QR codes are barcode looking tiles that when scanned using a QR code reader on your mobile device (Black Berry, iPhone ect.) take you to the website associated with that QR code. Scanning a code is as simple as taking a picture of it with your mobiledevice and most QR code readers can be downloaded from your app store for free.
Many critics say that QR codes are just the latest tech fad. Here at Sage Real Estate we are quite excited because we see QR codes as a bi-product of a much more exciting trend (notice I said trend not fad) and that is the rise of the mobile web, a topic I tackled in my last post. I do not want to spend time elaborating here but what I will say is that the mobile web is a game changer.
QR codes, as the folks at Tech Savvy Agent aptly put it, are a bridge from the paper world to the digital world. But i would take it one step further and say they are a conduit to the mobile web. Once you make that connection you can start to appreciate the impact these codes can have on the way one markets.
Why are we using them?
Integrating new technology with traditional mediums is a great way reach a wider audience and create a more enriching experience. The internet has caused consumers to expect greater access to information and they want that access immediately. The rise of the mobile web is perpetuating that expectation of immediacy. QR codes are a great way to get that information to consumers when they want it.
How to use them
Creating a QR code is quite easy. There are many sites you can go to, to create a QR code the one we use is Google (http://goo.gl/). It allows you to create the QR code and a short code at the same time and you can track its usage. The tracking is key to helping us understand the effectiveness of our marketing so that we can make tweaks and adjustments. And as with all other Google tools it is free and you access your account through your universal Google login or by going to http://goo.gl/.
To create the code you just login to http://goo.gl/ copy and paste in the url that you want to create the QR code for and hit enter. You can then copy the QR code tile and drop it in to your marketing medium of choice. Here is one that we did for the details page of one of our individual listing websites www.90DouglasAve.com.
It is important that the landing page you select is mobile enabled, which means that the page is formatted so that it can be read on a mobile device (think small screen). You also want to make sure that you consider the motivation of the individual when selecting the landing page that you use. For instance we put QR codes on all of our For Sale signs. If someone is standing in front of the sign and scan the code what is it that they are likely looking for? They want details about the property (price, number of beds/baths, ect.) and a way to contact the agent if they want even more information about the listing. That is why we use the details page of the listing.
We create stickers with the QR code and long form url to put on the for sale sign for each of our listings. We even had integrated into the design of our sign a space for these stickers so that they do not look out of place.
We have also integrated QR codes into print campaigns to make the one dimensional paper ad more enriching. It also allows us to cut down on the amount of copy we need to put in the ad and reinforces our positioning of being a innovative brokerage that leverages the latest in digital marketing.
It was a great fit using a QR code in the ad because we are talking about the way we digitally market all of our listings. By using a QR code we are just reinforcing our point of differentiation and providing interested consumers with a way to get more information about how we digitally market a listing. We did not just use our homepage we selected a mobile enabled relevant landing page for the ad.
I would be interested in hearing how other people have used QR codes in their marketing and whether they found it effective. Please feel free to post your comments below.