If you’re wondering about those bizarre two-dimensional barcode boxes you’re starting to see in magazines, they’re called QR (Quick Response) codes, and they can be your ticket to delivering information to the most tech-savvy of your clients.
Sherri Jesse, owner of Sherri’s Hair Salon in Bristol, Virginia, developed a QR code to market instructional videos to stylists and her salon to clients.
Developed in the 1990s, the open-source QR codes have an early foothold in broad usage, while Microsoft’s similar Mobi Tags offer more extensive branding customization options and are gaining ground in the fashion industry. Both technologies can hold a link taking the consumer directly to wherever the marketer chooses—from an informational video or a landing page listing the business’s hours, location and services to the company’s website homepage or “buy now” section.
Online, people can click on them, but they’re really designed to be read “on the go” by a code reader app easily downloaded onto a smart phone. Free from the shackles of the computer, consumers are receptive to this brave new mobile marketing world, where swiping a phone replaces bookmarking and memorizing URLs.
“This is advertising that’s free, and it’s easy to learn,” says hair designer and owner Sherri Jessee who markets her instructional videos to stylists and her Bristol, Virginia salon, Sherri’s Hair Salon, to consumers. “My QR codes take people directly to my website. From there, they can go to my blog, Facebook page or Twitter Pics, which all have the QR code. That’s how everything links in a circle. I sold a video within two hours of adding PayPal to the mix.”
Even if consumers do not use the codes, they talk about whatever’s new and different. “I call this a parlor trick,” says Sherry McGuire, owner of Alchemy Hair Studios & Spa in San Jose, California, who slaps a QR code onto business cards, Facebook, Twitter, a vinyl in the window and, especially, the client consultation cards that clients take home. “People who know what a QR reader is immediately love that we’re operating on the edge of technology. For people new to the technology, I guarantee that eventually a QR reader will come up in some conversation they’re having, and they’ll take out their smartphone and say to a friend, ‘Let me show you what my hairdresser does.’ That means they’re out there talking about our salon.”