop of marketing promotions, it'll be tough for them to forget all the value you've created for them!
  • Profile picture of the author Donna Hamer
    Donna Hamer
    I think QR Codes are really cool and I have tried to encourage a few local businesses to implement them into their marketing strategies.

    The problem I am currently faced with is that QR Codes are really not that big in Australia and secondly if I ask people about them... they say oh yer heard about them, but they have no idea how to read one.

    So for me - its educating people to download an app to your smartphone and showing people what these codes do and how they can implement them into their marketing strategy.

    Would really enjoy seeing how others are implementing them and the results they are getting.
  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    WillR
    Originally Posted by Donna Hamer View Post
    The problem I am currently faced with is that QR Codes are really not that big in Australia and secondly if I ask people about them... they say oh yer heard about them, but they have no idea how to read one.
    Being from Australia I know this to be very true - most people have never even heard of them before. But they will catch on soon enough. Once Google does what they did in the US and start sending out the free QR code stickers to businesses it will spread fairly fast I imagine.
  • Profile picture of the author Mary Wilhite
    Mary Wilhite
    QR Codes are great for local businesses to implement them into their marketing strategies, and I feel once they catch on every business will find ways to implement even more.

    I have been doing offline marketing for local business for about 24 months and in my area of Atlanta businesses are loving them.

    just like cell phones business are going to love them
  • Profile picture of the author jamesburchill
    jamesburchill
    I wonder what would happen if we used a qr-code to link directly to a facebook (sales) page. Perhaps you could even use a FBML reveal logic to uncover another qr-code that "took" them somewhere else... Then you'd get a LIKE and a more qualified lead.

    Thoughts?
  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    WillR
    Originally Posted by jamesburchill View Post
    I wonder what would happen if we used a qr-code to link directly to a facebook (sales) page. Perhaps you could even use a FBML reveal logic to uncover another qr-code that "took" them somewhere else... Then you'd get a LIKE and a more qualified lead.

    Thoughts?
    Thoughts is not so good. The whole point of QR codes is for mobile use. If someone is out on the street and scans a QR code and is taken to a Facebook fan page, that's fine. But you are talking about having another QR code for them to scan on the page. How are they going to scan that code that is showing on the screen of their phone on a webpage??!
  • Profile picture of the author jamesburchill
    jamesburchill
    Originally Posted by WillR View Post
    Thoughts is not so good. The whole point of QR codes is for mobile use. If someone is out on the street and scans a QR code and is taken to a Facebook fan page, that's fine. But you are talking about having another QR code for them to scan on the page. How are they going to scan that code that is showing on the screen of their phone on a webpage??!
    I've wondered about the "one scan" issues. I suppose in my mind I imagined a scenario that might include scanning to get to the FB Page and at a later stage accessing the other page from their non-mobile device so that they would then be able to scan on to the next part.

    This whole "one scan" and the "interaction mode changes" is an issue that I think will limit creativity for a while. I wonder, do you think that people will use their smart phone and their laptop in tandem -- I do. It's like the number of people who watch TV and have their laptop with them and Tweet, surf and do other social things.
  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    WillR
    There is no need for multiple scans and that is not what QR codes were designed for. QR codes are used to make obtaining information, whether it be a website url, contact details, etc much easier for those with mobile phones.

    If someone scans your QR code and it takes them to your Facebook fan page, what is the need for the second QR code? IMO, there isn't a need. If you want to get people to like your page once they are there then offer them a coupon or something if they become a fan of your page.
  • Profile picture of the author jamesburchill
    jamesburchill
    Originally Posted by WillR View Post
    There is no need for multiple scans and that is not what QR codes were designed for. QR codes are used to make obtaining information, whether it be a website url, contact details, etc much easier for those with mobile phones.

    If someone scans your QR code and it takes them to your Facebook fan page, what is the need for the second QR code? IMO, there isn't a need. If you want to get people to like your page once they are there then offer them a coupon or something if they become a fan of your page.
    I hear what you're saying and don't disagree. I'm trying to find this darned report on my HD that had some interesting stats on the actual ways people were using their phones (specially with scanning). If I find it I'll share the cool parts.

    Hopefully back in a moment :rolleyes:
  • Profile picture of the author paulie888
    paulie888
    Originally Posted by dnsg View Post
    That is the reason I registered

    QR Code Shirts

    last week. It's probably my 12th niche shirt site. I'm still working on the site but should have it finished in a day or two. Maybe I'll run a WSO for the shirts. I don't know if I have ever seen a physical product WSO.

    Dennis Graves
    This would really go over well with the geeks who can now boast that they don't need business cards anymore, as they're literally wearing them on their shirts! lol

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