Have you noticed these little black and white or colored boxes popping up in magazines, trade shows and in retail stores lately?qrcode

They are part of a category called 2-Dimensional (2-D) codes. They are actually a bar code that can hold a lot more information than a traditional 1-dimensional bar code that we are all familiar with:

There are actually two leading types of 2-dimensional codes out there; the QR Code (which is the one you see above) and a mobi tag. Which is the tag you see here to the right.

Look at Tags as a Gateway for Your Audience to Engage With You

Each of the tags in this article will lead you to a landing page — in this case, it’s just the form page for the DIYMarketers tips. And this is the really powerful aspect of using these tags — they allow you to snag a prospect that might just be passing by and see your marketing piece or something that interests them — then instead of just passing by, they can whip out their mobile device, scan the tag and begin the process of interacting with your company — it’s a virtual gateway that give your prospects the opportunity to learn more about you and your company.

What You Need to Get Started – Easy as 1-2-3

  1. Tag Generator. To create your personalized mobi tag or QR code, you will need a generator. QR codes are open-sourced and there are countless options. I turned to Mashable (experts on all things web and technical) and used Kaywa, but you can choose from any of the options. These will generate the black and white code known as a QR code. Mobi Tags (the colorful ones) are only created by Microsoft — so that’s the only place where you can get one. Head over to Microsoft Tag and click on “create your own tag” to get started.
  2. Tag Reader. Of course, you will also want the appropriate tag reader application for your smart phone. Again, these are FREE and easy to do. Go to your application marketplace and search on QR Code Reader and you will get lots of options to choose from. As far as the Microsoft Tag options, you can do the same thing OR go to the MicroSoft Tag web site on your smart phone and download the reader: http://gettag.mobi from your mobile device.
  3. Your Marketing Strategy. Steps 1 and 2 were easy. It’s the marketing strategy that can get tricky. Think about how you want to creatively use these tags in your strategy. Imagine your prospect or customer in their daily life and think about what information they might want or need to get from you at that moment. Think about what actions you want your customers to take and then create a path to get them there.

Where to Put Your Codes and Tags

This is really the fun part, because you are only limited by your imagination. This is why I recommended thinking about what information your customer might want to have – or what actions you want your customer to take at the time they see your QR Code or Mobi Tag.

Here are some ideas I’ve gathered from around the web:

  • Name Tags – Create a code or tag and print it on your name tag at a trade show – this way, you’re a walking booth!
  • Retail Coupons – Place a tag or code in your store window or inside the store so that customers can download discount coupons or other free gifts and offers.
  • Surveys – You can actually put a QR code or mobi tag on a survey – here’s an example – http://2d-code.co.uk/best-buy-mood-qr-code/
  • Events – QR Codes and Mobi Tags are a natural fit for events! You can use them to promote registrations, provide schedules, maps programs within the event. You can link to videos for playback or preview of bands or musicians, show trailers of movies or product demonstrations, offer exclusive content or training in addition to what’s delivered at the conference.
  • Games and Contest. Engage with your customers and prospects by creating contests and games with QR codes and mobi tags. If you have a product for a special target audience or niche such as kids, you can have a mobi tag or QR code that directs parents to a page where they can get extra information about the educational quality of the toy they are looking at.
  • Business cards and printed material. This is SO OBVIOUS! Create a personal landing page (make sure that it’s optimized for mobile) that contains your contact information, social media links, ways to get in touch with you, any additional information your networking contact might want. Another terrific idea is to use the qr code and mobi tag on your business card to link to your LinkedIn profile – this way it has the most current information.
  • Product Sheets. QR Codes and Mobi Tags are a natural fit for product selling sheets. Create landing page with a demonstration video and a form where your prospect can see your product or service in action and then sign up to receive extra information
  • Promotional Items. This is another obvious place to put mobi tags and QR codes because it’s this gateway to more information. If you’re at a trade show and featuring a specific series of products – then create a landing page that takes customers there — make it easy for them to schedule meetings with you, talk to a sales rep to get more information or just have fun and share the link with friends.

These are just a few ideas I found — where have YOU seen QR codes and Mobi Tags at work?