Have you seen these fantastic little things called QR codes everyone seems to be raving about in the social media and real estate worlds? You may have seen these curious little square images while browsing print advertisements, signs on windows, stickers, business cards, etc. They seem to be popping up everywhere for smartphone users find information on the go. So today I’m going to go over what they are, how to get them, and lightly go over how you can use them in your real estate business.
What are QR codes? From those who are not aware, this Wikipedia entry explains them well:
A QR Code is a matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera, and smartphones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.
Common in Japan, where it was created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. QR is the acronym for Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.
Quite simply, they are barcodes that you can use to direct mobile/smartphone users to links, websites, text information, a youtube video, a virtual business card, or a ready-to-send text message. And they are being put on everything from print advertising, to store displays, to billboards, and t-shirts. All phone users have to do is simply scan the code with their barcode reader (more on that below) and they are then taken to the link or information encoded in the QR code image.
How do You Read QR Codes?
In order to read these codes, must have a smartphone, such as a Droid, iPhone, or Blackberry, that has a reader or barcode scanner app that can decode them for you. Many Android phones already have a QR code reader built into them. The Droid Market and iPhone Apps Store also has many free apps for scanning and decoding QR codes. And Those with Blackberry phones with BBM also have the ability to scan QR codes.
How do you Create a QR Code?
You can Google “QR code Generator” and come up with numerous sites out there that can make you QR codes for simple url’s, or more in-depth information like virtual business cards. But here are some great QR code generators to get you started.
- Goo.gl – This is Google’s url shortener that not only creates a short url, but a QR code to direct to it. This is great if you are simply going to direct people to a landing page of your creation (or link to a single property site). You can also track stats.
- The 2 Code – This is a great QR code generator that creates codes for anything you need, plus you can designate the size you want the image to be.
- QR Stuff - Not only can you create QR codes for anything you may need, you may also print or email them, download a high-res version (for a fee), and have them printed on t-shirts, mugs, etc.
- Likify – With Likify, you can generate Facebook Page likes with the use of their QR codes. It creates a mobile landing page with the Facebook like button for you to acquire new fans that you can then take and print on anything.
Make sure your url you use for your code is short, or use a url shortener (bit.ly, tinyurl, etc) for long links. This makes your QR code more simple and a cleaner image.
How can you use these QR codes?
There are many ways you can use these QR codes to enhance your marketing and make a splash. Create QR codes that lead to your website, single property sites, a special landing page, a virtual business card, or your Facebook and Twitter profiles. You can take your codes and put them on your property flyers , brochures, business cards, Facebook pages, car magnets, and yard signs. There are so many possibilities for using these in your marketing.
There is a key to utilizing QR codes the right way. For example, it doesn’t make sense to put a QR code on your business card that leads to a webpage with your same contact info on it. Instead direct it to one of your social media profiles or a landing page in your site offering a special report or coupon.
So there you have it. In future postings here on the BVAS Connection, I’ll be breaking down the various ways to use this fun technology to enhance your real estate marketing and some pointers on the best ways to use it. In the meantime, let me know what you think about these QR codes in the comments section below. If you have some of your own creative ideas on how to use them, I would love to hear it.
Megan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.