Introducing Marketing 2.0 with QR Codes

QR Code Scanning Image

Photo by The Daring Librarian

Today's blog post is going to get a little geeky. But bare with me, because I'm going to talk about something that has the potential to really boost your marketing as a professional wedding photographer.

If you couldn't guess from the title, I'm going to be talking about QR Codes.  It's the latest and greatest in offline marketing.  By offline marketing, I mostly mean marketing on print.  You know…like paper. Gasp!

What the heck are QR Codes?

QR Codes (aka Quick Response Codes) are those little square bar codes that you might have seen in the oddest of places recently.  Just this week in my small mountain town I've seen QR Codes in newspapers, magazines, realtor listings, and even on wine bottles!

The concept is simple, but a little mind-blowing.

If you have a smartphone (iPhone, Blackberry, Android, etc.) you can use the built-in camera and a free QR Code Scanner App to scan any QR code.  The QR code has information in it which tells your smart phone to perform a specific action.  QR Codes can do all sorts of things.  Here are just a few examples of what a QR code can do: [Note: all these actions are performed on your smartphone]

  • Open up a website
  • Copy contact information into your address book
  • Type in a phone number (Called “Click-to-Call”)
  • Send a text
  • Open a YouTube video
  • Open up a map in Google Maps
  • And many other useful (and geeky) stuff!

By having unique bar codes on paper and offline media, marketers can unleash the power we're getting used to with online marketing. Things like:

  • Engaging consumers with relevant content and information
  • Track marketing campaigns to find out what's working (and what's not)
  • Find out actual ROI from offline marketing efforts
  • Make it easier to do business and connect with customers
  • Use technology to stand-out from the competition
  • “Power-up” social media

Want to try it out?

OK…let's move you into the 21st century!

Go grab your smart phone and follow these simple instructions.

  1. On your smart phone, open up the App Store.
  2. Search for “QR Code Scanner”.
  3. You should see a list of different apps. Go ahead and pick a free one that has a lot of good ratings. Don't worry too much, they pretty much all do the same thing.
  4. Once it loads, open the QR Code scanner app.
  5. Aim your camera at the QR Code you see in this post….yes, on your computer screen!
  6. Voila! The code has just told your smart phone to go to my QR Code landing page where you can sign-up for my email newsletter!

Wasn't that easy!?  (And now that you're signed up to my newsletter, you'll be the first to know about my next helpful blog post) :)

But seriously…I just used that as an example.  I'm not a fan of QR Codes on screens where things are clickable anyways.  QR Codes are best used on offline media like business cards, posters, post-cards, newspapers, calendars, etc.

That was fun and all, but how do I use QR Codes in my Wedding Photography Business?

Great question!  And in future posts I'll walk you through some different QR Code strategies to give your marketing a boost.

For now…I'll leave you with an assignment.

Go to a QR Code generator like www.beqrious.com.  Look around on that site and see if you can find a way to generate a QR code that has all your contact information in it.  Now if you can get that QR Code image on your business card and make it easy for people to add your info into their address book……quess who might get a call or an email the next time those people are looking to hire a pro?

That's what I'm talking about.

:)

Have you created or used QR Codes before?  Tell us your thoughts (good or bad) below…

Comments

  1. wjohnatty says:

    I think this technology is not as useful or extraordinary as the author of this article will have you beleive – all of the uses and applications are quite trivial and could be almost the same as taking a picture of the same information written on a piece of paper. Here is a useful application if it could be done. Create a phone application that will generate a QR code so that when i take a picture of someone i can show them the code and it will generate a link to that they can go to when i upload the picture to my website. For this to work the camera has to generate the QR code. Or even do it by say GPS. But as far as I could see, all application of this technology is not that useful.

  2. There’s yet another nifty way for photographers to use QR codes: National Photographer Group has created a plugin for Adobe Lightroom that allows photographers to merge QR codes directly onto images and scan the codes while in Lightroom using a cheap webcam. This is beneficial for image asset management where a single master image can be located amongst millions of images in a Lightroom catalog in seconds.

    The plugin has been added to the official Adobe Lightroom plugin exchange, here: http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/exchange/index.cfm?event=extensionDetail&extid=3096023

    You can learn more about the code, and to activate it, here: https://www.thenpg.com/npg-lightroom-photo-manager

    • Hi Lance,
      Whoa – that’s some pretty awesome stuff. Are you doing this Lance, or did you just read about it?

      • Hi Ryan,

        I’m glad you’re impressed! And thanks for allowing my comment. Yes, I am the developer of the plugin.

        NPG also has a publishing plugin that uses QR codes to authenticate a camera to a user. In other words, if we want to know that a specific image comes from a specific camera, then we need a way to know the details of that camera. By displaying a unique QR code to the user while logged in, having the user take a picture of it on their screen, and having them upload it from Lightroom, I can then determine if subsequent images uploaded using our plugin are from the same camera. This is an attempt to reduce copyright infringement.

        There are many wonderful uses for QR codes!

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