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QR CODES: What, Why, and How

What is a QR code?

QR originated in Japan and stands for “quick response”. As the name suggests, it is quick and efficient. It works in the same way a barcode would, carrying information, but with its functionality and purpose greatly amplified. QR codes work internationally, so there are virtually no limitations.

Features and benefits

QR codes hold a maximum of 4296 alphanumeric characters, versus traditional horizontal barcodes which contain approximately 20 digits. The type of data that a QR code can contain is certainly not limited to digits – it can be in the form of a phone number, a vCard, a URL, an SMS message, an e-mail address, or just plain text. Even if the QR code is partially destroyed or dirty, the data can be restored – so fret not for sign riders in Canadian winters.

How does it work?

A QR code contains data both vertically and horizontally which increases its data capacity, versus a barcode which only contains data horizontally. The orientation of the code does not affect its performance, nor does the texture of the surface that it is situated on (for example, if it is on a curved surface). To be able to read a QR code, a QR reader is required which is absolutely free and available for download on a smartphone (or any device with camera functionality). Once the data is decoded by the device, it pulls up the appropriate program required to make use of that information – for example, if it is an e-mail, your phone will give you options of sending an e-mail to that address, saving it to a contact, etcetera; if it is a phone number, you will be prompted to either call that number, create a new contact, and so on.

It is quite easy to create a QR code. They are free to create (to an extent), but of course printing them in different formats (i.e. stickers for sign riders, business card printing, and so on) would cost fees.

Examples of usage

So, a QR code sounds fascinating – but how can it help your real estate business? Here are a few examples of how you can take advantage of this invaluable tool:

Lawn sign riders: The perfect opportunity to put up a QR code about that property! It can be a URL to that listing on your website, your contact information, or some extra textual information. Passers-by can easily store that information on their phone without having to manually input it into their phone.

Business cards: Although your business card has all your contact information on it, it would be much more valuable to have the option to electronically add you as a con-tact without manually entering the information.

Feature sheets and property flyers: Feature sheets offer the summary of a property, but in some cases do not offer everything that a potential client would like to know. You could insert a QR code which links back to the direct listing page on your website for additional details, or perhaps have upcoming open house dates, or even just some additional text describing the prop-erty.

Direct mail and brochures: If you are sending mail to your farm areas advertising your services and contact information, you should include a QR with your contact infor-mation as well, including your website and e-mail. If someone has the option to very quickly add you into their phone, chances are that when they have a real estate question they will find you in their phone and give you a call (rather than look for past mail which has most likely already been recycled or thrown out). You can even get creative and use a QR code sticker to seal the envelope.

E-mail signature: Having a QR code, with your contact information or vCard, in your e-mail signature will help your recipient have you as a contact not only in their e-mail contact database, but provide them the capability to conveniently add you into their phone as well.

Essentially, anywhere that you have your contact information should have a QR code, including stickers on your car and so on. Anywhere you are advertising a listing should include a QR directing to the listing page on your website or provide another form of additional information. The convenience, functionality, and versatility of a QR code will increase the mobility of your contact information and help it travel as far as possible.

NOT CONVINCED? Try it for yourself. Download a free QR reader/decoder to your phone and scan the QR code below. It contains our e-mail address and will prompt you to either e-mail us, create a contact, add the e-mail to an existing contact, or copy it to your clipboard. To download the company vCard, scan the red barcode in the beginning of the post.

Scan QR Code
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