Tim Lorang Blog

QR-Code Marketing for Restaurants and Small Businesses

Posted by Timothy Lorang on Wed, Jul 06, 2011 @ 02:00 AM

QR Code Marketing resized 600As Sindi Lindberg of SindiwithanS and I are getting ready for our Social Media Marketing Workshop 101 for businesses in the food and beverage industry later this month I have been trying to think of all the ways to use social media marketing for restaurants and other businesses. One application I have been researching lately are QR Codes in marketing. Last week while out for breakfast I saw a sign by the cashier that said “Like us on Facebook” with a QR Code and thought this was great so I whipped out my android and scanned the code. The problem was the code didn’t bring me to the restaurant’s Facebook page, just to www.facebook.com which actually took me to MY Facebook page. I thought that even when it should be easy folks still aren’t getting it right, so I thought I’d write a couple of blogs on QR Codes.

What is a QR Code?

QR Code is the abbreviation for Quick Response code. For more details take a look at the Wikipedia article for QR Codes. It is very similar to a bar code and a dedicated QR Barcode Readers can scan and read the information in the code. The cool thing is any smart phone, such as an Android or iPhone, has free applications that can read the QR Codes and you can make QR Codes with any type of information such as a URL. You can make a QR Code of the URL for your web page or Facebook Page and when the smart phone’s QR Code reader scans the code it will open your phone’s web browser and go to the web page.

IMP Facebook WelcomeIf you have a smart phone with a camera and you don’t have a QR Reader, go to the App store and download a free reader. I have an Android and have been testing QR Droid, Goggles and CamCard and they all work great. After the QR Code Reader app is loaded, open it and scan the QR Code to the right. The interface will be a little different depending upon the type of QR Code reader you have but you should be given some options to follow the link. Choose the web browser and you will soon be at the Image Media Partners Facebook Page. Feel free to like us. It is that simple.

QR Code Rules

There are only a few rules, or rather, best practices you should pay attention to.
  1. Specific Destination: Any time you have a link it should be to a specific page for a specific action. Don’t send people to Facebook send them to your page’s Welcome Tab. Don’t send people to your home page send them to a specific landing page.
  2. Optimize for Mobile: 99% of all users will scan your QR Code with a mobile phone (OK I made up that number but who carries their desktop to a restaurant?) Your destination page needs to be set up for mobile phones. Facebook already is but if you send them someplace else make it so they can read your page on a smart phone.
  3. Keep the URL Short: The longer the URL the more complex the code will become. Keep things simple and use a URL shortener. If you make a unique code on a site like bit.ly.com you can keep track of the traffic.

    For a little more information here is a nice post on The Three Rules of QR Codes. We will return to QR Code and this is one of the subjects we will be covering in the Social Media Marketing Workshop 101. If you would like some more information about how your business can use QR Codes in marketing contact us for a free analysis and consultation.

    Do you have a great example of how to use QR Codes? Tell us what you are doing in the comments section below.

    Photo Credit: Mathplourde: flickr Creative Commons

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    Topics: Social Media, Local Marketing, QR Code